Stitch Fix Review March 2017


~This post contains affiliate links~

Do you know what the best part about February being a short month is? I didn’t have to wait as long to get my March Stitch Fix! Whoop, whoop! And at the end of the month Stitch Fix added curvy sizes to the mix! Now ladies from 0-24W are being stlyed by Stitch Fix! Read more about the launch here. In celebration of the launch I am giving away a $20 Stitch Fix Gift card on my blog facebook page! So head over to my new facebook group and enter to win! The $20 will cover your styling fee! It is simple to enter, you just ask to be added to the group, find the Plus Size Launch Post and tell me what spring colors or trends you are excited about in the comments. For an extra entry, sign up for your first Fix using my referral link ! I will picking a winner using random.org on 3/31!

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In case you don’t know, Stitch Fix is my fashion subscription box obsession. They send 5 clothing pieces and/or accessories that have been curated by your personal stylist according to your style profile and requests. Then you have 3 days to try the clothes on in your house before deciding what to keep and what to send back in the prepaid bag they send you. Shipping is free both ways, you just pay a $20 styling fee that becomes a credit towards anything you purchase. If you keep everything you get 25% off.

I have had the same stylist, Jason, for a year and a half now and I am always impressed by what he sends. You can request to keep your stylist by emailing hello@stitchfix.com. So if you find a stylist that seems to get your style, definitely request to keep them. The longer they style you the better your fixes are. Sometimes it can take a few months of trial and error to find the right stylist for you. Give it time, it is worth it. If you have any questions please ask in the comments!

With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner and “Greenery” was the named the Pantone color of the year  I decided to ask Jason to send me something green! I also mentioned  would still like to add a spring colored jacket to my wardrobe, some new skinny jeans in either medium wash denim or a spring hue and any spring trends he thinks are a must try. After my visit to Stitch Fix headquarters, I was totally inspired to try all things spring. You guys, my visit was amazing! Stitch Fix continues to grow and it was amazing to see where the magic happens! There was inspiration around ever corner so take a peek behind the scenes:

I feel so blessed to have been able to meet people on the Stitch Fix team and see where they are working every day! Being an affiliate for such an awesome company is humbling! I felt like a total fan-girl as I was walking around and taking in the racks of clothes, style boards, seeing the cafeteria, the cozy nooks for informal meetings and meeting tons of friendly people! I was freaking out so much I did not take very many pictures-blogger fail. But enough gushing, lets get to the goods. Here is what Jason sent.

1. Adorne Ayden Jersey Maxi Dress-Green, Size 10, $88

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Anthony told me to pretend like I was on vacation..

Well Jason sent me green! When I pulled it out of the box, I wasn’t sure about it. The print is very large, and it is a bit fancier than a cotton maxi dress. It is a poly/spandex blend that is so silky! I was surprised that it was flattering and that it was long enough (I’m 5’7″). This dress would be perfect for a tropical vacation! I wish I had it on my honeymoon last year. I am just not sure I have anywhere to wear this in the coming months but man did I feel glam wearing it! I have decided to try to sell it. Anthony’s take: Well its nice but we won’t be going on vacation for a long time if you spend all of our money on Stitch Fix.(and then he laughed, he thinks he’s pretty funny!)

2. Renee C Addae Knit Dress-White, Size Large, $74

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IMG_3860I love the print on this dress and it is made in the USA! The fabric is soft, but not thin. I am not sure that white is the most flattering color on me, but I like this dress so much I do not care. I loved pairing it with bright accessories to add the color I thought was missing.I feel sassy when wearing this and love that the neckline is conservative. The dress is a bit shorter than I usually like, but I bent over and Anthony said it was all good, so this is a total keeper!  Anthony’s take: I like this, I’m not sure what these are (pointing to the pleats) but it looks nice.

3. Lakeview Denim AlexSkinny Jean-White, Size 10, $58

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Anthony’s comment on this outfit was too good not to share. “Oh, I love when you give me the cold shoulder.”

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Dressed up!

