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 Caraval by Stephanie Garber. I talked about this book in a Top 10 Tuesday a little while back but the cover was just recently released and it’s super pretty! The book doesn’t come out until January of next year, but the film rights have already been purchased by the same studio who adapted Divergent. Caraval has a definite Night Circus vibe going on but it falls into the YA genre and it involves two sisters who get caught up in a game (… or is it?!) of love heartbreak and magic. You can read an excerpt from the book on EW.
Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game . . .
Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their ruthless father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the legendary, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.
Then, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation to Caraval finally arrives. So, Tella enlists a mysterious sailor’s help to whisk Scarlett away to this year’s show. But as soon as the trio arrives, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nonetheless soon becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with her sister, with Legend, and with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever. (via Goodreads)
I was so thrilled when London Soho New York reached out to me to see if I wanted to review their new line of Wonder Woman cosmetic bags and I’m pleased to say that upon opening the parcel they sent me, I fell completely in love with each of the products they sent me. This limited edition line is exclusive to Walgreens and they’ll be available starting in May of 2016. While the overall outside aesthetic of the bags are really appealing, it’s the details that really won me over. My favorite piece in the line is the clear case with the Wonder Woman logo on the front because I love the little cape! The blue star background isn’t part of the case but I’ll be keeping that insert in because I like the way it looks there. Each case has beautiful gold mirror star zippers and gold trim which matches the accessories Diana wears with her costume. I also love the blue star lining in the other two cases (each of these are a satin material and they’re part of the case). The biggest case is perfect for storing lesser used eye shadows, while the other two are perfect to throw in your purse when you’re on the go. I’m even planning on using the adorable tags (seen in the first photo) as bookmarks! Each case will retail for $7.99 – $11.99 so they’re really affordable and it’s easy to justify picking each of them up.
This summery outfit is ideal for today because I have the day off of work and in a few short hours I’ll be leaving to go to my Bachelorette Party! The girls (and guys – Andrew and I decided to have a combined Bachelor / Bachelorette party) rented a house on a beach and I’m so excited for our weekend of board games, beach bummin’ and wine drinking.
As soon as I got this ice cream cone shirt from Wildfox (another design that’s made for little girls) I knew it would be the perfect book look for Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson since the main character Emily spends some of her summer working at an ice cream shop. I also wanted to wear something on the trendier side hence the lace on my denim shorts and the fringe on my sandals because the cover models are oh so fashionable! When I think of summer, I often think immediately of SYBG. It has all the elements I love in YA contemporary and I definitely plan on re-reading this one<3
Necklace (House of Harlow – NA) | Bangles (House of Harlow – N/A)
Ever since I read and loved Pivot Point and Split Second, I knew I had to read all of Kasie West’s other books, past and future. I started with The Distance Between Us because I happened to have a copy on my Kindle but I was later told that was the best thing I could have done because some of The Distance Between Us characters show up in On the Fence. I ended up loving this one and I can honestly say I am a full blown Kasie West addict at this point. The Distance Between Ustells the story of Caymen, a sarcastic girl who lives above a struggling doll shop with her single mother, and a boy named Xander who happens to walk into the shop one day.
I have to start by saying that Caymen is one of the funniest main characters I’ve read about. Her sense of humor is very dry and her sarcasm is on point. I can totally see her enjoying British television. Caymen is the kind of girl who uses sarcasm as a coping mechanism since she’s stuck helping her mom in a creepy doll store that she has no interest in inheriting but it’s also just her sense of humor. She even takes half days at school so she can spend more time working and she does it all without complaining or ever asking for the chance to have a social life of her own. Then in walks Xander and the slow burn romance commences. Xander is tall, dark and handsome and he comes from a family with a ton of money. Caymen and Xander don’t initially hit it off (especially from Caymen’s perspective) but the evolution of their relationship is one I really connected to. They’re the cutest couple and I was rooting for them throughout the whole book. Xander is being groomed to take over his father’s hotel business which is something he’s not interested in so the pair start having career days where they try to figure out a future for each other. It couldn’t have been cuter! There’s also a whole subplot going on with Caymen’s mom and the doll store but what really hooked me is the romance.
Final Thoughts: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West is a witty contemporary romance that’ll have you swooning. Caymen and Xander are some of my favorite YA characters and their slow burn romance really speaks to my heart. I loved the banter, sarcasm and each character’s journey to self discovery. If you’re looking for a love story with a funny lead, The Distance Between Us should be on your list!
Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.
So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.
She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about. (via Goodreads)
I’m so excited about the new Betty and Veronica comic that Archie comics is launching this July! Archie comics has been really appealing to me lately. They’ve gotten a number of wonderful creators working on their books which has made everything feel new again. I think it’s enticing for people from younger generations to start getting involved in these stories, especially when there are such great artists drawing characters is the most realistic and fashionable clothing. Plus, there’s that Riverdale show that will be debuting on the CW this fall so it’ll be a great opportunity for newbies to have a starting point to jump in from.
