Book Style: A Christmas Carol - Party Looks

A Christmas Carol - Party Look #1

A Christmas Carol - Party Look #2

A Christmas Carol - Party Look #4

A Christmas Carol - Party Look #5

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is the quintessential Christmas novel. I tossed a couple of Carol inspired looks together last year, but this year I decided to take four different editions, each with its own distinct cover style, and create different holiday appropriate looks to use throughout the season. 

Look #1: This started off as a look for a slightly surly teenager. Mostly because that's how I think Scrooge comes off until is epiphany. This particular cover is a 1960 release from Scholastic and I love the traditionalism but decided to go as non-traditional as possible with an outfit fit for drinks with friends or a holiday karaoke session. A modern spin on camo with a floaty skirt keeps the outfit fresh. Toss in a few whimsical accessories and you're good to go. 

Look #2: Gothic glamour is always a good choice for a more formal function. Save this one for that super fancy New Year's Eve party if you like. This look allowed me to play up the more haunting aspects of the story, which is, despite the holiday setting, a ghost story about a man facing his own morality and faults head on. Don't be afraid of black - this time of year it can make you stand out amongst a sea of sequins and jewel tones.

Look #3: This is the perfect outfit for any holiday party. A pretty but not-overexposed dress, shimmery tights, and chic boots are always a winning option. You'll be warm, look cute, and be able to move around. A simple dress lets you play with a more extravagant statement piece like this bib necklace, too. Remember to keep your warm weather accessories coordinated and you're good to go. 

Look #4: Whether you get together with the whole family for Christmas Eve festivities or a Christmas day luncheon, this is the perfect outfit for you. Cozy, simple, and casual. The bright pops of red keep it interesting. And if you're like me, that beanie doesn't leave your head inside or out.

The most important thing to remember about Holiday dressing is to dress in layers or cooler under your outerwear. The more bodies in a room/bar/building and the warmer it gets. Oh, and it's the holidays, don't be afraid of extra sparkle!


Link Love: 12.04.14

World Domination Cat Throw Pillow


Link Love: 10.31.14

[image via Little House on the Corner]

"The Uprise Books Project is dedicated to ending the cycle of poverty through literacy, providing new banned and challenged books to underprivileged teens free of charge. By providing them with new, free banned and challenged literature, we’ll establish the love of reading that will lead to increased literacy, higher rates of college attendance and more lucrative earning potential later in life.
So why focus on banned/challenged books? First, we simply don’t believe in censorship. As the American Library Association says, “Constitutionally protected speech cannot be suppressed solely to protect children or young adults from ideas or images a legislative body believes to be unsuitable for them.” We think that parents have a right and an obligation to monitor their own child’s access to literature they feel might be inappropriate, but they can’t control another child’s access. By banning and challenging books in schools and libraries, though, they’re doing exactly that.
More importantly, we think that the idea that these texts have been banned and challenged will motivate kids to actually read the things. A sixteen-year-old might not care that the Radcliffe Publishing Course called The Great Gatsby the best novel of the 20th century, but his inherent teen sense of rebellion might entice him to pick up a book challenged because of its “language and sexual references.”"


Book Style: Frankenstein


I read once that there are two types of people: Dracula people and Frankenstein people. While I can be found firmly entrenched in the former camp, I do still love the groundbreaking nature of Shelly's novel and the moral questions it radiates that are still relevant today. There's also something about this burning, pulp–style cover that really resonates me me. The big question here was Lady (Dr.) Frankenstein or Lady Frankenstein's Monster? I opted for Lady Frankenstein.

How do we dress or rural lady off to the big city to study medicine? By channeling Katharine Hepburn of course! (When in doubt, always channel Kate) Some sturdy vintage trousers, a bright pop of orange silk for a blouse, and a streamlined waistcoat and "Schoolboy" blazer practically scream academic gentry. A stylish pair of heeled wingtips along with a secret pair of "Bride of Frankenstein" socks and our Lady Frank is ready for her anatomically correct accessories.

A doctor's bag to carry her research, a pair of cufflinks bearing her creation's face, a gold cuff inscribed with the words from Frankenstein, an anatomy-inspired watch, an "Arctic" shackle ring, and a scarf featuring a pair of colorful arctic foxes to keep her warm on her Northern quest will tie this look up.

This is the second time I've tackled Frankenstein. Check out the first round from 2013 here.


