Friday, March 31, 2017

Pocket Book Reviews {March 2017}

Every time I make a dent in my reading jar list of unread books, I end up getting more books! At least the few books I got were ebooks and don't take up any physical space, but I still had to add them to my jar. One day that jar will be near empty and I'll read books as fast I get them. Never mind, that's never ever going to happen!

I'm currently at 23 books read out of my 85 book goal. How's your reading goal going so far?

Waking Gods (Sleeping Giants #2)*
(5 hearts)

Written by Sylvain Neuvel; humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth . . . and maybe even the stars.

Can I give this book 10 stars please?! It starts off ten years after the first book and begins a bit slow, but once a new giant robot alien lands in the middle of London things start to pick up really fast. Sleeping Giants introduced us to our robot Themis and this group of clever and crazy cast of characters, like Rose and Kara and Vincent and "our friend." In Waking Gods, we really get to care about these people and fear for them and want them to survive what could be the end of the world.

Thirteen bigger, stronger, more advanced alien robots land all around the world and the ensuing chaos had me turning the pages as fast as I could read the words. I had to know what was going to happen next! I don't want to give away too much, but let's just say that shit gets real.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this book, and the first one, is that it's a thought-provoking sci-fi. It's sci-fi with a brain and a heart. Eugene is a mysterious man, but his conversations with "our friend" and Rose made me think about life as a human being, our shortcomings and strengths, possible life outside our little planet, that other species would have different cultures and ideas and methods and beliefs. It's like anthropology on a whole other level. It's fascinating and terrifying and amazing. Reading this book made me think about things I never considered before, which is cool in and of itself, but it helps that this book is entertaining as hell too!

*I received a copy from NetGalley.

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We Should All Be Feminists
(5 hearts)

Written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. 
"Anger has a long history of bringing out positive change. But I am also hopeful, because I believe deeply in the ability of human beings to remake themselves for the better."

This book is wonderful! It's so tiny that it took me less then 45 minutes to read it, so there's no excuse for anyone NOT to read it! It's enlightening and moving and hopeful. This book states so plainly that women should be inherently treated equally to men and yet it's our culture that makes this not so. But people form culture, so it's up to us, our anger, our intelligence, to make these changes. It's up to us to stand up to cultural norms and reform them into a culture of equality.

Read this book now!

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Maybe In Another Life
(3 hearts)

Written by Taylor Jenkins Reid; At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and lives in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan. Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

I seem to be in the minority of thinking this book was good but nothing amazing. I liked Hannah and following both tracks of her story. She's a girl who at first has no idea what she wants to do or where she belongs and only once she meets up with her best friend Gabby in LA does she feel at home again, which I liked. I loved their friendship so much! It was real! They had weird inside jokes and teased each other and were always there for each other during hard times.

My main issue with this book is that both timelines in Hannah's life ended up being almost identical. At first they were so different, but I wanted them to keep getting more different, but *SPOILER ALERT* the only difference is the men she ended up with and the baby. Even Gabby ended up with the same man. And she ended up being a nurse in both timelines. I wanted the end results to be glaringly different and they weren't at all.

Still, it was an interesting and enjoyable read.

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Ronit & Jamil
(2 hearts)

Written by Pamela L. Laskin; This novel in verse delivers a fresh and captivating retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that transports the star-crossed lovers to the modern-day Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza. Ronit, an Israeli girl, lives on one side of the barrier fence. Jamil, a Palestinian boy, lives on the other side. Only miles apart but separated by generations of conflict—much more than just the concrete blockade between them.

It makes me so sad to give this book a bad review because I had such high hopes for it. A modern Romeo and Juliet set around the Israeli-Palestine border and told in verse sounds amazing and yet it fell short. Very short.

While at times the verse was pretty (I especially liked the two chapters from the fathers' perspectives), most of the time it was just confusing and repetitive. I think this book would've been so much better if it was told in narration. Then we would've gotten a better feel for the setting and the characters and the food. Because in verse, it was all told not shown. I couldn't see or taste or smell anything, which is a shame because the story mentions delicious food and walking in markets.

