Friday, December 30, 2016

Favorite Books of 2016 + 2017 Reading Goals

2016 was a good year for reading! I read more books in one year than I ever have before, which is pretty freaking awesome! I think I'm allowed to call myself a reading wizard because of that, and if you also surpassed your reading goal then you should, too. I only really hated one book (you can read the review here) and the majority of the novels I picked up this year I enjoyed immensely, which made picking my top 12 books really, really difficult. 

Let me know if you read any of these books and what you thought! What were your favorites?

 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
 The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
 P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
 This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
 I Am Princess Savage by Cherie Priest
 Lois Lane: Double Down (Lois Lane #2) by Gwenda Bond
 A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
 Madly (The Potion Diaries #1) by Amy Alward (and the second book too!)
 Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye
 Scythe by Neal Shusterman
 Junior Hero Blues by J.K. Pendragon
 The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1) by Rick Riordan
According to Goodreads, I read 94 books in 2016, but in reality I read 106! Crazy! I've never read over 100 books in a year before. The reason it shows 12 less than I actually read is because I listened to A Series of Unfortunate Events (which I realize now I forgot to review on my blog oops) and I just counted it as one big book. 

In 2017, my two reading goals:
1. Read 85 books
2. Read as many of the unread books on my shelves as possible by using this "Read More Books" jar. I'll be picking a new book out of the jar whenever I finish a book. Hopefully this will help me read my TBR shelf! I've already picked the first book of 2017 and it is....Everland by Wendy Spinale!

What's your 2017 reading goal?

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Outfit: Little Bows

I love when a piece of clothing, like this sweater, is just casual enough for the weekend, but also fancy enough for work. It's a win-win situation because I can wear it everywhere! I've been finding so many great pieces on Poshmark lately, so if you're looking for cute clothing and accessories from other fashionistas (or want to sell something of your own) I would recommend checking the app out. 

I thought Primark was a store that was only found in the UK, but it turns out there's one an hour away from me in Connecticut. I was over the moon excited when I found out because I've been wanting to go. It's like Forever 21, but cheaper in price and yet better made. My friends Avra, Sunny, Jess, and I went together and we spent way more time in the store than we had to browsing, trying stuff on, and encouraging each other to be bad and get the things we wanted. That's what friends are for, right?
Sweater: via Poshmark | Hat: Charming Charlie
Jeans: American Eagle | Boots: Amazon | Bag: Target

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Monday, December 26, 2016

Pocket Book Reviews {December 2016}

I hit a bit of a reading slump this month. I'm currently at 93 books, which surpassed my goal of 80 books for the year, but I only read three books in December. I was really hoping to read more to make up for not reading much in November. I'm currently in the middle of three books (The Potion Diaries: Royal Tour, The Hammer of Thor, and The Blazing Star) and really want to finish them before January for a fresh start, but I don't see that happening. Oops. 

I got The Blazing Star from NetGalley, but it might DNF it. It's just not holding my interest at all. I hate to stop reading a book less than halfway through, but I have absolutely zero desire to keep going. Have you ever DNF'd a book? 

♥ (5 stars)

Written by Neal Shusterman; A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control. Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

This is one of the best books I've ever read! Ever! It has all of the things I look for in a book: fascinating premise, interesting and complicated characters you root for (and some you love to hate), and moments that make you think. This book has all of that. 

I picked up this book because the idea that humans can only die by being gleaned fascinated me, but I kept reading because this book is thought-provoking, chilling, and surprising in many ways. It always threw me for a loop and in a good way. The plot and pacing in this book is incredible and I never knew what was going to happen next. 

Citra and Rowan are both unique, flawed, and complicated characters and I enjoyed reading from both of their points of view and seeing how they changed over the course of the book. Rowan especially is a fascinating character. 

This book made me think about nature, life, death, murder, suicide, mortality, immortality, religion, and being a bystander to crime. So many times while reading this book, I would read a sentence or paragraph that rings so true and is so well put.

One in particular is this: "My greatest wish for humanity is not for peace or comfort or joy. It is that we all still die a little inside every time we witness the death of another. For only the pain of empathy will keep us human. There's no version of god that can help us if we ever lose that." 