Book Style for Book Riot


Book Style is going to be a regular feature over on Book Riot. I'm beyond excited about this. (I'll admit I've applied before to be a contributor and never heard back, so being asked to contribute is huge for me!!!) I'll be doing a monthly link up to my Book Riot posts and still featuring some unique Book Styles here, so no worries.

In case you missed the first two: 

Go check them out now. Now I said. Now!!!

I've got some more great stuff coming down the pipeline soon. Stay tuned.


Book Style: Courage: Daring Poems For Gutsy Girls


Disclaimer: I am not a poetry person. No really. It often baffles me and I always feel woefully unqualified to discuss it with anyone, much less give recommendations to my customers. That being said, I am learning my way into it and have fallen in love with some great poetry collections over the past year. Courage: Daring Poems for Gutsy Girls edited by Karen Finneyfrock, Mindy Nettifee, and Rachel McKibbens is one of those collections. This anthology was conceived after the editors realized the startling lack of poetry available for guiding and speaking to teenage girls. For women of all ages, the poetry in this book will cause you to reminisce, sympathize, rejoice, and smile. I'm recommending this to EVERYONE!

For this outfit, a "Courage" necklace and a clutch with an inspiring quote ("I am going to make everything around me beautiful - that will be my life." -Elsie de Wolfe) complete an outfit that would make me feel like a confident, ass-kicking and name-taking chick. A mix of ladylike and tough is my personal favorite. (But how about we start teaching our girls that they can dress however they want and it's still amazing?).

Seriously, give this collection to everyone you know. Especially the young women in your life.


Book Style: Maplecroft


Maplecroft by Cherie Priest is presumably the first in a series titled The Borden Dispatches. Cherie Priest is a stellar writer and this time she dives into Lovecraft-tinged horror. I've heard some complaints from fellow early readers that this is being mis-marketed as historical fiction, and I absolutely have to agree. Is it based on a real historical figure? Yes, Lizzie Borden (of the forty whacks fame), but this is not a fictionalized account of her life, this is sheer, delightful, grisly fantasy. If you don't like gore, this is not the book for you. If you scare easily, at the very least don't read it after sundown. And, if you wanted genuine historical fiction, turn back now.

The issue of whether Lizzie did in fact kill her father and stepmother takes a backseat to the why. What were the Bordens confronting that now has all of Fall River under its grip? The story is told in the format of a series of dispatches. Both Borden sisters' diary entries, the diary of Lizzie's actress lover, the medical journal of the town doctor (their last remaining confidante), the rapidly deteriorating records of a Miskatonic University professor, and a smattering of other sources all contribute to the fluid narration. When all is said and done, you won't look at the ocean or its strange inhabitants the same again. 

Lizzie needed an outfit that projected her staid exterior while giving her the mobility she needed to tend to her ailing sister, conduct her crucial research and wield her infamous axe.  Sturdy boots and comfortable, yet respectable, clothing are set off with some accessories with more personality. A scarf to ward off a chill sea breeze or tie her hair back features some beautiful and terrifying jellyfish. The jellyfish earrings will seem much more unnerving after you read Maplecroft, I promise. I couldn't let her leave home without her trusty weapon, either, embedded here on a simple and striking silver ring. 

If you're looking for a fresh horror novel, pick this one up!


Book Style: How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are

How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are

How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, and Sophie Mas is, yes, another guide for all of us frumpy non-French. I'm a sucker for these things. I've been a bit of a francophile since high school and I have no shame about it. This guide is less how-to instructional and more of an attitude devotional, though. And the biggest takeaway? Be yourself, embrace who you are. 

That means the flaws too. A Parisian woman wears minimal makeup, rarely changes her hair color and doesn't own a blow dryer. Does this mean I'm going to drop my technicolor hair tendencies or embrace my cowlicky texture? No. Although, especially in the sweaty heat of summer, I'm all for minimal makeup. Moreover, I'm all for embracing the bump in my nose and the scar on my cheek. I would rather stay up late drinking and laughing with friends than fuss over my appearance anyway. And I think that's the message: Embrace your life, don't worry about aging, stay (mostly) natural, and live in your own skin, imperfections and all, with confidence. You don't have to agree with every tenet of this book to be inspired by it!

For the outfit I went stereotypically Parisian: Worn in denim, men's shoes, the perfect white t-shirt, a simple cashmere sweater (in navy of course), a Burberry trench, a scarf, a vintage watch, simple jewelry, and a classic bag. 


