February 16, 2018

Stacking the Shelves (55)

Weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews 

I only bought one book I hadn't read yet (it was part of my Book of the Month subscription) and the rest were books I loved. And then some very lovely publishers sent me ARCs that I can't wait to read (The Traitor's Kiss!!). All in all, another great month of books added to my shelves.

So, onto the books!

Thanks Harper, Simon & Schuster, Berkley + Macmillan! 
Your Destination Is on the Left by Lauren Spieller
Wild Blue Wonder by Carlie Sorosiak
These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch
Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno
The Looking Glass by Janet McNally
Little Big Love by Katy Regan
Let Me List the Ways by Sarah White
Becoming Madeleine by Charlotte Jones Voiklis, Léna Roy
A Kiss in the Dark by Gina Ciocca
The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
Love Scene, Take Two by Alex Evansley
Google It!: A History of Google by Anna Crowley Redding
The Traitor's Ruin (The Traitor's Circle #2) by Erin Beaty
Moonrise by Sarah Crossan
How to Breathe Underwater by Vicky Skinner
The Handsome Girl & Her Beautiful Boy by B.T. Gottfred
Holly Jolly Summer by Tiffany Stewart
Summer Skin by Kirsty Eagar
Finished copies
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

What new books have you guys gotten lately?

February 14, 2018

Mini-reviews: The Belles + Don't Forget Me

The Belles (The Belles #1) by Dhonielle Clayton
pub 2/16/18 by Disney-Hyperion
Young Adult - Fantasy
Gifted ARC from Alexa
The Belles originally wasn't on my radar until I went to an author event that included Dhonielle Clayton. If you've never heard her speak, remedy that as soon as you can! She's incredibly funny, eloquent and charming. I made up my mind right then and there that I would check out her novel and I'm glad I did. On the surface it's a fantasy book set in the world of Orléans where Beauty is coveted by everyone and the Belles are in control of giving that Beauty to others (basically they're magical plastic surgeons and estheticians). But at the core, it's a deep commentary on beauty and the extreme ways people will go to achieve it. Camellia Beauregard is a Belle and like her "sisters", she wants to selected as the favorite by the Queen so she can tend to the royal family and their court. But soon she learns that being the favorite and even being a Belle isn't what she thought it was. She begins to uncover dark secrets about her origins and soon the Queen asks her to use her abilities in unintended ways, leaving Camellia at a crossroads. Will she do her "duty" or defy tradition? Given how engaged I was in the story from page one, I definitely needed to know the answer to that question and I was not disappointed.

Do I recommend? Yes! Solid writing and characters. I'm curious to know where she'll take the series next.

pub 2/13/18 by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
Young Adult - Contemporary
Received ARC from pub
Don't Forget Me opens with Hazel Clarke moving to Australia to live with a father she's never met before as she leaves behind her mother and her home in England. To her, this move is temporary. She has no reason to start a new life in this new country with a dad who's a stranger, when all she can think about is her mom. It's heartbreaking to see this young girl's life in upheaval especially as little moments reveal why she had to leave. But then something unexpected starts to happen. She gets to know her father. She makes friends at school, which is so new to her. And most importantly of all, she meets twins, Red and Luca, both of whom find a place in her heart, albeit in different ways. Red is outgoing and kind and Hazel immediately clicks with him. With Luca, it's more of a slow-burning connection but equally as strong, especially as Hazel realizes that he's also dealing with loss. The relationship with her father, the way Hazel thought about her mother, these friendships and the eventual romance with one of the twins (can you guess who?) is what made this debut novel so touching and engrossing.

Do I recommend? I do! I will say there is something about the writing style (it's multiple points-of-view but always third person) that did make me feel like there was a wall between myself and the characters at times. Like instead of feeling immersed in them, it clearly felt like I was reading about them, if that makes sense. But that aside, it's a touching story with characters I very much enjoyed.

February 13, 2018

You're My Person | A Galentine's Day Gift Guide

For those of you who don’t know, Galentine’s Day originated from an episode of Parks and Recs and has since become a real thing celebrated on February 13. It’s a day about “ladies celebrating ladies” and I am all for that! I feel grateful every day for the wonderful women in my life that I can call my friends so when I realized February was soon approaching, I knew I wanted to do something fun on the blog to coincide with the holiday. And of course, I reached out to my usual blog-partners-in-crime and dear friends — Alexa, Kelly and Hannah — to do this post. We each picked fictional BFFs that we love and created gift guides for them!

It’s no secret that I continue to be a Grey’s Anatomy fan for life and the main reason for that is Meredith Grey and Cristina Yang. Even though Sandra Oh has since left, their friendship continues to resonate with me. I love their phrase “you’re my person”, their brutal honesty with each other, their dance-it-out moments and even their real and flawed fights. They support each other no matter and remind one another that their dreams matter.

So, without further ado, here’s my gift guide!

Meredith and Cristina love medicine, alcohol, dancing and each other, which made this list absurdly easy to put together.

In this scene, she's talking to a
hungover Cristina
who is lying in her bathtub.
1. Tequila • This was seriously the first thing I thought of! I can recount a ton of moments through the series between these two that involved tequila, ranting about the men in their lives and usually a bit of dancing too. So you can't have a gift guide for Mer & Cristina without alcohol.

2. House series DVD • They watch surgeries from the gallery and watched old Ellis Grey videos on their nights off. Which is why I can't imagine them watching non-medical TV shows. I thought of House because Hugh Laurie is awesome and they would totally appreciate his snarky attitude.

3. Wireless travel speaker • Because even when you're having a spontaneous dance-it-out moment at work, you should still be able to play your music loudly.

4. Tegan and Sara, So Jealous • Their final dance was to "Where Does the Good Go" so this needed to be here. I can't listen to this song without thinking of that scene!

These two, always.
5. Heart anatomy poster • Meredith was gifted a kidney in a jar by McDreamy and they drew a diagram of a surgery right on their bedroom wall (and kept it). Then Cristina is a cardiothoracic surgeon. So, it stands to reason that they'd be into this heart anatomy print.

6. Huge plush throw blanket • They often have sleepovers (and end up kicking out the men in the process) so this huge blanket is perfect and cozy for those moments.

7. "You're My Person" stemless wine glass • It feels a little meta to include these here but I can't help it! That phrase is so important to them and they need something to drink their tequila from anyways, right?

Meredith & Cristina forever! 

Who's your favorite pair or group of fictional BFFs?

Make sure to check out Alexa, Kelly and Hannah's posts too!