Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Luck & Love • Windfall

Windfall book cover
Everything changes for Alice when she gives her best friend – and the boy she’s in love with – Teddy a lottery ticket for his eighteenth birthday… and he wins $140 million dollars the very next day. As two kids who have been through terrible things – Alice losing her parents within a year of each other and Teddy’s father abandoning their family – winning the jackpot seems like a dream come true. But as the days unfold, both teens soon discover more… about life, about themselves and about each other. 

I was confident going into Windfall that I was going to enjoy it, as I’ve enjoyed all the other novels that Jennifer E. Smith has written, and I was right – it’s a good read. Like many of her stories, the plot sounds deceptively straightforward: a girl buys her best friend a lottery ticket as a joke for his eighteenth birthday, only for them both to discover that it’s a jackpot-winning ticket the next day. But there’s much more to it than winning the lottery, though readers do get to see Teddy’s all-out reaction to suddenly having millions of dollars at his fingertips. But there’s much more to this novel than meets the eye. It is also about family. About friendship. About self-identity. About grief. About growth. I was impressed by how Smith wove the themes together, and though a few things were over exaggerated or underdeveloped, I still found it solid overall.

Windfall is another great story from author Jennifer E. Smith. She writes realistic characters who are dealing with a variety of things, and adds just a little bit of ‘magic’ to their lives– in this case, in the form of a jackpot-winning lottery ticket. I found this novel quite compelling from beginning to end, and would recommend checking it out.

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Delacorte Press | Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Source: ARC received from the publisher (Thanks!)
Buy the Book: Book Depository | Amazon | IndieBound

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

{Bookish} Style Files: The Library of Fates

I'm really happy to be a part of the official blog tour for The Library of Fates, a brand new standalone fantasy from author Aditi Khorana. If you're interested in my thoughts on this one, my review will be popping up in a couple of weeks. Anyway, inspired by the vivid color palette of this cover and the details that Khorana weaves into her story, I picked out a couple of dresses to match!

The Library of Fates book cover
The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: July 18, 2017
Source: ARC received from the publisher (Thanks!)
Buy the Book: Book Depository | Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble

No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything--family, her childhood love, and her freedom--to save her people. But her offer isn't enough.

The unthinkable happens, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos of a palace under siege. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them. 

Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life--and another love--await?

Aditi Khorana spent parts of her childhood in India, Denmark, and New England. She has a BA in international relations from Brown University and an MA in global media and communications from the Annenberg School for Communication. She has worked as a journalist at ABC News, CNN, and PBS, and most recently as a marketing executive consulting for various Hollywood studios including Fox, Paramount, and Sony. She is also the author of Mirror in the Sky. She lives in Los Angeles and spends her free time reading, hiking, and exploring LA's eclectic and wonderful architecture. For more information, visit

I decided I wanted to stick primarily to choosing dresses that matched the array of colors that are included on this cover, so check out this beautiful selection of solid colored dresses I curated! Which one is your favorite? Personally, I gravitate towards the purple the most, though I wouldn't mind owning them all.

Also, you're in luck - there's a tour-wide giveaway going on! Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana (ARV: $18.99 each). NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on July 10th, 2017 and 12:00 AM on July 31, 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 August 5, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the tour stops!
July 10 – The Fandom – Meet the Characters
July 11 – The YA Book Traveler – Indian Mythology in The Library of Fates:
Guest Post by Indian Blogger, Aditi Nichani
July 12 – YA Wednesdays – Library of Fates Aesthetics
July 13 – YA Book Central – Library of Fates Excerpt
July 14 – Read Sleep Repeat – Author Q&A
July 17 – Bibliophile Gathering – Review
July 18 – Boricuan Bookworms – Author Guest Post
July 19 – Once Upon a Twilight – Review
July 20 – The Reading Nook Reviews –Review & Library of Fates Pendants
July 21 – A Page With A View – Author Q&A
July 24 – Fiction Fare – Author Guest Post
July 25 – Alexa Loves Books – Bookish Style Files
July 26 – Chasing Faerytales – Review
July 27 – IceyBooks – Library of Fates Quote Candy
July 28 – Across the Words – Review & Fan Cast

Monday, July 24, 2017

TYRR #4: After I Do

Yes, we're both aware that it's almost the end of July. Yes, that means that this is basically three months late. But since The Year of Recommended Reads is our little project, Lindsey of Bring My Books and I are making our rules up as we go - and we're catching up on the books too. It was my turn for a recommendation in April, and I chose to have us read my favorite Taylor Jenkins Reid novel - After I Do. Don't forget to go and check out Lindsey's post as well!

Why was this book on my TBR? If we're using the term TBR to refer to books that I haven't read yet, then this technically doesn't count as part of my TBR. However, if we're just using TBR in the general sense of books that I wanted to read in 2017, then After I Do was on it because I wanted to reread it and see if it still held up as my favorite after reading all of her other work. Plus, anytime I'm asked which of her novels I recommend, this is immediately the one that comes to mind.

What is the book about? It's about Lauren and Ryan, a married couple who have reached a breaking point in their relationship and come up with their own solution: take a year off from their marriage in the hopes of resolving their own personal issues and finding a way to fall in love again. Their only rule is that they cannot contact each other at all; otherwise, they're free to do what they want. Lauren spends the year going through a cycle of emotions (anger, grief, surprise, joy, to name a few), as well as experiencing a perspective shift about herself and her relationships.

What did I think of the book? Allow me to direct y'all to my original review, every word of which I still stand by as of this latest reread. After I Do is still the same whip smart, emotionally resonant, compulsively readable novel I remember it to be. Reid takes care to portray all sorts of relationships in Lauren's life - her coworkers, her family, her romance - with a complexity that feels so real. There are highs and there are lows; there's history and there's discovery; there's complicated and there's simple. I had almost forgotten how vividly portrayed all the important secondary characters are (not just her husband), and it was pleasant to be reminded of how much I enjoyed all the other relationships in Lauren's life.

But, since After I Do focuses primarily on Lauren's marriage to Ryan, the romance does take front and center. I must remark again on how much I enjoyed the contemplation on relationships - the trivialities, the larger issues, the good and the bad. It just felt like a very raw way to portray a marriage, and I like that Reid didn't shy away from the terrible bits to only focus on the good stuff (though she has a lot of that too). 

My minor quibbles have more to do with writing technicalities, but I still loved After I Do as much as I did the first time I read it. I truly think that the way Reid chose to write Lauren's journey, as well as the perspective she shares on marriage and romantic relationships, was still quite clever and refreshing and honest. I'd highly recommend checking out After I Do (as well as many of her other works too)!

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Washington Square Press | Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Source: Paperback I own

Favorite character? I had actually forgotten how much I like Rachel, Lauren's sister. She's a sweetheart who absolutely loves her sister and the rest of their family. I love that she's funny, thoughtful and loyal; I also like that she had this whole side journey where she wanted to open a bakery!

Favorite scene? Oh, this is definitely a tough one! I think I'm going to go with a moment that happens early on in the book, when Lauren and Ryan go on their first date. I just like the way that things fall into place for them, because it reminds me of my first date with my husband.

Favorite quote? "I know it will be okay because everything is okay in the end. And if it's not okay, it's not the end."

For the updates every fifty pages, I had to do something a little bit different since I couldn't properly mark it on Goodreads! I ended up making my own notes on my phone, so check out my thoughts as I read below.


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