September 13, 2019

Links + Loves

Here are some non-bookish articles I really liked this past month and my latest loves.

Links
1 / When I think about travel, I immediately think of Europe. If you've never been, World of Wanderlust recently posted a great list about "Where to Go for your First Time in Europe."

2 / Since I haven't done a Links + Loves post since July (!), this is old news but whatever, I'm sharing anyway. Natalie Portman is coming back to the Thor movies in a surprising way. (I'm 100% here for this.)

3 / This kitten AirBnB (yes you read that right) is the cutest thing ever and is it crazy that I want to check it out?

4 / I find Elsie Larson from A Beautiful Mess to be inspiring in so many ways – whether it's creatively or what she shares about her personal life. Back in July, she wrote this post about her health/lifestyle journey that really got me thinking. It's the approach I took a year ago but I've fallen off the bandwagon a bit and I need to change that.

5 / I'm a designer without a design degree. Ultimately I know my experience and work ethic speaks for itself but it's gratifying to see an article like "Hiring Designers: Why Facebook, Medium, and UENO don’t ask for your design degree" on Medium.

6 / With a post title like "Is it time to Marie Kondo your friendships? (& how to know who sparks joy)" how could I not click on it? But in all seriousness, I agreed very much with her sentiment!

7 / Jeans for my petite frame has always been a struggle and at 4"11 and a half, I'm pretty much resigned to the fact that I'll almost always need to get mine hemmed. That said, Extra Petite posted a great in-depth review of Express jeans (now I want another pair!).


Loves


1 / I loved the pointed flats from Rothy's and after owning the black pair for nearly a year now, I decided to cave in and buy the marigold colored ones.

2 / I first heard about Miranda Frye from one of my favorite bloggers, Fashion Jackson, and now I'm obsessed. Their London bracelet has become a staple in my jewelry collection. It's out of stock but put yourself on the mailing list!

3 / This past weekend I finished my living room redesign project (finally!) and one of the new pieces of furniture I bought was this glass-door cabinet from IKEA. It looked great online but I love it even more in person. And if you have a IKEA family card, you get a $70 discount on this item.

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Do you have any links or loves to share?
Would love to hear about them!

September 11, 2019

Friends With ARCs | There Will Come a Darkness + The Lady Rogue

pub 9/3/19 by Henry Holt Books
Young Adult - Fantasy
Received ARC from pub for review
Lately I've been approaching young adult fantasy with a lot of wariness, only because I feel as though I'm seeing the same stories over and over again. Which is why There Will Come a Darkness was such a pleasant surprise! On top of that, it featured five perspectives which is always such a hit-or-miss with me but in this case, it was absolutely a win. Basically, you are looking at one impressed and happy reader of this debut novel. In this world people lived their lives guided by the future visions of the Seven Prophets. A hundred years ago they disappeared leaving behind one final prophecy that's been heavily guarded because it foretells not only an impending apocalypse but the birth of a new Prophet who could determine how the fate of the world will swing. It sounds like a lot to digest but the way the characters were introduced and how each fit into the prophecy unfolded in a manner that was well-paced, well-developed and above all, super fascinating. I was intrigued by each individual and the morally gray space they abided by. It's always more interesting when there isn't a clear delineation between good versus evil and you can still feel sympathetic towards a person who is probably making a huge mistake (or many of them). The author definitely hooked me and I'm looking forward to seeing where book 2 takes us!

Favorite ensemble cast | This is such a tough one! On TV, I've watched all 15 seasons of Grey's Anatomy and with every cast change (or next crazy catastrophe), I wonder if this'll be the one to make me quit the show and it hasn't happened yet. So I think this is my answer. (My other answer would be Avengers).