I recently read the first volume of the newly rebooted Archie comic (written by Mark Waid with artwork by Fiona Staples, Annie Wu and Veronica Fish) and I was honestly laughing out loud and making Andrew look at certain panels because I loved them so much<3 I also really loved The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina but since there was such a long hiatus between issue #1 and issue #2 (seriously, it might’ve been over year) I’m waiting to catch up on that one until it’s available in trade. Same goes for the second volume of Afterlife with Archie, the Riverdale zombie comic. I have yet to read Jughead but the trade is coming out soon and as a huge Chip Zdarsky fan, I have no doubt I’ll love that series as well.
But anyway, I’m here to talk Betty & Veronica. I love thie frenemy duo and as I previously mentioned, their fashion choices! I’m so happy that Archie Comics is celebrating their launch with 25 variant covers and I wanted to share my favorites here.
Will you be picking up Betty & Veronica? Or have you been reading any of the other Archie Comics series I mentioned?
*This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is no way swayed my opinions.*
Summer of Supernovas is Darcy Woods’s debut contemporary YA novel. It follows a girl named Wil as she tries to live her life according to the stars. Her deceased mother was very interested in astrology which is why Wil feels such a strong connection to the zodiac and she becomes involved in a love triangle where she’s torn between her perfect astrological match and what could be her worst astrological downfall. I have to say that I seem to be the odd woman out when it comes to this book. There were aspects of it that I enjoyed but overall I took issue with the story and I never found myself excited to pick up and read from where I left off.
My first gripe is the sibling love triangle. I’m rarely a fan of love triangles but when the triangle involves siblings (brothers Seth and Grant in this case) it’s even harder for me to get behind. Wil is torn between the two after being “saved” from a tower by Grant and meeting Seth at a club the next night. Grant and Seth come from money but while Seth is flashy, Grant is more down to Earth and in tune with the world around him. Both guys seem sweet enough but it’s obvious that Wil has feelings for Grant. She soon learns that his brother Seth should be her perfect astrological match and that dating Grant is destined to be a disaster so she decides to follow her star chart instead of her heart. This is my second issue. It was really challenging to get behind Wil’s decisions (despite the deceased astrology buff mother) when she had to convince herself every single time she saw either brother that she should be with Seth. I’m not someone who puts much story in astrology so it was probably harder for me than it may be for other people. Now for the elements I enjoyed; I loved Wil’s relationship with her Gram and her best Irina, I love Wil’s retro 1940’s style and the fact that her Gram bakes gourmet cupcakes for work, and I especially enjoyed Darcy Woods’s writing. I wouldn’t be opposed to reading a future book of hers since I enjoyed her storytelling skills but unfortunately this book didn’t resonate with me.
Final Thoughts: Summer of Supernovas by Darcy Woods is a contemporary romance about a girl named Wil who trusts the stars over her own instincts. She finds herself in a love triangle with two brothers who compete for her attention and while she clearly has feelings for one, she sticks with the other because of her star chart. I’m not one for sibling love triangles or astrology so I struggled with this story as I read. I would read another book by Darcy Woods because her writing has so much potential but this story just wasn’t for me.
As the daughter of an expert astrologer, Wilamena Carlisle knows that the truth lies within the stars. So when she discovers a rare planetary alignment, she is forced to tackle her worst astrological fear – The Fifth House of Relationships and Love. But Wil must decide whether a cosmically doomed love is worth rejecting her mother’s legacy, when she falls for a sensitive guitar player hailing from the wrong side of the chart.
Debut author Darcy Woods explores love in all its complexities and how to best honor the loved ones who have passed before us, in a novel packed with both humor and heart. (via Goodreads)
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 Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken which is the follow up and conclusion to her Passenger duology. Passenger was one of my favorite books of 2015 and I am so eager to get my hands on a copy of Wayfarer. We were left with a major cliffhanger and I cannot wait to see how the story continues and resolves itself! Plus the cover was recently revealed and it is a thing of beauty<3
All Etta Spencer wanted was to make her violin debut when she was thrust into a treacherous world where the struggle for power could alter history. After losing the one thing that would have allowed her to protect the Timeline, and the one person worth fighting for, Etta awakens alone in an unknown place and time, exposed to the threat of the two groups who would rather see her dead than succeed. When help arrives, it comes from the last person Etta ever expected—Julian Ironwood, the Grand Master’s heir who has long been presumed dead, and whose dangerous alliance with a man from Etta’s past could put them both at risk.
