Books As Outfits – Mini Reviews

I remember when the books as outfits trend was going around last year (or was it this year – I can’t keep up), and I thought it was such a cool trend. I kind of wanted to bring it back in a way, but instead of me dressing up to match the aesthetic of the book, I wanted to find outfits online that both resembled the vibe of the cover / the book’s contents, or would be something I might wear if I were a bit bolder with my looks.

So, here are mini reviews of the last 3 books I’ve read, and outfits I think would accompany them.

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Okay I really liked this one! The whole time I was reading, I was picturing the show (which I can’t wait until it returns for S2). I really like the aesthetic of books or shows set in the 1800s – give me a ball scene and I’m in! The reason I chose this outfit is because the time period definitely gives this book a bit of a conservative undertone, and I think this outfit is both conservative and classy. The sparkly shoe gives me a Princess / Duchess vibe and brings something fun to the whole ensemble; just like the book, it is classy but fun.

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I don’t have TikTok, but I believe this book was blowing up there originally at one point because I saw a lot of people tweeting about it in the last few months. This book was addictive. It does deal with some pretty heavy topics like alcoholism, sex addiction, and sexual assault, but it does not sugar coat them at all. It set the stage well for the other books in the series – I really liked the characters, especially the side characters. I chose this outfit because the colour and cut outs resemble the torn up heart on the cover. Though I don’t know where I would wear it, I reaaaallly like this outfit.

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It had been a while since I last read a classic before this one. Sometimes it can be easy to think that in the grand scheme of things you don’t matter, and that you are just one of billions in the world, which is what the protagonist, Eddie, felt. However, each of us does have a great impact on other people’s lives whether we realized it at the time or not, and that is mainly what this book is about. This book was sad and touching, and made me think very deeply about my life. I chose this outfit to accompany the book because like the book, it is a classic, and you can never go wrong with a monochromatic look. If you told me people wore this outfit in past decades, I would believe you just as much as if you told me you were wearing it today. Just like the outfit, The Five People You Meet in Heaven is timeless.

– Catherine

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Top 5 Wednesday | Books Published in 2021

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly prompt originally created by Lainey @GingerReadsLainey on Youtube. Every Wednesday, you are presented with a new topic and list your top 5 books related to that topic. You can join the Goodreads group HERE!

Since we are now in the second half of 2021, this week’s prompt is to list your favourite books published in the first half of the year.

Admittedly, I haven’t read too many books published in 2021 so far, so I am going to list my top 3, and then the last 2 will be highly anticipated books that I am planning to read which came out in 2021 🙂

Books I’ve Read:

HOUSE OF HOLLOW | KRYSTAL SUTHERLAND

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MALIBU RISING | TAYLOR JENKINS REID

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ONE LAST STOP | CASEY MCQUISTON

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Books I’m Planning on Reading:

PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION | EMILY HENRY

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THE SECRET KEEPER OF JAIPUR | ALKA JOSHI

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Have you read any of these so far this year? Are any of these on your list? I’d love to know!

– Catherine

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Review// Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Series: Standalone
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: May 27, 2021
Book Length: 384
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Review: 4/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Four famous siblings throw an epic party to celebrate the end of the summer. But over the course of twenty-four hours, their lives will change forever.

Malibu: August, 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together, the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over—especially as the offspring of the legendary singer, Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud—because it is long past time to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.

And Kit has a couple secrets of her own—including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.

Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them… and what they will leave behind. 

My Review:

I have always had reliable experiences with Taylor Jenkins Reid’s work, and this book solidified why. In pursuit of a perfect novel, the main thing I look for are quality characters, and TJR consistently delivers on that front.

That being said, it’s hard to rate this book when you compare it to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, or Daisy Jones and the Six, because while in my opinion it was amazing at face value, there was something missing here in comparison that I can’t quite put my finger on. With the other two, I felt like the barrier between fiction and reality blurred, and I almost found myself searching for the characters in real life because they felt so believable to me; I just needed more of them. In Malibu Rising, I still felt the barrier I usually feel when I’m reading a book but not quite a part of it. And while there is nothing wrong with that, and I think it’s quite normal, it’s just so hard to properly rate the book for what it is without unfairly comparing. Plainly speaking, is this my favourite book by this author? No. Is this an great book for what it is? Yes.

