Saturday, April 25, 2015

Book Review: Material Girls

Title: Material Girls 
Author:  Elaine Dimopoulos
Genre: YA Dystopia
Publication: 2015
Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars

The Cover

I don't particularly like or dislike this cover, I think it's mainly the green that doesn't speak to me but that's a personal choice. I really like the dummy with the design tools and piece of fabric with the title written over it because this is a novel about fashion. The dummy on a simple background with a simple font for the author is a really smart choice, it's the green and pink I don't like very much.

The Story

A dystopian society in which young teenagers are "tapped" into creative industries if they show promise for a particular industry. Getting tapped is the ultimate goal in life and if you don't get tapped you and up an "adequate". The novel mainly deals with the fashion industry where it is the teens that make or fail any trend, trends that become unfashionable within weeks because that is how quick this industry works. We love the lives of two girls, whose paths eventually cross. Marla Klein is a judge on the court of one of the big five fashion houses, dictating what is trendy. Ivy Wild is a teen pop star who wears any trend put out there by the fashion industry making her fans follow her lead and buy the same trends. Both girls are basically pawns in their society, completely controlled by the industries they work in but together they come up a new trend, "eco-chic", as they start to question the society they live in.

My Thoughts

At first glance the world in this novel doesn't seem as scary as other dystopian worlds which are more dictatorial but once you get more into the story, you realize this world is far from a place one would want to live in either. Teens are tapped into creative industries and robbed from their youth because they have to start working at a young age and once they get "too old" they are demoted to lower positions and subsequently they become unhappy because prestige is everything in this world. People that aren't tapped into an industry are called "adequates" and are considered just that, adequate, but these are people that actually go to school and university. Trends change every month or less and people are expected to buy them or they are considered "obsolosers". Everything is controlled by the people in power of the respective industries, the tapped kids really aren't as lucky as they seem to be as they're not free to make any decisions. What makes this world rather scary is that even though the idea of kids working is really far off, all the other things are actually scarily close to our world: trends come and go, fashion sometimes seems too crazy to wear, and celebrities often seem to dictate what people like to wear.

Even though the novel picks up some standard dystopian tropes, it also stands out because of the different themes and world building. Also, the revolution in the book is of a different kind than what you usually comes across and the ending is actually kind of surprising. The author includes some new words but they feel natural and as a reader you have no trouble figuring out what they mean. Some negative points are the fact that you don't get any information as to why this society is the way it is and the shift between the first and third narrations; I get that it's done to keep the voices of Marla and Ivy separate (the book is made up of alternate chapters about the both of them) but I personally found this a bit annoying. Unfortunately both characters remain a bit one-sided and there is not much development to them. The supporting characters remain rather flat as well even though there is definitely potential because some of them are really interesting. All in all, the novel is well written though and I had fun reading it, especially as the story advanced and I got more into it.

I really enjoyed the kind of social criticism in this novel, the craziness of the fashion industry, blindly following trends even if they don't look great or are uncomfortable, idolizing stars, the wastefulness of our society, and even small things like Marla's mother obsession with Marla getting married. They are all important topics that are especially important to get across to younger readers, who I feel are more prone to enjoy this novel than older readers of YA. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what Elaine Dimopoulos will do next!

Thanks a lot to HMH Books for Young Readers for the free ARC through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Silver Scrapbook Page

Since I adopted Silver a year ago I've been wanting to do a Scrapbook page with a photo of him, so I'm happy that finally I got to make it. Don't let the sweet tones fool you, tho, he's a little monster! 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Book Review: Wild

Title: Wild                    
Author: Cheryl Strayed
Genre: Memoir
Publication: 2012
Rating: 5 / 5 stars

The Cover

There is also a movie edition cover featuring Reese Witherspoon who played Cheryl in the movie version and while she did a great job and the cover is pretty, I'm always more a fan of the original covers of books. The Cover of Wild is a simple one but I really like it. It features a hiking boot and not much fancy text on a white background. I feel like the simpleness of it speaks volumes, and considering the fact that good boots are needed for a hike and that Cheryl's boots basically are a minor character in the book, it's a really good choice. I also like that they kept the fonts rather simple, only using black and the red from the shoe laces, everything puts the boot up and front.

The Story

Cheryl Strayed feels like she has lost everything when she's only in her early twenties, her mother died, her marriage is soon to be over and her family has fallen apart as well. She lives her life rather lost for four years until she makes a big decision, she will hike the Pacific Crest Trail starting at the Mojave Desert all the way up to Washington State, a hike that is more than thousand miles long and she will do it all by herself. To make her decision even more daunting she decides this while not having any experience or training except for having read a guide book about the trail. She's hoping to reinvent and find herself during this difficult and lonely experience.

My Toughts

I had seen Wild around before but it never really appealed to me I guess and I only decided to read it because Reese Witherspoon was nominated for an Oscar. I like to watch all the movies that get nominations and considering that I like to have read the book before the movie and that this is a bestseller I decided to give it a go. I'm really glad I did! Because from a book that I never seemed all too appealing to me and a book I went into not really thinking I would like it, I went to loving it. I love when books do that to me and it goes to show that we should sometimes branch out and read stuff we wouldn't normally read, especially when a book gets the great reviews Wild has been getting.

