Tuesday, December 15, 2015

REVIEW--Daughter of Deep Silence

My friend Emily at The Gnoming Librarian beat me to a review on Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan, so go check her review out!

Emily and I listened to this book together on our way down to YallFest.  We wanted to listen to books by YallFest authors, and I indeed got to meet Carrie Ryan!

However...I wasn't a fan of this book.  Let's discuss.
  • Standalone novel
  • Mystery/Realistic

The Gist:
A cruise ship called Persephone doesn't make it to its destination, and all but three passengers survive the devastation.  Survivor Frances Mace knows that the ship was attacked by armed men, but the other two survivors--a wealthy politician and his son--lie to the media and say the ship was capsized by a rogue wave.  Frances is now out for revenge and will stop at nothing to avenger her family and best friend's death.

What I Loved:
  • I loved the concept of the book--a girl seeking revenge without fully knowing the truth behind the cruise ship's destruction.
  • I love the TV show Revenge, so it's fun to see the tricks Frances has up her sleeve when trying to uncover the secrets.
What I Didn't Love:
  • The cover.  Don't get me wrong--the cover is GORGEOUS--but it doesn't fit the book.  It makes the book look historical and romantic...and it's not.
  • This book is really a copy of the TV show Revenge.  Which is disappointing since I thought Ryan's book The Forest of Hands and Teeth was awfully similar to the movie The Village. So it just seemed like a copycat.  There's even a character named Grayson, which is a major name on the TV show.
  • Frances fell HARD for Grayson when they were on the cruise ship for ONE WEEK.  And he fell for her too.  So a few years later they're still pining for each other?  Really?  And maybe it's because I listened to this book on audio, but she sure talked about her love for him A LOT.
  • There were so many plot holes here.  It just wouldn't work.  Frances takes her friend's identity--and successfully fools people--and the media doesn't go crazy when they discover her as a survivor.  I just kept coming across things that wouldn't work in the real world.  Which made the whole book fall apart.
So this one was a blah book for me.  Only 2 stars for me.

What are some recommendations that you have for me?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Pushing the Limits-Inspired Outfit

Happy Monday!  It's my last week of school before Christmas break and I am SO looking forward to a few weeks off to celebrate with friends/family.

Today I'm showing off an outfit that I designed for Echo from Pushing the Limits.  This one was fun to design and I think I got pretty spot-on with it!  And I would TOTALLY wear this outfit, so that's an added bonus. 

Check it out:

Let's dig a little deeper:
  • First, I chose a tunic with long sleeves.  Echo has scars on her arms so long sleeves is a must for her.  This tunic is stylish and Echo's former popularity status would ensure she would have stylish shirts in her wardrobe.  Plus green is the BEST color for redheads. 
  • Skinny jeans.  They're on trend and go perfectly with tunics.
  • Tan booties are a nice complementary color with the olive tunic.
  • Echo wouldn't want to wear bracelets around her wrists (thus drawing attention to her hands/arms), so a headband wrap is a nice accessory that again draws attention to her red hair.
  • Of course the leather jacket.  Noah loans his leather jacket to Echo, and I like the look of this one.  Kind of has that "tough guy" look to it.
 So what do you think?  I love this look--would YOU wear it?

Want to check out each individual piece of the outfit?  See all the details here!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

REVIEW--Pushing the Limits

A few weeks ago I interviewed authors Katie McGarry and Lex Thomas (two guys) for a library conference panel.  And it was amazing!  I loved every minute of it!  They were all so gracious and just plain fun!  You can watch about ten minutes of the panel here:

Today I'm reviewing Katie's book Pushing the Limits.  My students have been obsessing about this book for the past few years and I loved it, too!  I'm not always a big romance fan, but this one was just so great!  Let's jump into the review:

  • First book in the Pushing the Limits series
  • Romance
The Gist:
Echo Emerson used to be super popular...but life has changed.  Her brother died in the Iraq War, her parents divorced and her father married Echo's childhood babysitter, and Echo now has horrific scars on her arms and isn't allowed to see her mother.  And she can't remember why.
Noah Hutchins lost his parents in a house fire and he and his brothers have been separated in foster care.  He would do anything to get his brothers back, but he most deals with it by using girls, doing drugs, and giving adults an attitude.
These two, who have so much to deal with in their own lives, find themselves together in a tutoring session.  And the more they learn about each other, the more they start to fall for each other.

What I Loved:
  • Sure, this is a romance book, and sure, these characters are going to fall in love.  But there was so much depth to them!  This book wasn't the "fluff" that so many romance books get labeled.  I really appreciated that.
  • The romance was good, too.  I mean, it is a romance book after all. :)
  • When you read a romance book, you know the main characters will end up together, but in this book you just don't know how it's going to work out.  I liked that "suspense" part of the plot.
  • I love that Noah told part of the story and Echo told part of the story.  You really get to know the characters intimately this way.
What I Didn't Love:
  •  Noah's pet names for Echo were silly...and cheesy. 
A really enjoyable read and it made meeting Katie even more special!  Four heels for me!

Have you read Pushing the Limits or any of the others in the series?  I'm anxious to read more!

