Fairytale Fashions: A Positively Beautiful Bracelet

Posted on Friday, October 24th 2014 in Fairytale Fashions

Today’s Fairytale Fashions is a bit more serious than usual. Wait – we’re getting serious over a bracelet? Yes, yes we are. I was scrolling through my blog feed this week and this gold cuff jumped out at me. It’s a pretty bracelet, but the message on it really speaks to me:

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 8.20.03 AM

Most of you know by now that I have a YouTube channel in addition to a blog, and I spend a ton of time watching videos there. A few months ago, this Like a Girl commercial came out and I immediately related to it (I am a girl after all). In case you missed it, here it is:

Now, this is not something I’ve ever spoken about on this blog, but I do consider myself a feminist. When I was in high school, I whole-heartedly rejected the idea of feminism because I believed that gender equality was achieved and there was nothing for us to complain about. Now that I am older, I see how wrong that is (both the idea that we’re equal and that I thought of feminism as a bad thing).

When I hear someone talking about how a woman only got promoted because she’s a girl, I see red. I’ve heard that line many times from various people, so I’m not referring to a problem at a particular organization or a particular person here. If a man jumps a ring on a corporate ladder, he’s a rock star. If a woman does the same thing, it only happened because she’s a girl.

Then we have the crap that women get over management styles. If a woman is tough or challenging, she’s often described as a bitch. If a man does the same thing…well, he’s a man. Sad, but unfortunately that is how many people think.

And of course there is discrimination against pregnant women. A friend told me a story about how a pregnant woman had been hired at the company she works for (they found out she was pregnant right after she accepted the position). She was a great fit for the job, very excited about joining the team, but in less than a year she’d have to take some time off to physically recuperate from childbirth.  “No problem” said the people at my friend’s company – and they meant it. But when one of the executives found out that a pregnant person was hired to fill the position, he was livid and asked his team to find a way to undo it. They stood by their decision because she was a great candidate and threatened to resign if the exec proceeded with attempts to discriminate against pregnant women. I’m glad there are people who will stand up against discrimination, but things like this should not happen in the first place. I shouldn’t be terrified of what a child would mean for my career. But I am.

 

So, how does this tie into YA literature? One of my favorite things about YA is the plethora of strong female leads we have. Celaena Sardothian from Throne of Glass, Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games, Alanna of Trebond from Song of the Lioness, Rachel Adams from Defiance, and I could go on and on. We get so many badass characters who may still care about clothes, but are also tough. They can defend themselves and they won’t apologize for it. They will accomplish their goals, even if it defies every rule society has, and I think that is such an important message to have out there.

 

Before I say farewell, I came across this ABC video discussing the Like a Girl ad. The beginning and middle of the video has some additional commentary that I thought was great as well.

Waiting on Wednesday

Posted on Wednesday, October 22nd 2014 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.

 

Fantasy

Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier (January 2015 – Henry Holt)

“Mysterious doors with lizard-head knobs. Talking stone statues. A crazy girl with a hatchet. Yes, Liv’s dreams have been pretty weird lately. Especially the one where she’s in a graveyard at night, watching four boys conduct dark magic rituals.

The strangest part is that Liv recognizes the boys in her dream. They’re classmates from her new school in London, the school where she’s starting over because her mom has moved them to a new country (again). But what’s really scaring Liv is that the dream boys seem to know things about her in real life, things they couldn’t possibly know—unless they actually are in her dreams?  Luckily, Liv never could resist a good mystery, and all four of those boys are pretty cute….” Goodreads.

 

 

 

New Adult

Fall With Me by Jennifer L. Armentrout (March 2015 – William Morrow)

“Eleven months ago, bartender and weird-shirt-wearing extraordinaire Roxy and Officer Reece Anders had a one night stand. Well, kind of. She’s been in love with him since she was fifteen, and he wishes that night they shared never happened. She’s sworn him off forever, but the past and future collide, forcing her to rely on the one man who broke her heart not once, but twice.

Her best friend since birth has been in a long-term care facility since he became a victim of a hate crime years ago, and the person who put him in there is out of prison and wanting to make amends with him and Roxy. She’s not sure she has room for forgiveness in her and when she begins to receive frightening messages and is on the receiving end of escalating violence, she thinks she knows who is to blame. The man who already destroyed one life already.