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I got some great white skinnies in my February box last year, but I did not keep them. They just didn’t fit the way I wanted them too. I was happy to see Jason sent me another pair to try. These are very soft and a bit thinner than the KFTK pair. I like the way they hugged me body and were ankle length, which is perfect for spring and summer. I have never been brave enough to wear white pants, but because I am pale they are the only light colored bottom that doesn’t make it look like I am not wearing pants. Blush pink and light lavender not for me. I am worried they might be see through so I had Anthony do an inspection. He said he couldn’t see my skin but eventually found my nude underwear. They seemed ok to me so I am taking my chances and keeping them! Anthony’s take: They look good, until they don’t. I can’t wait to see how dirty you get those. 

4. Alice Blue Simona Henley Blouse-White, Size Medium, $44

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Pattern Mixing!

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If you looked into my closet you would plainly see that I love florals. After buying a few floral shirts I had purposely taken all of my floral pins off my Stitch Fix Pinterest board but Jason has a good memory, and probably remembered I had a ton of florals pinned last month. He hit the nail on the head with this one. It is gorgeous. The colors are so beautiful and feminine. It looks like a gorgeous watercolor. The blouse is sheer and will need a camisole under it. The only problem with this blouse is that it was tight on my hips. I could size up, but I am not sure if I need another floral blouse. I decided to sell this one. Anthony’s take: Don’t you already have this? 

Just Black Adorra Skinny Jean-Purple, Size 10, $88

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IMG_3861.PNGI was delighted to see these purple pants in my box. The color is beautiful. I sent back some light purple pants last month and have been dreaming of the perfect colored denim since. These pants are made in the USA and are soft, but not thin. They are just long enough to wear with flats and sandals. I never thought I’d say this, but I almost wish they were ankle length. I think they look cuter with booties when they are a little shorter as I don’t like to cuff colored denim for some reason. I will have to let Jason know that in the spring and summer shorter length colored pants are preferred! That is what I love about Stitch Fix, having time to try things with the clothes I already own allows me to determine what I like to wear. These are a keeper and I am wearing them to lunch today! Also, notice the similarity between the two floral blouses? That is why I decided to sell the white one from this fix. Anthony’s take: Nice! Purple pants. 

What do you think of the pieces I received? Don’t they make you want to schedule a fix? I cannot wait to see what other gorgeous pieces come out for spring.

Don’t forget to join the Golden Retrievers and Stars facebook group for a chance to win a $20 Stitch Fix Gift Card! You get an extra entry if you sign up for your first fix using my referral link!

Until next time,

I love you more than,

spring green and floral things,

Whitney

Check out more Stitch Fix posts here:

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

Stitch Fix Year in Review

November 2016

 

Spring ModCloth Stylist Surprise

Starts 3/6 while supplies last

Starts 3/6 while supplies last

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.

ModCloth is having another Stylish Surprise
event, starting right now, 3/6 at 8am EST, and it’s set to be their biggest one EVER! 
Stock up on marvelous mystery items for $20 or less while supplies last — dresses, shoes, decor, and more. Which awesome pieces will you score? No coupon code necessary, simply add a Stylish Surprise
item to your order and wait till untold treasures arrive!

I have received Stylish Surprises a few times (read more here) and have always received great things, my favorite being the gorgeous winter coat pictured below. I scored that coat for $15! These Stylish Surprises usually sell out fast, so if you want them remember to shop early.

Stylish Surprises are full of end of season items that will have you wanting winter to stay around just a little longer so you can wear them. So stop what you are doing, and click the Stylish Surprise Links anywhere in this post and order yourself a Stylish Surprise
today! Reminder: ModCloth carries cute clothes for a wide range of sizes so do not forget to check out their sale page http://www.modcloth.com/shop/sale ! I have my eye on a  few things there too!

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Until next time,

I love you more than huge sales and surprises in the mail,

Whitney

Book Banter: February 2017

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Welcome to post 100 on Golden Retrievers and Stars! Whether this is your first time reading, or your hundredth (hi mom!), thank you! When I started this blog I never imagined I would reach thousands or readers. So, thank you.

Ok, enough with the mushy stuff, let’s get to why you are really here, BOOKS.

This month I was in a reading slump. I did not get nearly as much reading done as I had anticipated. Especially since a bunch of my library holds came in this month. I will cut myself some slack since February is a short month, and I was out of town over a long weekend. But seriously, can I have my reading  groove back?

