Atlantia

Posted on Sunday, January 25th 2015 in Review

AtlantiaTitle: Atlantia
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton
Date: October 28, 2014
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Description: "Can you hear Atlantia breathing?

For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths. "

Goodreads | Amazon.com | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

***

Atlantia was an ok read for me. I was expecting to be immersed in a world like the Atlantis from Greek Mythology, but Atlantia is just a clever name made up by a dystopian/post-apocalyptic society to pay homage to the ancient myth. And that’s really where everything went sideways for me in this novel – the dystopian aspect.

Dystopians are hard because they’re everywhere and I am so over it (I think a lot of us will agree on that). BUT if you can come up with a unique, captivating story set in a dystopian society, I’ll probably still devour it. Unfortunately this just wasn’t the case with Atlantia.

The story was alright, but not nearly as engaging as I wanted it to be. I was curious where the story would go since I was committed to it, but I wasn’t compelled to pick up the book and keep reading.

The characters and world building were the same – pretty vanilla. Rio, Bay, the supporting characters, and the mythology incorporated to the story did nothing for me. They didn’t detract from the novel, but they didn’t really add anything either.

All in all, Atlantia was a story that I didn’t mind reading, but there are so many other amazing books out there. I wanted to like it a lot more than I did, but at the end of the day it was just another boring, been-there-done-that dystopian.

3 Stars

Fairytale Fashions: Downton Abbey Clothing

Posted on Friday, January 23rd 2015 in Fairytale Fashions

You guys know that I love Downton Abbey! Forever21 has come out with a few new dresses and when I saw them, my first thought was Downton!

DowntonAbbey Collage

The high necks, lace, and boxy shapes are all reminiscent of the fashions we see in Downton with a much more modern spin. If you want more details on the dresses, just click the pictures!

Downton Abbey Inspired White DressDownton Abbey Inspired Short White Lace DressDownton Abbey Inspired Blouse Downton Abbey Inspired Dress with LaceDownton Abbey Lady Mary Necklace Inspired DressDownton Abbey 1920s Inspired Dress

I love all of these, but the short white dress and the black dress with the scalloped lace are my favorites. They might just make their way into my closet next week. Are any of these must haves for you?

Waiting on Wednesday

Posted on Wednesday, January 21st 2015 in Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

For more books I’m looking forward to, check out the Upcoming page.

 

Dystopian

 

The Heir by Kiera Cass (May 2015 – HarperTeen)

Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won Prince Maxon’s heart. Now the time has come for Princess Eadlyn to hold a Selection of her own. Eadlyn doesn’t expect her Selection to be anything like her parents’ fairy-tale love story. But as the competition begins, she may discover that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she always thought.” Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fairytales

 

Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell (August 2015 – Clarion Books)

Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn’t want a fairy tale happy ending after all. ” Goodreads

 

Fantasy

 

Illusionarium by Heather Dixon (May 2015 – Greenwillow)

From the author of Entwined, a brilliantly conceived adventure through an alternate London. This sweeping, cinematic tale of an apprentice scientist desperate to save his family—and his world—is The Night Circusmeets Pixar.

Through richly developed parallel worlds, vivid action, a healthy dose of humor, and gorgeous writing, Heather Dixon spins a story that is breathtaking and wholly original.” Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fairytale Fashions: Downton Abbey Decor and Jewels

Posted on Friday, January 16th 2015 in Fairytale Fashions

My favorite part of January is the return of Downton Abbey! My husband and I watch it every weekend with some wine and appetizers. It’s the perfect way to spend a Sunday. If you’re also a Downton fan, you might want to check out the newly launched Downton Abbey inspired items at Bed Bath & Beyond. They have so many things to choose from – jewelry, pillows, curtains, linens. All they’re missing is some tea! P.S. If you haven’t checked out the Downton Abbey Tea collection yet, I recommend it! Here are a few of my favorites from the Bed Bath & Beyond collection:

 

Downton Abbey BracletDownton Abbey Necklace Downton Abbey Runner Diwnton Abbey Lace Runner Downton Abbey Script Pillow
Downton Abbey Pillow

2015 YA Mythology Challenge

Posted on Thursday, January 15th 2015 in YA Mythology Challenge

If you’ve been following me for a while, I’m sure you remember the yearly YA Mythology Challenge. I’ve hosted it every year since I started this blog in 2011 (almost five years ago – wow!).  This year I am passing the challenge on to the fabulous Liliana at Lili Lost in a Book. Make sure you head over there to join in the fun!

