Saturday, September 23, 2017

To Die For • There's Someone Inside Your House

There's Someone Inside Your House book cover
Let me preface this review by admitting something: I am not a horror fan. While I don’t necessarily consider myself a complete coward, in the face of supernatural horrors and slasher flicks, I tend to prefer the option to flee versus the option to subject myself to the gruesome, the gory, the terrifying. And yet, I watch horror flicks. I wrote a script for a horror film we did in high school, created an entire group project centered around Sixth Sense, and even took a class dedicated to horror films in university. It is interesting for me to realize that, while I don’t necessarily prefer it, I do find horror fascinating… in a macabre sort of way.

So, why in the world did I decide to read There’s Someone Inside Your House? Especially because this is a slasher flick in novel form and of all the types of horror that there are in the world, slasher flicks are the ones I avoid because of a terrible tween experience watching I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and the unbearable discomfort I feel at the fact that this could happen to someone in real life?

First, and most important, is that it is by author Stephanie Perkins, who you might know from the Anna and the French Kiss series. I love the way she writes her stories, particularly how she brings characters into my life that I really and truly care about like they are real people. And second, I fully decided to read it after hearing Stephanie talk a little bit about it during the Penguin Teen breakfast I got to attend. (You can see a clip in this vlog!) She talked about her own experience with horror, how she was perpetually terrified of things until meeting a new friend and pretending to be braver changed her entire perspective. It made me want to be braver; it made me feel more comforted going into a slasher story, even though it’s not normally my cup of tea.

And you know what? It’ll sound odd, but I enjoyed There’s Someone Inside Your House. I say that sounds odd simply because the entire novel is centered around the hunt for a serial killer who is killing high school students one by one, and leaving the most gruesome calling cards. But it’s the truth: I read a slasher YA novel and I liked it.

Does this novel feature gory murder scenes and chilling moments? Absolutely. Did I feel uncomfortable-slash-terrified at those times? That would be a yes. Perkins succeeded in making me feel nervous, anxious enough to constantly check over my shoulder and triple check the locks on my doors. She terrified poor ol’ scaredy cat me and yet… I couldn’t stop reading. Because even though I was afraid, I also cared enough about the main cast of characters to want to see their story through. In true Perkins fashion, she brought the characters – chiefly Makani, Ollie, Alex, Darby, Makani’s grandmother – to life in a way where I couldn’t help but immediately warm to them.

Basically, what I’m saying is that Stephanie Perkins did the thing that most successful horror films do. She gave you folks to root for andmade the mystery-slash-murders a compelling thing that you couldn’t just look away from. I’m glad I decided to read There’s Someone Inside Your House, despite my initial reservations. It’s a Perkins novel with a serial killer twist, and it’s one hell of an entertaining combination that will certainly keep you turning pages until you find out how it ends.

There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers | Publication Date: September 26, 2017
Source: ARC received at BEA 2017 (Thanks!)

Friday, September 22, 2017

Turn of the Season | Hello, Fall • Anticipated Autumn Releases

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!

We're ending our weeklong seasonal celebration with something bookish, of course, since it's this online book community that brought Kristin and I together. We genuinely love books (and have very similar tastes), plus we both consider ourselves book collectors so... Ahem. I'm veering off topic here. Anyway, we're taking the time today to share some autumn releases that we're looking forward to!

Note: All the books linked in these posts are being published in the months of September, October and November. Some of these I've been lucky enough to read early, while others I have yet to read. Please bear in mind that this is not a full list of releases, nor is it in any particular order.

Tower of Dawn | If you've been reading my blog since 2012, you'll know that I'm a huge fan of the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I've loved it from the start and with every succeeding book, and I definitely loved this latest installment! I genuinely think that Sarah did an incredible job writing Chaol's journey of healing, as well as weaving Nesryn's own adventure and Yrene's own tale in as well. It's such a wonderful read, y'all, and I would obviously highly recommend it.

If There's No Tomorrow | I have so much catching up to do on Jennifer L. Armentrout books, friends. (Seriously, so much. Jen writes a lot of books, which I think is so impressive!) Anyway, this latest contemporary YA from her sounds really interesting, as it's about a girl who always looks forward to tomorrow... until something happens that changes everything for her.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass | I haven't quite gotten to this one yet, but I intend to definitely read it before the year is through! It's been described as a feminist fairytale retelling, a combination of Snow White and Frozen - and that makes me really curious about it.

Even the Darkest Stars | I will be completely honest and tell you that it was the inclusion of 'stars' in the title that made me consider this book. But seriously, it sounds really good! Kamzin, the main character, is hired by one of the greatest explorers ever known to join an expedition that will take her to the peak of Raksha, one of the highest and deadliest mountains. Doesn't that sound positively epic?

