5.18.2017

Nancy Drew Review: The Message In The Hollow Oak


It's time for another installment of the Nancy Drew Review project. The Message in the Hollow Oak was my third reread of the 64 original titles. For those of you intrigued by Carolyn Keene not being real, since I keep bringing it up, here's a nice chart that goes over the ghostwriting process for these 64 books. 


  

Side note: Anybody have any recommendations for me for easy-to-use video editing apps or software? Preferably free. Preferably. 



5.11.2017

Nancy Drew Review: The Spider Sapphire Mystery


Okay, I'm back with another video in my Nancy Drew Review project. Apologies for the handheld shakiness, I wanted to sit in my comfy chair and still have good light. I'm going to be a pro at these videos by the time I finish all 64 books!



5.05.2017

Nancy Drew Review: The Bungalow Mystery


Introducing the Nancy Drew Review Project. For the next few months - assuming it takes that long - I'll be rereading my way through all of the classic Nancy Drew stories.




I've decided to do a short(ish) video review following each one where I go ever my thoughts on the books, characters, and series as a whole. I'm a terrible rambler, so I'll apologize in advance for that. Below is my first video for the project.





Since I won't be creating a book style for each of these, you should really check out my Book Style for Confessions of a Teen Sleuth by Chelsea Cain.


1.25.2017

Book Style: 1984

This post originally appeared on Book Riot in 2015.

When I wrote this post 1.5 years ago, I was fresh off of laughing at the absurdity of Donald Trump throwing his hat into the election ring. Now we have President Trump's staff offering blatant lies "alternative facts"during press conferences. We have scientists being silenced. We have women's reproductive rights being stripped away. This might not be as fictional of a work as it used to be, sadly.

1984

1984, or Nineteen Eighty-Four depending on which edition you have, is one of those novels I would’ve read even if it wasn’t George Orwell’s most famous, or assigned reading in the majority of U.S. high schools (an irony that is not lost on me). 1984 was the year I was born and I can’t not read a book that is named after the year I graced this fair planet with my glorious presence! All not-so-humble bragging aside, I really enjoy good dystopic fiction and satire and Orwell is the king of that genre. Without 1984 and its predecessor, Huxley’s Brave New World, there would be no Hunger Games, The Giver, Divergent, Maze Runner, or their ilk. 1984 brought the concepts and vocabulary of Newspeak, Big Brother, and Thought Police into the public consciousness. If you have ever uttered the phrase “Big Brother is watching you” and haven’t read this novel, shame on you. Fix that nonsense now.

Doing a Book Style for The dystopian novel wasn’t easy. None of these personality-filled wardrobe items would be acceptable for any of Oceania’s residents, but dammit I would try! I’m in the mood for casual weekend wear, so that’s what I focused on here. If you’re reading a novel as cynical and foreboding as 1984, you need to be relaxed and comfy. We have “1984” boyfriend jeans whose tie to the novel should be fairly obvious and a “Gin” sweatshirt tee for Winston’s “Victory” branded gin. A pair of “Julia” sandals, for Winston’s love interest, and a crisp white belt polish off the base outfit. For the accessories I included a “1984” tote bag, some “Propaganda” sunglasses, a “Big Brother Is Watching You” phone case, and two nail lacquers in “Caught Your Eye” (for the ever-watchfulness of the Thought Police) and “Private Weekend” (for Winston and Julia’s failed attempts to keep their affair private). Finishing it all off is the jewelry: an “Orwell” necklace, a “Big Brother Is Watching You” bracelet, an “Obey” cipher ring, and a pair of coral earrings for the shattered coral paperweight *cough* blatant symbolism *cough*.

Now stay aware, alert, and behaved. And remember, WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH!


1.21.2017

Book Style: Dracula

This post originally appeared on Book Riot in 2014.

Dracula

Dracula is THE classic monster novel. The salacious sexuality of the story and of the titular character have been drawing readers, and later moviegoers, by the hundreds for over a century now. While classically depicted in black and white with captivating touches of blood red, this edition from Penguin let me explore a more flamboyant costume for a Lady Dracula (with Winona’s Mina firmly in mind).

There’s a lot going on here, so let’s start with base layers. Sex appeal and vampires go hand-in-hand, so sumptuous lingerie was a must and this “Bat Your Lashes” bra and panty set is kind of perfect. Yellow tights for a kick of color and because, vampire or no, a lady does not expose bare legs to the public. Next up, a silky blouse with a necktie that evokes a gentleman’s cravat, and a flouncy bustled skirt – I know a proper Victorian lady would not be sporting anything above-the-knee, but when scaling buildings to assault woo your love, you need mobility. Some spiky “London” brogues and a lush, fur-collared “Mina” coat complete the main ensemble.