The other major problem are the characters: Ronit and Jamil sound exactly the same. Maybe that's intentional to show that Jews and Arabs aren't so different, but they had no personality differences. They talk about the same things in almost the exact same way. Narration instead of verse could've helped with this too. 

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I've Got Your Number
(3 hearts)

Written by Sophie Kinsella; Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry her ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her “happily ever after” begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring but her phone is stolen. She spots an abandoned phone in a trash can. Except that the phone’s owner, Sam Roxton, doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading his messages and wading into his personal life.

I'd say the first 75% of this book is 4 stars and the last 25% is 3 stars, so overall it's really a 3.5 stars. I really, really enjoyed the first half immensely. Poppy is an absolute delight of a character. She's so likable and kind and I want to be friends with her. The story idea is so cute and makes for great comedy and I had a fun time following Poppy's misadventures while she tries to locate her ring and keeps getting involved in Sam's business. I like Sam too, though I wanted to like him more, I wanted the character to open up more by the end, but he was still a bit of a closed shell.

However, it's the last 25%-ish of the book that got on my nerves. [Read my spoilery review here.] Despite the annoyance at the end, I still enjoyed this and will continue to read her books because they're so charming!

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The Bicycle Spy
(4 hearts)

Written by Yona Zeldis McDonough; Marcel loves riding his bicycle, whether he's racing through the streets of his small town in France or making bread deliveries for his parents' bakery. He dreams of someday competing in the Tour de France, but ever since Germany's occupation of France began the race has been canceled. Now there are soldiers everywhere. Then Marcel learns two big secrets, and he realizes there are worse things about the war than a canceled race. 

A simple but not less any emotional tale of a boy who lives in German-occupied France during World War II. Marcel discovers that his parents are part of the resistance and are using loaves of bread to send messages, and he gets involved when he finds out a friend of his needs their help. It's a simplistic story since it's for kids, but the fear of what people experienced back then remains in the story and adds depth and emotion. A wonderful story!

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Have you read any of these books?

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Outfit: Compass

I've decided that this is going to be the year I wear a bathing suit, even though I have a food baby! Now that it's getting warmer I want to go to the gym more often and really focus on my stomach, but even if I don't lose weight or I end up losing only a little bit, I want to push aside my self-consciousness and wear a damn bathing suit! So I got two cute swimsuits from Target: this red two-piece with a high-waist bottom and this floral one-piece.

On a random note, I discovered a cool app called Hoopla that, like Overdrive, connects to your local library, but on this you get to instantly watch movies, listen to albums, and read or listen to books. You get 5 credits a month and whatever you download you keep for 21 days. So far I love it! I may have gotten the new Beauty and the Beast album, so I could listen to it over and over. No shame.

Also, totally obsessed with this compass necklace from the latest OwlCrate!
Sweater: old | Shirt: old | Jeans: Hollister
Compass Necklace: The Geeky Cauldron via OwlCrate
Bag: Target | Boots: DSW

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Spring Reading List

My reading lists are usually comprised of books I own that are sitting on my shelf unread, but this time I decided to also look ahead to what's coming out in the next three months, and oh man there are plenty of books I want to get my hands on, so half of my list features book I have and half are books I want. #gimmegimmegimme
Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer (April 11th)

What's on your spring wish list?

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Inspired By: Books With Floral Covers

It's spring and you know what that means — mother effin' florals! Obviously florals don't have to be worn exclusively in the spring (everyone knows I wear them year round), but there's something to be said for wearing them when the leaves are returning and flowers are blooming. So in honor spring's return, here are four books with flowers on the cover and floral-tastic outfits!

I've read both Beastly and RoseBlood and would recommend both by the way.

Reign of Shadows
Reign of Shadows
Written by Sophie Jordan; Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead. But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more.

