Tea & Book Chat: Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton (Tiny Pretty Things #1)

Tiny Pretty Things is the first book in a series by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton focusing on the competitive world of ballet.  As soon as I heard the pitch (Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars) I knew this book would be something I would enjoy.  There’s something so fascinating to me about these girls who have such dedication to their talent, follow a strict set of rules and how cutthroat they can be toward one another because they’re competing in an industry with such limited job placement.  The story focuses on three main characters, Bette, Gigi and June and it follows them throughout an entire year at their prestigious Manhattan ballet school. The book is full of drama and it’ll constantly keep you on your toes, never giving you a clear indication of who to trust.  This is one book I devoured and I plan to read the sequel as soon as it debuts.

Tiny Pretty Things has three main POVs that the story is told from.  June is a half Korean girl who is always cast in the understudy role.  She struggles with never having known her father and she after an incident, she never allows herself to get close to anyone else at the school.  Gigi is the new girl and unlike the majority of her class, she’s of African American descent.  She’s much more carefree, having moved from California, and she is by far the most personable, grounded and genuine of the girls.  Lastly, there’s Bette, the stereotypical mean girl and Queen Bee of the ballerinas.  She’s constantly trying to juggle living up to her sister’s legacy, her alcoholic and mostly absent mother, and her own insecurities.  Each character has a compelling point of view of the events that occur while they’re at school and I especially appreciated the diversity between each of them.  There were moments where I felt like each girl was my favorite character.  There are other students who play a predominant role in the story from love interests, to frenemies and even to teachers.  Tiny Pretty Thingsis a book I would suggest reading for the characters alone, though if you struggle with unreliable narrators, you may take issue with the story.

Tiny Pretty Things

On top of the compelling characters, I also fell in love with the setting of the story.  I love that it takes place in Manhattan and having lived in or under an hour away from Manhattan for almost my whole life, I will never tire of seeing the city through someone else’s eyes.  Add the ballet school to the mix, which allows for the excitement of finding out who will be cast in which roles and just how far certain dancers will go to achieve their goals, and I was completely hooked.  The entire time I was reading, I felt as though I was so close to unraveling a mystery but no matter how close I came, there were still pieces missing.  Even as certain things are revealed, there’s still more unanswered questions to keep you wondering.  Tiny Pretty Things also deals with many serious issues that teenagers face including bullying, racism, eating disorders and drug addiction and it’s all done very well.

Final Thoughts:  Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton is a whirlwind of a story set at an elite ballet academy in New York City.  It follows a diverse cast of characters during their trials and tribulations as they ready themselves for the competitive world of ballet.  The book is full of unreliable narrators, backstabbing ballerinas, and it tackles some very serious issues that many young girls face.  I loved everything about this book from the characters to the setting to the plot and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys drama filled YA.  I cannot wait for Shiny Broken Pieces which debuts later this year!
Rating 5

Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars in this soapy, drama-packed novel featuring diverse characters who will do anything to be the prima at their elite ballet school.

Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette’s desire to escape the shadow of her ballet star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever. When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best. (via Goodreads)

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BookTube: YA Books That Need TV Adaptations

These are some books that I would love to see adapted into television shows! As I say in the video, I much prefer TV to movies because I like the longevity of TV.  I like falling into a world and spending a lot of time with familiar characters and watching their character progress over a longer period of time.  What are some books you would like to see adapted?

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Fashion Finds: Kate Spade Carnival Collection

I have once again fallen deeply in love with a Kate Spade collection but this one speaks to me more than any others have in the past.  It has EVERYTHING I look for in accessories and I’ve admittedly already ordered a bunch of these items because this is one of those collections that I love so much that I couldn’t possibly leave it up to chance by waiting for a sale and hoping what I wanted was still in stock.   It screams summer in a pastel dream world kind of way and I just need it in my life.  One of the things I love but haven’t been able to justify is the flavor of the month ice cream truck clutch.  That’s one I’ll hope to get on sale at some point but I can’t imagine I would wear that anywhere near enough for the full price to be worth it.  Anyway, here are my favorites / things I’ve already splurged on! You can click on the collage below for links to all of the products shown.