Meanwhile, Nicholas and Sophia are racing through time in order to locate Etta and the missing astrolabe with Ironwood travelers hot on their trail. They cross paths with a mercenary-for-hire, a cheeky girl named Li Min who quickly develops a flirtation with Sophia. But as the three of them attempt to evade their pursuers, Nicholas soon realizes that one of his companions may have ulterior motives.
As Etta and Nicholas fight to make their way back to one another, from Imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, time is rapidly shifting and changing into something unrecognizable… and might just run out on both of them. (via Goodreads)
**This lent to me in exchange for an honest review – thanks so much Andi for lending me your ARC!**
Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider was one of my most anticipated contemporary releases for 2016, largely because the plot synopsis reminded me of Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Who can resist a complicated YA fiction book set in Hawaii?! I know I couldn’t! I had the pleasure of reading an ARC of Summer of Sloane in January thanks to Andi who attended ALA and sent me her ARC to borrow (Thanks again Andi!)! I really enjoyed reading Summer of Sloane despite the terrible situation the main character finds herself in within the first two pages of the novel. This is one book that hooked me right away and held my interest until the very end. I even think reading Summer of Sloane in January enhanced my experience since I was craving the beaches being described while I read on the train in my winter coat and scarf.
Sloane McIntyre is a character that it’s impossible not to feel empathy for right off the bat. Within the first two pages of the book we find out that Sloane’s best friend is pregnant. Then we find out that the father of her baby is Sloane’s boyfriend of a year, Tyler. Within a moment Sloane loses the two people closest to her in her life and she’s forced to handle her feelings and the situation without having a best friend to confide in which is something I could never begin to imagine. Lucky for Sloane, she leaving the next morning with her twin, Penn, to stay with her mother who lives in Hawaii for the summer. Sloane gets to put off her problems a bit by decreasing her proximity to them, but as you’d imagine, she can’t completely leave them behind. I have to say that I loved Sloane as a character. She is a lot more mature than an average teenager would be in her situation and with all of the betrayal she’s faced, her instincts still lead her to put others before herself. I found myself rooting for her from page one.
I also really loved how prominent Sloane’s relationships with her mom, dad and brother are. I wish she would’ve spent more time with her Hawaiian best friend Mia but since the book is heavily about her romantic relationship, it’s understandable that her friendship took a backseat to her new love interest. And speaking of love interests, Finn is such an awesome guy! He definitely has his flaws but the positives outweigh the negatives in his case. Again, he has a great relationship with his little sister Luce and Sloane even forms a relationship with her as well. (I feel like inserting the ohana means family quote from Lilo and Stitch here). Summer of Sloane has classic instances of miscommunication between characters and in some cases, the deliberate lack of communication altogether. There was a slight predictability throughout the novel, especially one half of the ending (the other half, I did NOT see coming) but I still managed to be surprised at other points. For the most part, everything wrapped up nicely at the end so a sequel isn’t necessary although I would love an epilogue of some sort or a short story told in Tyler or Mick’s POV.
Final Thoughts: Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider is a cute, beachy contemporary with it’s fair share of drama. The main character loses the two people closest to her within the first couple of pages and she spends the remainder of the novel trying to find herself in Hawaii while visiting her mother along with her twin brother. The Hawaiian setting had me wishing for a beach visit of my own and the characters worked their way into my heart. If you’re a fan of Gayle Foreman but appreciate a bit more humor, I would suggest reading Summer of Sloane.
Warm Hawaiian sun. Lazy beach days. Flirty texts with her boyfriend back in Seattle.
These are the things seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre pictured when she imagined the summer she’d be spending at her mom’s home in Hawaii with her twin brother, Penn. Instead, after learning an unthinkable secret about her boyfriend, Tyler, and best friend, Mick, all she has is a fractured hand and a completely shattered heart.
Once she arrives in Honolulu, though, Sloane hopes that Hawaii might just be the escape she needs. With beach bonfires, old friends, exotic food, and the wonders of a waterproof cast, there’s no reason Sloane shouldn’t enjoy her summer. And when she meets Finn McAllister, the handsome son of a hotel magnate who doesn’t always play by the rules, she knows he’s the perfect distraction from everything that’s so wrong back home.
But it turns out a measly ocean isn’t nearly enough to stop all the emails, texts, and voicemails from her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, desperate to explain away their betrayal. And as her casual connection with Finn grows deeper, Sloane’s carefree summer might not be as easy to find as she’d hoped. Weighing years of history with Mick and Tyler against their deception, and the delicate possibility of new love, Sloane must decide when to forgive, and when to live for herself. (via Goodreads)
Hi everyone! I’m back with my next installment of Little Loves. Little Loves is a post series I created as a way to acknowledge and appreciate more of the little things that are making me happy every day.
