I changed my mind about participating in BookTube-A-Thon because my Pokemon Go addiction is real and I want to give myself the motivation to put down my phone for a week (at least) and refocus on reading. Good luck to everyone else participating as well!
Now that we’re already halfway through the month it seems like a good time to finally post my July TBR. These are all the books I’m planning on reading it July (although I am completely failing at reading because Pokemon Go has been my life this month). I’m giving myself today as my last day to be super obsessed and then I’m going to get back to some serious binge reading next week, just in time for the BookTube-A-Thon which I am sort of casually participating in. I’m not committing to five books for the week though because next Saturday is my birthday!
As far as life updates go, I’m still pretty obsessed with Pokemon GO so there’s not a ton of new things to report. Right now I’m level 17, going on 18 and in the last 7 days Pokemon GO is responsible for wasting 79% of my battery life so that’s embarrassing. I will say that I just love the sense of community that’s formed when I pass other people playing and we just give each other knowing nods whereas previously in NYC I wouldn’t ever think of engaging with a stranger under any circumstance. I even made friends with a man in a suit and we sat together during my lunch break attempting to catch Pokemon at our nearest PokeStop. Andrew and I have also been re-watching Sailor Moon<3 and we just finished the first part of the first season last night. So far my favorite episode is the one where they have to battle an enemy who targets an anime artist working on the Sailor V anime. I’m also just about finished reading the second volume of the Princess Jellyfish 2-in-1 omnibus manga. So I’ve just felt like an Otaku for the past week. Other exciting news is that we finally got a shower curtain and it’s the best shower curtain because it features the Death Star!
I’ve known for a while that I wanted to style a Book Look OOTD for Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan because it’s one of my favorite books of the year so far. It’s inspired by Rapunzel (one of my favorite fairytales!) and the end left me CRAVING the next book. You can read my full review here. I can’t believe how lucky I was to find a shirt that matched the Reign of Shadows book cover so well! The funny thing is, I didn’t even realize until I was already wearing it. A lot of times while I’m shopping I’ll buy a shirt or dress with a certain book cover in mind but this one was, as Dumbledore would say, a happy mistake. I’m also wearing the shoes that I wore at my wedding. I bought a pair of fancy sparkly Bagdley Mischka d’Orsay heels for the photos I took at my house before the ceremony but as soon as I left I switched into my new and blue bottomed Tieks. I’m seriously obsessed with Tieks. I have about six(?) pairs now and I have a wish list of more colors. They’re just so comfy and I need that in a shoe when I’m walking 3+ miles per day in NYC.
Shoes (Tieks) | Necklace (House of Harlow – N/A) | Bracelet (House of Harlow – N/A)
Today I’m sharing a general news video about things I’m excited for and I’m also teaming up with Disney books to give away a copy of Serafina and the Black Cloak and Serafina and the Twisted Staff to one lucky reader! Some of the things I touch upon are the Mistborn board game Kickstarter, Neil Gaiman’s new book, the upcoming Beauty and the Beast film, Pokemon GO and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them!
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly series hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly awaiting. This week I’m choosing Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige. Stealing Snow is a retelling of the Snow Queen!! The story takes place in modern day New York where Snow has spent most of her life in a mental hospital. She dreams about a strange tree and breaks free into the nearby forest and starts to discover who she really is. The final line of the synopsis is what really gets me: “the story of how Snow becomes a villain, a Queen and ultimately a hero.”
Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent the majority of her life within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she’s not crazy and doesn’t belong there. When she meets a mysterious, handsome new orderly and dreams about a strange twisted tree she realizes she must escape and figure out who she really is.
Using her trusting friend Bale as a distraction, Snow breaks free and races into the nearby woods. Suddenly, everything isn’t what it seems, the line between reality and fantasy begins to blur, and she finds herself in icy Algid–her true home–with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai, none of whom she’s sure she can trust. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change the fate of everything…including Snow’s return to the world she once knew.
This breathtaking first volume begins the story of how Snow becomes a villain, a queen, and ultimately a hero. (via Goodreads)
Earlier this year, Alexa of Alexa Loves Books, Cee of The Novel Hermit, Cristina of Girl in the Pages, Sierra of SDavReads & I all discovered that we shared a mutual love and appreciation for Sailor Moon! After exchanging plenty of flailing tweets and constantly bringing up our love for this magical girl story, we felt it was only right to celebrate it – and that’s what happening this July. Every week will feature a brand new blog post per day from each of us, and we’re so excited to be sharing the Sailor Moon love with all our readers!
This week we’re each discussing our favorites within the Sailor Moon fandom world! Don’t forget to check out our Sailor Moon Book Tag and enter our giveaway!
