Monday, January 30, 2017

Pocket Book Reviews {January 2017}

Started the year off strong by reading seven books from a variety of genres, so, you know, already killin' it in 2017! Let's hope I can keep the momentum going for the rest of the year. Let me know if you've read any of these books and what you read this month.

P.S. -- See outfits based on four of these books here!

The Thousandth Floor
(5 hearts)

Written by Katharine McGee; It's one hundred years in the future and the Tower takes up most of New York City. It's a thousand-story building stretching toward the sky. The future is about innovation, but people never change and five teens living in the Tower all want something and all have something to lose. 

Wow! I'm stunned by this book and how much I enjoyed it! This book has been called "Gossip Girl in the future," so I wasn't sure I'd like it since I wasn't a big fan of Gossip Girl, but it definitely has that feel. It's essentially about rich and poor teens whose dramas and problems start to overlap all while living in a huge tower in the future.

And it's as impressive as the Tower and the technology they use every day. It's an exciting, drama-filled novel with twists and romances and betrayals and I honestly couldn't get enough.

The five main characters -- Avery, Leda, Eris, Rylin, and Watt -- are believable teenagers who don't always deal with their problems in the correct way, get overly emotional, think their problems are the end of the world, and each have a fascinating story. And they actually have parents, who look out for them or are sometimes also part of the problem. It's not one of those books where the parents are nowhere to be seen.

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The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase #2)
(3 hearts)

Written by Rick Riordan; Thor's hammer is missing. Again. But it isn't just lost. It's fallen into enemy hands and if Magnus and his friends don't retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. 

I really enjoyed this since it started off strong and finished strong, but I lost interest in the middle. For a while there, I just didn't care about what was happening. But once we got to the wedding part, the story picked up and I had to know how Magnus, Sam, and Alex were going to fix things.

I think it's really cool that Riordan introduced a gender-fluid character. At times it's awkward for Magnus to not know whether to call Alex him or her and some characters are rude to Alex by saying he's not fully male or not fully female, and it's very reminiscent of what transgender people face. I think it's great that this character has been introduced into this world (and ours!), so that kids can see what it's like for Alex and what he/she has to deal with.

Because of the ending, I'm am so pumped for the next book! More Loki! And a favorite character being introduced into this series!

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Love Is Love
(5 hearts)

Edited by Marc Andreyko; The comic industry comes together to honor those killed in the Orlando Pulse shooting. This comic contains moving and heartfelt material mourning the victims, supporting the survivors, and celebrating the LGBTQ community. 

If you're looking for a collection of comics to restore your faith in humanity this is it! It's heart-wrenching, heartbreaking, but mostly heartwarming. While reading this I found myself experiencing a range of emotions: there were comics that made me laugh, made me smile, made my heart hurt, made me happy, and made me tear up. This collection gave me hope that more people will stand together than stand apart. Absolutely beautiful!

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Girl Waits With Gun (#1)
(4 hearts)

Written by Amy Stewart; A novel based on the forgotten true story of a one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs. Constance Kopp and her sisters get into a buggy accident with a powerful silk factory owner and a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets, and threats, but Constance will not back down.

Girl Waits With Gun feels less like I'm reading a book and more like a conversation. It feels like Constance Kopp is telling me about a year in her life. And I highly enjoyed it!

Everything about this book feels so real and true to life: the bickering between the Kopp sisters, the way the men treated Constance and the other women as less than (it is 1914), the instinctual fear the Kopp sisters had for Henry Kaufman and his men, the slow pace of the judicial system, and the boredom the sisters face because they're neither married nor working.

The best part of this book are the sisters: Constance is the oldest and a firecracker. She's taller than most men, she's smart as a whip, has a strong moral compass, and has no problem standing up for others. The flashbacks throughout the book were fascinating and informative about how Constance became the tough but moral woman she is. I enjoyed all of the sisters for different reasons since they're all so believable, but especially loved Constance and her determination to get justice for her family from Henry Kaufman after he torments them with threats. 

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The Castoffs, Vol. 1: Mage Against the Machine
  (3 hearts)

Written by M.K. Reed, Brian Smith, and Molly Ostertag; When three apprentice mages are sent to help a neighboring guild, they reignite a decade-old war with a robot army that has destroyed the world. 

A really interesting start to a new comic series! It has a Lumberjanes feel to it because it's about three young woman who go on a mission to save people while dealing with crazy and scary creatures. The added bonus in The Castoffs is that all three girls -- Charris, Ursa, and Trinh -- have different powers and the powers themselves fit nicely with their personalities; it's like an extension of themselves.