All titles are linked to Amazon for your convenient buying pleasure. These links are affiliate links and I will earn a small commission from your purchases at no extra charge to you.

1. Call the Nurse by Mary J. MacLeod

Call the Nurse: True Stories of a Country Nurse on a Scottish IsleReader Confession: I have not read Call the Midwife or seen the show-Don’t worry, it is on my to-do list- So I am assuming that this book follows a similar style as the one its name echoes.  I have heard both compared to James Herriot’s writings, which I have read and love. This book is the memoir of MacLeod, a nurse, who decided to move with her family to a remote Scottish Isle and become the island nurse. It really made me want to visit Scotland and maybe turn into a hermit and live there. I am not sure about peat smoke, but I bet I could get used to it. The people in the stories are so vibrant. MacLeod does not shy away from tough stories, but had her share of funny stories as well. I loved the passion with which MacLeod described her time on the island. I HIGHLY recommend this on audio because 1. Scottish accents 2. name pronunciation.

2. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White 

Charlotte's WebI think I have read this book more times than any other, even *gasp* Harry Potter. It is a masterpiece. The language is so rich. The story heartfelt, and the characters are complex and humorous (Templeton) Every time I get to read this with my students I cannot imagine a greater privilege. Seriously. The looks on their faces and their belly laughs are worth 10,00 words. I still get choked up at the end, even though I give myself a pep talk before reading it. If you have never read this book I will try not to judge you, but seriously, now is the time. If you haven’t read this book in the last ten years I recommend you revisit it. You will be glad you did. It is a tale of friendship and trust. Love and loyalty. Plus, if you get the opportunity to read it aloud, your kiddos will love the voices you get make for the different barnyard animals. I love this book so much I currently own 5 copies of it. Some will be going home with students are year end gifts, but still. So good.

3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

17262158This book might have started my reading slump. I finished it and was shocked. I was not anticipating it to be so sexual. I was not anticipating the ending. I was also not anticipating Shakespeare (that part I really liked). I read this as part of a series on Totalitarianism I am following along with. I also read Darkness at Noon and 1984.  Huxley was obviously very well educated and very afraid of where the world was headed. His imagined totalitarian government was not as outright scary as the others I have been reading about. But, that made it even scarier. There were not too many people who were disgruntled or asking questions. They filled their days with work and nights with government promoted entertainment. They took a literal happy pill whenever they had bad feelings. That is scary. It sounds like something people might actually do. Yikes. I am glad I read this, bu I  am not sure I enjoyed it and I don’t think I was supposed to.

Well that is it for February Book  Banter! Don’t forget to follow along with my reading adventures on instagram and twitter! Juts follow me @whitksmith and tag your books with #bookbanter2017

Also, join my facebook group for book deals, fashion finds and more! Right now I am having a $20 Stitch Fix Giveaway to celebrate their launch of more sizes! They now carry sizes 0-24W and XS-3X. Check out my last Stitch Fix post for more details or just head on over to the facebook group to enter now!

What have you been reading lately? Any ideas to get me back on the reading train? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time,

I love you more than Scottish isles and kiddo smiles,

Whitney

 

Exciting News: Stitch Fix Launched Plus Size Styling (and I am having a contest!)

*This post contains referral links*

I am so happy to announce that Stitch Fix is now styling sizes 0-24W and XS-3X! They have over 90 plus size brands (some exclusive to Stitch Fix) that stylists will be sending out in fixes around the U.S. starting February 27, 2017!

What is Stitch Fix?

It is a personal styling service that sends 5 hand selected clothing pieces straight to your door. You get to try on what they have sent in the comfort of your own home and take a few days to decide what to keep. If you keep it all you receive 25% off your whole order. If the fit on your items is not right, you just pop them back in the pre-paid mailer and take them to the Post Office (or schedule a pick-up) and back to the warehouse they go!

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How do you get started?

Click my referral link: https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/3871720

Pay a $20 styling fee, that will be applied to any items you keep, and fill out a style profile. This is where you get to tell your stylist about your style, body type, likes and dislikes. Be very honest here and if there is anything Stitch Fix left off their questionnaire let your stylist know in the box provided at the end of the profile.

