BookTube: My Intimidating TBR Pile Tag

Hi everyone! Today I’m here with a new video called My Intimidating TBR Pile Tag.  It’s a tag that was created by Lindsey of Lindsey Rey and it spotlights some of the books on my TBR that I haven’t gotten to for a multitude of reasons.  Let me know if you’ve read any of them or if there are any that I should bump up my list!

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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers (His Fair Assassin #2)

**Warning! If you haven’t read Grave Mercy which is the first book in the His Fair Assassin trilogy by Robin LaFevers, there will be spoilers ahead.  You can read my review of the first book instead if you haven’t started the series yet!**

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers is the second book in the His Fair Assassin trilogy but as it is a companion series, it follows a different set of characters than those in Grave Mercy.  The main story continues from book one with the Duchess fighting against those backstabbing her and plotting to take her reign of Brittany away from her.  This time around, we see the story progress through Sybella’s point of view with Beast as a major character as well.  Sybella is a character you may remember from Grave Mercy as she is one of Ismae’s half sisters, or daughters of Mortain, who was trained at the same convent, while Beast is one of the two men Duval placed his trust in.  I have to say that while I did love Dark Triumph, I did not quite enjoy it as much as I did Grave Mercy.

Dark Triumph is a darker tale than Grave Mercy.  We’re clued into some of Sybella’s supposed madness as we see it through Ismae’s eyes in Grave Mercy but in Dark Triumph we are able to delve deeper and find out firsthand why Sybella suffers the way she does.  I really enjoyed the progression of Sybella’s character and the growth she undergoes during her tumultuous time in the D’Albret household.  Sybella is chosen to go undercover in his household as she has the best cover of any of the other assassins, D’Albret believes her to be his daughter.  I bet you can gather where some of her psychological issues are stemming from.  Sybella is extremely hard on herself and it’s not until she opens herself up in the latter half of the book that she finally begins to accept her past and live more in the present.

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The love story between Sybella and Beast is absolutely adorable.  Their characters are such great compliments for one another and there’s a darkness that dwells in each of them which explains why they’re so drawn to each other. I also appreciate that there attraction is largely non-physical.  Sybella looks past Beast’s physical appearance and she loves him for who he is and Beast wholly accepts Sybella and all of her past.  Their relationship develops and they establish a bond built on mutual respect.  If I have one complaint about Dark Triumph, it’s that while I enjoyed the Sybella and Beast story and there were definite things happening to move the overarching plot along, I felt like their story often distracted from the elements I loved in Grave Mercy which left me wishing for more information about the politics and further information about the occurrences in Ismae and Duval’s household.  Also, I would’ve just liked to see more Duval in general.

Final Thoughts:  Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers is the follow up to Grave Mercy but it takes us to D’Albret’s house while he continues to plot against the Duchess.  The story focuses on Sybella and Beast, two strong characters with dark pasts who are coming to terms with their place in the world while forging a slow burn romantic relationship.  As the name suggests, Dark Triumph is a much darker story than Grave Mercy and it’s much more psychological and character driven at its heart.  I’m looking forward to reading Mortal Heart and learning more about Annith before this historical fantasy comes to a close.

Rating 5

When Sybella arrived at the doorstep of St Mortain half mad with grief and despair the convnt were only too happy to offer her refuge – but at a price. The sisters of this convent serve Death, and with Sybella naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, she could become one of their most dangerous weapons.

But her assassin’s skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to the life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. But when Sybella discovers an unexpected ally she discovers that a daughter of Death may find something other than vengeance to live for… (via Goodreads)

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Kristin

Little Loves #4

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.

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💖 MY NEW BOOKSHELVES (I could honestly end this little loves post here but there’s a ton to catch up on from my Holiday Edition!) 💖 SPRING because Cherry Blossoms<3 – they’ve always been my favorite part of welcoming the warm weather 💖 My new Cherry Blossom Nike sneakers 💖 Too Faced’s Sweet Peach spring eye shadow paletteTiny Pretty Things by Sonia Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton – I’ve only just started this one but I already love it.  It’s full of ballerinas~💖 Kate Spade’s newest collection which speaks to my heart, hence already ordering a ton from it 💖 The Pivot Point duology by Kasie West which is the perfect blend of sci-fi and contemporary 💖 Ice Cream Cone season is back 💖 Daredevil Season 2 has debuted on Netflix & Andrew and I are dedicating the weekend to binge-watching it 💖 Homemade Mexican food – guacamole, enchiladas, quesadillas & veggie tacos are some of my favorite dinners 💖 My newest Harry Potter Funkos which look lovely on my shelf 💖 Joining Frodo & gang on their journey to Mount Doom during my Fellowship of the Ring re-read 💖 Finally being able to display my lovely Disney statues 💖 Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare – I never thought I would love any of her books after having lackluster feelings toward The Mortal Instruments but holy cow, The Infernal Devices is everything💖 Spines With Wines because I get to see Melissa & Cassie and talk about books 💖 Cadbury mini eggs and Cadbury creme eggs… and Reese’s eggs. Really most chocolate Easter candy 💖 My new Harry Potter Signature hardcovers with slipcases 💖 Pink and Mint everything 💖 Treinta Unsweetened Green Iced Teas from Starbucks – my signature drink 💖 Our new couch because it’s really nice to have a place to sit! 💖 As always, spending time with Andrew 💖

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Kristin

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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