Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday- DIY Halloween Costumes

Top Ten Tuesday is a really cool original feature/weekly meme created over at The Broke and The Bookish. Each week they post a new Top Ten List that bloggers join in on answering... and today (October 25th) I'm one of them :)

Today's Topic

Top Ten DIY Halloween Costumes

  • So last year I put together some YA/Bookish Costumes (which if you're still looking for costume ideas you should totally check out), but this year I was coming up short on bookish ideas.  Since I love putting outfits together, I decided to come up with some fun random costumes that aren't going to be hard to get gathered up (either with stuff you own, or stuff you can easily and cheaply find at a store).  Hope you enjoy!!



  • Because I'm obsessed with all things 90's, I absolutely HAD to have some 90's characters on this list.  Daria is one of my favorite characters ever, and I can vividly remember watching her on MTV on school nights back in middle school.  The volleyball scene in the opening credits--- that was SO me IRL.
  • Putting this costume together is SUPER easy.  Everything she wears is pretty basic-- and if you've ever cosplayed Harry Potter, I've just found you a 2nd use for those glasses!



  • Ballerinas are so pretty!!  And I love tulle, so this is a win-win for me.  AND I have those flats, so I could totally do this costume in a second.... but I really want those heels!



  • I SO want to be a unicorn for Halloween one of these years-- solely for the makeup!!  Also, I've found a bunch of horn-making tutorials on YouTube and it looks really easy-- so if you can't find a horn, you could always make one!



  • This is my take on a modern day Mary Poppins.  I have jeans just like this AND I also have a ruffly button-down & Mary Janes, so I could totally roll this one out!!  I need to find a carpet-bag though, because that MAKES the outfit.



  • Another loosely-based costume.  Also, if you can't find a polka dot dress, you could always buy a cheap white one and paint spots on it.



  • This isn't any Britney-- this is ORIGINAL Britney!!  Hit Me Baby One More Time Britney :)  SO easy to do!


  • When I was little, my mom showed me her Barbie (the only Barbie she owned as a kid) and I never forgot how cool she was.  This is the FIRST Barbie ever made, so I think it would be an awesome costume-- especially if you live somewhere warm.



  • Since reading is MY superpower, I decided to make a Superhero Reader-- meet Super Reader Girl!!  Plus, it gives you an excuse to use all those bookish accessories you know you've been stalking Etsy for.



  • Another 90's favorite of mine!!  I was OBSESSED with Pee-Wee's Playhouse as a kid.  No clue why-- maybe it was the "secret word"... or maybe it was his awesome bike on Pee-Wee's Big Adventure?? Anyway, here's a girly version of this 90's icon.  PS-- this REALLY makes me want to dance to the song Tequila!!



  • "In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines."  Finally, a BOOKISH costume!!  I loved Madeline as a kid and would love to dress up in a modern version of her!

I don't know what I'm doing for Halloween this year (besides taking my boy Trick or Treating)... but I really want to do something because I LOVE dressing up.  If I do, I'll probably dress up as one of these 10 because I do own a lot of the stuff I featured... and they're so fun!!

If you were going to be one of these, which one would you pick? 

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wrecked by Maria Padian-- Frustrating Characters Made Me Like This Even More

When Jenny and Haley become roommates Freshman year, they don't really click.  Haley is a soccer star and is super busy with the team and college life.  Jenny is an introvert and very focused on her academics.

Then-- Haley suffers a career ending injury and Jenny goes to a party where something truly terrible happens to her.  When Jenny decides to file a complaint with the university for sexual assault, she asks Haley to help her through it.

Haley feels overwhelmed and on top of it, she's started seeing a guy who happens to be living with Jenny's accused.

An interesting look at how a college handles sexual assault and how 2 students find themselves in the middle of it.

I really wanted to read this book because it's not often that there's a book set in college that is about something of substance.  I'm not going to go on a New Adult rant, but seriously there are so many important stories about the college experience that aren't getting told (I'm thinking more books like Fangirl and less books like Beautiful Disaster).

So, I was very interested to read a book about something as important as sexual assault on college campus.  I don't have all my facts in line, but it's something like a quarter of women will be victims of sexual assault during their college career.  And with the whole Brock Turner injustice happening recently.... well, books like this couldn't be more important.

Having said all that, this book gave me such odd feelings.  I could not put the book down, but I felt so complicated about the characters. I felt like almost every single one was equally sympathetic and aggravating. I don't have to like the characters to like the book, which was sort of the case here, but it felt weird to feel so many different feelings towards the victim. The bottom line is no one should have to go through what Jenny went through, whether I love her as a person or not.  That in of itself made me feel icky because I WANTED to love her as a person and I just couldn't... which is kind of messed up of me, but it was how I was feeling!!  (See what I mean??  That's totally icky)

I kind of think that this book became more interesting because of the frustrating characters.  Haley was put in this really uncomfortable position of being Jenny's sole confidant when they weren't really friends at all beforehand.  But she didn't just roll with it and came off as selfish at times.  Richard (the guy who lives with Jenny's rapist) was shown as the ignorant guy-- always saying offensive stuff, but not really knowing why it was offensive.  And then there's Carrie.  She's this uber-feminist woman who Richard has a fling with pre-Jenny situation, but ultimately she became almost the villain of this book because of how harsh she was.

