Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Turn of the Season | Hello, Fall • Autumn Bucket List

I cannot tell you guys how thrilled I am to collaborate with my friend Kristin of Super Space Chick to bring you Turn of the Season, an event that celebrates our love of our two favorite seasons - summer and autumn. We'll be looking back at the summer that's passed, as well as looking ahead at the autumn to come, and we hope you enjoy coming along for the ride!

Autumn is upon us! (Or very nearly upon us, since apparently, it starts on September 22.) But I'm more than ready for plaids, flannel, darker shades of red, gold and blue, candles, cozy sweaters and fluffy blankets, all things apple, cooler weather, shorter days and lots of holiday celebrations to come. We thought it'd be a fun idea to share our fall bucket lists with you all today! So, without further ado, here are the seven things I would most like to do this fall.

Visit Central Park when the leaves change. I don't go to Central Park as often as I'd like to, but I usually try to go and visit when the fall foliage is at its peak. I definitely want to make that a priority this year, since the sight is always so beautiful (and often stirs up all of my feels too). I'd love to try and make it to Bear Mountain too, if I'm able!

Attend New York Comic Con. Macky and I attended NYCC for the first time last year, and it was a glorious experience for both us. While it's only in recent years that my true fangirl self has made an appearance, I have embraced it wholeheartedly and NYCC is one of the best places to feed the fandom. (Check out last year's vlog and haul!) (We also happen to be attending Anime Con and I am so excited for that!)

Read all the series books. Hi, my name is Alexa, and I'm notorious for avoiding (most) series books these days. I've seriously been avoiding the final books, (*coughs* The Winner's Kiss, The Beauty of Darkness, The Raven King, A Million Worlds with You), the sequels (*coughs* A Torch Against the Night, The Hammer of Thor, Now I Rise, Royal Tour, The Long Game) and the starters (*coughs* Stalking Jack the Ripper, Strange the Dreamer, Heir to Sevenwaters, Shadowfell, A Darker Shade of Magic) for majority of this year. Since most of these are fantasy, I figured waiting until fall could be my (fake but totally plausible) excuse for not getting to them yet this year. Here's to hoping I read at least half of the books on this list!

Write for NaNoWriMo. I originally toyed with the idea of saying that I'd write a full novel. But I just don't see that realistically happening, since I'm still simmering some of my ideas (especially the newest one) and doing some other research. But I do want to join in on NaNoWriMo, so I'll definitely be writing during November! I'll likely either be tentatively starting the WIP I'm currently working on in my head or continuing with the fan fic I've been writing since February of this year.

Bake an apple pie. I have never made a pie before in my life, if I'm being completely honest. But there's just something about the idea of baking one, especially in this season when apple picking is a popular activity, that appeals to me. If you guys have any pie recipes to recommend to me, I'd be happy to check them out! (Wish me luck, as I've only get very basic cooking skills.)

Make my own candles. I love supporting all of the candle shops I love (Also, quick aside, but I've been chosen as a term rep for Canterbury Road Co, which means you can use ALEXA17 on your order to get a discount, yay!), but I would like to experiment with making some of my own candles. There are a few specific ones I'd be interested in trying to do, and luckily, I have Macky and a couple of friends (Kristin included) who are totally into the idea!

Have a cozy anime binge day. I'm a huge fan of binge watching anime series (which is how I finished Naruto and Naruto Shippuden in under half a year despite the bazillion episodes), so I definitely want to set aside a weekend where all I do is binge watch one of the anime series I've been meaning to start or rewatch. I definitely plan on having a hot drink, a cozy blanket and some delicious snacks on hand too!

Friends, those are the seven things that I'm hoping to do during the autumn season! I would love to be able to cross all of them off of my list, but only time will tell if I'm able. What's on your fall bucket list?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Turn of the Season | Goodbye, Summer • Fave Summer Memories

I cannot tell you guys how thrilled I am to collaborate with my friend Kristin of Super Space Chick to bring you Turn of the Season, an event that celebrates our love of our two favorite seasons - summer and autumn. We'll be looking back at the summer that's passed, as well as looking ahead at the autumn to come, and we hope you enjoy coming along for the ride!

It's been such a wonderful summer, friends. I've been so lucky! I have had the best time hanging out with family and friends, and making memories that I'll cherish forever. As part of this weeklong event, we wanted to take the opportunity to look back on some of our favorite summer memories. I'm sharing nine of mine today! Again, we're tackling anything we happened to do in the months of June, July and August.

Book Expo America & BookCon | I had the incredible privilege of being able to attend both BEA and BookCon this year! It's always such a fun experience to interact with the lovely folks who work so hard to bring us such amazing books, the authors who write said books and the folks who love books of all genres with a passion. I had a great time visiting publisher booths, attending a few special events and, best of all, I got to spend lots of time hanging out with Kristin! (If you wanted to see what I got up to, here are my BEA day one vlog, my BEA days two and three vlog, my BookCon vlog, my haul and Macky's haul.)