Throw on the perfect spring outfit: a chiffon floral top, a floral headband, patchwork jeans, a crown ring, and ankle-strap navy flats. Or instead wear a navy floral dress, a blue stud earrings, a pale pink purse, and red flats.

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Written by Alex Flinn; The place is New York City. The time is now. I've been cursed by the one witch in my English class. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.

These two outfits are great for wandering the streets of New York City, so put on a burgundy cardigan, white top, floral black leggings, and a black Oxford flats. Or throw on a white floral embroidered dress, floral earrings, a brown backpack, and taupe booties.

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The Secret of a Heart Note
The Secret of a Heart Note
Written by Stacey Lee; An evocative novel about a teen aroma expert who uses her extrasensitive sense of smell to mix perfumes that help others fall in love while protecting her own heart at all costs. Sometimes love is right under your nose. As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, sixteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of weeding, mixing love elixirs, and matchmaking—all while remaining incurably alone.

Doesn't this book so sound cute? Up the cute factor in your wardrobe by wearing a white floral romper, a yellow metal bracelet, a floral headband, and yellow and wood wedges. Or instead put on a green blouse, floral embroidered jean shorts, perfume bottle earrings, and pale taupe sneakers.

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Written by A.G. Howard; In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera. 

Add some dark, Gothic flair to your outfits with a white blouse, a black rose embroidered skirt, a music notes watch, pink headphones, and red flats. Or wear a dark red brocade dress, black belt, a red flower headband, a black backpack, and black booties.

Add to Goodreads {Read my review}

Which of these looks is your favorite?
Have you read any of these books?

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Outfit: Pin Game

I couldn't NOT share these awesome pins! I have a bunch of pins (probably too many if we're being honest), and I usually just keep them on my desk because sometimes I like to include one or two in my #bookstagram photos, but I thought it was time to let these four beauties see the outside world a bit. What's the point in having cute pins if you can't show them off, right? 

The bookstack one is from Nerdy Post Box, an awesome monthly bookish and fandom subscription box, the orange "Book Nerd" one is from Rather Keen, the white "Let's live in fictional worlds" one is an OwlCrate exclusive from Bookworm Boutique but she makes so many amazing things, and the "Read More" pin is from Kookoobird.

Do you like to wear pins too?
Shirt: old | Vest: via Poshmark | Jeans: Hollister
Boots: Amazon | Watch Band: Amazon

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Six Spring Fashion Trends

Lately, I've felt like I'm in a clothing rut. I keep wearing the same things over and over (sweater, jeans, boots, scarf), so whenever there's a hint of warm weather it's like inspiration hits and I feel new clothing combinations spring to mind. Which is why I'm happy spring is here (at least officially, but someone has to tell the weather to hurry up!) because that means it's time for spring trends and of course time to go shopping!

I definitely want to add a ruffled shirt, a pair of patchwork jeans, and possibly some cute clogs to my wardrobe. What about you?

ONE | Bold Stripes
Bold Stripes
Stripes are always "in" for spring, but this year bold stripes are the big thing, so make a bold statement in wide stripes of every color and direction. Try not only horizontal stripes but vertical and diagonal. If you just want to dip your toe into the classic trend then wear stripes on your bag or shoes or accessories.

TWO | Ruffles
I'm ready for all the ruffles! I've always been a fan of ruffles and peplum, so I love this feminine trend. Add some girliness with ruffled tops and skirts or jackets, socks, and shoes with ruffles. Even if you don't have a girly style, there are easy ways to incorporate this into your wardrobe, like the black and white top with ruffled sleeves.

THREE | Clogs
I've always, always, always wanted a pair of clogs, but they're usually on the expensive side. Well, all of these are under $100 with most under $70. With this trend becoming more readily available that means there will be more inexpensive options, so keep an eye out. These shoes are such a classic and go with everything.