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding | I adored this middle grade a whole lot! Alexandra Bracken deftly narrates the tale of a boy named Prosper, the demon named Alastor who is bound to him and the power struggle between the two, as well as between them and the people who don't necessarily have their best interests in mind. It's funny, it's full of mischief and magic and it's perfectly autumnal.

Something Like Happy | I'm a sucker for women's fiction stories that revolve around main characters who feel 'stuck' in a rut and find themselves changed by a moment, or, in Annie's case, an eccentric individual named Polly. Polly challenges Annie to one hundred days where she finds one hundred new ways to be happy - and Annie agrees. As the two grow closer, Annie is soon faced with the choice of whether or not to really let Polly in... This sounds right up my alley, really. I need it.

Warcross | Everyone who has ever interacted with me starting in May of this year knows how much I freaking loved Warcross! It's like an anime in book form, particularly of the same vein as the show Sword Art Online (which I also adore). The story revolves around Emika Chen, a teen bounty hunter who accidentally glitches into the opening ceremony game for the Warcross (a virtual reality game) championships, gains the notice of the game's creator and is hired to investigate who might be messing with the game. It's seriously a fun read!

Before She Ignites | I've been a fan of Jodi and her books since 2012 when I read her debut novel, and I love her latest novel a lot. It's about a girl who is a well-known political figure whose life gets turned upside-down when she discovers a secret, takes it to the authorities to right the wrong and winds up imprisoned for her efforts. The reason I adored this one is not just because I liked the story; it's because I loved Mira, and found her utterly relatable.

Night of Cake and Puppets | I'm pretty confident about the fact that I've read this one (when it was still a digital release), but I definitely want to do a reread just to see all the illustrations that are included in the print editions. It's the story of Zuzana and Mik, two of the secondary characters in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, and their very first date.

The Dollmaker of Krakow | I first spotted this one on Instagram! It sounds like a very charming middle grade read, about a living doll named Karolina, a powerful man called The Dollmaker and their attempt to save their Jewish friends during the time when the Nazis descended upon Poland. I honestly think this one has the potential to be a new favorite, and can't wait to check it out.

Fireblood | I finally read Frostblood, and was lucky enough to immediately be able to dive into the sequel. And I loved it even more than the first! I particularly enjoyed that this one primarily focuses on another essential chapter in Ruby's growth and personal journey, and I was very emotionally invested in discovered what would happen next. Definitely pick this one up, then join me in waiting for the next one!

Godsgrave | Sequel to last year's Nevernight, it is no surprise that this one is on my list of highly anticipated reads! I was really invested in Mia Corvere's story, as she vows to take revenge on behalf of her family and ends up attending a school for assassins to perfect her skills before she puts her plan into motion. I can't wait to see what bloody shenanigans are in store in this sequel!

You Bring the Distant Near | I'll admit to mostly being curious about this one because Rachel enjoyed it. But seriously, it sounds brilliant - a story of different generations in a family who immigrate from India to New York, and who are wrestling with their cultural identity. I definitely want to read this one!

Odd & True | You guys, it's a sister story! I love sister stories, as you may well know if you've followed me for a while. It's got magic, mayhem, monsters and a sibling relationship too - what more could I want in a book? Plus, I have enjoyed books from Cat Winters in the past.

Rebel Seoul | If you're into action and K-Drama type tales, well, let me guide you in the direction of this novel. It's the story of Lee Jaewon, one of the best and brightest students at his military academy, who gets assigned an apprenticeship with the top secret weapons division of the government. His job? To watch over Tera, one of the supersoldiers who has been developed as a military asset. I truly enjoyed this one a lot (and would happily read a sequel!)

Moxie | A girl who is frustrated by the treatment of girls at her school decides to start an anonymous zine inspired by the RiotGrrl movement - and things snowball from there. I haven't read a book that made me feel so empowered, so ready to do all the things when I finished in a while; Moxie was one such book. Read this one, then share your copy with friends and spread the word!

Hunting Prince Dracula | I've been meaning to read Stalking Jack the Ripper since it first came out, and I finally did this week - and I enjoyed it a lot. Thank goodness the sequel just came out, and I didn't have to wait to spend more time with Audrey Rose and Thomas! I'm reading it now, and it's great so far and I'm curious to see where it goes.

Murder, Magic and What We Wore | I'm not particularly fond of this cover, but I do think the story sounds intriguing! A girl named Annis who has the peculiar magical talent of sewing glamours that disguise the wearer completely? Annis, who is determined to discover who killed her father by turning herself into a spy? Sounds like fun, if you ask me!

Speak Easy Speak Love | I'm always looking for new spins on the Bard's work, and this one is inspired by Much Ado About Nothing. Add that striking cover (which popped up on my Instagram feed as well) into the mix, and well, I couldn't resist adding this one to my list! 