But Reece isn’t convinced. The threats are too personal, and even if Roxy doesn’t believe him, he’s not willing to let anyone hurt her. Including himself. He’s already messed up more than once when it comes to Roxy and he’s not going to let history repeat itself.” Goodreads.

Heir of Fire

Posted on Monday, October 20th 2014 in Review

Heir of FireTitle: Heir of Fire
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #3
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Date: September 2, 2014
Pages: 565
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Description: "Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love? "

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

***

This series, you guys! I’m sure a lot of you have already started and adore the Throne of Glass series since it’s extremely hyped up (and rightly so). Like Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire started out slowly for me.

Even though I’m already attached to the characters, we meet so many new people along the way that it takes awhile to start caring about them. As much as I like character-driven novels, they tend to be much more enjoyable once you know the majority of the players.

While the beginning is character-driven, about half way through we start to get more plot-driven. At that point, we’re pretty invested in the cast and we’re getting a ton of action so it’s a great combination! I’m not going to discuss the plot in detail here because I like to keep my reviews spoiler free, but if you’ve already read this one check out my book talk below for an in depth discussion on the plot twists and character romances.

All in all, Heir of Fire is a wonderful addition to the Throne of Glass series. My only complaint here is that the first half of the novel was very slow. Since I flew through the second half though, it balances out. Throne of Glass is probably my favorite book so far, but when I look at how much the story the has evolved it almost seems like a different story entirely! It’s not of course, but we just have so much more information about the world that we weren’t privy too originally. Definitely looking forward to the rest of Celaena’s journey, although I have no idea where we’ll end up!

4 Stars

Fairytale Fashions: A Cinderella Bath

Posted on Friday, October 17th 2014 in Fairytale Fashions

Cinderella is my favorite Disney movie. She’s actually not my favorite princess, but growing up it was definitely my favorite film. I still love when something beautiful reminds me of the classic fairytale, so you can imagine how excited I was when I walked into LUSH and saw this: 

LUSH Sparkly Pumpkin 1

Lush Sparkly Pumpkin 2

 

I am so freaking excited to use this in my bath! It’s the sparkly pumpkin bubble bar, so it should create a ton of bubbles when crumbled under running water and turn it orange. Now, I kind of wish it actually smelt like pumpkin because it’s one of my favorite scents of all time. The website describes it as having scents of “juniperberry, grapefruit and lime.” Not my favorite scent for fall by any means, but I can imagine Cinderella smelling a bit like juniperberry, so it’s not a total fail either.

Now, this is limited edition, so I’d run out to LUSH (or order online asap) if you want to get your hands on this little guy. They also have a few other cool looking things for Halloween – I pretty much picked up one of each on my last shopping trip and I really can’t wait to try them out!

Have you ever had a LUSH bath? They’re one of my favorite things in the cold weather months. Let me know if you’ll be trying this one out!

The Girl Who Never Was

Posted on Thursday, October 16th 2014 in Review

The Girl Who Never WasTitle: The Girl Who Never Was
Author: Skylar Dorset
Series: Otherworld #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Date: June 1, 2014
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: For Review
Description: "THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS is the story of Selkie Stewart, who thinks she’s a totally normal teenager growing up in Boston. Sure, her father is in an insane asylum, her mother left her on his doorstep—literally—when she was a baby, and she’s being raised by two ancient aunts who spend their time hunting gnomes in their Beacon Hill townhouse. But other than that her life is totally normal! She’s got an adventurous best friend who’s always got her back and an unrequited crush on an older boy named Ben. Just like any other teenager, right?

When Selkie goes in search of the mother she’s never known, she gets more than she bargained for. It turns out that her mother is faerie royalty, which would make Selkie a faerie princess—except for the part where her father is an ogre, which makes her only half of anything. Even more confusing, there’s a prophecy that Selkie is going to destroy the tyrannical Seelie Court, which is why her mother actually wants to kill her. Selkie has been kept hidden all her life by her adoring aunts, with the help of a Salem wizard named Will. And Ben. Because the boy she thinks she’s in love with turns out to be a faerie whose enchantment has kept her alive, but also kept her in the dark about her own life.