Book Style: Jackaby


William Ritter's debut novel, Jackaby, was sold to me as Doctor Who meets Sherlock Holmes. This might be the most apt book pitch I've ever heard. Take a dash of supernatural, mix it with the (good) Doctor-Companion dynamic and top it off with a preternaturally brilliant, but socially oblivious detective and you have the basic recipe for Jackaby. I'm desperately hoping that this is the start of a series that I will get to enjoy for sequels to come. 

The titular character is the detective in question whom our narrator becomes attached to via employment as his investigative assistant. Abigail Rook escaped the life of proper ladyhood to run off on an archeological dig that proved fruitless. When her travels washed her up in America, she was desperate for income and a roof over her head, two things Jackaby and his supernatural roommates were willing to provide; provided she was willing to accept their reality. At its core, Jackaby is a supernatural murder mystery and it skillfully keeps you at bay and tosses out the occasional red herring. As it turns out, we should have had our eyes peeled for something else red. One thing I should point out that I particularly adored was, and mind you, this book is branded as Young Adult, it is not a romance!

I dressed a modern Abigail in a casual look. A skirt was a must since she was pretty much over wearing those wretched trousers during her unsuccessful foray into archeology. That bad-ass cuff is another reminder of her chasing after dinosaurs; just because it didn't work out doesn't mean it didn't launch her adventures. Speaking of adventures, some "Autumn Adventure" earrings seemed appropriate. The Ghostbusters tee was too great to pass up and balances the potential dressiness of the skirt so well. The secret frog socks are a great, just-for-Abigail touch, but remember: DO NOT STARE AT THE FROG! A turquoise talisman to ward off the creepies and a proper notebook to complete her look. What about the striking red hat, you say? Read the book!


My TBR Stack Is Going To Crush Me In My Sleep

[image via here]

We've moved. It's insane to think that it's already been a month, but it has, and we (my mister, our furry cat-child and I) now reside in Seattle. I couldn't be more excited to finally be able to settle into what is definitely my city, but losing my almost 3 hours of commuting has substantially reduced my reading time. Also, if the publishing industry could just agree to take a wee hiatus so I could catch up and pare this TBR stack down a bit... What do you mean "Not gonna happen"?!

This is also the first time I've had decent internet and a hooked-up computer in a couple of months, so I'm plotting some really good (dare I say "great"?) Book Styles for the next few weeks. Until then, I thought I'd share some Link Love with everyone as I continue scouring the interwebs for the perfect bookshelves so my books can have a proper home.

Okay, now back to the reading, and the endless unpacking.


Book Style: The Intern's Handbook

The Intern's Handbook - Lawyer

The Intern's Handbook - Assassin

It's no secret that I'm kind of, okay REALLY, obsessed with Shane Kuhn's debut novel, The Intern's Handbook. I even interviewed him for the Ship's (B)log - An Interview with Shane Kuhn. Here's my offical review:
It’s easy to tell that Shane Kuhn has a background in movies, from the very first page his debut novel has the perfect pacing and delicate balance between humor and action that sends crowds flocking to the theaters every summer. The Handbook is, resident anti-hero, John Lago’s gift to the newer recruits at HR, Incorporated. HR, Inc. is a corporate staffing agency specializing in placing interns at some of the best corporations across the country. At least that’s what they tell the government. In reality John Lago is one of many highly trained assassins who are scooped off the streets as troubled children and groomed to infiltrate and eliminate. This is a record of Lago’s final assignment, as he approaches the ripe old age of 25 when an unpaid intern goes from being invisible to highly noticeable, before he is retired. While Lago intends his Handbook to be a learn-by-example training guide for the fresh blood at HR, Inc. it ends up doubling as an intense look at a man trying to fight his way out of a hopeless situation while attempting to keep his emotional walls high and impenetrable. Lago’s surety in his own prowess and his actual talent for survival are the perfect cross between cocky James Bond and psychologically scarred Jason Bourne. The Intern’s Handbook is a noteworthy twist on the spy thriller genre that had me at times laughing out loud and other times frantically ripping through the pages, barely breathing, rooting for John Lago to survive. 
I really couldn't decide whether to make a spy outfit or a lawyer/intern outfit... so I did both! I'll highlight some plot-pertinent touches for both of them.