Not going to lie, the beginning part really confuses me since they were entirely different characters and I don't see how they fit in with the three girls yet. I also felt that the end got resolved too quickly and too easily, but it did end on a fun cliffhanger. I would definitely continue reading the series.

*Received from NetGalley.

Add to Goodreads (pub date: April 12th)

Who Could That Be At This Hour? (All The Wrong Questions #1)
(4 hearts)

Written by Lemony Snicket; A young Lemony Snicket begins his apprenticeship for a secret organization shrouded in secrecy. Now he has written an account of his childhood and the mystery he begins to solve in this new series. 

After reading A Series of Unfortunate Events and watching the new show on Netflix, I wasn't ready to be done with Lemony Snicket's world, so I picked this up and it was a great idea on my part. It feels very much like Snicket's more famous works on the Baudelaire children since it has his famous wit and snarkiness and realist attitude. Here Snicket is a young boy of 12 on his first adventure after his unusual education, which he only alludes to. What starts off as a straightforward mystery turns into something much more complicated and I highly enjoyed it, as well as the intriguing characters who are always more than they seem. Perfect for people who love A Series of Unfortunate Events!

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(4 hearts)

Written by Elly Blake; Ruby is a Fireblood who has concealed her powers of heat from the cruel Frostblood ruling class her entire life. But when her mother is killed trying to protect her, and rebel Frostbloods demand her help to overthrow the king, she agrees to help in order to have her revenge. 

Well, that was a fun ride! If you're looking for a hate-to-love romance set in a fascinating fantastical and almost-Medieval world then this is for you.

I'm not going to lie, Fireblood has a ton of issues and is SO cliche in many ways (evil king, young warrior with closed off emotions, stubborn heroine, death of a parent, spy in the castle), and yet I really enjoyed it. Ruby's fierceness and fiery personality and her ability to care for others really saved this book for me. It's through her eyes that we experience this world and because of that this world became a real place. Her kindness for others is something I related to strongly and it made me root for her. I also liked that she wasn't one of those heroines were her talents come easily; she struggled and she worked hard to hone her powers.

Despite this book's issues, I really did enjoy it! The world of fire and frost is absolutely enchanting and believable and just so cool! The folk tales, the powers, the darkness, the warring nations, and the royalty. I enjoyed all of those aspects so much and I look forward to seeing more of that in the next book!

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Have you read any of these books?

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Inspired By: January Reads

How was your first month of reading in 2017? I read seven books, two of which were a graphic novels, one historical fiction, and four young adult novels. I really enjoyed all of the books I read this month, but these four were definitely my favorites. I wasn't sure I was going to like Frostblood or The Thousandth Floor, but both turned out to be a lot more awesome than I expected.

Written by Elly Blake; Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has concealed her powers of heat and flame from the cruel Frostblood ruling class her entire life. But when her mother is killed trying to protect her, and rebel Frostbloods demand her help to overthrow their bloodthirsty king, she agrees to come out of hiding, desperate to have her revenge.

Dress like a feisty Fireblood by wearing a red dress, blue cardigan, red stud earrings, a floral watch, a red bracelet, and black booties. Or instead get frosty in a blue peplum top, white jeans, ice necklace, white watch, and brown booties.

Add to Goodreads

The Thousandth Floor
The Thousanth Floor
Written by Katharine McGee; A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose. Amid breathtaking advancement and high-tech luxury, five teenagers struggle to find their place at the top of the world. But when you’re this high up, there’s nowhere to go but down…

When you're partying at the top of the Tower, you need to look good and it is the future after all, so throw on some metallics. Wear a black lace top, purple metallic skirt, black pumps, purple clutch, and gold nail polish. Or throw on a metallic tank, black jeans, a diamond-shaped bag, and metallic sneakers. 

Add to Goodreads

Love is Love
Love is Love
Edited by Marc Andreyko; The comic industry comes together in honor of those killed in Orlando. Co-published by two of the premiere publishers in comics—DC and IDW, this oversize comic contains moving and heartfelt material from some of the greatest talent in comics, mourning the victims, supporting the survivors, celebrating the LGBTQ community, and examining love in today’s world. All material has been kindly donated by the writers, artists, and editors with all proceeds going to victims, survivors, and their families. Be a part of a historic comics event! It doesn’t matter who you love. All that matters is you love.

