Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Abbreviations #71 | Practical Magic, The Lost Sisters + Night of Cake and Puppets

I have a fondness for the film inspired by Practical Magic, so I was looking forward to checking out the actual book it was based on. The story is about two sisters - Gillian and Sally Owen - who are among the many Owens women who have always been seen as witches, as different, in the small Massachusetts town they reside in for over two centuries. Determined to escape the confines of their lives, they take very different paths only to eventually find themselves reunited by a little twist of fate. Now, it admittedly took me a little bit to really get into this novel, because I found the shifting perspectives and storytelling style a little confusing initially. But once it clicked, I pretty much tore through the story! It helped a lot that I still felt very invested in both sisters and their stories; it also was really interesting to see a little more about the other Owens girls (specifically Sally’s daughters) too. While I think I’ll always be partial to the film (which has a very different overall tone), I’m glad I finally took the time to check this one out.

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman | Publisher: Penguin | Publication Date: July 1, 1995 | Source: Owned the Kindle book

If you’ve been reading the blog since last year, you’ll know that I loved The Cruel Prince (and that I also loved the sequel, The Wicked King - my review will be up soon!). In The Cruel Prince, Jude is a mortal girl who was spirited away to the land of Faerie as a child along with her sisters and has spent nearly half her life as a resident there. She’s determined to carve out a place for herself, despite the opposition she faces, and the entire series centers around her machinations and experiences. The Lost Sisters, however, is a novella told entirely from the perspective of Jude’s twin sister Taryn and it basically reveals what’s been going on with her parallel to Jude’s journey in The Cruel Prince. Like the two novels in this series, I really enjoyed Holly Black’s writing. It’s whimsical, it’s immersive, it’s compelling - and I couldn’t stop reading once I’d started! I liked that we also got an alternate take on events, and that we were given the opportunity to get to understand Taryn a little better… though I’m still not a fan of hers. While I don’t necessarily feel like this one is required to enjoy the series on the whole, it’s still a fun addition to it and something I think fans of the series will want to read.

The Lost Sisters by Holly Black | Series: The Folk of the Air #1.5 | Previous Book in Series: The Cruel Prince | Publisher: NOVL | Publication Date: October 2, 2018 | Source: Owned the Kindle e-book

I actually read Night of Cake and Puppets when it was originally released as an e-novella, but it took me until October of this year (Halloween specifically, which felt appropriate) to finally crack open the physical version that had been released in 2017. The novella is set in the world of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, but centers around two secondary characters - Zuzana and Mik - and their magical first date. Friends, this story just makes me so happy! It was a delight to dip my toes back into the magical world that Laini Taylor has created, first of all, and it really makes me want to reread the entire trilogy. And it was just lovely (and gave me all the warm fuzzies) to be privy to the magical meet cute-slash-first-date that Zuzana and Mik get to share. I loved that the physical version of this story had illustrations and doodles; it made the (re)reading experience even more special. It was the perfect way to cap off an incredible reading month, and it’s a novella I would count among my favorites for sure.

Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor | Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2.5 | Previous Books in Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood and Starlight | Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | Publication Date: September 12, 2017 | Source: Owned the hardcover

Monday, December 10, 2018

What I Loved: November 2018

I love talking about my latest obsessions with my friends! It's always fun to discover people who share my tastes and interests, and to potentially find even more things to fall in love with. I'm sharing some of my November favorites today, but come and share with me in the comments what you've been loving lately!

Uniqlo Fluffy Yarn Fleece Full-Zip Jacket in Dark Green | Were it not for my sister Rachel’s raving about this jacket, I probably wouldn’t have ended up picking one up for myself. And that would have been a travesty, as it has quickly become my go-to jacket for layering or a casual morning running errands! The material itself is cozy and warm, and it is extremely functional on its own or as a layer. And it has plenty of pockets, which is always a win! While I had initially thought to get pink, gray or blue, I gravitated towards this shade in particular once I saw it in person.

Forever 21 fuzzy pink crossbody bag | I can’t find my exact crossbody bag online, alas, but I had to mention it here because I love it! It was a gift from one of my cousins-in-law and it suits my aesthetic perfectly. The pale pink offers the perfect subtle pop of color to glam up an otherwise plain look, and the soft and fuzzy material also really appeals to my sense of coziness. It is definitely on the smaller side so I really can only fit essentials in there, but that hasn’t stopped me from taking it out and about multiple times already.

