Little Loves #5

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 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 💖

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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: Madly by Amy Alward (Potion #1)

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

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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).

Rating 4

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)

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Book Look OOTD: The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

This week’s Book Look OOTD couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.  As many of you may know, I adore Melissa Grey’s debut novel, The Girl at Midnight.  I love the story and the main character Echo and Melissa’s writing is just so lovely and engaging (full review here).  I’ve been dying to read TGaM‘s sequel, The Shadow Hour, since the moment there were no more words left for me to consume in book one and last weekend at my bridal shower (which was Harry Potter themed(!) photos to come!), Melissa brought me a copy!! I was basically jumping for joy because there’s no way I would’ve made it until July to find out what happens next.  For anyone who’s as in love with the gorgeous cover of The Girl at Midnight as I am, you’ll be pleased to know that this isn’t my first fashion + beauty related post for it.  Last year, Melissa and I teamed up and filmed a BookTube video featuring a galaxy nail tutorial (because in addition to being a fantastic author, Melissa is also a gifted nail guru).  I can’t wait to dive into my ARC and I’m getting so excited for the release because Melissa promised that there’s going to another fabulous launch party at Books of Wonder (here are some photos from last years event!).

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Outfit Details: Dress (Free People)  |  Belt (Forever 21 – N/A)  |  Necklace (Gift from Cassie)

Bracelet (House of Harlow – N/A)  |  Boots (Sam Edelman)

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Tea & Book Chat: Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally (Hundred Oaks #1)

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally is the first book in the Hundred Oaks companion series.  It follows a girl named Jordan who is the only female football player in the high school football league during her senior year of high school.  It took me a little while to warm up to Jordan because football is not my thing but midway through the book I got used to her character and the way her teammates interact and I was able to enjoy the story going forward.  It was also surprising at the beginning because the first chapter narrates a football scene with Jordan as the quarterback and they never identify her gender until the second chapter so I had originally assumed she was a male.  I was able to quickly readjust and I know that was done on purpose.  Catching Jordan is a light, fun contemporary romance and it was exactly what I was craving.

As I stated, I’m really not interested in sports and I’ve never hung out with people who care about sports so the way Jordan and her teammates and friends interact was largely outside my comfort zone.  It took me some time to get used to their lingo and their priorities but I ended up enjoying Catching Jordan overall.  I like that all of the guys on Jordan’s team are so accepting and respectful of her but that Jordan’s relationship with her father is complicated because of her love of football.  It’s interesting to see the struggles she faces as a woman in a male dominated industry and her spirit and passion is to be admired.  Jordan undergoes some very important character development in regard to her relationship with other women which is one of things that won me over the most.  I think female friendships are really important and while I enjoyed the dynamic between her and the guys, it was nice to see her open up to some women without being so judgmental.  And of course, I love the romance in this story.  I saw it coming from the very beginning and while it didn’t play out perfectly, I thought it was adorable and the characters ended up where I wanted them so no complaints here!

Catching Jordan

Final Thoughts:  Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally is the first book in the Hundred Oaks series which follows Jordan, the female quarterback of her high school football team.  It’s a light and fluffy contemporary romance and it’s very sports heavy so if you’re like me, you may need some time to adjust to the characters.  I would recommend Catching Jordan for fans of Friday Night Lights who are looking for a cute beach read this summer!

Rating 3

ONE OF THE BOYS

What girl doesn’t want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn’t just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that’s just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university.

But everything she’s ever worked for is threatened when Ty Green moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he’s also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan’s feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart’s on the line? (via Goodreads)

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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood

*This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This is no way swayed my opinions.*

Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood is the first book I have read by this author and upon finishing, I quickly added her Cahill sisters trilogy to my TBR.  I devoured Wild Swans within a day of starting it and I wish there were more to the story because I fell in love with the characters.  Wild Swans tells the story of Ivy, a young girl who isn’t really sure of her place in the world or what she wants to do.  Her mother left her when she was a child so she was instead raised by her grandfather and housekeeper and she’s spent her life trying to live up to the legacy of the Milbourn women.  Wild Swans is a contemporary that tackles some serious issues and handles them very well.

Wild Swans

Each character in Wild Swans is well developed and complex which is not an easy feat in such a short novel.  I immediately took a liking to the main character Ivy who is always trying to please everyone.  She’s had a tough life and despite the situations her family puts her in she is still always thinking about their feelings and acting rationally when it would be really easy to do otherwise.  She seems like the kind of person I would be great friends with.  I don’t want to reveal much about some of the other characters in Wild Swans because I don’t want to spoil anything but trust me when I say that the relationships are messy and complicated and handled so so well.  Wild Swans also tackles some major social issues relating to gender and sexuality and I just want to hug Ivy’s friend Claire because she is the awesomest.  The romance in the story is cute and sweet but it isn’t my favorite and I found myself much more interested in Ivy’s family dynamics.  If I had one complaint about Wild Swans it would be that I want to know more about what happens after the resolution.  I feel invested in these characters and I just have so many questions. I hope Jessica Spotswood will write a sequel or a short story epilogue or something!