  • Actually functional gold switch-blade earrings.
  • Harry Winston diamond solitaire ring.
  • Coffee bean pendant necklace.
  • "Come to Bed Red" nail lacquer.
  • Hip holster for all your spy needs.
  • Dagger stud earrings.
  • "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" nail lacquer.
  • "Knife Edge" ring.
  • Bullet necklace with encased snake fang.
  • "The Assassin" watch.
Read this now! And shoot me any hilarious (or terrifying) intern tales and or coffee recommendations!


Book Style: Garment Of Shadows

Garment Of Shadows

In Garment of Shadows, the 12th and most recent Mary Russell book, by Laurie R. King, we find Russell waking up from the a blow to the head that has led to some retrograde amnesia. She's lost in a foreign city and has no memory of who she is or she got to a North African city. When her natural skills for pick-pocketing, lock picking and self defense kick in, Russell becomes convinced she must belong on the wrong side of the law. This book was a great redemption for me after the fluff of that was Pirate King. Also, the Hazr brothers are back!!!

This seems like the type of outfit I would wear wandering a modern day Moroccan bazaar: Comfy, ladylike layers. The forget-me-knot earrings should be self explanatory, as well as the Moroccan lamp necklace. I had to include a timepiece of some sort with this outfit, as a clock is so central to the plot, and the wrap watch was the perfect fit. The mosaic clutch is a touch blingy for this look, but I love the idea of using a mosaic to convey the idea of a scattered self that amnesia brings on.

So, this is the last Mary Russell that Ms. King has gifted us with. I'll be rereading them all in order to bide the time until the release of Dreaming Spies in February of 2015. And congratulations again, Laurie, on the 20th anniversary of The Beekeeper's Apprentice!!!


Book Style: Pirate King

Pirate King

I will admit, Pirate King, the 11th Mary Russell novel by Laurie R. King, is my least favorite. That being said, it is still a must read for setting up the events that follow in the next book. You will also get The Major-General's Song stuck in your head for days on end. (Below is the delightful '80s rewrite that was the first version I ever learned.)

The convoluted plot of this story has Russell being bullied/guilted by Mycroft, who is still angry with her after the ending of The God of the Hive, into taking an undercover job for a film production company. Like many fellow fans, Russell's reaction to Mycroft's reaction left me questioning Ms. King's turn with her character development. I just don't buy that Russell wouldn't get right back in his face. Be that as it may, Russell finds herself playing the role of matron to a flock of giggling, blonde actresses on the set of a movie, about a movie about Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance. Talk about meta. The director of Flytte Films has made a decision to hire a genuine pirate crew for authenticity, a decision that leads to a kidnapping of the entire crew and a, albeit very nice, hostage situation in Morocco. Russell finds herself being forced to deal with it from the inside out. While, like I said, I don't really love Pirate King for the character development or the plot, it is a fun romp and Ms. King does paint a highly romanticized picture of Morocco. Read it just to set yourself up properly for Garment of Shadows.

I tried dressing Russell for this one and failed. Then I tried dressing a flapper/actress for this one and failed. So instead, I decided to dress myself. As gorgeous as that sunset-colored cover is, it makes for some difficult outfitting. Alright, so Morocco references: earrings, "Marrakesh" ring, and that gorgeous-yet-dainty teardrop ring. Pirate was the overall theme I was going for, so I picked a pair of modern, piratey booties and that All Saints "Wasson Pirate" cardigan. I also added in that lust-inducing pirate skull cameo ring. Finally, the nods to Russell's flock of blonde actresses: "Girls on Film" cuff, vintage 1920's beaded cap, and "Blonde on Blonde" nail lacquer.


Book Style: The God Of The Hive

The God Of The Hive

The God of the Hive is the 10th book by Laurie R. King featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. This one is a continuation of the events that began in The Language of Bees. We have a lot more involvement from Mycroft in this novel than any of the preceding ones and there are also quite a few references to British folklore and mythology sprinkled throughout. Just like in The Language of Bees, I love seeing Russell and Holmes being domesticated by the demands of family, something neither are extremely proficient at.