Tenyo Stained Glass Disney 2000pcs puzzle | I mentioned loving puzzles in a past post, but I’m obsessed with the latest one my sisters and my brother-in-law and I completed while he was visiting us. It’s a beautiful piece that captures a variety of beloved Disney characters in a style reminiscent of stained glass! But half the reason that the puzzle means so much to me is that it will always remind me of the nights we worked to piece together what was an admittedly challenging puzzle. 

Voltron: Legendary Defender Funko POP! Vinyls | If you follow me on any forms of social media and if you’ve followed this blog for a little while, you’ll probably already know how much I love Voltron: Legendary Defender. While I’ve never watched the original show (except for an episode or two that Macky has shown me), I have adored the Netflix reboot so, so much (despite its flaws) and I’m already both eagerly anticipating and mentally dreading the final season airing next week. So, it’s unsurprising that I ended up buying all the paladin Funkos when they were released because… I can’t bear not to have them all together on my shelf.

Peppermint mochas & gingerbread lattes from Starbucks | I generally stick to my lattes and cappuccinos when it comes to coffee consumption, but I can never resist the lure of the Christmas offerings from Starbucks. I’ve always been partial to the peppermint mocha, but I also have really come to love gingerbread lattes. Do you have a favorite holiday drink?

Matcha ‘N More | One of my favorite things about doing Table For Two with Rachel is that we discover such fun places to eat in New York City! Matcha ‘N More left a really strong impression on me for a number of reasons: the aesthetically pleasing (and punny) interior d├ęcor, the variety of matcha-flavored items they have to offer and the quality of their food. Suffice to say that it’s been added to my list of places to return to for repeat visits!

Bluemont Vineyard | I’m not a big wine aficionado, but it was a real treat to drive to Bluemont on our weekend down in the DMV area. It was a perfectly lovely afternoon spent enjoying glasses of their wine (I’m very fond of their Autumn Apple wine, which had apple tones to it) with friends old and new, and I think it’s the combination of their actual offerings and their rustic aesthetic that won this place a spot in my heart.

A Christmas Prince | I can’t believe I didn’t watch this holiday movie last year, but I’m glad my sister finally convinced me to do it! It’s such an adorable holiday film, and while it’s definitely predictable and occasionally corny, that’s just what I like during this particular time of the year so it definitely worked out well. (I thought the sequel was cute, even though I didn’t necessarily love it as much.)

thank u, next by Ariana Grande | Honestly, I’ve really been a fan of most of Ariana Grande’s musical releases and thank u, next is certainly no exception. It’s extremely catchy, I love the music video (all those movie references) and I just can’t. stop. Singing. It.

Use Somebody (cover) by Shawn Mendes | Oh, hi, new young person who has made it onto my most listened artists for the entire year on Spotify! Kidding aside, I really do enjoy Shawn Mendes and his music, and I think his cover of Use Somebody is a pretty great earworm.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

November 2018

I usually don’t expect November to be a busy month. But this year, November turned out to be one of the busiest months I’ve ever had and a whole lot of fun. My sisters and I hit the road to visit one of Rachel’s friends down in the DMV area for a weekend, visited Central Park to see the fall foliage, and went to upstate New York to catch Jo Koy on his ‘Break the Mold’ tour. My brother-in-law arrived just before Thanksgiving, so there were plenty of good meals, a successful escape room attempt, nights finishing up a 2000 piece puzzle, and a lovely Thanksgiving. There were also plenty of catch-ups with family and friends over dinner and dessert, a ton of Christmas shopping done, cat sitting for my favorite nephmews, a couple of book signings, a visit to the New York Public Library before opening hours and catching some of our extended family in a musical performance at the Lincoln Center.

I had a pretty solid reading month, finishing with a total of 12 books (10 new-to-me reads and 2 rereads). I had been hoping for more, but hey, real life always takes precedence over my reading on any given day. My favorites of the books I did read were The Lying Woods, Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix, Girls of Paper and Fire, Before She Ignites, As She Ascends, When She Reigns and Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow.

If you've missed out on anything on my blog or our channel, this section is for you! This section is always a part of my monthly recaps, just so you won't miss out on any of last month's content.


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