Monday, May 22, 2017

The Fashion Committee Tour and Giveaway- Review & Book Looks

Hey everyone!!  I'm proud to be part of THE FASHION COMMITTEE by Susan Juby Blog Tour.  Books and Fashion are my 2 faves ever, so when they are combined, I am basically one HAPPY chick.  This book comes out TOMORROW (5/22/17), so lookout for it because it's fun!!

Note: I was provided a copy of The Fashion Committee by Penguin Teen as a #PRHPartner to read and spotlight this book.

Book Summary:

"The Fashion Committee is another winner by one of my all time favorite authors."--Meg Cabot, New York Times bestselling author of the The Princess Diaries and Mediator series.

Charlie Dean is a style-obsessed girl who eats, sleeps, and breathes fashion. John Thomas-Smith is a boy who forges metal sculptures in his garage and couldn't care less about clothes. Both are gunning for a scholarship to the private art high school that could make all their dreams come true. Whoever wins the fashion competition will win the scholarship--and only one can win. 

Told in the alternating voices of Charlie's and John's journals, this hilarious and poignant YA novel perfectly captures what it's like to have an artistic drive so fierce that nothing--not your dad's girlfriend's drug-addicted ex-boyfriend, a soul-crushing job at Salad Stop, or being charged with a teensy bit of kidnapping--can stand in your way. 

With black and white art custom-created by fashion and beauty illustrator Soleil Ignacio, the book is a collector's item, perfect for anyone with a passion for fashion.

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes | Book Depository

This book took me by complete surprise!!  I wasn't sure what I was expecting going into it, but it became this fun, entertaining, happy little daffodil of a book for me.

First, we have Charlie Dean.  She's--- well, she's odd and driven and lives for fashion.  When I first started the book, I wasn't sure I was going to like Charlie and I kind of understood why she didn't have many (or any) friends.  But after a while, her quirks and optimism grew on me.  Also, she's brutally honest and it's hard for me to fault someone for that kind of honesty.

I really liked Charlie's backstory and her relationship with her addict father.  She wasn't angry at him like a lot of kids would be in that situation.  She had clarity and vision that was beyond her years, and I think that's when I really started rooting for her.

Next, there was John-- he was flawed for sure.  He's not into fashion, but wants to go to Green Pastures Art School for metal work.  I liked him despite his negativity and weaknesses.  I didn't always agree with his actions, but he had redeemable qualities that made up for them.

What I wanted more of:  FASHION.  So yes, this is a book about a fashion show, and we DO get descriptions of what goes down the runway-- but I wanted outfits throughout.  There is some description of Charlie Dean's suits that she always wore, but after a while I got bored with those.  If she's so fashionable, why is she always wearing the same thing?

The ending also didn't blow me away.  This book felt a little like a Cinderella story and I didn't get my fairy tale ending.

OVERALL: The perfect book for a Project Runway junkie like myself.  It's the story of teens competing for a fashion school scholarship and what they're willing to do to win.  It somehow took 2 unlikable characters and made them people you want to succeed.  Definitely recommend!

My Rating: 4.5/5

The Fashion Committee- Cover Based Book Look

  • I was originally going to do looks from the book-- but since there weren't that many, I decided to do a Book Look based on the cover.

The Fashion Committee- Charlie Dean

  • Here's a Book Look for Charlie Dean's character.  She likes to wear suits because she likes to dress for her destiny.  I totally picture her making Chanel inspired designs and pencil skirts with asymmetrical hems.

  • Finally, this Book Look is for John Thomas-Smith.  It's my vision for his runway design for ten-year-old Esther.  His sportswear-meets-welding art was cool to envision.

Week One:
May 22 – Pink Polka Dot Books – Review & Book Look 
May 23 – The Fandom 
May 25 – Here’s to Happy Endings – Review   
May 26 – Andi’s ABCs – Favorite Etsy Fashion Illustrations
Week Two:
May 29 – Swoony Boys Podcast – Dreamcast 
May 30 – Paper Trail YA – Review + Setlist
June 1 – The Hardcover Lover – TBT: Fashion Crafting in High School
June 2 – YA Romantics – Review + Fashion Quiz

  • Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of The Fashion Committee by Susan Juby (ARV: $16.99 each). 
  • NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on May 22, 2017 and 12:00 AM on June 5, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about June 7, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Let's Talk About Book Boyfriends-- and why it's okay to have them

Here I go again talking about something that I probably should leave alone.  It's been on my mind recently though, so I'm just going to do it anyway--

So I saw a thing on Twitter where someone was saying how gross it was that us non-teen bloggers be crushing on the boys in the teen books that we love.  Now, if I squint really hard, I can see how some people might find this odd.  But the person tweeting this came off as if us YA book lovers are pedophiles for swooning over the boys in the books.  And WOW, I have stuff to say about that.