I’ll be participating at the demigod level (1 – 5 books). Let me know how many mythology books you plan on reading in the comments!

Book Haul

Posted on Wednesday, January 14th 2015 in Books and Beauty

It’s been a while since my last haul! This one is all books, no beauty.

 

 

Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper: Goodreads
Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick: Goodreads
If I Stay by Gayle Forman: Goodreads
Defy by Sara B. Larson: Goodreads
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte: Goodreads
The Green Fairy Book by Andrew Lang (Folio Society Edition): Goodreads
*A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas: Goodreads
*Frostfire by Amanda Hocking: Goodreads
*A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas: Goodreads
*A Study in Scarlet by Sir Author Connan Doyle: Goodreads
*My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga: Goodreads
*Twisted Fate by Norah Olson: Goodreads
*Willowgrove by Kathleen Peacock: Goodreads

 

* Thank you to the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.

Fairytale Fashions: Enchanted Forest Candle Holders

Posted on Friday, January 9th 2015 in Fairytale Fashions

I was watching a few YouTube “What I Got for Christmas” videos and saw this amazing candle holder that reminded me of an enchanted forest. Now I couldn’t find the exact holder to share with you guys, but I did find some other amazing choices! Click on the pictures for more information about each one.

 

 

The third one is my favorite, but I don’t burn a lot of candle sticks, so the last one would work best for me. Do you have a favorite?

Ashes to Ashes

Posted on Saturday, January 3rd 2015 in Review

Ashes to AshesTitle: Ashes to Ashes
Author: Jenny Han, Siobhan Vivian
Series: Burn for Burn #3
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Date: September 16, 2014
Pages: 387
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Description: "New Year's Eve ended with a bang and Mary, Kat and Lillia may not be prepared for what is to come.
After Rennie's death, Kat and Lillia try to put the pieces together of what happened to her. They both blame themselves. If Lillia hadn't left with Reeve... If Kat had only stayed with Rennie... Things could have been different. Now they will never be the same.
Only Mary knows the truth about that night. About what she is. She also knows the truth about Lillia and Reeve falling in love, about Reeve being happy when all he deserves is misery, just like the misery he caused her. Now their childish attempts at revenge are a thing of the past and Mary is out for blood. Will she leave anything in her wake or will all that remain be ashes? "

Goodreads | Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble | iBooksBook Depository

***

Oh, Ashes to Ashes. How long I have waited to have you in my hands! Totally worth it though. This trilogy is simply put – amazing. Definitely a must read and one of my favorites of all time.

One of the biggest difference for me between Burn for Burn and Fire with Fire was the characters. I hated almost every. single. character. in Burn for Burn, as much as I loved the story. When Fire with Fire came around. All of that changed. Suddenly the only person I really didn’t like was Rennie, and towards the end Mary.

I still love the characters in Ashes for Ashes, but Reeve had this one misogynistic line that really stood out to me. I think the entire point was too make me think less of Reeve and that really bothered me. For more on that, check out my book talk, but in the interest of keeping this spoiler-free I’m not going into anymore detail on that.

Now speaking of characters I didn’t like, Mary takes things to a whole new level in Ashes to Ashes. Now that she realizes she’s actually dead, she’s out for blood – and it’s kind of terrifying. I’m still sympathetic to Mary for many reasons, but there is no question that she is the big bad villain in this one.

Mary’s character really made the drama in Ashes to Ashes magnificent. This was well beyond the revenge schemes in the prior novel because I was actually afraid for people’s lives. The plot was insanely suspenseful and I did not want to put this one down for a second. I did because I had to sleep, but I tossed and turned all night agonizing over how things would turn out – no joke.