There isn't a lot of Russell in this outfit, admittedly, but I'm at the 10th book now, and she kind of has a uniform and there are only so many variants on that uniform before I start craving some variety. So, no, I can't really see Russell rocking something so sexy and upscale unless a case called for some undercover work; I fell in love with this watercolor pencil skirt, though, which is the perfect reference to Russell's son-in-law artist, Damien Adler. The Dutch porcelain earrings are meant to conjure up Holmes and Damien's time in Holland whilst Russell is stranded in the forest. A honeycomb necklace was included for the underscoring bee references. That gorgeous "Dark Forest" ring is nod to Russell's harrowing plane crash in, rescue from, and hiatus in the Cumbrian forests with her very own Green Man. The bag is the "Lady Dior Detective Bag". The final touch is the "Granddaughter" bracelet in honor of Russell's very own granddaughter, Estelle, Damien's daughter.


Link Love: 04.18.14

[image via Tea, Coffee, and Books]


Book Style: The Language Of Bees

The Language Of Bees

I realized as I sat down to get to work on this Book Style for the 9th Mary Russell novel, The Language of Bees, that I really need to do a major reread of everything after Locked Rooms. The details were not nearly as sharp for me as they are for the previous eight books. That being said, what I did remember of this one is superb. Russell and Holmes are back in England and back to the bees when Damien Adler, Holmes' son with The Woman drops in looking a fair bit better than last they saw him, but distressed at the absence of his wife, Yolanda. When Holmes agrees to help Damien track Yolanda down, he and Russell soon find themselves immersed in an insidious plot involving a religious cult and ancient British monuments. Damien's artist community provides a great backdrop for the time spent in London and the ultimate trek up to the Orkney Islands lends so much atmosphere to the story. I personally loved watching Russell and Holmes be more than a bit out of their element with familial concerns. Also, British legend and history for days!

The "Seafarer" jeans are sailor inspired and Russell would probably have found them very useful on her choppy journey to the Orkneys. Practical boots to keep her keep warm and protected over land, air and sea. I topped that red blouse with the lovely draping with a sturdy bomber jacket that could have been borrowed from her pilot. Celtic earrings inspired by the Orkneys, a statement ring inspired by Yolanda's native Shanghai, a cult-inspired bracelet, and a Stonehenge inspired necklace complete the jewelry selection. The final touch is the Jonathan Adler (no relation, I'm sure) horse wallet: A nod to the famous chalk horse and featuring a pattern very reminiscent of a hive.


Book Style: Locked Rooms

Locked Rooms

Locked Rooms by Laurie R. King is the 8th book in the Mary Russell series. This time around Holmes and Russell are back in her hometown of San Francisco and Russell is facing several deeply suppressed demons from her past. I really appreciated this foray into Russell's past and a getting a better look at the mystery surrounding the death of her parents and brother. San Francisco in the 1920s was also a delightful setting to immerse myself in with the added touch of Dashiell Hammett (another genre of crime fiction that Ms. King does delightfully well, check out Touchstone and The Bones of Paris)! The format of this book is a bit different from the previous Mary Russell books as it alternates from being Russell's first-person memoir to a third-person narrative following Holmes.

There's a lot going on in this flapper meets hippie outfit that perfectly embodies the carefree spirit of San Francisco. To start, the dress is a tent dress, chosen, not only because it fits the requirements for flapper meets hippie, but also because of the "city of tents" that populated the city after the 1906 earthquake that Russell had blocked from her memory. The shoes are "Moxy Flapper" platforms, and while Russell would never wear anything so impractical, they are certainly endless amounts of fun! "Chinatown" nail lacquer is a reference to San Fran's Chinatown which pays a pivotal role in the story and Russell's own personal history. The kimono inspired clutch is a nod to the briefly mentioned stop Holmes and Russell made in Japan after The Game and before Locked Rooms (Ms. King, I still want this one recalled in detail, please). The geometric cliff ring is a sad reminder of Russell's family's deaths. That architectural Golden Gate ring/necklace is a lovely nod to the city's most famous landmark; one that, admittedly, didn't exist during the events of Locked Rooms. The key earrings should be a rather obvious reference considering the title of novel, but I'll give you a spoiler, the psychological idea of the memory palace gets a lot of attention here. Finally, some Russell worthy eyewear.


Book Style: The Game

The Game

I do believe I was issued a personal challenge on this one by Mary Russell herself (@mary_russell over on Twitter). I will admit putting together this Book Style for the 7th Mary Russell, The Game by Laurie R. King, was a bit challenging. Russell spends most of this book pretending to be a boy, first a native and then her own twin brother, so I couldn't pull too much direct inspiration from her wardrobe in the narrative. However, purple being my favorite color, and my own personal love of patterns and Asian accessories, makes this my favorite outfit from the whole series!