This book is beautiful and insightful and just plain incredible and everyone should read it.

Add to Goodreads

Gotham Academy, Vol. 3: Yearbook
♥ (5 stars)

Written by Brenden Fletcher, Dustin Nguyen, Derek Fridolfs, and Rafael Albuquerque; The students of Gotham's most prestigious prep school are back and they've just survived one heck of a year within the walls of Gotham Academy. Now it's time for everyone to look back and experience some of the lost adventures from the school year that was. 

What a fantastic volume! This is my favorite so far! I loved that while Maps and Olive follow Robin in the present, there are several short stories interspersed throughout about the past and stories that Maps has heard. It made this volume such a delight to read and each story was drawn by a different artist, which I think is unique and fun to read. Gotham Academy is mostly about the friendship between Olive and Maps, but I think it really shined here. Great collection!

Add to Goodreads
The Princess Saves Herself In This One
♥ (5 stars)

Written by Amanda Lovelace; A poetry collection divided into four different parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, & you. the princess, the damsel, & the queen piece together the life of the author in three stages, while you serves as a note to the reader & all of humankind. Explores life & all of its love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, & inspirations.

This book of poetry is INCREDIBLE! I'm in awe of Amanda Lovelace's ability to string simple words together and make them into something emotional and powerful and beautiful. I honestly don't know how to describe how much I love this collection of poetry. I wasn't sure what to expect reading this, but these poems about Lovelace's life and thoughts and dreams and fears and hopes are so emotionally charged and will ring true for everyone who reads them. I've always found poetry too hard to decipher, too hard to dig through the words to get to the truth of them, but that's not so with this book. The truth is right there at the surface and yet each poem is stunning and makes you think. 

This is a book that I know I will re-read over and over. And you should too. 

Love this poem:
"once upon 
a time,
the princess
rose from the ashes
her dragon lovers
made of her
queen of

What did you read this month?

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Friday, December 23, 2016

Tea Lover's Wishlist

I just got a wonderful electric tea kettle from a Yankee Swap at work and now I want ALL THE TEA! I currently have enough tea to last me ten years, but you know what's great about tea? It never goes bad! So the more the merrier, right? So here are some delicious teas and cute tea items that are on my ever-growing Etsy wishlist. 
Tea Lover's Wishlist
 Eve of Joy's Be The Change Hand-Stamped Spoon
 Pen and Favor's Mini Teapot Tea Strainer
 PRRINT's Vintage Teacups Poster
 Murdeko's Leaf Tea Strainer
 BeaTeaStudio's Lavender Earl Grey Tea
 Airaco's Tea Infuser Glass Tumbler
 Sullivan Tea Shop's Chai Tea Kit
 New Moon Tea Co.'s Goodnight Sleep Tight Tea
 Riddle's Tea Shoppe's Magical Tea Set
 Luna Tea Co.'s Moonlight Test Tube Tea
 First Edition Tea Co.'s Mumbai Chai Tea

Are you a tea drinker or a coffee drinker?

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Outfit: Book Clutch

I've been wanting a book clutch FOREVER! And then I came across Book Vosk's Kickstarter campaign a few months ago. Sadly the Kickstarter wasn't fully funded, but they put their incredible book clutches on Etsy at their Kickstarter price ($95) and I just had to get one! Yes, these bags are pricier than anything I normally buy (the regular price is now $105), but they're so well-made and gorgeous. Just LOOK at this Wizard of Oz clutch! The art by Gabriela Regina is pretty, the magnets are super strong, the red tassel is surprisingly soft, and it's just all around perfection.

Since I knew I was going to be working hard on the first draft of my novel in November, I got this book clutch as a reward for myself, and it arrived at the beginning of December. Perfect timing! Have you ever wanted a book clutch? What book do you want? I would also love a Pride and Prejudice one. 

Also, how cute is this hat?!
Pink Sweater: American Eagle (via Poshmark) | Jeans: American Eagle
Clutch: Book Vosk | Hat: Charming Charlie | Socks: old | Boots: Amazon

Do you have a book clutch?
What book do you want?