And of course there is the Lilia and Reeve love story that developed in Fire with Fire. I love those two together, I really do. They’re one of my favorite couples of all time and I never would have seen that coming after finishing Burn for Burn. The only thing I’d like to change about this book is the epilogue. In fact, I may pretend that it never happened.

Ashes to Ashes has it all and is just a stunning conclusion to an amazing trilogy. Great plot, awesome characters, epic love story. This trilogy really took me by surprise with how awesome it is and I am so glad to have read it.

Already Read Ashes to Ashes? Check Out My Book Talk!

4.5 Stars

Princess of the Midnight Ball

Posted on Wednesday, December 24th 2014 in Review

Princess of the Midnight BallTitle: Princess of the Midnight Ball
Author: Jessica Day George
Series: Princess #1
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Date: January 20, 2009
Pages: 280
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Description: "A tale of twelve princesses doomed to dance until dawn…

Galen is a young soldier returning from war; Rose is one of twelve princesses condemned to dance each night for the King Under Stone. Together Galen and Rose will search for a way to break the curse that forces the princesses to dance at the midnight balls. All they need is one invisibility cloak, a black wool chain knit with enchanted silver needles, and that most critical ingredient of all—true love—to conquer their foes in the dark halls below. But malevolent forces are working against them above ground as well, and as cruel as the King Under Stone has seemed, his wrath is mere irritation compared to the evil that awaits Galen and Rose in the brighter world above.

Captivating from start to finish, Jessica Day George’s take on the Grimms’ tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses demonstrates yet again her mastery at spinning something entirely fresh out of a story you thought you knew. "

Goodreads | Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

***

Princess of the Midnight Ball was a much more engaging read than I expected. I flew through it and didn’t really want to put it down even though I have read other versions of The Twelve Dancing Princesses before.

What makes this novel stand out to me is not the plot. While Jessica Day George certainly adds her own mark to the story, it was still very much in line with other retellings I’ve read. Rather, it was her ability to tell a story and develop characters you really believe in.

The writing style was a definite plus for me and really kept me turning the pages, but the characters were equally important. Galen is a character I know will stick with me because of his bravery, kindness, and intellect. While these are qualities you would expect to find in many fairytale heroes, Galen was also very modest and humble which isn’t quite as prevalent in the traditional hero.

The princesses were also well written – brave, smart and determined for the most part. Since there are twelve them, a few of them are really just too little to play much of a role in the story. However, I really appreciated the fact that they weren’t entirely damsels in distress. They were certainly in over their heads and they did require saving, but they weren’t completely passive during the whole ordeal either.

I really enjoyed reading Princess of the Midnight Ball and am very much looking forward to reading more of Jessica Day George’s novels. This book entertained me at a point where I was finding it very difficult to find a story that really held my interest from beginning to end. If your looking for a quick, fun, and endearing story with some magic in it, Princess of the Midnight Ball is an excellent choice.

4 Stars

Books and Beauty Haul

Posted on Thursday, December 18th 2014 in Books and Beauty

Books

Diamonds in the Rough by Michelle Madow: Goodreads | Review
Waterfall by Lauren Kate: Goodreads
*Suspicion by Alexandra Monir: Goodreads
*Ignite by Sara B. Larson: Goodreads
*Twisted Fate by Norah Olson: Goodreads
*A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd: Goodreads
*Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff: Goodreads
*Geek Girl: Model Misfit by Holly Smale: Goodreads
*Letting Go by Molly McAdams: Goodreads
*Wild by Sophie Jordan: Goodreads

Beauty

Naked Basics: Sephora
It Cosmetics brushes: Ulta
Tarte Energy Cheek Stain: Sephora
YSL point perk: no longer available
Glam Glow gift set: Sephora
Kate Somerville Nourish Daily Moisturizer: Sephora
Bite Beauty lipstick in Suede: Sephora
Sephora Smoky Eye Brush Set: Sephora
Marc Jacobs The Sky-Liner Seven Piece Highliner Collection: Sephora

Thank you to the publishers who have sent me review copies for consideration. *All gifted items are marked with an asterix. Everything else in this video was purchased by me.