Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Hold the Key

A couple of months ago, I finally dove into The Archived and The Unbound by Victoria Schwab. I had heard such excellent things about this particular series (especially from Kristin & Cee & Gaby), so I was a little bit nervous going into it. Fortunately, I found both novels to be really compelling reads! Instead of doing a conventional review, I'm sharing five reasons to read The Archived and The Unbound!

1 / The World (The Narrows, The Outer, The Archived)
I have to say that I’ve never encountered a world quite like this one, where there’s reality we all know and love and there’s also the reality that only a chosen few bear the knowledge of. It’s always extremely fascinating to imagine that there is more to our world than what meets the eye, and Schwab plays on that with her imagined world where the dead must be kept in order. The Outer is the real world, The Archived is the library where the dead’s histories (their lives in bodily form) are stored, and the Narrows lie between as a boundary between both and the place that a Keeper is tasked to visit to capture Histories that have woken up and wandered off. It’s a simple enough system, but Schwab slowly peels away the layers behind it and exposes the good and the bad as the novel goes on.

2 / Wesley Ayers
Wes is one of those boys who steals your heart immediately when you meet him. He’s a good guy, who desires to do the right thing by the people he cares for and the world he loves. But there’s so much more to him than just being a mysterious guy who wears eyeliner (and wears it well). He loves literature and reading, he’s an excellent athlete and he’s got a group of friends that are practically his family. He takes his job as a Keeper super seriously, and it’s really sweet to see how he always wants to help Mackenzie and winds up falling in love with her.

3 / Mackenzie Bishop
Obviously, Mackenzie is pretty badass since she’s been trained by her grandfather to be a Keeper for most of her life. She’s really smart, and she can handle herself in fights and tricky situations. But Mackenzie is also impulsive, which often leads to decisions spurred on by her feelings. And she has the habit of wanting to solve her problems on her own, an independent streak that does get her into some tough spots. But Mackenzie is a real fighter, and it is her determination to find out the truth and to protect those she loves too that really made me admire her. I also quite love that Schwab shows her being vulnerable after a traumatic event; it really humanizes her more than anything else could have.

4 / The Plot
I honestly did not see a lot of things coming with this one, more with the second than with the first. It was very twisty indeed, and I liked that a lot. Obviously, I’d rather not spoil it, but suffice it to say that Schwab really knows how to tell a story. I was constantly wondering what would happen next, and even as things get revealed, more questions are also brought to the surface. It’s so great, you guys. You know what else is really great? Having book one and book two be connected but having each one still stand alone as a really great story. It is really brilliant, and not a feat many authors can accomplish.

5 / The Writing
Honestly, what this all boils down to is Victoria Schwab’s writing ability. She knows how to choose the right words to convey a feeling, the right phrase to breathe more life into her characters and the right adjectives to describe the things she wants her readers to see. I was swept up into the steady rhythm her words offer right from the start and it didn’t let me go until the very end.

Have I convinced you to give The Archived and The Unbound a shot yet? I hope so! These are two really great young adult novels, and I definitely would recommend reading them if you're in any way intrigued by any of the reasons I've shared above.

The Archived / The Unbound by Victoria Schwab | Series: The Archived #1-2
Publisher: Hyperion | Publication Dates: January 22, 2013 / January 28, 2014
Source: Hardcovers borrowed from the library

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Pack Your Bags and Go!

hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

One important fact about me: I love traveling, whether I actually leave and go on a trip in a physical sense or I read a book that utterly transports me to an entirely new place. When I saw that today's topic was to share some books that are set in places outside of the US, I jumped at the chance to share some of the stories I love that are set in other countries! Without further ado, here are ten books that (a) I enjoyed and (b) are set outside of the USA.

Dangerous Girls - setting: Aruba - While I would never, ever, ever wish the situation on myself or anyone I know in real life, I do think it would be pretty fun to visit Aruba. It sounds like an interesting place to go to (though I'm not necessarily a big fan of the typical spring break activities), and one to cross off of the buck list!

Wanderlove - setting: Central America - I honestly wish that, as a young, single gal, I'd had (or embraced) more opportunities to travel on my own or with a tour group. Travel is one of the most eye-opening experiences anyone could have, and I would have welcomed its influence on my perspectives and future choices.

Wanderlost - setting: Europe - I would never turn down the opportunity to travel around Europe, even if I were (a) being paid to do it and (b) having to take care of a group of senior citizens, like Aubree is in this story. It's both a chance to experience some of the great sights and tourist destinations, and a way to earn money, and a way to develop some life skills too.

Wish You Were Italian - setting: Italy - I got the opportunity to visit a few Italian cities earlier this year, specifically Milan, Sorrento, Venice and Rome, but I would love to spend time visiting more places in that country. It's a beautiful place with the best food, and such interesting history to boot. I love the way Italy is portrayed in this book, so I had to mention it! (Bonus rec: Racing the Sun is also set in Italy, and is a lovely read!)

Just One Year setting: Amsterdam, Mexico, India - (Sidenote: I hope I remembered these settings correctly.) I just love the variety of settings that this story offers the reader, and I think it's a brilliant way to "travel" without leaving your home. Plus, it's just a really good alternative perspective on the Allyson/Willem story too, if you've read Just One Day.

Confessions of a Shopaholic - setting: London - Years before I ever even encountered a book blog, I absolutely loved the Shopaholic series. There's nothing quite like this story of perpetually in debt, unstoppable shopaholic Becky Bloomwood! It's funny, it's over the top, it's such a quick and easy read, and I was swept up from start to finish.