Then schedule your Fix! You get to tell your stylist what you’d like to see in your first box in your “Note to Stylist” section. Tell them about colors you love, trends you’d like to try, upcoming events or pieces missing from your wardrobe. Try to focus on three main requests and allow your stylist some room to get creative and send you something you would have never picked for yourself. Believe me, always try everything on, you’d be surprised how many items I hated straight from the box and loved once I had them styled on my body!

Then you can link your social media accounts so your stylist can see pictures of you! Also, make a Pinterest board featuring items you love. This might be the one chance you have to actually own your Pinterest wardrobe!

Check out my boards:

Stitch Fix Stylist Board

Stitch Fix Favorites (from boxes I have been sent)

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So what are you waiting for? Sign up today!

Until 5 pm on March 12, 2017 I will be hosting a contest for a $20 Stitch Fix gift card (that is the price of a styling fee!!) on my new Golden Retrievers and Stars Facebook Page:

https://m.facebook.com/groups/258037637972899?ref=

Here is how to enter:

1. Join my Facebook Group (link above)

2. Find the post that shares this blog entry and tell me your favorite spring color or trend

3. For an extra entry sign up for your first Stitch Fix box using my referral link

https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/3871720

Once your Fix has registered on my account I will enter you a second time. The contest will end on Sunday, March 19th at 5 pm. I will use random.org to pick my winner!

Happy Fixing!

Until next time,

I love you more than new sizes and winning prizes,

Whitney

For more posts on Stitch Fix click the links below:

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

Stitch Fix Year in Review

November 2016

Stitch Fix Review February 2017


~This post contains affiliate link~

My February Stitch Fix has arrived which means it is almost time for me to visit Stitch Fix headquarters! That’s right, I am headed to San Francisco for a conference on Learning and the Brain and while I am there I am going to stop by Stitch Fix to check it out! I am so excited to see where the magic happens!

If you have been reading my blog for awhile you know I love Stitch Fix, a personal styling service that sends you five hand-selected pieces straight to your door after you have paid a $20 styling fee. The fee is then credited back to any pieces you keep from the fix. Before your stylist picks your items they read the note you write that lets them know about any upcoming events you may have or trends and styles you really want to try. Then your stylist can check out your style inspiration on a Pinterest board that contains actual pieces you want to try. Here is the official Stitch Fix Pinterest and my  Pinterest Board full of Stitch Fix pieces. Once your Fix gets to you, you have 3 days to try it on and decide what to keep. If you keep everything you get 25% off!

If this sounds great to you, click any of the links in this post to sign up using my affiliate links. I get a small commission and you get some great clothes! It is not too late to give the gift of Stitch Fix as a Valentine’s or Galentine’s Day present. Stitch Fix offers men’s, women’s, petitie’s and maternity styling and will soon offer plus size. Click here to get a Stitch Fix Gift Card sent straight to your loved one today! Or head over to my facebook group and join for a chance to win a $20 Stitch Fix Gift Card of your own! 

This month I requested on trend items to wear for my trip to San Francisco. I filled my Pinterest board with moto jackets and floral prints. Let’s see what my stylist, Jason, sent!

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  1. Just Black Joey Skinny Jeans-Light Purple, Size 10, $88img_3402

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These pants are so soft, and are super long! Since I have such long legs getting pants that are long enough is always so exciting. Petites beware, I rolled these three times to get the cuff! I had fun styling these for spring. It has been COLD by Pacific Northwest standards and today was the first day in a long time that the sun was shining and it was above 38 degrees, so styling for spring made me long for more days like this. You will see more spring ensembles with these pants later in the post. These pants photograph purple. But in reality they were more of a light blue/grey with a hint of purple. If these had been as purple as they are in pictures in real life I would have kept them in a minute. But they seemed more like light wash blue jeans and I couldn’t justify keeping them.

2.Project Social T Murphie Graphic Knit Top-Grey, Size M, $34

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When I pulled this shirt out of my box I was completely surprised. Like Jason mentioned in his note, Stitch Fix does not often have graphic tees. This shirt was SO soft. I normally don’t like my t-shirts to be fitted, but this one was surprisingly flattering. I liked the scoop neck and the longer sleeves. Of course I tried it with the Just Black jeans seen above and loved the look. I also tried to replicate the outfit on the right of the style card that came with my Fix. The cargo jacket and boyfriend jeans worn in this outfit are both from Stitch Fix. Even though I had fun styling this piece, I ended up selling it to a friend. I am not a huge coffee drinker and so the words on the tee just didn’t fit me. Had it said, “Books & Rainy Days” instead it would have been a definite keeper. I am still so glad Jason sent it because I love to try the new styles Stitch Fix has in their inventory.