Let me tell you where I'm coming from:

So, upon reading books like My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick and The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, I had total feels for the boys in the books.  I instantly wanted Jase and Adam (don't judge) to be my book boyfriends.  Total book boy crushes.

The thing is-- I'm not picturing my 30-something-year-old adult self being romantic with those dudes.  I don't WISH they were real 16-17 year-old boys that I could get with.  NO!!!  I'm picturing my TEEN self as having a crush on them.


I don't think there is anything wrong with wishing that you had a Sam from The Creeping or a St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss in your TEENAGE life.  Or wishing that you were now dating the grown-up version of these guys.

Also, sometimes I just crush on boys for the girls in the book.  As in-- I totally crushed on KENT in Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver FOR Sam.

So, to the people who don't "get" that adults can read and like YA-- and that we can also like the boys in the books in a non-creepy way--- I want to tell you WE CAN and WE DO!!

Let's Talk:
What do YOU think about Adults reading YA romance and enjoying it??  Do you think it's gross to envision your teen self crushing on people in the books?

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Welcome to the FFBC- The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari

The Best Kind of Magic

by Crystal Cestari
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy
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Amber Sand is not a witch. The Sand family Wicca gene somehow leapfrogged over her. But she did get one highly specific magical talent: she can see true love. As a matchmaker, Amber's pretty far down the sorcery food chain (even birthday party magicians rank higher), but after five seconds of eye contact, she can envision anyone's soul mate.

Amber works at her mother's magic shop--Windy City Magic--in downtown Chicago, and she's confident she's seen every kind of happy ending there is: except for one--her own. (The Fates are tricky jerks that way.) So when Charlie Blitzman, the mayor's son and most-desired boy in school, comes to her for help finding his father's missing girlfriend, she's distressed to find herself falling for him. Because while she can't see her own match, she can see his--and it's not Amber. How can she, an honest peddler of true love, pursue a boy she knows full well isn't her match?

The Best Kind of Magic is set in urban Chicago and will appeal to readers who long for magic in the real world. With a sharp-witted and sassy heroine, a quirky cast of mystical beings, and a heady dose of adventure, this novel will have you laughing out loud and questioning your belief in happy endings.

Hello Crystal! We are super excited to have you in our FFBC tours.


Favorite Book?

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was the first book that made me want to be a writer.

Favorite TV show?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with Veronica Mars in a very close second.

Favorite movie?

I love the Pride and Prejudice remake with Kiera Knightly. It is such a beautiful adaptation of one of my favorite stories.

Favorite Song?

“Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson is still my karaoke jam.

Favorite Food?

Ice cream, preferably Ben and Jerry’s

Name 3 fictional places you would move to in a heartbeat.

Hogwarts (obvs), Neverland, Stars Hollow.

What were your favorite books growing up? (I was a Fear Street girl!)

I loved anything by Roald Dahl and Beverly Cleary, and read all The Babysitter’s Club books. When I got a little older, I tore through the Goosebumps series, which makes me laugh because now I can’t handle anything scary!

Favorite Quote?

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” Dr. Seuss

What are your fandoms?

Disney, Buffy, and Harry Potter are forever cemented in my fangirl heart. In the past few years I’ve gotten into comics more, and a recent obsession is Squirrel Girl.

Who is your favorite fictional boyfriend (or girlfriend)?

Peeta Mellark—that boy will keep you safe AND bake you bread. Done and done.


Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about THE BEST KIND OF MAGIC?

This story is about Amber Sand, whose family line dates back to Salem, but she herself is not a witch. She did get one very specific magical talent though, in that she can actually see true love. Amber is a matchmaker, but her life is not all turtle doves and happy endings. Her Cupid’s arrow gets her in trouble quite often, but no matter what, she never gives up fighting for what she believes in.