This stunning silk jacquard dress causes the mind to start dreaming of exotic locales that the fabric could have been imported from, although hopefully not by the East India Company. Giving the outfit these tall, practical boots is exactly what Russell would want, and they balance the potential dressiness of the dress. The cruise ship bangle starts off Holmes and Russell's journey from Sussex to India, offering up some great comedic moments and a few wonderfully executed red herrings on Ms. King's part. The Dutch East India necklace and Maharaja inspired ring are both nods to the history of the subcontinent and the turmoil that helps set the scene for the novel's plot. A recycled sari scarf is another nod to the native culture and its wardrobe staple, one which Russell never wears, incidentally. The juggler ring is a wink towards the first disguise of the case. Finally, the military coat is a lovely, modernized version of what Russell's twin brother might have worn. ;)


Book Style: Justice Hall

Justice Hall

Justice Hall is the sixth book in Laurie R. King's Mary Russell series. This one sets us back into proper chronological order, but there's a reason for the out of sequence O Jerusalem being presented directly prior to this one, we needed to be properly introduced to the Hazr brothers. That's right, Mahmoud and Ali are back. Holmes was right, however, they're not brothers and they're not native to the Middle East; Russell really should have listened to those diphthongs better! The Hughenfort cousins, Marsh and Alistair (we still get to call him Ali) have been called home to England due to issues of inheritance. While Holmes and Russell's involvement originally is that of concerned friends, they quickly uncover a mystery that spans three countries, hidden family secrets and one horrible war.

I present a casual weekend outfit inspired by, my admittedly American idea of, a weekend at an English country estate. You know, very Balmoral, what with hunting and walking and riding and all. I threw in a bit of pizzaz with the military inspired cross-body bag, a nod to Gabriel Hughenfort's service during World War I. The smoking gun necklace will hopefully lead to Marsh's attempted murderer while the pelican ring is an homage to his family motto and symbol. The final touch is that lovely airplane charm bracelet that ties in Gabriel's barn-storming true love.


Book Style: O Jerusalem

O Jerusalem

While I always strive to embody the character of the female lead, if my book of choice sports one, through my Book Styles, historical fiction sometimes works better if I aim for "inspired-by" outfits instead. The fifth Mary Russell novel, O Jerusalem, by Laurie R. King falls into that category. Not only is Russell forced into disguise for pretty much the entire novel, but I also have very little concept of what a young Arab male in 1920s Jerusalem would actually wear. That winding introduction is my long-winded way of explaining that, while it's possible a still 20-year-old Russell in the present day might sport this outfit, this is not what I envision our Russell wearing at all.

The book is set in Jerusalem (in case that title was confusing to you) during the events of the first novel, The Beekeeper's Apprentice. This is Russell and Holmes' sojourn away from England, and they clearly weren't using the time to merely rest, relax and recoup. Since they need a break from the unknown threat back home, Mycroft decides to put them to use for Queen and Country. Russell chooses Jerusalem; she has a yearning to get in touch with her Jewish roots and see her people's homeland. Once they arrive they are entrusted to the care of two local agents, the Hazr brothers. The elder brother, Mahmoud, is taciturn and a well-loved scribe in the region while the younger brother, Ali, is flamboyant and volatile. Gradually they come to except their English burdens; Russell wins them both over with her skills with throwing knives and her loyalty. The quartet work together to thwart a threat to the post-World War I Middle Eastern peace negotiations.

Most of this outfit is very loosely inspired by traditional Middle Eastern fashion without any rhyme or reason. Just the soothing colors of sea, sky and sand all tossed together in something breezy, yet covered. I had to include some sandals, since Russell is cursed with a pair that she is finally allowed to give up in favor of her comfortable and trusted boots. A stunning Jerusalem ring, a dagger necklace, and an initialed bee necklace bring the appropriate amount of shine and shimmer. The dagger necklace for Russell's inherent talent with knives and the bee necklace for her initial and for the beekeeping monks that provide a valuable clue for Holmes. The "Sexy Red" polish is a nice pop for those exposed toes for when Russell goes out in her other disguise of sexy young arrival to the expat scene in Jerusalem. I do so love when she flusters Holmes with her femininity. 