3. Marc New York Antalya Faux Suede Jacket-Light Grey, Size L, $98

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Jason was able to snag me this gorgeous moto jacket and I was so happy when I pulled it out of the box. The very light grey color was super versatile and the jacket had a ton of stretch. I loved it styled dressed up with a pencil skirt and dressed down with the graphic tee and skinny jeans that came in this fix. When my husband saw this jacket he was not sold on the light color thinking about how hard it would be to keep clean. But when he saw it paired with the light purple jeans he said, “I have to admit you look pretty cool in that outfit.” I thought so too. But I just didn’t love the fit of the jacket. It felt a little boxy and the asymmetrical zipper just wasn’t my thing. I am wondering if a smaller size would have been better.  I sent this beauty back and will keep asking for moto jackets until I find the perfect one.

4. Kaileigh Viktoria Knit Dress-Navy, Size L, $48

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I love this dress. The floral print, the colors, the criss-cross detail in the front; all of these things are all very “me.” The fabric reminded me of very soft, lightweight sweatshirt material. This dress isn’t clingy and it is made in the USA! I’d say the background color is a heathered navy, not a true navy, which made me like it even more. I loved the length of this dress, even though it might be a little shorter than I usually like it still seemed conservative enough. If I was wearing this to work I would wear leggings or opaque tights under it.  But for a casual weekend look bare legs were fine! It looks cute on its own and with the moto jacket from this fix. I can’t wait to try it with a blazer, belted and with taller boots. This dress is a total keeper. I am so happy to add it to my closet. If you are thinking about requesting this dress, you might want to consider sizing down, especially if you are in between sizes, as this large was roomy and I think a medium would have been just as flattering. I just couldn’t wait to wear it long enough to ask for an exchange (which Stitch Fix will gladly do for you!).

5. Bay to Baubles Mollie Natural Stone Chevron Pendant-Light Pink, $34

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I loved the light pink color and shape of the stone in this necklace. The hardware was more bronze than true gold which was a nice touch. It looked great with everything in this fix. The only problem was, the piece above the stone that held the chain together was crooked. No matter how hard I tried I could not overlook it. So sadly, this piece went back.

What was your favorite piece from my fix? Did I make the right choice by only keeping the dress? Have you scheduled your first fix from Stitch Fix yet? Don’t forget to head over to facebook to enter my $20 Stitch Fix giveaway! Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/258037637972899/?ref=bookmarks

Until next time,

I love you more than getting ready for spring and purple jeans,

Whitney

Check out my other Stitch Fix Reviews below:

January 2017

December 2016

Stitch Fix Year in Review

November 2016

Fixing and Remixing

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

Book Banter January 2017: Part 2

Thanks for stopping by to talk about books! I have been focusing on books I want to read this month and I haven’t been sticking to my usual regimen. I will probably get back to it in the coming months, but it was fun to just sit back and let my mood drive my reading choices for the month of January.

I read ten books this month so my Book Banter post has been split in two. Read the first Book Banter post here. The books have been linked using my affiliate links, so if you make a purchase a small portion of the price will come back to me to help support my blog!

6. Emily Climbs by L.M. Montgomery 

Emily Climbs (Emily, #2)I love everything I have read by L.M. Montgomery and the Emily series is no exception. This is the second book in the Emily of New Moon Series. Emily Starr, like Montgomery’s well known character Anne Shirley, lives on Prince Edward Island and is an orphan. She loves writing and dreams of being a well known author/ poet/etc. I LOVE the way that Emily looks at the world, she sees beauty everywhere and takes the time to admire it. I feel like I notice the beauty in the world, but rarely take the time to truly indulge in it. So Emily’s observations are a welcome reminder. Emily’s character is so endearing, at times you can feel her anguish and remember being as young as she is. Of course, you can see budding romances forming, but they are so sweet and innocent that it warms your heart. Emily and Anne are similar in many ways, but their differences make the Emily series a very different read.