I love books/movies/TV shows with a magical element to them. What is your favorite movie or TV show or song that has the witches and/or magic in them?

Buffy was the first show to bring out the fangirl in me, and it opened me up to the magical world in a new way. Before watching this show, it always seemed like mystical creatures could only exist in the past or in far away lands, but these were real people learning to live with supernatural consequences in their everyday lives. Willow’s journey with witchcraft and Buffy’s struggle with her slayer powers definitely shaped aspects of The Best Kind of Magic, as Amber and her best friend, Amani, both have their own conflicts with their magical abilities.

Besides reading, writing, and blogging, I love fashion!! How would you describe Amber’s style?

Amber’s style is very low key: t-shirts, jeans, sneakers. Most of the time she’s either wearing her school uniform or something that’s work appropriate, so she doesn’t spend much time thinking about how she’s dressed. Her standout style point is her hair, which she’s dyed with peacock blue and green streaks.

How did you come up with the story? Did you find inspiration in any other story/movie/show and how has this affected your writing?

Without a doubt, Buffy is a huge influence for me, not only for the stuff about monsters and magic, but also the group dynamic of the Scooby gang. I really wanted Amber’s mystical community to feel authentic, and to showcase the different relationships and dynamics of what it means to have a gift like no one else. Harry Potter, The Vampire Diaries, and Emma also played in here; watching a matchmaker pair up couples in an enchanting world is definitely a mash up of my love of romance and magical realism.

Tell us your favorite quote from THE BEST KIND OF MAGIC.

“Only crazy people and Satan don’t like frosting.” – Amber ☺

Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write? Or which part was the most difficult to get through?

Any scene where Amber gets to show off her sassy personality was fun for me since I could live vicariously through her funny one-liners, but one of my favorite scenes was during a dance party at Navy Pier, where she works. Although Amber has no problem intervening on other people’s love lives, she’s very guarded with her own, so when a boy she’s having complicating feelings for asks her to dance, she isn’t quite sure what to do. I like this point of the story because she starts letting her guard down, and we begin to see a different side.

Are there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read THE BEST KIND OF MAGIC (specific music, snacks…)?

Amber aspires to be a professional baker, so there are many mentions of pastries and treats throughout the book. I spent a lot of time looking up recipes and sampling different desserts while I was writing (it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it!). Enjoying a cupcake while turning the pages would be a perfect fit!

What’s next for you?

The sequel, The Sweetest Kind of Fate, debuts February 2018, and I am always scribbling away on new story ideas. ☺

Thank you so much for everything, Crystal!

Thank you so much for featuring my book! It means so much to me! ☺ - Crystal 

With rainbows in my hair and stories in my head, I am a writer drawn to magic in the everyday world.

My debut novel, The Best Kind of Magic, arrives May 16, 2017 from Hyperion. Follow Amber Sand, a magical matchmaker who can actually see true love, as she takes off on a fun and romantic adventure toward happily ever after.

  • 1 Finished Copy of THE BEST KIND OF MAGIC by Crystal Cestari
  • US/Canada Only
  • Each tour stop will be giving away a copy of the book
  • Each winner is only eligible to win one book on the tour
  • Runs through May 31st
  • Please read the Rules and Regs in the Rafflecopter

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday-- Frustrating Moms in YA

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 (May 16th) I'm one of them :)

Today's Topic

Mother's Day Freebie!! Top Ten Most Frustrating Moms in YA Books

  • I tried to go with mom's that aren't absentee and mom's that aren't completely abusive (although I see one exception to both of those already--oops!!)

1.  Ask the Passengers by A.S. King- Astrid's mom was pretty awful.  She was around, but she was pushy, and judgmental, and not a mom Astrid felt like she could talk to.

2.  Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry- Echo and her mom had a completely messed up relationship-- and no one would even tell her the half of it!!  I felt bad that she missed her mom, yet didn't know the truth of why she wasn't allowed to see her.

3.  Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty- Jessica Darling and her mom just don't click.  It was frustrating to read about because it felt very much like Jessica's sister was favored by the mother and Jessica was just 2nd best.