I often tell people that Ms. King captures the feel of place and time better than any other contemporary mystery writer and give them O Jerusalem as a prime example. This book will transport you.


Book Style: The Moor

The Moor

The fourth Mary Russell book, The Moor, has the most direct link to any of the original Conan Doyle stories. This time Laurie R. King has Russell and Holmes revisiting the scene of his previous case, The Hound of the Baskervilles. In a case that involves presumptive heirs, Dartmoor legends, boisterously obnoxious American gold miners, and a touching mention to a real-life Dartmoor historian we get the most haunting of all of the Mary Russell adventures. 

If you're traipsing around a foggy and potentially haunted moor on horseback (well ponyback) you're going to want to stay warm and comfortable. Sturdy, stylish and comfy boots paired with knee-high socks are good for the feet. I love this green tulip skirt so much (ignore the impracticality of it for horseback riding). A warm-camel coat has a very strong '20s silhouette while maintaining a modern vibe. One stylish trilby to keep the water off her eyeglasses and a scarf printed with text from The Hound of the Baskervilles to keep that pesky cold at bay. A paw print necklace pays homage to the creepy legend of the devil hound and the hedgehog ring had to be included, because there is an adorable and super important hedgehog in this story!


Book Style: A Letter Of Mary

A Letter Of Mary

Next up in my Mary Russell Book Style series is the third book, A Letter of Mary. This time around Russell and Holmes find themselves visited by an old friend from their sojourn in Israel and Palestine during the events of The Beekeeper's Apprentice. Dorothy Ruskin, a spunky archeologist, leaves the pair with a mysterious gift, an ancient manuscript that could be the missing Gospel of Mary Magdalene. When Miss Ruskin is killed in a hit and run Russell and Holmes work frantically to uncover her killer, who may or may not have a link to the establishment-shattering document.

In this adventure, Russell goes undercover in a chauvinistic gentleman's home that requires her to girl-ify her look a bit more than usual, so I felt that a feminine dress was in order with this outfit. The OPI nail lacquer in "First Date at the Golden Gate" is a nod to Russell's San Francisco roots, which we get to discover a bit more of in this story. I included a sports car pendant for Russell's passion for automobiles and for the grisly murder weapon. Those earrings, oh how I need those earrings, are a Holmes reference via the new BBC rendition: They're yellow smiley faces on a wallpaper background!


Shelf Awareness

You may have already noticed it, but in case you haven't, take a look over on my sidebar and you'll see a new little widget that is your link to awesome giveaways courtesy of Shelf Awareness!

I'll let the professionals be better with words than I am:
"Shelf Awareness, the publication booksellers turn to for industry news, also offers a version for book lovers!
Shelf Awareness: Enlightenment for Readers, a free twice-weekly e-newsletter, has reviews of the 25 best books every week, author interviews, book excerpts, giveaways and more. Click below to sign up for Shelf Awareness and enter to win a great book (current subscribers are also eligible)!"
So click on through and enter to win free bookish awesomeness! Also, subscribe to Shelf Awareness. It's a great link to all sorts of important book news and they have some of the best reviews out there!


Book Style: A Monstrous Regiment Of Women

A Monstrous Regiment Of Women

I've been in a weird reading slump lately; I've started so many excellent books recently and have managed to finish exactly none of them. Reading ADD or something. So I decided to revisit some of my favorite series. I already posted a Book Style for the first book in my favorite series ever, The Beekeeper's Apprentice, so I thought I'd work my way through the other eleven books in Laurie R. King's Mary Russell series. Since this year marks the 20th anniversary of The Beekeeper's Apprentice, even better!

The second book, A Monstrous Regiment of Women, sets up the format that the series takes on after Beekeeper's and introduces us to Mary post-university as she comes into her inheritance and embarks on her adult life. The plot involves a charismatic female preacher, the women's liberation movement, and a heroin smuggler. I loved that this book helped address Holmes' former addiction and Mary's past. The scenes where Mary is being held captive and the scenes following her rescue are still some of my favorite out of all eleven books. 

This outfit is an update on a ladylike but practical outfit for your gal about town. While Mary would never wear impractical heels or so much jewelry (and she would never brag about her and Holmes' marriage with such an obvious bag)  I like to think I captured her essence a bit here. It's also fair to say, that since I relate so hard to Mary I may be projecting quite a bit of myself into this outfit, too.