If I could change anything about this book it would definitely be Carrie.  Her portrayal to me just enforces femi-nazi stereotypes that feminists are man-hating and unlikable and hard-headed.  I also am a tad bit over the over-sensitivity of our society, and this book spotlights it.  There's a lot of freaking out about things that Richard says that, yes most of it was super-dumb and inappropriate.  Maybe I'm crazy, but to stop and have like a LESSON over it just feels a little contrived.  People say dumb stuff all the time, and I just CAN'T stop every time it happens and have a reaction to it.

The hardest part for me was just realizing how hard it was for Jenny to prove her case.  There was alcohol involved, the attack wasn't videotaped or photographed, and her grasp of all the details were foggy.  BUT SO WHAT!!!  It supremely sucks that we live in a culture that it has to be a perfect case for a rape victim to be believed and get justice.

OVERALL:  Really great, unputdownable book that made me feel really conflicted about every single character.  I loved the way the process was shown and it was super sad to see how hard it is for victims to just be believed.  I think we need a lot more books like this!!  It made me feel uncomfortable and I'm pretty sure that was the whole point.

Date Published: 10/4/2016
How I got this book: Thanks to Netgalley and Algonquin Young Readers for allowing me to read and honestly review this book.
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Add it to your To-Read List!!

This Book Contains:
  • College
  • Sexual Assault
  • Dorms
  • Parties
  • Alcohol/Drug use
  • Sports
  • Family problems
  • Stigma

My Rating: 4/5

Character: Richard
Book: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • I think Richard could really use a book like this-- about women becoming useful to society only as baby-makers-- because it shows the dangers of too much power in a patriarchal society.  Also, maybe he could gain a little perspective on Carrie and her friends.

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Monday, October 17, 2016

Why Do We Read YA?

My friend Cassi and I were talking recently about HIGH SCHOOL and how when we were there we both knew that it definitely wasn't "the best times of our lives", and how we knew there was so much better to come once we could finally get out of there.....

So at that point we looked at each other and were like:

Why Read YA??

It got me to thinking why exactly do I read almost exclusively Contemporary Young Adult books when most of them are set in high schools?  Isn't that sort of odd given that I didn't really love my own high school experience?

I don't want to over-exaggerate   I didn't have it bad in high school.  I had friends and sure, I had some fun.  But mostly, I had to go out of my way to make my own fun because the rebel inside of me wanted more than what I was being offered.  I also have quite a few bad memories of high school.  Girls being mean, boys being immature and heart-breaky, teachers not giving a shit, and me not knowing who the hell I was.

So why do I want to go back there when I'm escaping in a book?

1.  I like the flow and feel of YA
  • There's just something about the way typical YA is written that hooks me.  Yes it's about high school, and sometimes YES I am reminded of things I'd rather not think about.... but mostly I get so into the characters and the plot that I'm not thinking about myself very much.
2.  Maybe the pain is good??
  • The most emotional reading moments for me are the moments when the character makes me feel understood.  When something happens in the book that reminds me of something that happened to me or some feeling that I have had.... and I instantly feel this overwhelming sense that I'm not alone in this world.  That those insecurities that I've had or that mistake that I made.... well, other people have and make them too.
3.  Even though I hated high school, I still like reading about those formative years.
  • It's so interesting to me to read about those years where things just MATTER so damn much.  Things that happen to us as teens really have a big impact on making us who we are.  I'm not saying people  "figure out who they are" during those years because let's be honest, I'm still trying to figure it out, but I think those years are formative and important.
  • I look at Adult books sometimes when I'm at the bookstore and library and I get SO bored.  Adult books just seem SO rigid.  There's the Murder Mystery Detective books, the Sci-Fi, the Cozy Mysteries, the Romance.  It all feels very formulatic.  I'm not saying there's not those creative books in Adult, but I'm saying that YA books are about so much.  Maybe I'm off on this, but the subjects and the way the stories are told in YA just feel a lot more free-er to be unique than Adult.
5.  Adulting isn't very fun :(
  • I really like my life, but UGHH working and being responsible for another human life, and bills, and animals, and marriage, and the harshness of the "real world"-- it really makes me want to escape.  The last thing I want to read about is someone who has all those same responsibilities.  I just don't wanna.

Let's Talk:
If you read and love YA, but didn't love your own high school experience-- why do you think that is??  Isn't it kind of odd that we would revisit those years time and time again when we really didn't love it ourselves?????  What do you think about this?

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Adventure Ends by Emma Mills-- Hearteyes Emoji For Friendship

Sloane has moved to Florida from NYC with her "Nicholas Sparks"-like author father.  She's never been a girl with many friends, but here in this small beach town (straight out of one of her father's novels), she finds a group of people that become a family to her.... even if she doesn't believe she knows how to be the kind of friend these people deserve.