Kate Spade Carnival Collection

 

 

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BookTube: Top 5 NYC Bookstores

In NYC, we’re very fortunate to have a ton of spectacular bookstores to spend our time in when the urge to pick up something new strikes.  If you live in New York City, or you’re planning on visiting sometime and you want to know the best bookstores to check out, I made a list of my top 5 favorites because really, those are the places I spend most of my time here.  My number one store will always be The Strand, but there are some really close seconds which I detail in my video.  I hope this is helpful!

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Makeup Monday: Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette

I’ve been LUSTING after the Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette ever since it began being teased on Instagram and it’s finally (almost) here!  The palette already debuted on TooFaced.com but it sold out within minutes.  Luckily, it’s going to be released online at Ulta (3/20), HSN (3/23), Sephora (3/29) and Macy’s (3/29) and in store by Ulta on April 9th and Sephora on April 15th so there are still two more opportunities to snag your own.  The palette smells like peaches and it contains 18 different shades that are just peachy keen!  There’s a nice mix of peachy pinks, bronzes, corals and a even a purple.  The names are quite clever: White Peach, Luscious, Just Peachy, Bless Her Heart (love that one!), Tempting, Charmed, I’m Sure, Nectar, Cobbler, Candied Peach, Bellini, Peach Pit, Delectable, Peaches n Cream, Georgia, Caramelized, Puree, Summer Yum and Talk Derby to Me.  The palette retails for $49 and it’s limited editions so you’ll have to get your quick buying fingers ready when it shows up at the retailer of your choice.

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BookTube: Fantasy Recommendations Ft. Alexa Loves Books

Alexa and I are both huge fantasy lovers so in addition to our Pretty Books video, we wanted to share with everyone what our top fantasy picks are.  These are the books we recommend to everyone when they ask us what they should read (this is keeping in mind that we both recommend Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings above all else but we wanted to include some lesser known titles).  What are some of your favorites?  Have you read any of the books we mentioned?

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Tea & Book Chat: Split Second by Kasie West (Pivot Point #2)

**Warning! If you haven’t read Pivot Point which is the first book in the duology by Kasie West, there will be spoilers ahead.  You can read my review of the first book instead if you haven’t started the series yet!**

Split Second by Kasie West is the second book in the Pivot Point duology and it is everything I wanted out of this story.  Split Second picks up after the events of the first book, as if Addie has chosen to live with her mother and the events in that timeline have played out, and those in her father’s timeline have never happened.  Needing an escape from the reality of the horrific timeline she chose, Addie decides to go and visit her father in the normal world for 6 weeks.  Once again, Kasie West’s character, plot, relationships and writing had me completely engaged and I ended up loving Split Second.

Since Addie has left the compound but there are still important events going on there, the narrative switches between Addie and Laila (whereas in the first, each chapter was narrated by Addie in each possible timeline).  I really loved getting more acquainted with Laila’s voice and becoming more familiar with the struggles she faces with her family and her guilt over Duke from her actions in Pivot Point.  Laila gets entangled with some questionable people in Addie’s absence but it’s all in an attempt to help her best friend.  The way Laila’s storyline plays out in Split Second is an exciting tale that’s the perfect mix of snark, charm and will have you feeling sympathetic.  Plus, Laila gets a love interest.  And an actual love interest, not just a boy she wants to make out with and then get rid of and it’s honestly the most adorable relationship ever.  I ship them so hard<3

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Meanwhile, in the norm world, Addie is dealing with her evolving powers and the fact that she has all of these memories and familiar feelings for people she is supposedly just meeting, most specifically of Trevor (her love interest in her dad’s timeline from Pivot Point).  Suddenly, Addie develops the ability to manipulate time in a way she was never capable of before.  She makes the mistake(?) of using those powers in front of Trevor several times, a serious infraction that the Compound would punish her for, and he begins to get suspicious of her.  It’s so difficult to see them in anything other than a romantic relationship but I was just so happy they got to have more interaction because their relationship is so swoony.  In Split Second, there’s another mystery afoot that’s keeping the stakes high throughout the story.  Addie’s father has lied about something very important involving their family and  they’re also being monitored by agents from the Compound.  Things get SUPER intense and just like in Pivot Point, Kasie West will have you unable to put this second installment down until you know the truth.