Let’s run through all of the blood-thirsty accessories, too: A Dracula necklace, stake earrings, fang knuckleduster ring, crimson “Blooming Love” engagement ring, “Paranormal” UV reactive nail lacquer, and a batty clutch polish off our Lady Dracula.


1.15.2017

Book Style: Heart Of Darkness

This post originally appeared on Book Riot in 2014.

Heart Of Darkness

Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness has proven to be perpetually controversial, first for its chastisement of colonialism and native subjugation and exploitation, and later for stereotyping race. Personally, while horribly racist in his description and treatment of native characters, I applaud Conrad for trying to bring attention to a horrible system, even if it focused a bit too much on the plight of the white protagonists/antagonists. A book like this will never be written again, for a variety of reasons, and, thanks in part to Apocalypse Now’s enduring popularity, it will continue to be read for years to come.

I wasn’t channeling a particular character this time around. This outfit is mostly inspired by this epically haunting cover design and the West African setting of the novel. The key elements of this outfit are an ethically sourced: an “Africa” print jacket and an easy, travel-friendly jumpsuit. Some “Congo” sandals and “Arrow” purse add the necessary (in my book anyway) gleam, while a silky scarf adds some warmth (or additional protection from mosquitoes). In the jewelry category, we have a pair of ivory skull studs, Africa earrings, an ivory bangle, a rifle necklace, and a “Slave Chain” ring. A pop of “African Violet” nail lacquer finishes up this look.


1.14.2017

Book Style: One Kick

This post originally appeared on Book Riot in 2014.

One Kick

I fell in love with Chelsea Cain’s work back when I discovered her Nancy Drew parody, Confessions of a Teen Sleuth, which is now sadly out of print. While I never became as impassioned about her Heartsick series as some of her fans, I’m incredibly thrilled with the launch of her newest novel and series. One Kick is the first of the Kick Lannigan series and if you’re a fan of thrillers you better get off your butt, run out to your local bookstore, and bring one home now. To paraphrase The New York Times review, Kick is comparable to Lisbeth Salander (you know, of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo fame), but way more relatable. She’s a survivor of kidnapping and child pornography. Almost a decade later, Kick is presented with an unprecedented opportunity to help rescue other children from the same circumstances.

I gave my best effort to keep this outfit fairly true to Kick’s in-novel attire (even when faced with an incredibly sepia-colored cover). She’s a tomboy who lives in denim and hoodies when she’s not training in the dojo. Her tragic tale made her into a celebrity, something her mother continues to exploit, and Kick often sports a cap and glasses to avoid the curious stares of her neighbors. The puppy dog socks aren’t something Kick would let show to many, but they accurately reflect her undying affection for her dog, Monster. The handcuff bracelet is symbolic of her imprisonment as well as her hobby of lock-picking. The tennis ball watch is a bit kitsch but it’s also a nod to Monster and the events that get the plot rolling. The final touch is the Scrabble tile necklace. I’m not going to tell you how that ties in! I don’t want to spoil the suspense.



1.11.2017

Book Riot: Sirens of Titan

Sirens of Titan

Wow. I made this one ages ago and I completely forgot to share it with y'all. The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut is the subject of today's Book Style. Vonnegut's speculative fiction novel explores the theme of free will with interplanetary conflict and exploration as a backdrop. I wanted this Book Style to be futuristic, but in a vaguely retro way. I think I achieved that.

For the main outfit we'll start with a pair of purple "Rocket" lace panties. Next we have a pair of "Winston" pants and a celestial "Stonehenge" tee. Toss a lemon-hued leather jacket on (those Martian nights get chilly), step into a shimmery pair of "Chrono" boots, and grab your "Beatrice" bag before we move onto jewelry. I added a "Siren" ring, a dog necklace (I personally decided that Kazak the Space Hound is very mastiff like because I prefer mastiffs to dobermans), a pair of "Double Titan" earrings, an "Odette Space" ring, and a sun cuff. A multi-purpose cosmetic stick epitomizes future efficiency and this magenta illuminating stick in "Quantum" is so yummy on all skin tones. Finally, lacquer those nails with vibrant "Code Purple" polish and you're all set for tackling anything the Tralfamadorians throw your way. 