There's-- Vera: the social media socialite.  Gabe: Vera's moody twin brother.  Remy: Heartbroken over a confusing break-up and fellow Were School watcher.  Aubrey: The standoffish other half of the break-up.  Frank: Host of all hosts.

When the twin's deceased mother's painting gets accidentally stolen, Sloane hatches a secret plan to get it back for them.

Magical.  That's the word I'm going with to describe this book.  This book wormed its way into my heart in a way that usually doesn't happen for me with a book that isn't about something devastating.  What I mean is, this book isn't about DEEP issues.  It won't hurt your heart, but ughhh it's still full of so much feeling.... magical friendship feeling.

This one started off slow for me.  At first I wasn't really sure what it was about besides "here's another new girl and her dad is in some massive writing slump."  Around 1/3rd of the way through it started taking shape, and by halfway I was fully invested in this adorable, beautiful friend group.

The Cover:  Now I need to stop and bask in the glory of that beautiful, epic cover.  DO YOU EVEN SEE THAT??  It's SO pretty AND has meaning in the book.  Basically, I'm just in love.

My Favorite Character:  Sloane's dad.  He writes Nicholas Sparks-type romance books but is going through a whole writing-life crisis.  In the midst of this crisis he becomes obsessed with this teen show called Were School, and from there he gets into reading (and writing) fan fiction, and the journey of him finding his new writing path was hilarious and endearing.  Also, the relationship between Sloane and her dad was one of the best parts of the book.

The one teeny tiny thing I would change:  The ending.  I thought it did this weird thing where there was too much reflection while also making me feel like BOOM IT'S OVER all of sudden.  I honestly don't think I've ever read an ending that made me feel like it was dragging while also not even knowing it was over until I went to turn the page and there were no more.

I SO want everyone to read this book.  I think it's the perfect mix of having the ability to make you feel, without making you sad or emotionally drained.  There is a small romantic storyline in this book, but mostly it's just about friendship.  And really, how many YA books are centered on friendship in a positive way?  I know I always have trouble finding them.

OVERALL:  LOVED this adorable book that made me feel so many positive emotions about friendship.  This book is all about the characters and I loved each and every one of them.  I will so be on the lookout for any and everything Emma Mills does in the future.  If you're wondering if you should try it-- the answer is YES!!

Date Published: 10/4/2016
How I got this book: Thanks to Netgalley and Henry Holt and Company for allowing me to read and honestly review this book.  Also, I own it :)
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (Macmillan)

Add it to your To-Read List!!

This Book Contains:
  • Friendship
  • An bestselling author character
  • Fan Fiction
  • The beach
  • Bonfires
  • Florida touristy setting
  • Small amounts of romance
  • Family problems
  • Death of a parent
  • Road trip
  • Drinking/Parties
  • A winter dance

My Rating: 5/5

Character: Everett Finch aka Michael Finch
Book: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

  • Because of his new-found love and obsession with Fan Fiction, I want Mr. Finch to read about Cath's journey to find herself as a writer through Fanfic.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Reading Fast Maybe Isn't That Good For Me

I'm a reader and always have been.  What I've learned from that is that the saying practice makes perfect isn't always true.  You see, just because I love to read and do it as often as possible, doesn't mean that I'm a fast reader.... because I'm not.

Confession:  I'm a book blogger and I read slow.

I would LOVE to be able to read a book every one or two days, but the sad truth is-- even if I devote all of my free time to reading, I'm never reading more than 1 or 2 books per week.  Even on vacation when I read for hours upon hours on the beach, I only finished 2 1/2 books.  And one of those books was MG.

At this point it is what it is... I think I'm at max speed, and after all these years, I don't see myself suddenly being able to do it faster.  I'm okay with that.

The Thing Is:  It makes book blogging hard sometimes.  Because I have weeks where I didn't finish a book and so there's no review to write.  I've never been "ahead" on my blogging schedule with book reviews in my queue.  So I post what I can, when I can.

A Weird Thing Happened: This summer I unexpectedly got ahead.  

Right now I have 5 books that I already read and haven't reviewed yet.  This legit has not happened to me in 4 years of blogging.  I always wanted to be ahead on my reading and yet..... now I really don't WANT to write those reviews!!  Like, I want to share about those books, but I'm into the books I'm reading NOW.  The books I read last month or even the month before that I haven't reviewed yet are so far out of my brain that I don't even know if I'll be able to come up with enough things to say about them.

What I Learned: I am infinitely more passionate about a book and have so much more to say about it right after I finish reading.  

When a few books go by and I still haven't reviewed the book, apparently I get into this funk where I'm just kind of over it.  I don't remember all the little details any more and my feelings about the characters and plot feels diluted.  So yeah-- I really need to go back to my old way of reading 1 book and reviewing 1 book at a time. 

P.S.-- Reading faster would still be cool.  Me and my TBR are really jealous of you guys who can read 100-200 books per year!!

Let's Talk:
When you write reviews do you write them immediately after you finish??  If not, do you find yourself (like me) not having the passion to write them after time has passed?

What is your reading/reviewing process?

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