Favorite Scout: Sailor Venus
Last week I talked extensively about why Sailor Venus is my favorite Scout and I recommended a bunch of books that I think would appeal to her if she had time to read when she isn’t saving the world.
Favorite Version: Japanese original with subtitles
I only wish I could speak and understand Japanese so I could experience the show as it was originally created. I’m currently re-watching the series with my husband and we’re watching the dubbed version and while I still enjoy it, there are some differences that I like better in the Japanese version. I always find it interesting to see which versions of anime other people prefer because there’s really no right or wrong answer to this question despite many people having strong opinions about it.
Favorite Overall Plot: Season 1
Favorite Episode: I Want a Boyfriend: The Cruise Ship is a Trap
I haven’t watched the series in years but this episode is one that Andrew and I watched last weekend and I loved everything about it. The title of the episode is hilarious and I love the competitive vibes between Usagi and Rei. I’ve always liked Rei a lot because I feel like she challenges Usagi and despite her tough demeanor, she cares a lot about the people in her life. Plus I love that Usagi transforms herself into a reporter to get about the couples cruise ship and there’s a wonderful message the episode sends at its conclusion.
Favorite Villain & Least Favorite Sailor Scout: Black Lady / Chibiusa
Black Lady is an evil adult version of Chibiusa and while she isn’t my favorite villain in the overall series, she is the villain who’s character design I enjoy the most. Black Lady has Chibiusa’s pink hair worn in Sailor Moon’s signature style, and she wears a long black dress with slits. She has gorgeous jewelry and she’s basically a style icon for any pastel goth. I think Chibiusa is a better villain than guardian (she always got on my nerves so I was surprised to learn that she’s Japan’s favorite character!)
Favorite Non-Scout Character: Artemis
I love Artemis! He’s so funny and his relationship with Sailor Venus always amuses me. He pushes her to be better and to follow her dreams but he also makes fun of her at times and he himself is pretty lazy.
Favorite Scout Accessory: Transformation Brooch
This is a near impossible question because part of the reason I love Sailor Moon so much is because of the extensive collection of accessories she uses to aid herself in punishing people in the name of the moon. If I had had had to choose I would go with the Transformation Brooch because it’s the first item that Luna gives her, allowing her to transform into a Guardian. She even wears it as part of her civilian uniform.
Least Favorite Relationship: Sailor Moon / Tuxedo Mask
Many people may disagree with me on this point but I think Tuxedo Mask is kind of the worst. He always shows up when Sailor Moon is fighting, does absolutely nothing, and then leaves her to finish the battle. Some people may argue that he’s showing her emotional support but I just disagree. He antagonizes her in their civilian forms, his disguise is a joke and also he’s like, creepily older than her. He’s not a terrible character, I just don’t like them together. I definitely appreciate the friendship aspect of the fandom much more.
**Warning! If you haven’t read The Girl at Midnight which is the first book in the trilogy by Melissa Grey, there will be spoilers ahead. You can read my review of the first book instead if you haven’t started the series yet!**
*This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is no way swayed my opinions.*
The Shadow Hour by Melissa Grey is the second book in The Girl at Midnight series which picks up right where book one ends. The Girl at Midnight was one of my favorite reads of 2015 so I was HIGHLY anticipating The Shadow Hour and I’m so happy to report that it completely blew my expectations out of the water! At the end of The Girl at Midnight, Echo was just beginning to learn more about herself as the Firebird and in The Shadow Hour we see her explore her past, adjust to her present and attempt to work out how she’ll save the world by ending the age old war between the Avicen and the Drakharin.
In my review of The Girl at Midnight, I already touched upon the fascinating world that Grey built and in The Shadow Hourthe reader gets to explore it further as it continues to develop. I love that this series allows you to travel the world but it’s roots are planted in New York City. Each time I read about this familiar world with Grey’s infusion of magic existing beyond what I can see, I feel an even stronger connection the landmarks I pass daily and would otherwise have taken for granted. One of the most intriguing and well done elements of magic that was added to The Shadow Hour is the introduction of the kucedra which comes to be as result of light (aka the Firebired) attracting a powerful and opposing dark force because one cannot have been brought into the world without the other. The concept reminds me of season 2 of Legend of Korra (although, I am much more interested in seeing how everything plays out in this particular story line).
While the world is more than enough to hook me, it’s the lovable band of misfits and should-be-enemies working together for the greater good that really tug at my heartstrings. Seriously, their squad is goals. In each decision made, you can feel how strong the connections are between characters and just how irrational they can all be while trying to protect one another. There’s a new character who is introduced in The Shadow Hour that I totally fell head over heels for but I don’t want to spoil his or her role for anyone so I’ll just leave that at that. And ah the swoony romance between Jasper and Dorian continues and it is everything despite one frustratingly persistent obstacle. Another exemplary character worth noting is the new Dragon Prince, Caius’s backstabbing sister, Tanith. Tanith is one of the best villains in YA and I love that Grey is able to convey just how manipulative and evil she is without shying away from showing us some of Tanith’s most vulnerable moments.
