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!