Final Thoughts:  Split Second is the conclusion to the Pivot Point duology by Kasie West and if you’re hesitant to read it because the first book is so perfect, fear not, Split Second completely honors it’s predecessor and the story lives up to that of the first installment.  One major change is there is now a dual narrative between Addie in the norm world and Laila in the Compound.  It’s a pleasure to spend time in Laila’s head as well and there is another mystery that’ll keep you completely engaged in the story.  Kasie West’s characters are everything and you’ll be rooting for each of them (minus Duke) throughout the book.  If you’ve read and loved Pivot Point but haven’t yet read Split Second, you absolutely must.  It gives such a satisfying ending to Addie and Trevor’s story.Rating 6

Life can change in a split second.

Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too… but not without a price.

When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories… once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.

As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot… and a future that could change everything. (via Goodreads)

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BookTube: Top 5 Books I Read This Winter

As you may have noticed, I read a lot. Luckily I’ve been having a really good reading year and I’ve enjoyed the majority of the books I’ve read with the exception of a few.  While most of the books I read have been really good, there have been a few that have stuck out in my mind as GREAT books so I wanted to share those with you in case you’re in need of a new recommendation.  As I say in the video, it was really challenging to only pick 5 from December to Winter and December had been my slowest reading month with the holidays so I bet choosing 5 Spring books will be even more difficult!

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Waiting on Wednesday: Harry Potter: The Artifact Vault by Jody Revenson

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 Harry Potter: The Artifact Vault by Jody Revenson.  This book is the latest in HarperCollins’s line of Harry Potter books and it celebrates all of the physical design that went into creating a convincing Wizarding World.  This includes everything from the Sorting Hat to the Golden Snitch to the Marauder’s Map.  The book includes two exclusive bonus inserts, one of which being Gilderoy Lockheart’s classroom questionnaire and the other being a Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes catalog! It’s a must have for any Potter fan.

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Throughout the making of the eight Harry Potter movies, designers and craftspeople were tasked with creating fabulous chocolate-fantasy feasts, flying brooms, enchanted maps, and much more, in addition to numerous magical items necessary in a wizard’s everyday life—for example, newspapers with moving photos, vicious textbooks, and Howlers. Harry Potter: The Artifact Vault chronicles the work of the graphics department in creating vibrant and imaginative labels for potions bottles, brooms, and candy; the creation of Quidditch Quaffles, Bludgers, and Golden Snitches, lovingly crafted by the prop making team; and the stunning inventiveness used by the entire crew to create a rich, bewitched filmic universe.

Accompanying the captivating text are never-before-seen art and design concepts, unit photography, and other filmmaking secrets from the Warner Bros. archive. This striking full-color compendium includes two exclusive bonus inserts—Gilderoy Lockhart’s classroom questionnaire and a Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes catalog—as well as many more surprises. (via Goodreads)

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TTT: Books on my Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday’s are a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish in which anyone who participates creates a Top Ten list of books based on a weekly prompt they provide (the list for advance topics can be found by clicking the link above).  For my own sanity my Top Ten Tuesdays will always be Top Twelve Tuesdays because the graphics just look better that way ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is exciting for the sheer fact that Spring is on it’s way! We’ve had such beautiful weather here in New York the past few weeks and I can’t wait to start going out for more walks and enjoying all the beautiful flowers that’ll start appearing soon<3 Whenever Winter ends and Spring begins, I tend to shift over to contemporary reads but there are just so many wonderful fantasy books coming out soon that I can’t even imagine not including them here.  What are you looking forward to reading in the next few months?

TTT- Books on my Spring TBR

Books Mentioned

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski (goodreads)

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (goodreads)

Eon by Alison Goodman (goodreads)

Map of Fates by Maggie Hall (goodreads)

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows (goodreads)

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury (goodreads)

Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood (goodreads)

The Siren by Kiera Cass (goodreads)

The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh (goodreads)

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (goodreads)

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (goodreads)

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson (goodreads)

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