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Monday, December 19, 2016

Books For Deep Thinkers

There's no better time for contemplation than the end of one year and the beginning of another. If you like books that make you think about life, your place in the universe, the lives of people different than yourself, and a little bit of hope then these are for you. Every single one of these novels has made me stop to think, whether it was about the power of hope, that doing a good deed is always worth it, or that "everyone is fighting a hard battle." 
 Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (post-apocalyptic, dark literary fiction)
 Light by Rob Cham (a wordless graphic novel)
 Learning to Swear in American by Katie Kennedy (young adult, science fiction)
 Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (romance, disability)
 Vicious by V.E. Schwab (young adult, fantasy, superpowers)
 The Martian by Andy Weir (science fiction)
 Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel (science fiction)
 Every Day by David Levithan (young adult, fantasy)
 I Am The Messanger by Markus Zusak (literary fiction)
 The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey (post-apocalyptic science fiction)
 The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (supernatural, literary fiction)

Two nonfiction books to make you think:
 The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna
 Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe by Yumi Sakugawa

What are some books that made you think?

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Friday, December 16, 2016

Inspired By: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

IT'S HERE! I'm so excited for this new Star Wars movie! This past weekend they showed all of the previous Star Wars movies and you know I was watching. I event went to a Star Wars holiday party at a local comic books store last Saturday, so I am SO READY for this movie. 

Rogue One is a prequel to the original trilogy. At the beginning of A New Hope, Leia has the plans for the Death Star, but how did she get them? That's where this movie comes in. The Rebel Alliance recruits Jyn Erso to work with a team to steal the design schematics of the Empire's new superweapon, the Death Star. 

Jyn Erso
Rogue One -- Jyn Erso

Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is a tough, reckless, and rebellious young woman with a record, including forgery, stealing, and assault. She is distant from her scientist father, Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), who works for the Empire. She's recruited by the good guys, the Rebel Alliance, to get the plans for the Death Star and I'm sure it's going to involve her father. 

Fight bad guys and save the universe in a kick-ass outfit: a black sweater, vest, jeans, gray scarf, buckle booties, and fingerless gloves. Or instead in a black tunic, brown furry vest, distressed jeans, and lace-up boots. 

Cassian Andor & K-2S0
Rogue One -- Cassian Andor & K-2S0
Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) is a quiet and reserved Rebel Alliance Intelligence officer. He has a network of contacts throughout the galaxy who keep him informed about the Empire's activities. Fight for what's right in a brown jacket, beige sweater, distressed olive jeans, and tall brown boots. 

K-2S0 (voiced by Alan Tudyk) is a Galactic Empire droid, but this one was reprogrammed by Cassian to serve the Alliance. Become a cute droid by wearing a black ribbed dress, Death Star ring, striped leggings, tall thigh-high boots, and sunglasses. 

Orson Krennic
Rogue One -- Orson Krennic
Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) is director of the Advanced Weapons Research for the Galactic Empire. He's responsible for the security of the Death Star and commands a squad of Death Troopers. He rescued Jyn Erso and her parents in the past, which is why her father works for Orson. 

Rule the galaxy in chic black and white outfits: a white blazer, white blouse, black jeans, Galactic Empire stud earrings, and tall black boots. Or white blazer, printed dress, Darth Vader necklace, and black booties.

Are you seeing Rogue One?
Which outfit is your favorite?

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Outfit: Winter Pink

Who says you can't wear bright pink and florals in winter? Yes, technically it's not winter yet, but it sure as hell feels like it. I like how these pictures came out, but damn was it cold. It's probably a good thing my ears were covered by my hair because they were as pink as my jacket haha! 

I'm so glad I found this skirt at Wet Seal for $10 because I'm a sucker for dark florals. Wet Seal isn't a place I usually shop at (the word cheap comes to mind), but sometimes they do have some hidden gems. Is there a store you don't usually shop at where you've found a great item? 
Blazer: Uniqlo | Top: old | Skirt: Wet Seal {similar, similar,}
Tights: KushyFoot | Booties: via Poshmark | Bag: Target

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Cute Owl Clothes & Accessories

I LOVE anything with owls on it and I know you guys do too! Recently Rebecca of A Clothes Horse shared her fox clothing collection (so cute, you guys!), so I thought it was the perfect time to share some really adorable owl clothes, accessories, and jewelry for you to swoon over. I seriously want it all! Dying to get that owl hat now haha!
Owl Clothes & Accessories

Do you like owls?
What animal is your favorite?