Jane, Unlimited | I'll preface my thoughts by saying that this is not a book for everyone. It's very odd. It's got multiple genres. It's just plain strange. But I was fascinated by the clever storytelling structure, and the choose your own adventure feeling it gave me!

The Language of Thorns | A book of fairytales from the Grishaverse? Yes please! I will happily read anything Leigh Bardugo writes set in this world, and the fact that she has a bunch of fairytales - one of my favorite literary things ever - in this collection makes my heart so happy.

Invictus | Doctor Who. Guardians of the Galaxy. The comps to those two titles were what piqued my interest in this one. Hearing that it was basically about a group of teens who performed heists for their black market career and they run into a spot of trouble and have to unravel the mystery before the end? SOLD. I really liked this one a lot, and would highly recommend getting a copy.

There's Someone Inside Your House | Stephanie Perkins, author of the Anna and the French Kiss series, has written her first YA horror novel - and it's fun! While I did think it was a wee bit similar to a few horror films I've watched in the years past, I still really enjoyed it for what it was.

An Unkindness of Magicians | A magical fantasy thriller set in New York City? I really didn't need much more than that to get me interested in this one. Plus, I'm a fan of this minimalist cover, which I'm hoping is actually related to the content between it.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban | I've been collecting the illustrated editions since the first one came out, so it's a no-brainer that this one is one I'm so excited about. I definitely think that this format just lends an extra magical touch to the experience of reading (or rereading) the books!

Wild Beauty | I've read and loved both of Anna-Marie McLemore's previous novels, so to say I was looking forward to this one is an understatement. Centered around three generations of females currently living at an estate where they use their magical ability to make plants bloom to make La Pradera remarkable, these women are used to loss since the land takes away the people they love. One day, however, the land gives a boy back to them - a boy who doesn't know who is or where he's from. If you think this sounds vague, it is. But I promise that the payoff was worth it!

That Inevitable Victorian Thing | I was interested in the idea of a story set in a world where the British Empire was still a thing, so that hooked me immediately. Add in the idea that there are three teens from different walks of life who interact and shape their futures together, well, I was definitely sold. I really am hoping I'll like this one!

The Ship of the Dead | This was always going to be on this list because I love Rick Riordan and his novels. Yes, I will totally acquire a copy even though *whispers* I have yet to read the second one. But Rick Riordan is magic, and I'm already confident that I will enjoy this one when I do get to it!

Devils & Thieves | I honestly don't know how to explain very well what this one is about, but I just remember it being about motorcycle gangs and magic - and that combination is so interesting.

Forest of A Thousand Lanterns | I've been looking forward to this one ever since I first heard of it - and I'm happy to report that it lived up to my expectations. This East Asian fantasy is a twist on the story of the Evil Queen from Snow White, and I adored every minute of it. There's a morally ambiguous main character, a compelling story and a beautiful setting. I devoured this one! Can't wait for the sequel.

I Capture the Castle | I read and loved this one earlier this year, and I just think this brand new edition (with a foreword from Jenny Han!) looks absolutely gorgeous.

All the Crooked Saints | Maggie Stiefvater has a very specific writing style, and tells very offbeat stories, and that's mainly the reason I included this one here. While I'm not particularly keen on the story itself, I'm curious enough about the fact that it's Maggie's latest to give it a shot.

Last Star Burning | I'll admit to mostly being intrigued by the cover for this one. It's about Sev, a girl who is branded with the mark of a criminal for her mother's crimes. When she's accused of a bombing, she has to escape from the city or die - and the only way she can do it is with the help of the chairman's son. While it sounds a little like a few other YA novels I've read, I'm still intrigued.

Into the Bright Unknown | I absolutely loved the first two novels in this series, so obviously, the third one had to be on this list of anticipated releases. If you're wondering what it's about, the first book tackles Leah Westfall's pioneer journey to the West; the second one tackles what happens in their initial time as settlers. Very eager to see what Rae Carson has in store for this installment!

Beasts Made of Night | Taj is a young sin-eater, indentured to a mage in order to slay the sin-beasts they call forth from sinners. Ambitious and determined to provide for his family, Taj is eventually called to eat the sin of a royal only to discover there's a whole lot more going on. This sounds really different from a lot of fantasy I've read, and I'm definitely curious to see what I think!

The Empress | I loved The Diabolic, so of course I had to add the sequel to the list! While I can't tell you what this one is about, I can tell you that the first book is about Nemesis, who is crafted to care for a particular person. She takes that person's place at a gathering called together by the Emperor and... shenanigans ensue. I really liked the first one, and I can't wait to find out what's next!

