Makeup Monday: Too Faced Peanut Butter & Jelly Eye-Shadow Palette

I feel like I often end up writing about Too Faced products on Makeup Monday’s but their products are my favorites so I can’t help it!  One of the newest additions to their line of cosmetics is the Peanut Butter and Jelly palette.  It’s a new mini palette and it’s actually scented!  This palette is exclusive to Ulta and it’s being released in February.  It has a total of 9 eye shadow shades- Jelly, Peanut Brittle and Bananas being my favorites- and I love love love the package design.  It looks like a kawaii PB&J emoji.  The Peanut Butter and Jelly eyeshadow palette will retail for $36 so it’s also pretty affordable which is nice!

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BookTube: Name That Book Character Challenge Ft. Cassie & Melissa

Earlier this year Cassie, Melissa and I teamed up to film the Name That Book Character Challenge and today I’m finally getting around to posting it.  You may recognize the girls from our first video, the Back Words Book Challenge, or from the Spines With Wines Book Club (or just from my instagram since they are my Threadsisters after all<3).  In this video, we each write a book characters name on a post-it note and take turns guessing which character we are.  I’d always wanted to try this game after seeing it played in Inglorious Bastards so it was super fun to add a bookish twist to it and play with my best friends!

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BookTube: Most Disappointing Books of 2015

I read a lot of books in 2015.  Luckily, a lot of them became new favorites but there were a few that just didn’t do it for me.  I did film this video after the Spines With Wines Book Club (we also have a Goodreads group now!) so I completely forgot to include The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige in my list but it absolutely belongs there right before Winterspell. Good job Kristin!  Here’s my written review if you’re curious about why it should be on my list.  What were some books you read last year that you found disappointing?

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BookTube: Top 10 Book Covers of 2015

In today’s BookTube video I wanted to show off some of my favorite book covers for books published in 2015.  I can never resist a good cover so I thought these should be recognized and appreciated for just how attractive they are.  What were some of your favorite book covers of last year?

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Waiting on Wednesday: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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 Heartless by Marissa Meyer.  The show stopping cover was released last week exclusively on EW.com along with an excerpt of the upcoming novel.  I’m so excited to see what Marissa Meyer has in store for us next plus we already know how great she is at fairytale retellings.  Heartless is a prequel to Alice in Wonderland and it tells the story of the Queen of Hearts prior to when she started ordering “off with his / her/ their/ your head!” in Wonderland.  You can read the excerpt here.

Heartless

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king’s marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans. (via Goodreads)

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TTT: Top Ten 2015 Contemporary Releases I Meant To Get To But Didn’t

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)_/¯

I realized that a lot of the books I included in my Top 16 Books I Want to Read in 2016 are from the fantasy genre and while that’s helpful for completing the Flight of Fantasy Reading Challenge, I didn’t want to be repetitive in my second Top Ten Tuesday post.  I decided to make this list specifically about contemporary novels that were released in 2015 that I didn’t get to read but meant to.

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The Books

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway
The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne
Three Day Summer by Sarvenaz Tash
The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydeu
Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
99 Days by Katie Cotugno
Nowhere but Here (Thunder Road) by Katie McGarry

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Tea & Book Chat: Firefight by Brandon Sanderson (The Reckoners #2)

**Warning! If you haven’t read Steelheart which is the first book in the trilogy by Brandon Sanderson, there will be spoilers ahead.  You can read my review of the first book instead if you haven’t started the series yet!**

Firefight by Brandon Sanderson is the second book in The Reckoner’s trilogy by Brandon Sanderson.  I read (and LOVED) Steelheart almost exactly one year ago and the only reason I have waited so long to start Firefight is because the conclusion, Calamity, is coming out next month and I really didn’t want to have to wait between books.  Firefight picks up a short time after Steelheart ended (there is a short story between the two called Mitosis which I ended up reading when I was 3 chapters into Firefight because it kept being mentioned.  It ruined Mitosis’s weakness for me which may be why I didn’t love the short story as much as I could have if I had gone in blind).  David and Prof end up taking a trip to Babilar or Babylon Restored which is a borough in Manhattan after a High Epic named Regalia sends some of her cronies to Newcago to target The Reckoners.

The world of Babilar is really interesting! In Newcago our characters were surrounded by steel and everything had a very industrial feel whereas in Babilar, there’s water and neon spray paint illuminating the city everywhere.  The culture between the people from each town is very unique and there are more free spirited folks living out in the open in Babilar.  They even mingle with Epics at parties which is a pretty shocking change for someone like David.  A large portion of the town also pray to an Epic that no one has ever seen named Dawnslight who is often regarded as an urban legend.  Dawnslight is said to provide the city with food, light and other essential components.  On the way to Babilar we also catch a glimpse of the ruin and devastation that land outside of major cities has faced in the age of the Epics.  There are barely even any roads left for the characters to safely travel on and they have to be super careful about drawing attention to themselves.

Firefight

David’s character went through a very natural phase for someone in his position during Firefight.  His lifelong goal had been to exact revenge on Steelheart, the epic who killed his father, and he managed to complete that in the first book.  Now that Steelheart is gone, David feels a little bit lost and he’s not totally sure what his life objective is.  This is a feeling that many 19 year olds experience on a much lesser scale so to see his future fears amplified in Firefight is something I really enjoyed.  David lived a very isolated life so he is full of quirks and not everyone takes him as seriously as they should.  In Firefight David begins to question his beliefs on Epics and because of his age, he has a difficult time persuading the more senior members of the team.  He also deals with newfound fame (the population starts referring to him as Steelslayer) and it causes other Epics to actively seek him out whereas The Reckoners had always operated more secretly in the past.  As if that all wasn’t enough, David is also trying to handle his feelings for Megan, the Epic who worked as an undercover part of their team in Steelheart.  In Firefight we also meet a new team of Reckoner’s stationed in Babilar.  There’s the ice cold Val, the inexperienced but eager Mizzy and the gentle giant Exel.  David, Tia and Prof leave Abraham and Colby behind and try to work with the new trio to figure out Regalia’s scheme but they’re suspicious and not overly excited to welcome new Reckoners.