💖 My iPhone 6s because I am finally loving my photos again! 💖 Still my bookshelves because *heart eyes* 💖 Exercise and healthy eating because the wedding diet / healthy lifestyle regimen is in full effect 💖 My Harry Potter themed bridal shower! 💖 I AM GOING TO BEA – and I’m going to be on a panel! 💖 Strolling through the park on sunny days with my love 💖 Kimmy Schmidt – we binged the second season in two days! 💖 Sunglasses and flip flops creeping back into season 💖 Putting away all of our bridal shower gifts and once again living in a clean and organized apartment (I swear my closet is next!) 💖 Mean Girls Funkos 💖 Re-watching BSG with Kelly, especially when pajamas and pizza are involved 💖 Princess Jellyfish manga 💖 Planning our Disneymoon 💖 Jordandene’s Hamilton shirt of the month 💖 Also my Hamiltome 💖 My recent shoe addition (particularly of the summer sandals variation) 💖 Keeping up with OOTD photos 💖 Mint infused water 💖 Easton, CT because it’s the absolute prettiest and I need to spend time there this Autumn 💖 Still Kate Spade<3 💖 And I’m on my way to finishing Gilmore Girls so I’ll be up to date for the revival! I’m so happy Sookie will be back 💖 The mint tablecloth Cassie gave me. It’s covered in sprinkles! 💖 My Jeffrey Campbell lace up flats – I couldn’t figure out what to wear them with at first but I quickly realized the answer is everything 💖 My heart of Tsum Tsums which looks so cute on my bookshelf 💖
Madly by Amy Alward is the first book in the Potion series. So far there are two books listed as part of the series on Goodreads but the author has stated that it will be a trilogy. Madly is quick paced, extremely fun and definitely falls on the lighter side of the fantasy genre. The story follows an alchemist named Sam who takes part in a kingdom-wide competition to find a cure for a love potion. As it turns out, the sole heir to the kingdom, Princess Evelyn, has accidentally consumed a love potion that was meant for someone else and she ends up falling, well, madly in love with herself. It was such a delight to read Madly and I’m really looking forward to it’s sequel, Royal Tour.
The story takes place in a world that is very similar to our own except that magic, alchemy and mythical creatures exist alongside technology. In the quest to find the cure for the princess, there are two main sides facing off. There’s Sam who comes from a long line of alchemists who still follow the old traditions and mix everything by hand. Then there’s Zain who comes from the family who won the last hunt and revolutionized potion making by propelling synth labs to forefront of the industry, resulting in their synthetic potions becoming the leading source of potions in the kingdom. There are several others competing but Sam and Zain, along with Emilia (an exiled member of the royal family) are the main focus of the story. I loved traveling along with them as they rationalized what would be needed next for their potions and I enjoyed all of the diverse settings they procured their ingredients from. Because they were always searching, and usually in the most dangerous of places, the plot advanced quickly and there was rarely ever a lull in the story. My favorite parts of the story involved mermaids and unicorns<3
As far as characters go, Sam’s was an interesting perspective to read from. When she’s first called to the palace and learns about the hunt, she’s met with resistance from her family regarding her participation, particularly from her grandfather. He used to be recognized as the best alchemist in the field but after the synths came out triumphant in the last hunt, he has completely misplaced his trust in the royals. Sam is a shy, family-oriented girl with a massive talent for potion making so going against her grandfather’s wishes is a hard decision for her to make. With the exception of Kristy who pairs with Sam during the hunt, the supporting characters were a bit underdeveloped but I’m sure they’ll have their time to shine in the next two books. I was a little underwhelmed by the romance but since I loved that overall plot and pace, it’s something I’m able to overlook. Again, I feel like there’s room for growth as the series continues.
Final Thoughts: Madly by Amy Alward is a cute and quick paced fantasy novel. It tells the story of Sam, a talented alchemist, as she competes against others in her kingdom to find a cure to a love potion their future queen accidentally drank. The princess falls madly in love with herself and as her behavior becomes increasingly destructive, the participants are met with a time crunch to find the cure. It’s the perfect book to pick up if you have a case of wanderlust and you’re craving a mindless beach read but still looking for a bit of magic (and possibly a unicorn and some mermaids).
When the Princess of Nova accidentally poisons herself with a love potion meant for her crush, she falls crown-over-heels in love with her own reflection. Oops. A nationwide hunt is called to find the cure, with competitors travelling the world for the rarest ingredients, deep in magical forests and frozen tundras, facing death at every turn.
Enter Samantha Kemi – an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent. Sam’s family were once the most respected alchemists in the kingdom, but they’ve fallen on hard times, and winning the hunt would save their reputation. But can Sam really compete with the dazzling powers of the ZoroAster megapharma company? Just how close is Sam willing to get to Zain Aster, her dashing former classmate and enemy, in the meantime?
And just to add to the pressure, this quest is ALL OVER social media. And the world news.
No big deal, then. (via Goodreads)