Saturday, November 29, 2014

You've Been Reviewed: The Vacationers

The VacationersThe Vacationers by Emma Straub
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Super fun novel. If you're a fan of Emma Straub, you won't be let down by her latest story of a complex family in an almost magical setting. The book has a lighter feel than her other stories- and makes it a joyous, funny, gossipy vacation read.  There are moments in the book where Straub captures the poetry and heartache of being in a family and how we treat each other, surpassing the obvious. These are some of my favorite passages, page-stoppers in the best possible way.

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Monday, November 3, 2014

You've Been Reviewed: Instant Winner

Instant WinnerInstant Winner by Carrie Fountain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Poems about prayer - or the wish for prayer - interrupt and compliment parenthood and livelihood in Fountain's second collection. She deftly mixes the grounding of the domestic with the optimism of religion. I'm a big fan of the titular short poem, Instant Winner.

This is a faster read than her first book, Burn Lake, but that's not necessarily a good thing. Each of her books ends too soon, leaving me selfishly wanting more.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

You've Been Reviewed: High and Dry

High and DryHigh and Dry by Sarah Skilton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

High and Dry is straight up YA noir. The language and tone hit the noir genre perfectly, without missing a very fun beat. If you like reading noir, you might enjoy this story that features high school seniors. If you like YA with a hard boiled, hyper-realistic bent, then this book is for you.

Author Sarah Skilton's writing is spare and muscular and dry in High and Dry. The plot is about the framing of Charlie Dixon, high school senior and soccer player (or "beckham"). Charlie's story unfolds in complex steps and the clues to figuring out what happened to him (and others in the story) are multilayered and smart. This book reminded me of Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch, because it also deals with the debts and responsibilities of friendship, like what Charlie feels for his best friend and possibly worst enemy, Ryder.

What I like most about Skilton's work, in both High & Dry and her first novel, Bruised, is that she never condescends to her readers. Her protagonists are given real life, gritty challenges and she don't shy away from making them work and live harder just to get through their obstacles. Both books contained broken bones. Both contain crimes. Both contain the moral and ethical questions: when you witness something wrong in your life, how do you respond - and is that response ever really right and/or just?

If you're interested in a fun, fast whodunit read, I recommend High and Dry.

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Catching Up: Day 17, (really 28), of Kayla and Lori's Ultimate Closet Challenge #UCC

Animal Print Bracelet with Red Leather Interior. Rowr.
After a longer and unexpected break, I'm posting my next #UCC. This is my 17th day, but it's the 28th day of September. I'll finish out this month, but I probably won't make up for the days I missed from the 16th until now. Big kudos and applause to Loriloo who continues the challenge in stride!

I wore this animal print leather and faux hair bracelet tonight. The last time I wore it was probably 5 years ago. I could never "make it work." I pulled it out about 2 weeks ago, thinking I was going to wear it, and just couldn't figure it out. Somehow, tonight was the night to make it work - and I did it! And I actually liked it a lot. 

I tend to shy away from animal print - a little goes a very long way for me. This is just the right amount for now, I think. I'm going to keep this bracelet, but I won't wait another 5 years to wear it. If I don't wear it at least 3 more times before January 1, 2015, I'll donate it. And by the way, I have no idea where I got it. If anyone else remembers or was with me, let me know.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Catching Up: Days 14 & 15 of Kayla and Lori's Ultimate Closet Challenge #UCC

Before I talk about me, here's some pre-post fun, related to what Loriloo and I are doing:

Gawker discuss Throwing Everything Out

Skylight Books in LA is doing a Clothing Swap with the signing of a new book, Women in Clothes, by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton!

I'm playing catch up a lot this week. It's been busy, but I did made a discovery. (I'm a lot like Christopher Columbus.) I realized that I do wear a lot of what's in my closet, which is making it harder for me to find pieces I wear infrequently, unless I start pulling out my clothes for specific occasions (weddings, funerals, etc...)

So, on Day 14, I wore this ring, which I really like, but usually wear it in Fall or Winter. That being said, I'm not sure I've worn it since Dec of last year. My grandmother used to wear it and I thought it looked huge on her, and now I love it on me. She was right when she said, "Someday you'll want this." I want it now. KEEPING IT.

On Day 15, you can tell by my expression, I was wearing a plain old t-shirt from the Gap. The funny thing is, there was time I loved this shirt (and it's sister shirts in black, white, green, gray, and purple) so much that the thought of wearing a different style or brand of t-shirt threw me for a loop - why would I ever do such a thing? And then I realized I had 10+ t-shirts, all the same, with no...oomph. They were just t-shirts. Some had spots on them, and I still wore them, justifying that nobody would really see the tiny stains. Soon I realized that when I was going out at night, I was picking the t-shirts without stains, not nice new shirts or blouses or anything with better fit or style, just t-shirts, the ones without stains. Those were my "good t shirts." So, now I'm not wearing them, except occasionally to the gym. I put the navy one on and though I have to admit I didn't hate it, it doesn't really do anything for me. Not sure if I should or shouldn't keep it. Thoughts?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Catching Up: Days 12 & 13 of Kayla and Lori's Ultimate Closet Challenge #UCC

I've been participating in #UCC the last two days, but also super busy, so I haven't updated my #UCC posts. I do.

For Day 12, I wore an Old Navy LBD that was midi-calf length and not becoming on me anymore. I've had it forever and keep trying to make it work, but I always end up taking it off before I go out. I didn't get a photo while I was in it on Friday, but I did wear it to dinner with my friend Amy -she's my witness- and today it traveled to a garage sale and now my friend June owns it. And when I say June owns it, I mean June OWNS IT, making it look fabulous in a way I couldn't and didn't.

For Day 13, I pulled out a green pashmina I rarely wear. Today was 100 plus degrees, but I knew I would be sitting in air conditioning a fair amount, so I pulled it out. I should bring this on planes with me more, but I'm always afraid of looking predictable with it - a red head with a green scarf- QUELLE SURPRISE!  Also, some of the fringe has been bleached so it's not 100% green anymore. But after wearing it today and knowing that green was also a hot #NYFW (New York Fashion Week) color, and that fall is on the way (it will be here eventually, right?), I am going to keep it.

(Not a fantastic photo. My camera is poopers right now.)

(Photos from the Toovia website; Kate Spade on top, Suno on the bottom)