Final Thoughts:  Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood is a complicated and messy contemporary about a girl named Ivy who comes from a long line of passionate and talented women.  It’s a story of self discovery and finding out how you fit into the world during those crucial teen years.  It tackles heavy hitting subjects like gender, sexuality and feminism but the characters are truly what drives this story.  Wild Swans has a lot of heart and I wish I could read more about what’s going on in Ivy’s life. I definitely recommend this one and I’m glad I already preordered a copy!

Rating 5

The summer before Ivy’s senior year is going to be golden; all bonfires, barbeques, and spending time with her best friends. For once, she will just get to be. No summer classes, none of Granddad’s intense expectations to live up to the family name. For generations, the Milbourn women have lead extraordinary lives—and died young and tragically. Granddad calls it a legacy, but Ivy considers it a curse. Why else would her mother have run off and abandoned her as a child?

But when her mother unexpectedly returns home with two young daughters in tow, all of the stories Ivy wove to protect her heart start to unravel. The very people she once trusted now speak in lies. And all of Ivy’s ambition and determination cannot defend her against the secrets of the Milbourn past…. (via Goodreads)

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Kristin

Waiting on Wednesday: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling & Jim Kay

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 the illustrated Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay.  I was basically squealing when the next cover was revealed on BuzzFeed last week and I have to say that I love it even more than the first.  I love the color contrast of the title against the beautiful blue sky, the gryffindor scarf blowing in the wind and the design of The Burrow as Harry and the Weasley’s arrive after escaping the Dursley’s.  The book will be available on October 4th and I think I can speak for every Harry Potter fan when I say I NEED TO GET MY HANDS ON THIS ASAP.

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All Harry Potter wants is to get away from the Dursleys and go back to Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he’s packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby – who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.

And strike it does. For in Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockheart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls’ bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley’s younger sister, Ginny.

But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone–or something–starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects… Harry Potter himself. (via Goodreads)

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Book Look OOTD: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han is one of my favorite contemporary books I’ve read (full review here). In addition to the adorable story, the main character Lara Jean is also one of the most fashionable and I wish she had her own blog of outfit photos that I could follow.  Since I love the whole cover aesthetic, I definitely wanted to style an outfit inspired by it.  I received my copy of To All the Boys from my friend Michelle of Pink Polka Dot Book Blog for The Broke and the Bookish Secret Santa two years ago and Michelle is also responsible for me purchasing the darling polka dot pants in these outfit photos! She posted a Spring Break: Books, Bathing Suits & Clothes post recently and as soon as I saw those Hudson jeans, I immediately placed my order!

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Outfit Deatails: Shirt (ModCloth)  |  Jacket (ModCloth)  |  Necklace (Nordstrom)

Jeans (Hudson)  |  Shoes (Jeffrey Campbell)  |  Hairbow (Forever 21)

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Waiting on Wednesday: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

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 Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor which is the first book in a duology.  The cover was recently revealed by Entertainment Weekly (hence the watermarked image) and I think it’s just beautiful.  The UK cover is also pretty gorgeous.  You can read an excerpt of the prologue here as well.  I’m really looking forward to it because Laini Taylor really has a way with words.  Her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy is absolutely amazing and I can’t wait for more of her writing to be in my brain.

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Strange the Dreamer is the story of:

the aftermath of a war between gods and men
a mysterious city stripped of its name
a mythic hero with blood on his hands
a young librarian with a singular dream
a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperiled
alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep.

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BookTube: March Book Haul

New books! Here are all the books I picked up in  March. I’m so excited to be jumping into The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski this morning because it’s one of my most anticipated reads of the year<3  What’re you currently reading?

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Make Up Monday: Sephora x Minnie Mouse Collection

I’ve been looking forward to the Minnie Mouse Collection Sephora was planning since I first heard it had been announced but now that actual images has surfaced, I’m even more excited!  My favorite item in the collection is hands down the incredible Minnie Mouse hand mirror. I NEED IT.  There’s actually not a ton of items in the collection that I feel that way about besides the mirror and the lipstick but overall I think they’ve done a great job with all of the packaging.  I really love the design of the compact mirror and how it folds out to reveal Minnie’s signature ears and bow and the imprint on the blush.  The collection will be available at Sephora this month and the prices range from $15 to $58.

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