7. The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

The Shining GirlsThis is a book my best friend recently read and the premise made me push it to the top of my stack. This book is all about a time-traveling serial killer. Pretty interesting right? The time travel is not science-fictiony; it is the means by which the killer finds and gets to his victims. After he has found a victim he takes something from her and then leaves it at the scene of the next crime. For investigators this is puzzling because the trinkets are often left during a time period where they have not yet been invented. He is going undetected when one of his intended victims lives and is set on finding out who tried to kill her. The writing is weak in some areas. I found myself rereading a few of the passages because the wording was off, but it didn’t take away from the overall read.  I really liked the premise and would look for more by this author. As she continues to write I am sure her style will improve.

3. Emily’s Quest by L.M. Mongomery

Emily's Quest (Emily, #3)Yes I finished the Emily of New Moon series this month. After I finished the second book I quickly started the third and final book in the series. I wanted to stay in Emily’s world for just a while longer. In this last book Emily does a lot of growing up and learns what it is like to break a heart and have her heart broken. The descriptions are still gorgeous and make me want to visit Prince Edward Island. I would be lying if I told you this was easy for me to put down. I stayed up VERY late on a school night to finish this book because I HAD TO KNOW what happened. I wasn’t disappointed. I am not the type of person that always needs the ending of a book to be wrapped up with a pretty little bow on top, but this book had the biggest and brightest of bows and was just right. Let me leave you with some quotes from the book, “But love is not bought and sold. It is a gift.” and “Even if we never find it,” he said to Emily, as they lingered in the New Moon garden under the violet sky of a long, wondrous, northern twilight, on the last evening before he went away, “there’s something in the search for it that’s better than even finding it would be.”

4. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station ElevenI have heard a lot about this book over the last year, most of which have been rave reviews. So I FINALLY listened to it on audio using my Overdrive app (free audiobooks anyone?). This book starts in what seems to be present day. After an opening scene, that at first seems unrelated to the story, you find out that a flu pandemic is sweeping the globe and nothing can stop it. Fast forward 20 years and civilization is all but gone. The story is following the youngest girl in the opening chapter as she navigates this desolate world with a traveling Shakespeare group. Yes, that is for real and I LOVED it. As the story progresses, the stories of the characters in the opening scenes have all become interwoven in this new world. You get snippets from the past to help inform the present, which is a plot device I usually enjoy. I appreciated the attention to detail and how plot lines were not left unexplored. The opening chapters through the death of society had me on the edge of my seat, heart pounding. But the “fast forward to 20 years later” seemed abrupt and took me out of the story a bit. I could not really get my emotional connection back. I wonder if this can be attributed to the way the narrator read it. If I had read this in the text form maybe I would have liked it better. I did really enjoy this book, and see why people like it. It was just not as good as I had hoped.

5. The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo

Magician's Elephant, TheThis was another audiobook pick (three in one month! I have been doing a lot of work in my classroom on my days off I guess…) I love the balance of whimsy and serious issues DiCamillo brings to her books, and this was no exception. This book is about a young orphan boy who made a promise to his mother before she died that he would take care of his newborn sister. When his guardian is not fit to take care of the girl, she is taken away and years later the boy is still determined to find her. He goes to a fortune teller to ask about his sister and finds out that an elephant will lead him to her. Meanwhile a magician comes to town and accidentally makes an elephant appear in the drawing room of a well-off woman’s house. It is a real elephant in the room situation, if you know what I mean ? 😉 The boy finds out about the elephant and knows this is the elephant he has been waiting for. As he tries to discover where his sister is, the boy finds out who is there for him and learns what family he already has. I enjoyed this book, while it was not my favorite by DiCamillo, and have a few students that will bee hearing this as a recommendation for a story they should read.

That is it for my first Book Banter post of the new year! Don’t forget to follow along with what I am reading and share what you are reading by snapping a picture and posting it on instagram or twitter using the hashtag #bookbanter2017 You can follow me @whitksmith

Until next time,

I love you more than violet skies and the world’s demise,

Whitney

Book Banter January 2017: Part 1

I had made a goal to post at least 2 times per week this year, but that did not happen in January. Maybe I didn’t have time to blog because I was spending all my time reading! I managed to read ten books this month, so my Book Banter post will be broken into two parts. Follow along with what I am reading on Instagram or Twitter @whitksmith and tag your books too! Use the hashtag #bookbanter2017 .