FOUR | Patchwork
Yep, the 90s are definitely back in full swing. It started with choker necklaces and now it's onto patchwork denim. Add some flair to your outfit with a patched and distressed pair of jeans. Not into the jeans, instead try a patchwork dress or purse. FYI I'm sure the patchwork denim is easy to DIY if you want to customize your own pair!

FIVE | Slogan Tees
Slogan Tees
Say what you really mean with these fun slogan tees. I have plenty of wordy tees like this, so I'm happy to keep wearing them into the spring and summer. Aren't the "More Coffee" and "Whatever Sprinkles Your Donuts" ones great? Actually, you could totally DIY these two with a soft tee, fabric paint, and stencils.

SIX | Oxford Blouse
Oxford Blouses
The Oxford blouse has been updated this spring; it's not just your classic button up anymore. Now they come in bright colors, cool prints, have ruffles, billowing sleeves, or an off-the-shoulder detail. Mix it up at the office with a shirt that's classic but modern. 

Which spring fashion trends do you like?

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Inspired By: Beauty and the Beast

Are you ready for Beauty and the Beast?! Because I am! I am SO READY! I can tell it's going to be amazing just based on the trailer. The costumes and set and inanimate characters have an incredible amount of detail. Just look at this picture of Cogsworth. And Emma Watson's voice is beautiful! I'm going to be that fool that smiles the whole time I'm watching it.
Who else is seeing it this weekend?

Beauty and the Beast -- Belle
Bookish and kind and clever Belle (Emma Watson) just wants to read her books and invent things (yep, in this movie she's the inventor!), but the townspeople think she's odd and Gaston is always trying to get her to marry him.
I took Belle's classic books and gave them a modern spin, so wear a open-shoulder blue dress, a drape-y blue cardigan, rose stud earrings, a rose-shaped purse, and taupe booties. Or for her most iconic look don a bright yellow dress, gold rose earrings, a sparkly headband, a Cogsworth bag, and metallic heels.

Beauty and the Beast -- Beast
Hidden away in the castle for a very long time, the Beast (Dan Stevens) is an angry young prince who needs to fall in love and have something fall in love with him in order to break the spell.
Wear these chic items while in your own castle or at work: wear a gray blazer, a floral print blouse, black jeans, a rose bracelet, and black heeled booties. Or throw on a blue blazer, a yellow peplum top, gray jeans, a white watch, a pretty mirror, and navy Oxford flats.

Beauty and the Beast -- Gaston
My what a guy, that Gaston! Arrogant and vain, Gaston (Luke Evans) is a former soldier turned hunter, who wants to marry Belle, and later when he learns of the Beast he wants to hunt him down and kill him.
Be sure to wear Gaston's favorite color: red, of course. Throw on a taupe blouse, a dark red vest, jeans, arrow earrings, and tall brown boots. Or wear a red blazer, a white top, khakis, rings, and red sneakers.

Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, Lumiere & Plumette
Beauty and the Beast -- Friends
The cursed inhabitants of the castle (Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Ewan McGregor, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw) are trapped by this spell just as much as the Beast (but complain a lot less!), so they also want the curse to be broken.
The range of metallic in the castle are gorgeous, so put on a striped tank top, a brocade skirt, a mirrored phone case, a gold rose ring, and gold flats. Or wear an off-the-shoulder black top, metallic brocade pants, rose necklace, and red pointed flats.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Outfit: Pale Pink & Nutella Crepes

I should get an award for eating a Nutella crepe with ice cream and not getting anything on this dress! I can barely get food from my fork to my mouth, so this was a feat of the highest caliber. It's the reason why I hardly ever wear the color white. Hello Murphy's Law!
I wanted a lightweight, everyday dress that could be worn to work and on the weekends and this dress fits the bill. I don't have that much pink in my closet, so I saw this pale pink color and chose it over the black version. Plus I love  the cold-shoulder detail! And with a cardigan it instantly works for the office.
Dress: Target | Cardigan: Old Navy | Leggings: Old Navy
Boots: Amazon | Bag: Target

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