1.08.2017

Book Style: Dorothy Must Die

The post originally appeared on Book Riot in 2014.

Dorothy Must Die

I adore a great reimagining of a beloved story. Wicked was the first Oz rewrite, but it wasn’t the last. (We’ll just leave the “best” debate out of this discussion, shall we?) Danielle Paige’s new series kicks off with Dorothy Must Die and transports us back to Oz with Amy Gumm, or “Salvation Amy” to her cruel classmates. The Oz Amy’s twister transports her and her trailer to is vastly different from the Oz Baum introduced us to in his classic tales. This Oz is being slowly destroyed as Dorothy, who managed to find her way back after Kansas wasn’t as glamorous as she desired, and Glinda, are mining too deep and too often for magic. Amy soon finds herself recruited by the Bad side to assassinate the horrid Dorothy and stop this madness. But is bad actually good or not? And what has happened to Ozma? You must read this one if you have a soft spot for Oz. Or just love a good twist on a classic tale. I would apologize for the cliffhanger, but I’m suffering right along with you.

While Amy wears many different guises, and sometimes faces, in the book, I went with her soul here and chose a laidback outfit a midwest teen might actually choose. Gingham was a must, although stealing Dorothy’s signature blue felt wrong. Some well worn jeans would be standard in Amy’s thrift shop wardrobe and adding the flash-style “Mom” patch seemed appropriate given the underlying message of family at the series heart. The shimmer-finish Converse are, of course, a nod to the ruby slippers. A (kick-ass) hat and “Stay All Day” lipgloss add some drama, perfect for such a dramatic landscape, and should also help equip Amy to deal with the unpredictable length of days in Oz. A black magic necklace and “Which is Witch?” nail lacquer are apropos tie-ins to the coalition of bad witches she finds herself part of. The lion satchel and twister ring should be self-explanatory. As should the charms: A trailer, a lion, a witch’s hat, and a sparkly (and teeteringly high) shoe.


1.07.2017

Book Style: The Invisible Man

This post originally appeared on Book Riot in 2014.

The Invisible Man

The Invisible Man is possibly one of my favorite classic “monster “novel/ellas because Griffin, a.k.a. the Invisible Man, isn’t a monster at all; at least not a supernatural one. He’s human, a brilliant and evil human, which is combination that is ,by far, way creepier than anything else could ever be in my book. I love how well this Penguin edition conveys the subject without resorting to actual bandages on the cover!

Once again, I’ve gone the gender-swap route with the main antagonist: Lady Invisible Man. She needs to be covered head to toe lest we perceive that she’s not actually all there, but I didn’t go full balaclava level coverage because I figured that some (implied) substantial makeup and full cascading wig would create enough distraction once combined with everything I did provide our main mad doctor. Let’s start at the toes and work upward shall we? Opaque tights and over-the-knee boots take care of the legs and feet. A bandage skirt (get it?) fit for an actress gives absolute coverage the lower half. The top portion of the outfit includes elbow length gloves, a vibrant blouse and a dramatic cape. An ample scarf and a wide-brimmed hat offer additional coverage, along with some theater-worthy sunglasses. I also provided our lady villain with an invisible clutch and optics-inspired bangle.



1.04.2017

Book Style: American Gods

American Gods

Welcome to the first Book Style of 2017: American Gods by Neil Gaiman. This is one of my perennial favorites and I had been wanting to do a re-read before the television series launches sometime in 2017 - come on Starz, give us a firm date! - and then I stumbled across the new 10th Anniversary mass market edition with the cover art from acclaimed illustrator Robert E. McGinnis and I had to have it. I'm a sucker for pulp/ish art and that vibrant poppy-hued title is so grand! 

This outfit started with Laura in mind, hence the navy dress, but it quickly morphed into a semi- gender-swapped Wednesday. Which makes the "Odin" dress a perfect launch point for this Book Style. A pair of silver "Loki" loafers, an "Ibis Whistler" hat, a "Lucky Charms" scarf, and a "God" clutch round out the accessories. For the jewelry I restrained myself to the following: a "Kali" necklace, a two-finger "Anansi" ring, a "Morning Star" midi ring, a pair of golden disc hoops that reminded me a lot of magic golden coins, a"Jackal" cuff, and a Kobold brand watch. Moody "Sheba" lipstick and "Storm Chaser" nail lacquer finish out this look. Now if it will just get warm enough for me to wear something similar.