Nina was my favourite character by a landslide; she exudes first born daughter energy if I’ve ever seen it, and I can relate to that. Her character development by the end was something I didn’t really expect, but I enjoyed the direction it took. I really liked the other Riva siblings too, and I was so invested in each of their dramas and points of view. I also loved the back and forth timelines between their parents childhood’s to theirs, and each hour leading up to and during the party; it kind of gave me a sense of why each sibling turned out to be how they were in adulthood, and I liked how that built the characters from the ground up.

I really enjoyed this book; it made me feel like I was on the beach in 70s/80s Malibu. If you’re looking for the perfect summer beach read, add this to your list!

– Catherine

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Review// The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

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Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Series: The Shadow of the Wind 
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: May 1, 2001
Book Length: 506
Publisher: Penguin Group
Review: 4/5

My Review:

This book is a labyrinth – it is mainly one story (with a few side stories in between) of an author told from various viewpoints after a boy discovers one of their books in The Cemetery of Forgotten Books – where threatened texts are protected – and embarks on a quest to find out more about its mysterious author

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this book was well thought out and well written. I really enjoyed following Daniel on his journey to find out more about Julian Carax, the author of a book he found in his father’s shop, The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. The beginning was amazing, and I was so into all the eerie things that were happening to Daniel which mirrored the main character in the book he was so fascinated by as a boy.

Maybe it’s the element of wonder that got me hooked, but I think I actually preferred the beginning of the book more, when Daniel didn’t know that much about Julian and was kind of just living his life, instead of playing detective trying to find the people Julian was close with to get more answers about his books, and why there were so few of them left after they’d been burned by an unknown person throughout the years. Every time Daniel got in touch with a person that knew Julian, there would be entire long chapters dedicated to that person’s narrative, so it was kind of like you were there with Daniel hearing their side of the story. However, I felt that sometimes these chapters dragged on too much. As I said before, this book is a labyrinth, and while I loved getting lost in its pages, at times the twists and turns made me dizzy. There was a lot going on at one point, and I found it difficult to keep up with who was who, and who said what, because each person Daniel “interviewed” went on for quite some time about their version of it.

I wanted more of Daniel and Fermin, but especially Fermin, a fellow worker of he and his father’s at the bookstore. Fermin was by far my favourite character – his dialogue was hilarious, and I loved his personality. I want a book entirely dedicated to him!

I will never be disinterested in a fictional book about books, and I can honestly say that despite any of my criticisms, this one was unique and worth the read. I almost can’t believe this is a series, because the book tied off so well at the end with no real loopholes that I can think of!

– Catherine

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Shadow & Bone Trilogy | Character Mood Boards

I just recently finished the Shadow & Bone trilogy in anticipation for the upcoming Netflix series based on the books, so I thought it’d be fun commemorate that by creating some character mood boards from the books!

I did this before for Simon vs. The Homosapien’s Agenda as well, which you can find here if you’d like to check that out. 🙂

Alina Starkov:

Alina, otherwise known as Sankta (Saint) Alina, is the protagonist of this series. At the beginning, she is described as a quiet, odd, and pale girl – almost sickly. Once she realizes she has magical Grisha powers, the colour returns to her face as she’s no longer suppressing the power she was born to exhibit, and she really grows into a strong character who sees her worth.

The Darkling:

As the name suggests, The Darkling is the antagonist of the series. I thought he really had potential in the first book to be that evil character that I couldn’t get enough of, but as time went on, he got worse and worse, to the point where I didn’t really like him anymore. He and Alina had that like, one steamy scene in Shadow & Bone, but in the other two books that kind of faded. Part of me wishes that continued though because I found it so thrilling.

Mal Oretzev:

Mal is a childhood friend of Alina’s as they grew up in an orphanage together, and later, he is her love interest. He is also a tracker and Soldier of the First Army. Personally, I didn’t like Mal that much because I found him to be really boring, and at times, possessive. I feel like if they had better communication skills, so many problems in these books could have been avoided!

Overall, I enjoyed the series, though if I am being honest, I think book twitter really hyped it up a lot so I think my expectations were much higher. However, I’m excited for it to become a T.V. show – I’m curious as to what the similarities and differences will be!

Have you read the Shadow & Bone trilogy? Did you enjoy it? I’d love to know your thoughts!

– Catherine

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