Tortall: A Spy's Guide | I may possibly weep when I get our finished copy of this one. Macky and I both love Tamora Pierce a whole lot, and we're extremely pleased that we get to dive into her world yet again with this alternative way of looking closer at a few of the details in it. So. Excited.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them | I need the illustrated edition for my Harry Potter collection! This is basically another version of the little Fantastic Beasts book that was part of the Hogwarts Library, with illustrations from Olivia Lomenech Gill and a little bit of new information from J.K. Rowling.

Renegades | I love Marissa Meyer's books, and I was really excited when I heard she was going to do a sci-fi superhero YA story. I got the chance to read this one early, and it was so good! It was exactly what I was hoping it would be, and I very much need the next one now, please and thanks.

Retribution Rails | I absolutely adored Erin Bowman's Vengeance Road, so the instant she announced a companion sequel, I knew it would be one of the reads I was most excited for this year. This time, Bowman tells a story with gangs, a journalist and a train robbery gone wrong - and I'm really excited to read it.

This Mortal Coil | To be completely honest, I'm not a very big fan of this cover. However, the concept of a gene-hacker is so intriguing. And even though the story sounds familiar, I do think it could potentially be a really fun adventure to read about!

Rosemarked | Zivah is a healer who has fallen prey to the rose plauge; Dineas is a young man who has been broken by torture at the hands of the Empire. Together, these two are on a mission to spy on the capital with very different motives. In order to protect their loved ones, they'll have to figure out a way to work together... and maybe even fall in love along the way, or at least that is how it reads to me. This one sounds familiar as well, but I'm still pretty intrigued by it. Not a fan of that cover though, if I'm being completely honest...

Whichwood | Tahereh Mafi's latest middle grade release is another one I had the privilege to read early... and I loved it even more than last year's Furthermore! It's whimsical. It's heartbreaking and heartwarming and all about friendship and the restorative power of having people you can count on, and who encourage you to do things you never thought you would.

Whew, this post turned out way longer than I expected it to! But I hope you found something new to add to your TBR (if these interesting titles aren't on there already). What are your most anticipated autumn book releases?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Turn of the Season | Hello, Fall • Autumn Aesthetic

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!

One of my favorite things about the turn of the season from summer to autumn is getting the chance to shop for new wardrobe additions! I recently did a closet clean (which is so very therapeutic for me), and it allowed me to see what I wanted to add to fill in the blank spaces. I also like to think about what my 'look' for the season will be every year before I even go shopping! Check out a few items below that I'm planning to add to my wardrobe (or am impatiently awaiting the arrival of in my mailbox as I may have done a little shopping already...)

I've been drawn immediately to anything with floral prints or embroidery on it lately. I really just love my florals, especially when they're paired with my favorite neutral black background. I just knew I needed to find a few statement pieces that would incorporate well with the other items in my closet, and these three fit the bill! (Items can be found here: sweatshirt with printed design | denim jacket | floral embroidered mini skirt)

I also like picking up clothes that are in my usual neutral shades (white and black mostly, though I also have a bit of navy) to add to my closet. Not only do they add something fresh to my collection and for me to play around with, they also usually end up being long-term standbys in my closet too.  (Items can be found here: short skirt | blouse with lace collar | Gigi pant with pockets)

While I usually resort to my default black/white/denim wardrobe (especially when I'm heading to work day in and day out), I cannot help the love I have for occasional pops of color. I like to find pieces in shades that have the feel of the season, and for fall that usually means a slightly darker palette. (Items can be found here: Fall Potluck Overalls | Overall Winner Jumper in Wine, AEO Cross Stitch Sweater)

I used to think it would be so hard to have statement pieces, since I'd feel like I could only wear them once every so often. But I've realized that isn't true at all, and have fully embraced picking up unique pieces here and there to add to my closet. Also, yes, I realize that one of these is seasonally on the nose but... I can't even bring myself to mind. (Items can be found here: Hogwarts Hufflepuff school skirt | Heart and Solar System A-Line Dress | Scenic Fall A-Line Skirt Cotton Skirt with Pockets

Obviously, no outfit would be complete without accessories. As the weather changes, I also find my accessories need to change with it - hence my search for new shoes, hair pieces and more. Here are three of the items I've already picked up, among the selection that I've been eyeing over the past few weeks - and I adore them all. (Items can be found here: Hair Decoration with Flowers | Selena Grace Bag in Mixed Leathers | faux suede embroidered boots)

The five sections in this post are a pretty good summary of the fall aesthetic I'm channeling this year! Just throw in some plaid flannel shirts, blanket scarves, hot mugs of cider/tea/coffee, and you'll basically have the equivalent of what I'll be looking like all fall. What's your fall aesthetic? What's on your fall shopping list?

Bonus! Here are some of my former "fall" looks, in case you were interested in seeing the other aesthetics I've embraced over the years. Can you tell I gravitate towards very similar things in general every time fall rolls around?





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