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Friday, December 9, 2016

Inspired By: Pretty Winter Books

What's better than awesome books? Awesome books with pretty covers! I want to read all four of these novels because the synopses sound so incredible and so exciting. All of these (except for The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily) are in the realm of fantasy, so if that you're thing like it's mine then you should check them out. 

The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily
12 Days of Dash & Lily
Written by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan; Dash and Lily have had a tough year since they first fell in love among the shelves of their favorite bookstore. Lily’s beloved grandfather suffered a heart attack. With only twelve days left until Christmas—Lily’s favorite time of the year—her friends and fmaily take Manhattan by storm to help Lily recapture the unique holiday magic.

This is a sequel to Dash & Lily's Book of Dares, so cue major excitement! Lily is a major book lover, who loves Christmas, so get into the holiday spirit by wearing a beige red nose fox sweater, red jeans, "the book was better" necklace, green ribbon earrings, and beige booties. Or instead throw on an olive green dress, book earrings, sparkle tights, and brown boots. 

Stealing Snow
Stealing Snow
Written by Danielle Paige; Snow has spent her life locked in Whittaker Psychiatric—but she isn’t crazy. Beyond is a land far away from the real world, frozen by a ruthless king. And there too await the River Witch, a village boy named Kai, the charming thief Jagger, and a prophecy that Snow will save them all.

I've heard a bunch of good things about this book and anything about secret fantasy worlds sounds good to me. Go for a fun, wintry look by wearing a white sweater, white jeans, crown ring, and sparkly heels. Or instead put on a purple lace dress, gray vest, gray booties, and snowflake cuff. 

Kingdom of Ash and Briars 
Kingdom of Ash & Briars
Written by Hannah West; Bristal, an orphaned kitchen maid, lands in a gritty fairy tale gone wrong when she discovers she is an elicromancer with a knack for shape-shifting. An ancient breed of immortal magic beings, elicromancers have been winnowed down to merely two - now three - after centuries of bloody conflict in the realm. Their gifts are fraught with responsibility, and sixteen-year-old Bristal is torn between two paths. Should she vow to seek the good of the world, to protect and serve mortals?

This sounds SO GOOD! Adding to my TBR stat! I love the reflection on this cover; so try a darker look by wearing a black coat, black dress, and tall boots with a lilac earrings. Or try something a little lighter: a gray cardigan, a lavender dress, and gray booties. 

Add to Goodreads

Written by Elly Blake; Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class. When her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to take part in the king's tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions.

Really curious about this book! It has a Red Queen kind of vibe. Have any of you read it? Throw on a "Fireblood" outfit of a red sweater, black jeans, an agate necklace, and black booties. Or instead put on a "Frostblood" look: a lace-y beige top, jeans, a white watch, and fun metallic sneakers. 

Add to Goodreads

Have you added any of these books to your TBR?

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Outfit: Nerdy Hufflepuff

How freaking cute is this Newt Scamander scarf?! (Thanks to Kat from Not The Path to Narnia for telling me where she got it!) I'm so obsessed with Newt right now and here's why: he's compassionate, kind, awkward, introverted, adventurous, empathetic, and notices small details that others tend not to. Honestly, he's the kind of hero the Wizarding World and our world needs right now. I loved this fascinating article about Newt, toxic masculinity, and Hufflepuff heroes. 

Also, this article about the 21 Harry Potter references in Fantastic Beasts you missed is so fun! How many did you spot?

I've had this nerdy fox sweater for years now and yet I don't think I've ever worn it on the blog, so I thought it would be cute to pair with this scarf since I'm a nerdy Hufflepuff! What's your Hogwarts House? Do you know your Ilvermorny House? I'm a Thunderbird.
Sweater: Aeropostale | Jeans: American Eagle | Scarf: Amazon
Bag: Target | Shoes: Modcloth

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