An outfit for Echo coming up tomorrow!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Rebel Belle-Inspired Look

Yesterday I reviewed Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins, a funny yet exciting fantasy book about pretty girl Harper Price getting unexpected (and unwanted) supernatural powers.  The book opens on Homecoming night, when Harper is 99% sure she is going to be crowned queen.  Before all hell breaks loose, of course.

So today's outfit inspiration comes from that Homecoming night.  Harper says she is wearing a pink dress and pearls, so that is where I started with the look.

It's a lovely outfit, and those heels could definitely do some damage (and boy do they!).
  • The light pink dress is lovely.  Feminine, elegant--just like Harper.
  • Harper's bare neckline is dressed up by this chunky pearl necklace.  A trendy style for a classic jewelry piece.  The earrings are small and therefore don't take away from the jewelry.
  • The silver shoes are SO beautiful!  The heels are high but not overwhelming and the color is a lovely correlation to the pink dress.
  • The silver clutch is dainty and sweet.  Just like a southern woman would be, right?
I think this outfit is so sweet--do you think Harper would wear it to Homecoming?

Want to see each piece of the outfit?  See all the details here.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

REVIEW--Rebel Belle

Today's post is a review on Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins.  The cover alone should cause you to stop--isn't it gorgeous?!  Even with a dagger on it!  I listened to this book on audio in November and it was fun and suspenseful.  I can't wait to read the sequel!
  • First book in the Rebel Belle series
  • Fantasy
The Gist:
On Homecoming night, all Harper Price can think about is how she forgot her lip gloss and will need it when she's crowned queen.  But as she's fixing herself up in a bathroom, a custodian and history teacher burst in, fight to the death, and pass the Paladin superpower on to Harper.  A power that makes her super-strong, agile, and lethal.  Not necessarily the most ladylike skill.  And as a Paladin, Harper has to protect David--her everyday enemy.

What I Loved:
  • This book is adorable, fun, and surprising.  The villains are fun and the action is buys.
  • It should be mentioned again that this book is fun.  Who knew killing bad guys could be so fun?  I even laughed out loud.
  • The Southern scene with the Southern characters really came through.  This setting added so much to the plot.
  • If you're going to have a nemesis, it should be someone who beat you in the spelling bee...just saying.
What I Didn't Love:
  • I saw the poisoned punch coming...but I don't think younger readers will.
  • Maybe it's because I was listening to it instead of just reading, but I got a little confused at some of the Paladin/Effers/etc rules and system.  I probably should have re-listened to some parts.   

A really fun read and I can't wait to read the sequel, Miss Mayhem!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Since You've Been Gone-Inspired Outfit

Yesterday was a 5-star review day!  I loved Morgan Matson's Since You've Been Gone and especially all its characters.  It's part realistic, part romance, and all parts fun to read!

Today's outfit is based off Emily, the protagonist.  Around the middle of the book, she attends a gala event and confronts some of the romantic feelings she's starting to have.  And she makes an impression of her love interest in her dress.  So this outfit is all fancy with a little of Emily's simplicity thrown in. 

Here it is:

Here's how I designed it:
  • Emily wears a backless dress, so I chose an elegant backless dress that gives Emily a mature look.  Trust me, there are a lot of immature backless dresses out there!  This one is elegant in color and style.
  • The silver sandals downplay the dress a little.  Emily isn't the kind of girl to run around in heels, so sandals would keep her comfortable.
  • The pearl earrings and tennis bracelet are simple, understated accessories.
So what do you think?  Would you wear an outfit like this to a gala?  Lovely, right?!

Want to find these pieces?  Check out all the outfit details here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

REVIEW--Since You've Been Gone

There are some authors that I just can't keep on the shelf in my library, and Morgan Matson is definitely one of them!  Amy and Roger's Epic Detour is NEVER in the library because word is always spreading about it.  But I recently read Since You've Been Gone and think it is my new favorite Matson book!  Check out my review!

  • Realistic/Romance
  • Standalone book
The Gist:
Emily and Sloane are a package deal.  But anyone will tell you that Emily rides on Sloane's coattails...everyone notices Sloane and then notices Emily behind her.  When Sloane and her parents disappear, Emily feels completely lost.  But then Emily finds a list of tasks that Sloane has left for her and she believes that if she completes the list, she will find where Sloane and her family went.  But the tasks aren't easy.  Skinny dipping?  Kissing a stranger?

What I Loved:
  • The characters!  Frank, Collins, Dawn, Emily--there was so much depth to all of them.
  • I loved the organization/chronology of the book.  The chapters are organized by tasks with various flashbacks thrown in.
  • All of the characters were fully explored.  There were no "weak" characters.
  • I was completely wrapped up in the plot.
  • At first I didn't like Sloane, but her character pulled through for me by the end. 
What I Didn't Love:
  • The title...Kelly Clarkson, anyone?
A really enjoyable read for me--so much to love in this one!  I don't always enjoy realistic but this one really grabbed me--5 stars for me!  And tomorrow I'm sharing a fancy pants outfit that Emily might have worn to a gala!