Everything in Echo’s life changed in a blinding flash when she learned the startling truth: she is the firebird, the creature of light that is said to bring peace.
The firebird has come into the world, but it has not come alone. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and Echo can feel a great and terrible darkness rising in the distance. Cosmic forces threaten to tear the world apart.
Echo has already lost her home, her family, and her boyfriend. Now, as the firebird, her path is filled with even greater dangers than the ones she’s already overcome.
She knows the Dragon Prince will not fall without a fight.
Echo must decide: can she wield the power of her true nature–or will it prove too strong for her, and burn what’s left of her world to the ground?
Welcome to the shadow hour. (via Goodreads)
Today’s video is a combined wrap up covering all the books I read in May and June! I didn’t get to make a separate May video since I was deep in the throes of the final wedding countdown. I decided to just cover the novels I read in this video and I’m planning on making a separate video about all the manga and graphic novels I binged during May because there were a lot of them! What have you been reading lately?
Vicious by V.E. Schwab is a book I had always planned on reading but I kept pushing it back because I love Schwab’s writing and I didn’t want to not have a book of hers to look forward to reading. Since the release of This Savage Song has been drawing nearer, I decided to pick it up on a whim and I couldn’t be more happy that my July reading started off with such a bang! Vicious explores a complicated relationship between an anti-hero and villain and I love that it’s up to the reader to determine which of the main characters falls into which role. The story begins ten years prior when Victor Vale and Eli Ever are working on their thesis involving EO’s or ExtraOrdinary humans. They make several groundbreaking discoveries which leads to experiments and chaos.
I love that Schwab chose to acknowledge and go with the Marvel route of naming superheroes, that is to say, each character is named alliteratively. Victor Vale has spent the past ten years in prison planning exactly how he would try to kill Eli Ever when they were finally reunited again. He meets a chocolate milk loving friend Mitch and an intriguing twelve year old girl named Sydney along the way and it is a pleasure to see the story unfold along with them. I love how it’s constantly jumping perspectives and periods in time. Between the flashbacks told as if they were currently occurring and the present situations everyone finds themselves in in real time, I felt even more connected to the story than I would have if the stories had simply been relayed from a character who experienced it to a current fixture in either of Victor or Eli’s lives. Even more fascinating than the present, is watching each character’s descent into madness and attempting to determine who is the hero and who is the villain (or if there even is one or the other). For those wondering, I’m team Victor.
Final Thoughts: Vicious by V.E. Schwab is a quick paced adventure story which delves into the psyches of Victor Vale and Eli Ever. It’ll have you questioning what it means to be a villain vs. a hero and the constant switching between past and present timelines will allow you to see the hero vs. villain origin stories developing as soon as those initial seeds are planted. Vicious reads like a really engaging contemporary psychology novel with a sci-fi twist as the main characters begin experimenting with ExtraOrdinary humans. Vicious is technically an adult novel but everything about it is very accessible for anyone who typically reads and enjoys YA. I definitely recommend this one wholeheartedly!
Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end? (via Goodreads)
Okay, so first things first, how many of you are also addicted to Pokemon Go?!?! It seems like only yesterday that the game was announced despite it feeling like forever until the release. The game slowly appeared in app stores across the globe but the U.S. had yet to get it yet so Andrew posted this hilarious video and literally one minute later we were able to download it for iOS! We walked all over our apartment (where we both found an Eevee<3) and chose our starters (Squirtle for me and Bulbasaur for Andrew). Obviously we wanted to keep playing so we walked around our neighborhood in mismatched pajamas scouring the land for Pokemon. I didn’t go to sleep last night until the app was having server issues so I’m rather tired this morning but I am seriously looking forward to my morning commute! I can’t wait to see how many other Pokemon trainers I pass while walking the streets of NYC. As for what else is new this week, Andrew and I went to our photographer and picked up all of our wedding photos on Tuesday night(!!!) so expect a post of those in the near future.
Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley became an instant favorite of mine as soon as I started reading it (review here). On top of that, I think this might be my favorite set of outfit photos thus far. I love how the rainbow pastels in the skirt compliment the neon colors on the book cover. And I’m wearing a favorite bow of mine behind my head because Andrew and I have been really into RWBY lately and Blake is my favorite character. The top I’m wearing is actually a dress but I love how the yellow just amps up the bright and cheeriness of the overall look.
Shoes (Melissa – N/A) | Necklace (Kate Spade – N/A) | Bracelet (House of Harlow – N/A)