After a bit of a slow start, the first part of the book describes Cheryl's childhood and her mother's illness and dying process in great detail and while it's important to have this background and her mother's death was one of the biggest catalysts in making her decision, I felt like it drags on a little bit. It is well-written and very touching and emotional but I guess I was waiting for the real story to begin. Once it did, I couldn't put the book away, I read whenever I could and I even read on my phone when I took the dog for a walk. It's the kind of book that draws you in and keeps you longing for more. Part of it is Strayed writing style which is really great and easy to get into, she has a way of keeping you on the edge of your seat and works in humor so be prepared to have some laughs here and there.

Her journey is a remarkable one and you feel like you're right there with her on the trail, experiencing her emotions, feelings and fears. I really liked all the people she met on her journey, everybody brought something special to the story and her journey. There are some that make a reappearance now and then and some she and we as readers never encounter again but I guess that is part of a journey like that, and part of life really. The story goes back and forth between Cheryl's hike and her previous life which she thinks about during her hike and it basically reads like a novel. It's not so much a book about the Pacific Crest Trail but more the story of one woman's experiences during her life and while hiking the trail coming to terms with the first 26 years of her life.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sunday Treasury: Southwestern blues

Something I'm loving these days are native and southwestern inspired patterns. It doesn't matter if they're in a piece jewelry or on the fabric of a bag, I just want to have them all!

Round Southwestern/Aztec Design Tin with Cactus Picture
Vintage Vernon Ware Metlox Mesa Southwestern Tea Pot with 2 Cups, Hand Painted Coffee Pot, California
Turquoise Chevron Necklace ... Southwestern Tribal Indie Geometric Gemstone
Aztec bag, Aztec print, Tribal print, Small handbag ,Clutch Purse, Pastel, Geometric print
Feather Watercolor Art Printable | Tribal Feather | Tribal Art | Feather Print | Pink Feather | Blue Feather, INSTANT DOWNLOAD
SOUTHWESTERN KITCHEN CONTAINERS Vintage Ceramic Pueblo Mexico  Brought To You By TheHeartTheHome on Etsy!
Vintage Mexican Skirt / Guatemalan skirt / embroidered skirt / Frida Kahlo / hand stitched skirt / ethnic skirt /
Southwestern seed beaded cuff bracelet// cuff//Navajo bracelet//Navajo loom cuff//cross cuff bracelet//leather cuff//suede cuff bracelet
Concrete Planter "MALIBU" with Turquoise Triangles. Perfect for succulents.
Vintage Retro Pastel Colored Tribal Southwest Aztec Rug
Mens Skinny Leather Southwestern Ethnic Belt Size 32
DECORATIVE THROW PILLOW Kilim Pillow Cover Turkish Pillow Case Kilim Cushion Cover decor pattern pastel coral red boho aztec shabby chic old
Southwestern Style Pottery Cactus Pot Small Ceramic Cactus or Succulent Planter Excellent Vintage Condition
S A L E Ombre Aztec Mens Tee
Aztec Tribal Geometric Genuine Leather Earrings/ Light Blue And Gray Earrings
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Monday, February 2, 2015

Scrapbook page: waiting for better weather - part II

Last week I posted the first page of the "Waiting for better weather" scrapbook page (page on the left). This morning I finished the second part of it.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sunday Treasury: Foxes!

The challenge this week was to find only 15 items to include in the list, they were all adorable! What's not to love about foxes?

FOX · Wood necklace · Simple and beautiful · Pendant of square wooden with embroidered FOX · Cross-stitch
Baby Fox Thank You Cards - Folded Thank You Cards - Baby Shower Thank You Card
VALENTINE'S GIFT, Fox Gloves, Brown Gloves, Animal Lovers, Special Gift, Valentines Day Gift, Fun Gloves, Unique, Cool Gift, Unisex, For Her
Wooden sleeping fox face earrings - fox jewellery Sterling Silver posts available
Fox temporary tattoo
Felicity Fox Mug - Woodland Animals
Fox Wallet - simple leather cardholder
Fox Face Batwing Top -  bone jersey
Fantastic Mr Fox, 8x10 watercolor painting print
Fox iPhone Case, Chalkboard iPhone Case, iPhone 4 Case, iPhone 5 Case with Flower Wreath
red fox scarf
Woodland Nursery Bedding - Fox Reads A Book - Fox Nursery Decor Pillowcase - 18 x 18 - Fox Nursery
Fox Print, Woodland Nursery Art Print in Tan, Fox Art Print 8x10 Inches
Fox Sleeping Mask, Cat Sleeping Mask, Natural Linen & Chambray Eye Mask, Woodland Fox or Kitty Sleep Mask
Red Fox Necklace, Fox Pendant, Fox Jewelry, Fox Animal Necklace, Animal Art, Animal Jewelry, Kids Jewelry Children - Little Fox In The Woods
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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Scrapbook page: waiting for better weather

It was a while since the last time I created anything. I blame the winter blues for that, I prefer daylight for scrapbooking and the past two months didn't provide much of that. Waiting for better weather (more sunlight!) here's a page I finished this morning. I'll continue it on the other page next to it, but for now I'm sharing this part. I hope you like it!