Final Thoughts:  Firefight by Brandon Sanderson is the second book in The Reckoners trilogy and the plot is so different and refreshing that it really took the story in a completely unexpected direction without detracting from the first book.  Firefight is full of character development, especially for David who completed his life’s mission at 19 years old, and there is a finite shift in the relationships between The Reckoner’s team members.  Theories begin being examined on a more philosophical level  and our main villain, Regalia, is the anti-Steelheart.  She’s been executing a plan since page one which doesn’t become clear until much later and the journey to the end is wild.  If you enjoy stories about superheroes and you liked Steelheart you’re basically obligated to continue on with Firefight.  I’m just sad I don’t have Calamity in my hands this very moment!

Rating 5

They told David it was impossible–that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet, Steelheart–invincible, immortal, unconquerable–is dead. And he died by David’s hand.

Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life more simple. Instead, it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And there’s no one in Newcago who can give him the answers he needs.

Babylon Restored, the old borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic, Regalia, David is sure Babylon Restored will lead him to what he needs to find. And while entering another city oppressed by a High Epic despot is a gamble, David’s willing to risk it. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David’s heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic–Firefight. And he’s willing to go on a quest darker, and more dangerous even, than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers. (via Goodreads)

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BookTube: January TBR

Now that we’re a full week into January (and the TBR Takedown 3.0 reading challenge has ended) I’ve posted my TBR for the rest of January and it’s quite ambitious if I do say so myself! My TBR is full of fantasy reads (there’s something about Winter that makes me crave high fantasy), many of which I wanted to read in 2015 but never had a chance to.  What’re you planning on reading this month?

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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: Pivot Point by Kasie West (Pivot Point #1)

Pivot Point by Kasie West is the first book in a duology that is inspired by Sliding Doors.  The story follows a girl named Addison who has the ability to “Search” the future when she’s faced with a choice so she can determine which path is the best to follow but as the description so perfectly states “knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice any easier.”  Usually when anyone so much as mentions sports my eyes tend to glaze over and I’m immediately afflicted with the inability to process anything that’s being said to me.  Had I known that Pivot Point would have a subplot so heavily focused on football I never would have read it so I couldn’t be happier that I went into this story blind because Pivot Point is absolutely a new favorite of mine.  I had such an enjoyable reading experience and it’s one of few books that have actually kept me not only up but also completely awake past my bedtime because the plot is so exciting.

Our main character Addison lives in a Compound with her parents for people who have special abilities.  Everyone in the compound has an ability and there are very strict rules about leaving as well as the degree to which any underage person may use their ability since they aren’t fully grown yet.  Naturally, most teens view this as nothing more than a rule set in place by adults who want to maintain control over them.  Addison’s power involves Searching which allows her to see two possible paths when she has to make a choice and her best friend Laila can erase memories.  In the beginning of the novel, Addison’s parents announce that they’re getting a divorce and Addison has to chose whether to stay in the Compound with her overbearing mother or leave and set out into the Norm world with her lie detector father.  They tell her to use her ability to see where she’ll be the happiest and from then on the novel is told in alternating chapters (one in the Norm world and one in the Compound) so Addie can make an informed decision.  The events of the timelines in each future would be happening simultaneously and there are several parallels between both futures that enhance the reader’s interest in both timelines.  I honestly loved the story for each path and I never wanted to read one more than the other.  Despite the multiple plot lines, Pivot Point is easy to follow an each subplot feels just as important as the main story.

Like me, Addie is a bookworm and she has zero interest in sports so because football is a huge component of both timelines, it was easier to read about through the eyes of someone with similar feelings.   In one timeline, Addie develops a strong bond with Trevor, a former rising football star who’s injury has kept him out of the game while in the other, Addie dates Duke, the charming and talented quarterback.  Despite the love interests, the relationship Addison values most is the one with her best friend Laila.  Laila has a difficult home life and she’s much more outgoing and outspoken than Addie.  Their personalities perfectly compliment one another and even in the timeline where Addie leaves the Compound, Laila plays a huge part in her future.  Everyone in the story, even the parents, are multidimensional with their own unique set of shining qualities and flaws.  It’s easy to care for each of them and with every page the reader will feel more invested in their story.

Final Thoughts:  Pivot Point by Kasie West is easily a new all time favorite of mine.  The story is a fun mix of the contemporary genre and superheroes.  It follows a girl named Addison who is using her ability to Search the future in order to make an important choice and the chapter’s in the book alternate between the two possible timelines.  Because Addison is the focal point of each story, the simultaneous future timelines are interconnected beautifully.  The characters will steal your heart from the beginning and as you near the climax you’ll be unable to let go of the book between your audible gasps.  I truly think everyone should read this book!

Rating 6

Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier…

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through… and who she can’t live without. (via Goodreads)

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BookTube: December Wrap Up

After realizing that I had already made my Goodreads goal, I changed my reading pace in December since between Andrew and I, we have a lot of family to spend time with over the holidays so the days of relaxing and reading during that time seem to be over.  I ended up reading a total of seven books in December.  Some were new favorites, some were okay and one was pretty terrible.  What were your favorite and least favorite books you read this month?

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Kristin

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