4.  The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen- I could probably have every Sarah Dessen book on here as she likes to write about complicated Mother/Daughter relationships.  In this book, the mom and Macy haven't been on the same page since the father died, and OMG I just wanted to shake the mother and just say "would you just STOP AND LISTEN TO YOUR DAUGHTER!!  And like, really HEAR her!!!".

5.  What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen- McLean and her mom have a strained relationship at best.  They barely see each other, but it's definitely something that drives McLean in her life as a "reinventor".  Since what the mom did was so life-altering, I thought she should have been the one to try harder-- so maddening.

6.  Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett- This mom deals with her problems by NOT dealing with her daughter.  I was not a fan.

7.  Emmy & Oliver by Robin Fenway- Both mothers in this book were good moms-- the thing is, they each had their ISSUES.  Emmy's mom was psycho over-protective, wanting to make all of Emmy's life decisions for her.  Oliver's mom was overly-emotional and pushing for everything to be "better" when it just wasn't going to happen that easy.

8.  After the Woods by Kim Savage- Liv's mom was the worst.

9.  Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler- Hudson's mom!!!!  I mom-raged reading this book.  Her mom made her pay bills, wouldn't let her pursue her dreams, and basically BLAMES Hudson for her own marriage failing.  Hey lady, you suck!!

10.  My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick- Sam's mom.  I think I give her the award for most frustrating-- she's a liar and a fake, and really only cares about herself.

What MOMS made your lists this week?

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Grit by Gillian French-- Darcy Prentiss is totally book BFF material

Darcy Prentiss is a girl with a bad reputation.  Things aren't made better when she's nominated for the Bay Festival Queen and must participate or break her sweet cousin Nell's heart.

As her, her sister, and Nell work in the blueberry fields for the summer, questions about what happened last summer start to surface.  Darcy's ex-best friend disappeared and the police are sure that she knows something about it.  The truth is, Darcy is hiding something-- but that something is a secret between her and Nell, and it's one she won't break.

I've been interested in this book ever since I first heard about it.  I mean, it has all the ingredients that make this something I would like: "town slut" issues- CHECK, secrets- CHECK, beauty queen pageant- CHECK, a missing girl/murder mystery- CHECK.

The synopsis mis-led me a little though, because while I was expecting this to be a mystery/suspense book, it was more a coming-of-age/character study book.  Which, I'm fine with, but I was hoping the mystery aspect was bigger.

So let's talk about what I liked about this book because I did really like it.

The Atmosphere.  I loved reading about this small, dusty, agricultural town in Maine.  It was interesting to read about these girls who were farming for the summer!!  I'm sure there are lots of people who do this, but I've never really read about any of them, so points for being different!!

Darcy.  As main characters go, Darcy ranks up there with some of my very favorites.  She's smart and tough and fearless.  I loved the relationships that she had with her sister and cousin (they were like the 3 musketeers), and the complicated relationship she had with her mom and aunt.  It felt real.

So much of this book was about Darcy dealing with her past.  The past she had with the missing girl, the past she's had with guys, and the past her dad left her.  I liked that she was a wild card-- you never knew which direction she was going to head in, and I liked that she stuck to her guns.  Darcy is not going to change who she is because you don't like her.  She's unapologetic about that-- and I loved that about her.

Nell was also a stand-out character.  She was portrayed as innocent and sweet-- a girl that has a learning disability and is sheltered and watched over.  I knew she had more in her than that, and I was glad I wasn't wrong.  I think Nell is going to have a lot of life to live, and I think she's going to live it-- someday...

The romance was my least favorite part.  I didn't really "get" the appeal of Jesse.  He was just a guy, and was pretty much just there so we could see how bad the other guys talked about Darcy.  There wasn't anything wrong with the romance, I just wasn't wowed by it.

OVERALL: It wasn't as mysteryful as I was hoping for, but that turned out to be not a problem.  The atmosphere and coming-of-age story was more than enough to hold my interest.  I definitely recommend, and I'll definitely be reading more from Gillian French!!

Date Published: 5/16/2017
How I got this book: Thanks to HarperTeen for providing me a copy to read and honestly review.
Publisher: HarperTeen

Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating: 4/5

Character: Darcy Prentiss
Book: The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

  • Small town + girl with a "reputation" + mean girls = totally something Darcy would relate to.

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