pub 9/3/19 by Simon Pulse
Young Adult - Fantasy
Received ARC from pub for review
I've read all of Jenn Bennett's contemporary novels and to say I was curious about this venture into fantasy would be an understatement! While it didn't end up being a new favorite, I still found it to be a lot of fun! It's a bit of fantasy, mystery and historical fiction tossed in with some teenage angst and romance. So if you like any or all of these things, I can guarantee you'll be entertained by the adventure the heroine, Theodora, finds herself in. Theodora's father is a famous treasure hunter and while she'd love nothing more than to assist him (she's read every relevant book and is whip-smart), she's often stuck alone in a hotel room "staying safe." But then Huck, her father's protégé and her complicated ex, shows up to say her father is in trouble and he needs her help. Together they follow clues in her father's travel journal and they find out he'd been looking for a magical artifact related to Vlad the Impaler, better known as Dracula. I really enjoyed how the author took the story of Vlad and how she incorporated into the mystery and magical aspect of this book. Plus it's hard not to enjoy a book with Theodora as a protagonist. I liked her take-charge attitude and her banter with Huck. All in all, Bennett managed to surprise me and it was fun to watch all the pieces of the plot come together in the end.

Favorite mystery story | Another toughie! On TV, I'd say Broadchurch was an extremely well-done mystery that captured my attention from episode 1 and I can't recommend it enough. In books, a recent YA fave is The Fixer series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.


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Collaborative feature with Alexa. We read ARCs together and post our reviews on the same date.


September 4, 2019

Friends With ARCs | She's the Worst + The Girl the Sea Gave Back

pub 9/3/19 by Simon & Schuster
Young Adult - Contemporary
Received e-ARC from pub for review
She’s the Worst is a messy, complex story about sisters, April and Jenn, who haven’t been in close in years. But when April notices that Jenn seems sad about staying home for college, she plans a day filled with visiting places that are significant to them both. The book alternates between the sisters and the entire outing soon dissolves into a comedy of errors, except probably less funny to the girls. It’s clear their memories of the past and what each consider “significant” differ and I thought it was a great way to highlight their different personalities and the whole little/older sister dynamic. Ultimately though, I didn’t connect to either girl or the choices they were making. Both came across as extremely selfish and while I get that miscommunication was meant to be the main conflict, everything got wrapped up too neatly at the 11th hour when I felt there was so much more to explore about their family lives (their parents are a doozy) and the relationship between the two sisters. I would've liked to see more time spent allowing April and Jenn to get to know one another and bond in the present. Because we saw very little of this until the end, the book didn't resonate with me in any way.

What are three places in NYC you consider significant to us? | Alexa and I have been friends for 6 (!) years so we’ve had a lot of adventures and local outings in the city. Which means.. this is hard! But I’d probably say: Books of Wonder (where we met), Lincoln Center (ballet!) and Kaylee’s Creamery (I knew I wanted to pick an ice cream spot but it was hard to choose one!).

pub 9/3/19 by Wednesday Books
Young Adult - Fantasy
Received ARC from pub for review
Sky in the Deep was the young adult Viking book I didn't know I needed and I was excited to see what its companion novel, The Girl the Sea Gave Back, would add to the world Adrienne Young created. And basically the plot is nearly the same. Warring clans, girl and boy on opposite sides are drawn to one another and how much blood will be shed before they can find peace. (Sound familiar, right?) The difference in the two novels ultimately came down to the two protagonists, Tova and Halvard (our boy is all grown up!), who are nothing like their predecessors. Tova washed up on the shores of the Svell clan as a child and the only reason why they "keep" her is because she's a Truthtongue. She can cast stones to see the future. But despite her hard upbringing, she's compassionate, fierce, and searching for who she is. On the other hand, there's Halvard, who got to grow up during a time of peace and in a home filled with love. I loved his character as a child in the first book so I enjoyed seeing him come into his own. Plus with Halvard comes a few more familiar faces (Eelyn + Fiske!). Ultimately though, I felt the first book was the stronger and better of the two. The writing here was still fantastic and I didn't even mind the plot being similar but the ending was abrupt and too open. Not enough time was spent on Tova and Halvard together for me to truly buy into their connection. Without that, I just couldn't fall in love with this story the way I had with Eelyn and Fisk's in Sky in the Deep.


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Collaborative feature with Alexa. We read ARCs together and post our reviews on the same date.


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