Celebrate all love in every color of the rainbow. Literally! Don a "Love is Love" shirt, black jeans, rainbow phone case, and rainbow rain boots. Or wear a blue dress, colorful heels, a rainbow chevron purse, and a blue watch. 

Add to Goodreads

Girl Waits With Gun
Girl Waits With Gun

Written by Amy Stewart; A novel based on the forgotten true story of one of the nation’s first female deputy sheriffs. A belligerent and powerful silk factory owner runs down Constance Kopp's buggy, and a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets. When the sheriff enlists her help in convicting the men, Constance is forced to confront her past and defend her sisters — and she does it in a way that few women of 1914 would have dared. 

Add a subtle nod to the early 20th century with a taupe lace peplum shirt, red skirt, Mary-Jane heels, and a handcuff bracelet for catching those bad guys. Or a black dress, pocket watch necklace, a black watch, and brown booties.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Outfit: Peach & Polka Dots

An easy way to brighten your mood on a dreary winter day? Obviously, wear bright spring colors! I wear this top maybe a little too often, but I love the color, the polka dots, the peplum, and the comfy fit. Funnily enough, I hate the color orange, but peach is as close as I'll let myself get. Is there a color you never ever wear?

If you're looking for a pretty and inexpensive druzy ring, you should check out Bashful Owl's crushed crystal adjustable rings that are only $20. I came across it by accident on Etsy and had such a hard time choosing which crystal I wanted. I ended up getting lepidolite, a light purple crystal, and now I wear mine almost every day.
Top: gift | Jeans: American Eagle | Scarf: Primark
Boots: Amazon | Ring: Bashful Owl (gift)

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Review: JimmyCASE iPhone Wallet

Like any girl, I like using a cute purse and cramming as much stuff into it as possible, but sometimes I want to go out with nothing but the essentials: phone, credit card, I.D., and cash. Before two weeks ago, I would put my cards and cash into my jeans pocket and hope they didn't fall out. But then I got to test out JimmyCASE iPhone wallet and now I'm hooked!

It's so simple but so effective! The JimmyCASE has a sleek bumper to protect your phone, genuine mahogany core which looks really fancy, and an elastic pocket that doesn't stretch out. It can hold six cards and cash and it's all made in Los Angeles.

Honestly, I thought it might be one of those crappy phone cases that only looks good online, but that is so not the case. This phone wallet is legit! It's very, very sturdy. Between the thick bumper and wood core, my phone has never been more secure. And the buttons on the side are still easy to press. I got the black because I like the simplicity, but it also comes in a variety of fun color combinations.

There really isn't anything I don't like about this phone case! The price is more than I would usually pay at $39, but I think it's worth it if you like a protective case and always want to keep the essentials on you. 

**I received this product for free. All opinions are my own.**

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Inspired By: Bakery in Brooklyn

I love a good light and fluffy movie, especially when it involves a cute bakery, comedy, family drama, cute boys, food fights, and baked goods!

Bakery in Brooklyn is about Vivien and Chloe, two cousins who have been inseparable since they were little, but that changes when they both inherit their dead aunt's boulangerie named Isabelle's. Both girls have differing ideas of what to do with the bakery: Vivien wants to keep it traditional and Chloe wants to add a modern spin. But then the bank says the bakery is in danger of being foreclosed, so they have to put their differences aside to keep Isabelle's open. 

The movie opens tomorrow in limited theaters.

Bakery in Brooklyn -- Vivien

Vivien (Aimee Teegarden) was about to go on her dream trip to Europe when she found out about her aunt Isabelle's passing, so she decides to stay and help keep the bakery open. But she wants the shop to remain traditional since it's been that way for years. The bank sends Paul to tell her the bad news about the foreclosure, but she starts to fall for him. 

Hang out in Brooklyn while wearing a black blazer, gray dress, purple scarf, sunglasses, and beige booties. Or bake in style by putting in a floral and striped top, black jeans, cute printed apron, cupcake necklace, and burgundy booties.

Bakery in Brooklyn -- Chloe
Chloe (Krysta Rodriguez) works as an assistant to Fernando, who is on a popular daytime cooking show, but she also goes to help at Isabelle's in order to keep it open. She wants to add some new flavor to the bakery to make it more modern. 

Keep it cool and casual in a gray button up, jeans, pointed toe flats, and ruffly apron. Or make delicious baked goods in a green tee, distressed jeans, hat, cupcake phone case, and black booties.