Night Nation Run | I'm not an athletic person at all, but my sister and two of my friends convinced me to join them for this fun run that happens at night. It's a very casual run (obviously) and you go from stage to stage, where you can basically stop and listen to whichever DJ is rocking that stop. While it wasn't necessarily exactly what I imagined it would be like, it was still a cool experience!

Rhode Island Road Trip | Rachel and I always try to do a summer weekend road trip every year, and this year, we decided we would go to Rhode Island. Our weekend getaway was just a really lovely and relaxed adventure, with a bit of sightseeing, a bit of beach time, visits to bookstores (of course), an ice cream outing (of course) and a lot of delicious food too. (You can read all about it in my post!)

Coldplay concert | My sister Mel surprised me with tickets to go and see Coldplay (as a birthday present), and it was so fun! It was so great to hear all of my favorites performed live (especially A Sky Full of Stars and Fix You, which were so, so, so incredible), and I also just thought that the way they staged everything was really fun too.

Birthday picnic | I decided I wanted a low key birthday this year, so I invited all of my friends to hang out at one of my favorite parks - Gantry Plaza State Park. It's a lovely place, and not too crowded on most days and you get a stellar view of the Manhattan skyline. I loved spending quality time with all of my favorite people, and it was just the best way to ring in 28.

Dirty Dancing at Bryant Park | Rachel clued me in on the fact that they were going to be showing Dirty Dancing for one of the movie nights at Bryant Park, and we obviously needed to be there. It was really crowded (unsurprising considering the location and the size of it), but it was so much fun to be seeing a classic film with so many folks. I was especially thrilled when everyone got up and started to dance during the final scene!

Seeing the ballet | Rachel and I went to see more ballets performed by the American Ballet Theater this year. As always, it was the loveliest experience! I am always in awe of the professional ballerinas I adore (Misty Copeland and Stella Abrera, in case you were wondering), and seeing these beautiful ballets is always inspiring (to my writer's heart). (It also often leaves me wishing I'd kept dancing instead of giving it up all those years ago.) (Click here to find out which ballets I saw and what I thought!)

Trips to the beach | This was the first year where I actually managed to visit the beach multiple times in a summer! Mel and I actually figured out that there was an easy commute to the Rockaways from where we live (though it does take a while), and we visited fairly regularly through the middle of the season. I love the beach. I live for the sun shining down on me, and drowsing on beach blankets. I love the smell of the ocean and the sound of the waves. Beach trips = the best.

Ice cream dates | It wouldn't be summer without ice cream dates! I had a lot of ice cream this year (and visited a ton of new places, thanks to Rachel) (Check out Rachel's Project Ice Cream recap while you're at it!), and I loved every second of it. Dessert fiend? Ice cream lover? That would be me. And I will happily continuing having ice cream up until it's too cold out for me to comfortably enjoy it.

I hope you enjoyed taking a trip down (summer) memory lane with me! It was fun to see all the cool things I got to do, and to reminisce about them a little bit. What are your favorite memories from this summer?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Turn of the Season | Goodbye, Summer • Fave Summer Reads

I cannot tell you guys how thrilled I am to collaborate with my friend Kristin of Super Space Chick to bring you Turn of the Season, an event that celebrates our love of our two favorite seasons - summer and autumn. We'll be looking back at the summer that's passed, as well as looking ahead at the autumn to come, and we hope you enjoy coming along for the ride!

To kick things off, we decided today would be all about our favorite reads from this summer. The books featured in this post are the ones I've read and loved during the months of June, July and August. While I do have a few on the list that are already out, there are a couple that are actually going to be out in the next couple of months. Without further ado, here are my favorite 2017 summer reads!

A series ender that was sweet and swoony | Always and Forever, Lara Jean
I have been a big fan of this series from the very beginning (see my glowing reviews for To All the Boys I've Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You), and I was very much looking forward to seeing what Jenny Han had in store for Lara Jean, her family, her friends and her romance. I'm so pleased to say that, once again, Han has written a story that meant something to me on a very personal level. Her portrayal of Lara Jean's ups and downs in this new part of her life is so well-done!

A series starter that was magical and terrifying in turn | The Cruel Prince
I hadn't planned on reading this until the end of the year, but Kristin convinced me I needed to move it up my TBR once she had finished it. And I'm glad I listened to her! I'm not normally a fan of stories about fae but I loved this book so, so much. It's brutal; it's magical; it's clever; it's twisty; it's immersive as all heck, and I was glued to the pages from the very start. I cannot wait till everyone can get their hands on this story!