Daughter of the Forest
 - setting: Ireland - Apart from England (specifically London), Ireland is another place I would love to visit. I've dreamed of doing so for ages (particularly the Cliffs of Moher and the library at Trinity College), but for now, I'm going to live vicariously through this story because it is amazing and so worth rereading over and over and over again.

The Bronze Horseman setting: Russia - As someone who grew up fascinated with the animated film Anastasia, developed a tendre for reading Romanov history and is generally hoping to visit Russia one day, I absolutely had to mention this book. It's just such an interesting, complex story with complicated characters set against a horrifying, terrible backdrop, and it is a wonderful read.

Orange - setting: Japan - First of all, if you've never read a manga before or even if you have, you've got to give Orange a shot. It is so, so, so good and I'm pretty much obsessed. Ahem. Anyway, I've been lucky enough to visit Japan before, but it wasn't for nearly long enough and I know there's so much more to see! Japan is one of my dream destinations to visit again, and I hope to do so in the next couple of years.

Where Sea Meets Sky - setting: New Zealand - I've always wanted to visit New Zealand (and yes, maybe this partially has to do with Lord of the Rings). It just seems like such a picturesque place, and as a nature girl, I feel like I'd soak that all up. This book just describes this setting wonderfully, and made me want to visit more than ever!

What books set outside the US have you loved and read?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Summer of Sailor Scouts: Sailor Moon Swag

Earlier this year, Cee of The Novel HermitCristina of Girl in the Pages, Kristin of Super Space ChickSierra of SDavReads & I all discovered that we shared a mutual love and appreciation for Sailor Moon! After exchanging plenty of flailing tweets and constantly bringing up our love for this magical girl story, we felt it was only right to celebrate it - and that's what happening this July. Every week will feature a brand new blog post per day from each of us, and we're so excited to be sharing the Sailor Moon love with all our readers. For the official schedule, check out the announcement post!

This week, it's time for us to talk about all the swag (accessories and clothing, etc) inspired by Sailor Moon that we either (a) want to own or (b) already own! My post is going to be a wishlist, as I actually, surprisingly, do not own as much Sailor Moon swag as I wish I did! So, without further ado, here are some of the items I want to be a part of my personal collection of Sailor Moon goodies.

Sailor Moon Crystal Sailor Mercury Figurine - Sailor Mercury has always been my favorite! I would love to have this figurine to display on my shelves, since Sailor Mercury looks pretty damn badass and it would make such a fun thing for visitors to see when they come over!

Sailor Moon Luna Head Girls Crop Top - Luna is probably my favorite secondary character. She's so sassy and so smart, and I absolutely adore her! I love that this top is pretty subtle, and that I can wear my Luna love out in the world with pride too.

Sailor Moon Sailor Scouts No Show Socks - I love collecting socks with cute designs! It would totally brighten up my mood to be wearing these Sailor Scout socks, even if no one else but me knows it. (There are also plenty of other designs, and I kind of want them all...)

Sailor Moon Luna & Artemis Chain Bracelet - I did mention I loved Luna before, and I love Artemis too! This chain bracelet is just utterly adorable. As a fan of fandom jewelry, it would be an excellent piece for me to add to my growing collection.

Sailor Moon Spiral Heart Moon Rod - I need this rod, okay? In fact, I need this one and the classic one because I have neither in my life and that's pretty much a travesty. Again, it'd be a nice item to display on my shelves for everyone's viewing pleasure (but mostly mine).

Sailor Moon Luna-Inspired Handbag - I really love Luna, in case that wasn't obvious. So, when I stumbled across this bag, I immediately had to add it to the list! I would love to carry this around with me to show my Sailor Moon pride. And I think it would add a quirky touch to any outfit!

Now it's your turn! What Sailor Moon swag do you own? What Sailor Moon swag do you want to own? And don't forget - you've still got time to enter our US only giveaway for 2 Sailor Moon Pop Funkos of your choice and you have to check out the other girls' posts this week too!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Sunday Mix #31

Another Sunday, another set of interesting posts from all around the web! I meant to get this up last week, but I went out of town to hang out with Kelly & Rachel. (And I was admittedly distracted by Pokemon Go, which is my newest life obsession.) I admire a lot of these individuals for their creative, thoughtful content, and I hope you like their posts as much as I do. (You should also follow their blogs!) If you've encountered any interesting posts this week, I'd love if you leave links in the comments section!

Friday, July 15, 2016

{Bookish} Style Files: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Because I've been really excited about Harry Potter this month (and really, all the time, but yeah, July most of all) and because Kristin and Megan are hosting a Potter Month Celebration, I decided I wanted to feature the books for this month's edition of {Bookish} Style Files. One of my newest (and fast-growing) collections is my editions of the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (or Philosopher's Stone, depending on the region). I've started collecting this particular book because it's where the magic really began for me, and I'll never forget it! (Plus, it does help me spend a little less since I only want one book of the seven in the series.) I thought it'd be fun to share some of my favorite editions I own with all of you today!

There you have it, friends, a few of my favorite editions of book one in the Harry Potter series that I already own! I definitely still plan on collecting more, especially when I travel to other countries. So, now it's your turn to tell me: Which dress is your favorite? Which edition do you like best? Do you collect anything related to Harry Potter? What's your favorite book in the series?


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