Paul & Fernando
Bakery in Brooklyn -- Paul & Fernando
Paul (Ward Horton) works for the bank and has to deliver the bad news to Vivien and Chloe that the bakery is in foreclosure. He starts to fall for Vivien and wants her shop to remain open. Wear a mix of professional and casual by donning a blue blazer, striped tee, jeans, watch, and gray sneakers.

Fernando (Aitor Luna) is a chef on a popular cooking show and thinks that Chloe should add a modern spin to the bakery. He begins to have feelings for Chloe. Dress like a super cool chef by wearing a quilted black jacket, a black tee, jeans, a "Will cook for wine" apron, heart earrings, and booties.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Outfit: Gothic

I feel like this dark, moody outfit is perfect for exploring Gothic castles. My sweater would swing a bit behind me as I walk and the stomping of my boots on the floor would reverberate off the walls. I think I've just always wanted to be Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey exploring the cold corridors of a castle, hoping for a gruesome tale of woe. I think I read too much haha! Funnily enough, that's the same problem Catherine has in the book.

I don't know why I never thought to take pictures in the forest behind the parking lot I take pictures in. The trail in the last picture leads to a nature center that I used to frequent when I was younger, so I'll have to do some exploring for prime picture spots when it gets warmer. 
Sweater: old | Top: Francesca's | Jeans: American Eagle
Bag: Target | Booties: via Poshmark | Tassel Bracelet: Charming Charlie
 Hamsa Necklace: gift

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Monday, January 16, 2017

2017 Resolutions Wishlist

My word for 2017 is progress. I want to make progress in many aspects of my life, most importantly my writing and my health. My goal is to have the second draft of my fairytale retelling done by March 1st. It's just a deadline I've given myself so I can push it back if I have to since I don't know how long it will take me to go through the first draft and make edits because I've never done it before. Wish me luck!

My other goal is to be healthier. I did really well the first half of last year -- I went to the gym with my friend Avra two or three times a week and I drank at least one bottle of water each day, usually two. But then in July things went downhill. I went gluten-free in September and it's made all the difference. I feel lighter and healthier and I'm more aware of what I eat, but there are still plenty of bad foods out there that are gluten-free (I'm looking at you, french fries!). So I'm going back to the gym and making a conscious effort to eat better.

A few smaller goals I have:
  • Take 20 minutes to read before bed
  • Make better choices with my money 
  • Actually use my planner
  • Use the makeup I already own before buying more
2017 Life Resolutions

What life goals do you have?

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Inspired By: Pantone Color of the Year {Greenery}

Say goodbye to Rose Quartz and Serenity, and hello to Greenery! This light green is refreshing and soft and I can see myself wearing it a lot this year (and for years to come). Pantone says "Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew." Something we all need this year.

Greenery -- Dresses

Greenery is the perfect neutral color that works year round, but it's especially great for spring and summer. Pair a light green dress with a nude shoe for a feminine and classic look. When mixed with navy heels and tassel earrings, it makes for a cool, fun look.

Greenery -- Tops
Who says you can't go for an all-out green look? Mix Greenery with a beautiful emerald green for a darker, sexier feel. If neutrals are your thing then pair a light green shirt with jeans, and some taupe -- a watch, earrings, and booties.

Greenery -- Outerwear
Usually olive is a popular color for jackets, but show off your love of Greenery by wearing a yellow-green coat. Make Greenery feel light and girly by adding a pale pink dress and flats to your outfit. Or if you want to up the fun, sunshine-y factor, pair Greenery with a bright yellow cable knit sweater and Converse sneakers.

Greenery -- Accessories
If you're like me and don't have a green thumb, you can wear Greenery accessories or add it to your home. Brighten up a black dress and booties with a green belt, watch, and nail polish. And Greenery pairs beautifully with this pale blue sweater and blue jeans.

Do you like Greenery?
Will you be wearing it?

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Outfit: A Vested Interest

Are there some items that remind you of your mom? For me, one of those items is vests. Particularly a brown or navy, squishy vest. My mom wears them almost year round. And it's exactly for that reason that I stayed away from them for so long. There's that saying that in time all daughters turn into their mothers and, well, I've finally given into the vest! They really do add an extra bit of warmth and they're pretty fashionable in the right color. 

So, I guess I am turning into my mother. Or at least starting to wear vests like she does. Is there something you've stayed away from because your mom wears it?
Hat: Charming Charlie (only $5!) | Vest: Van Heusen (gift) | Sweater: old
Jeans: Old Navy | Booties: DSW | Scarf: Primark

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