A story of magic, science and friendship that brought me to tears | The Someday Suitcase
I don't tend to gravitate towards middle grade reads unless 1) Macky recommends them to me, 2) they're series I've already started before or old favorites or 3) they are by authors who I love. Corey Ann Haydu falls into the latter category! After reading and loving Rules for Stealing Stars last year, I was convinced I needed to read any middle grade she writes. This new one from her is a heartwarming story of friendship that moved me to tears by the end.

A time travel tale featuring a motley (yet beloved) crew of friends | Invictus
When I first heard the pitch (Doctor Who meets Firefly meets Guardians of the Galaxy), I knew I was going to need this one immediately. It makes me extremely happy to report that it lived up to my (very high) expectations! I loved the members of the Invictus crew a whole lot, with a special soft spot in my heart for Imogen. And I was enthralled by this story from start to finish, with all the clever twists and turns it took as everything unfolded with each new chapter. I'd highly recommend it!

Another time travel tale featuring magic and mayhem in New York | The Last Magician
I didn't register much more than a striking cover, the New York setting and the promise of magic before I cracked open this book. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this story was immersive, bringing me into the world of gangs struggling to survive, as well as magic and the way it was fought over by those who had it, those who didn't and those who wanted it. It definitely helped that I enjoyed all the characters who narrated the story too!

A compelling contemporary and a love letter to fan fic | Eliza and Her Monsters
Oh man, I'm so happy that I ended up reading this book this summer! It's one of my favorite reads of the year, and it was totally one that would have flown under the radar for me if Macky hadn't picked it out of my TBR pile and if I hadn't seen it popping up on Instagram. It's a wonderful story about a girl who is dealing with a lot of emotional ups and downs... and said girl just happens to be the creator of an insanely popular webcomic with a huge following. So good, y'all.

A magical realism tale of women gifted with incredible magic | Wicked Like a Wildfire
I know I'm in the minority on this, but I really liked this book. It definitely starts off very slow, and kind of meanders for a little while until it finds its footing. But once the story takes off, I was hooked. I needed to see how the magic flourished, and how the sisters would find their way out of the mess they were in, and how this world (and all the lore) worked together to create said situation. It was very vivid, very intriguing and very unique, and I'm glad I wound up enjoying it as much as I did.

A middle grade fantasy that was whimsical & wonderful | Whichwood
I adored Furthermore when I read it last year, and I'm pleased to report that this companion novel was even better than its predecessor! It tackles the story of Laylee, a mordeshoor who is no longer revered by her village but still struggles to keep up with her duties. It's about her life is changed forever when two strangers (to her, but perhaps not to the reader) show up in town, and I loved every second of it. It was wildly inventive, fun and moving and I would definitely recommend it!

A story that reveals another side to the "evil queen" | Forest of A Thousand Lanterns
I was really excited to get to this one, particularly after Kristin loved it, and I'm so happy that I felt the same way. It's such a beautifully imagined take (with an Asian spin) on the idea of the evil queen in Snow White, and I loved it all (even when the main character was terrifying me with her questionable choices). I truly think it's a story that allows readers to imagine what it might have been like before the evil queen becomes just that, and I cannot wait for you guys to get to read it too.

A book that reads like a Korean drama | Rebel Seoul
I honestly would not have heard of this one were it not for Twitter, and that would have been a damn shame. It was one of the most entertaining, action-packed books I had the chance to read this year, and I adored it! It admittedly took me a good long while to feel any sort of connection to the main character but the plot and the the world definitely had me hooked from start to end. I really hope you guys try and get your hands on this one, and I also am secretly wishing for a sequel!

A modern-day Cinderella story with a fandom and convention spin | Geekerella
Oh my goodness, I'm so glad that Kristin chose this one for me to read off of my TBR. It was absolutely wonderful! I was so charmed by the story, which plays out almost exactly like you'd expect except all the elements were so wonderfully incorporated into a modern day setting. And I absolutely adored the two main characters, and shipped them together, which was a major bonus! It was delightful, it made me cry and I would highly recommend it.

A book that left me feeling empowered to make the world better | Moxie
It has been a very long time since I read something that, upon finishing, made me want to do all the things I could to do my part in making our world a better place. It starts with a girl who is inspired by the Riot Grrrl movement and the way girls are treated at her school to create an anonymous zine and it snowballs from there magnificently. The care that went into a fully realized portrayal of this experience -good and bad - was so great. 10/10, and I would highly recommend it.

There you have it, friends! Those are my twelve favorite reads from this summer (and I'm so lucky to have had an amazing reading month in August, which is why it's so many). I hope you found something to add to your TBR, or that you've read and loved these titles as much as I did! What was your favorite summer read?


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