Here are my first five reads of 2017! All books are linked using my affiliate links, so if you purchase them I will get a small commission that supports the content of my blog.

1. Perelandra by C.S. Lewis

Perelandra (Space Trilogy, #2)

This is the second book in the C.S Lewis Space Trilogy and I liked it much better than the first. This book takes place on Perelandra (Venus), and the main character, Ransom, is on a mission to allow humans to begin to populate Perelandra without the interruption of evil forces. There are quite a few philosophical conversations in this book, so despite its small size, it took me a bit to get through it. I found some parts to be laugh out loud funny, and other parts to be dark and scary. As usual, I found the descriptions of the natural world to be absolutely mind-blowing.  They way Lewis is able to capture beauty with words is almost unparalleled.  I always find myself re-reading passages because the images they conjure up are too delightful not to relive. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Creation stories and Science Fiction!

2. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith 

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike, #3)This is the third book in the Cormoran Strike Private Investigator series written by J.K. Rowling (under a pen name of course). I LOVE these books. This particular book follows the investigation of a serial killer than has a personal grudge against Strike. The killer decides he wants to ruin Strike by killing his assistant investigator, Robin. When Robin and Strike realize her life is in danger they disagree on how this case should be investigated. Of the three books in the series, this was probably my least favorite because a lot of the descriptions of Strike were repetitive. I kept thinking, “I get it, he only has one leg, you can stop telling me now.” I didn’t feel like Strike’s character was advanced at all, and the other characters were just passing him by. I did enjoy the mystery and Rowling’s creativity serves her well in this series. The cases are always interesting and full of detail.

Winter of the World by Ken Follett 

Winter of the World (The Century Trilogy #2)This is the second book in Follett’s Century Trilogy. This series follows the same families in England, Germany, The United States, and Russia over the course of the twentieth century. Winter of the World is set around the time of WWII and shows how the devastation of the war impacts so many lives. Follett is amazing at weaving real-life events into his fiction. I love how seamless it feels, even though you have to suspend disbelief a little when the people he is wiring about seem to end up involved in every big event of the era. I love how his characters are varied in their level of evolution. Warning: there is a lot of adult content in this book. Like an uncomfortable amount. At times it advances the story, but it feels gratuitous in some situations. I listened to this as an audiobook which I would recommend. The narrator does great accents and it really helps you to keep tack of the characters. It does make skipping the adult content harder though. If you like historical fiction and don’t mind graphic scenes I highly recommend this series.

4. Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Red Rising (Red Rising, #1)

I had never heard of this trilogy until I came across it listed as “an unputdownable book.” I was in the market for a read that would keep me up at night, so this book jumped to the top of my To-Read list. In this series the human population has been genetically modified into color groups and these groups are ranked by class. The problem is, the lowest class, the Reds, believe they are finding a way to make Mars habitable for the other humans, but they find out they are not any better than slaves for the higher classes.  When the protagonist, Darrow, loses his wife and discovers the truth, he infiltrates the highest class, the Golds, and that is when the story takes off. What happens next reminds me of the Hunger Games, but if you can believe it, more brutal, so be mindful of that if you pick it up.  I really enjoyed this book and it had just the right amount of twists and turns to keep me engaged. I already have the second one checked out from the library.

5. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt 

Tell the Wolves I'm HomeMy best friend gave me this book for Christmas and told me it is in her top twenty favorite books of all time. That is high praise because we are both avid readers. This book seems to be about a teenage girl dealing with the death of her favorite uncle. Along the way you find out it is about so much more. The protagonist, June, is grieving, forming new bonds and questioning why old ones no longer seem the same. For a debut novel, Brunt really handles complex teenage emotions deftly. She also weaves in a narrative about the turmoil and confusion surrounding the AIDS epidemic during the 80’s that seems honest, but doesn’t hit you over the head. I was especially impressed with the different types of love that were explored. In the category of “Coming of Age” novels, this is among my favorites. And, isn’t that cover gorgeous?!?!

 

Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments and stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow!

I love you more than heart-racing action and heart-wrenching love,

Whitney