Now, with enchantments dissolved and prophecies swinging into action, Selkie finds herself on a series of mad quests to save the people she’s always loved and a life she’s learning to love. But in a supernatural world of increasingly complex alliances and distressingly complicated deceptions, it’s so hard to know who to trust. Does her mother really wish to kill her? Would Will sacrifice her for the sake of the prophecy? And does Ben really love her or is it all an elaborate ruse? In order to survive, Selkie realizes that the key is learning—and accepting—who she really is. "

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

***

The Girl Who Never Was is kind of a mixed bag for me. I was expecting it to be on the same level as Julie Kagawa. While it wasn’t quite that good, it was still a very enjoyable story.

My issues started with the characters. Selkie just bothered me in the beginning and her feelings for Ben seamed to be founded on basically nothing. Yet, she was head over heals for him. It wasn’t really insta-love because the two had started their “relationship” before the story begins, but it didn’t seem well-developed either.

Fortunately as the story goes on, Selkie and Ben start to get to know each other a lot better. We’re treated to a bit of adventure and it’s easy to believe that they’re bonding over their shared experiences. The action-packed parts of the story were by far my favorite part of the book. It was great to learn about the Faerie lore and meet a few of the magical cast of characters.

I’m really looking forward to the next book for a few reasons. First of all, I’m just curious to see where it goes. There is a cliff-hanger of sorts and I really want to see how everything pans out. I’m also expecting the second book to just be better overall. The issues I had with The Girl Who Never Was all occurred during the beginning of the story, and I know I won’t have to relive them in book 2.

While The Girl Who Never Was wasn’t the most amazing faerie story I’ve ever read, I really enjoyed it . The plot is good, there’s plenty of action, and I’ve come to like several of the characters.

4 Stars

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

Posted on Tuesday, October 14th 2014 in Giveaway

Every year, I AM A READER NOT A WRITER hosts the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop. I am participating again this year and one lucky winner gets to pick one book of their choice from some of my favorite Halloween reads listed below. After you enter the giveaway, don’t forget to check out the other blogs participating. There are over 300 this year, so there are a lot of opportunities to win!

CONTEST RULES:

  • Open Internationally (as long as The Book Depository ships to you)
  • If an item is no longer available via The Book Depository, another title from the list must be chosen.
  • Must be 13+ to enter
  • Everyone may enter, even if you are not a follower
  • Winner will be notified via email
  • A new winner will be chosen if a response is not received within 48 hours
  • Contest ends October 31, 2014

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fairytale Fashions: Enchanted Forest Jewelry Holders

Posted on Friday, October 10th 2014 in Fairytale Fashions

A few weeks ago I saw these gorgeous silver jewelry holders in Target and they instantly made me think of an Enchanted Forest.


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I absolutely love how these look like branches. It is absolutely stunning! I typically don’t go for jewelry holders like this, but these were too gorgeous to pass up. The tree branch (top) is perfect for dainty necklaces and I plan on using the longer one (bottom) for statement pieces and maybe a few bracelets.

Would you use jewelry holders like this?

Isla and the Happily Ever After

Posted on Tuesday, October 7th 2014 in Review

Isla and the Happily Ever AfterTitle: Isla and the Happily Ever After
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #3
Publisher: Dutton
Date: August 14, 2014
Pages: 339
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Description: "Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series. "

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

***

There has been so much anticipation and hype around Isla and the Happily Ever After.While I read it very quickly and enjoyed Stephanie Perkins ability to tell a good story, I just didn’t love this one as much as everyone else did.

Before you get confused by my 4-star rating, I’ll start off with what I liked about it: the writing was well done, the pacing was good, the characters felt very natural, and it was very romantic at times (in a genuine, loving way — not a sexual way). I read most of this book in about a day, and didn’t feel like it was dragging at any point in the story.

Moving on to the factors that deducted from the star rating. I just did not like Isla and Josh together. I felt that their relationship was not a healthy one and that they really didn’t bring out the best in each other. I also disliked the Lola, Cricket, Anna, and St. Claire Cameos. For more details on exactly why these didn’t work for me, check out my spoiler-filled book talk (or watch it below) .

I can’t deny the appeal of Stephanie Perkins books. She sweeps you up in these whirlwind romance, and by and large, you genuinely believe in the couple’s love. However, there is always something that really detracts from the story for me. In this one, I just didn’t think the characters were a good match for each other. Still a great, fun, fast read, but I don’t think it’s quite as good as it’s often made out to be.

Already read Isla and want to talk about it? Check out my spoiler-filled book talk below!

4 Stars

Fairytale Fashions: Princess Lashes

Posted on Friday, October 3rd 2014 in Fairytale Fashions

False lashes are one of those things that I love, but hardly ever take the time to apply. They make such a difference and I highly recommend falsies if you’ve never tried them before. I tend to reserve mine for special occasions since they require a few more minutes than I like to spend on an everyday makeup routine.

Ardell is a brand that I’ve tried before and have been pleased with, so imagine my excitement when they decided to a Disney tie-in! Although there have been so many Disney beauty tie-ins lately that I’m afraid I might get tired of them soon. We need to space these out a bit more! If you’re interested in any of these lashes, they are available on Drugstore.com or at Walgreens (For Ariel, click here. For Snow, click here).

Ariel and Snow White Ardell Lashes

 

Snow White

Snow White Ardell Lashes packaging

Snow White Ardell Lashes

Snow White Ardell Lashes 2

 

Ariel

Ariel Ardell Lashes

Ariel Ardell Lashes 2

Ariel Ardell Lashes 3

 

While I haven’t worn any of these lashes yet, I have to say that I think I’ll prefer the Ariel ones. The purple Snow lashes intrigue me, but I’m also somewhat afraid of them. I tend to go for more natural looks and purple lashes don’t fall into that category, but it might be fun to experiment!

I’m giving away a few Snow White E.L.F. products from last week’s fairytale fashions. If you haven’t entered yet, there’s still some time left!

The Fine Art of Pretending

Posted on Tuesday, September 30th 2014 in Review

The Fine Art of PretendingTitle: The Fine Art of Pretending
Author: Rachel Harris
Series: The Fine Art of Pretending #1
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Date: September 30, 2014
Pages: 256
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Description: "According to the guys at Fairfield Academy, there are two types of girls: the kind you hook up with, and the kind you're friends with. Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Reed is the second type. And she hates it. With just one year left to change her rank, she devises a plan to become the first type by homecoming, and she sets her sights on the perfect date—Justin Carter, Fairfield Academy’s biggest hottie and most notorious player.

With 57 days until the dance, Aly launches Operation Sex Appeal and sheds her tomboy image. The only thing left is for Justin actually to notice her. Enter best friend Brandon Taylor, the school’s second biggest hottie, and now Aly’s pretend boyfriend. With his help, elevating from “funny friend” to “tempting vixen” is only a matter of time.

But when everything goes according to plan, the inevitable “break up” leaves their friendship in shambles, and Aly and Brandon with feelings they can’t explain. And the fake couple discovers pretending can sometimes cost you the one thing you never expected to want. "

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

***

If you’ve read the synopsis for this book, you may be thinking “been there, done that” and while that is true, it was still quite an enjoyable read. Even though we’re dealing with several common plot points (best friend romance, commitment issues, daddy problems, “She’s All That” makeover, fake-dating turned not-so-fake-relationship), the characters were likable and the writing style was fast paced and engaging.

Even though a few of the characters were a bit cliche (I’m looking at you Lauren), our main characters Aly and Brandon had that sweet, innocent-feeling chemistry that made it fun to watch them really fall for each other. The whole world knows these two have feelings for each other, but since Brandon’s been more than a little slow on the uptake, seeing those feelings develop in an organic manner was awesome. Harris did a great job of making everything feel very genuine.

While this isn’t a perfect novel, it’s one of those fun, fast contemporaries that is just perfect for summer. When I’m reading by the pool, I tend to gravitate towards books that I can fly through without having to pay too much attention to world building, etc. and that is exactly what I got with The Fine Art of Pretending.

My only real complaint was the overly cheesy ending that left me rolling my eyes. We see these all the time with romantic comedy movies and I typically gag out loud because it’s just so…disgustingly romantic in a completely unrealistic way. My husband loves that :) It typically causes an eye roll of his own since I can’t just “watch the show” without adding my own color commentary.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a fun beach read this summer, The Fine Art of Pretending is the perfect kind of book to add to your list!

4 Stars