Traci Chee’s The Reader (available September 13th) is a book about books, which is basically a win-win. In The Reader, Sefia’s world isn’t supposed to have books – but when Sefia discovers one, it could be the key to her saving one person she loves and avenging the death of another. Check out the details:
The opening ceremony for this year’s Summer Olympics in Rio are tonight, and the ceremony kicks off some very busy weeks of athletic competition in sports that don’t get a whole lot of attention outside of the Olympic year. One of those sports is gymnastics, which takes the spotlight every four years as casual fans and Olympic-watchers take the opportunity to check out this unique sport. Maybe gymnastics is already on your can’t-miss Olympic viewing list, but if it’s not, it should be, and here’s why:
We all know IKEA is basically a magical Scandinavian wonderland full of entertainingly-named, reasonably-priced stuff to spruce up your house, and if you don’t find what you’re looking for you can always find solace in a cinnamon roll on your way out the door. But IKEA can be overwhelming just because of the sheer amount of shelving units, pillow covers and bed frames there are to sift through. Before you know it, you start panicking and either give up completely and bolt or grab a bunch of random stuff and hope for the best.
When you think summer footwear, you probably envision some nice toe-freeing sandals, maybe some wedges if you’re feeling fancy – but boots probably aren’t at the top of your list. Though boots are traditionally associated with the cooler fall and winter season, with the recent trend toward ankle boots and booties, it’s easier than ever to incorporate boots into a trendy summer look.
We partnered with JustFab to bring you some ideas how to match your boots with your warm weather wardrobe. Check out our favorite creative ideas, and if you like what you see, click through any image to purchase from JustFab.
In Aditi Khorsan’s Mirror in the Sky, Tara, who has always felt like something of an outcast at her private school full of students both richer and whiter than her, has her life flipped upside-down when Terra Nova, an “alternate” Earth is discovered. Tara’s social life changes drastically, and the existence of Terra Nova causes shifts in her relationships with friends and family.
I’m going to present you with a conundrum: You want to check out Hollie Overton’s new thriller, Baby Doll, available July 12th, but you’re worried that it might be a little too creepy for your summer poolside reading. Fear not, So Fetch Daily has the fix! Enter to win the Safe and Sound prize pack, which contains a copy of Baby Doll as well as a cozy throw and a corkscrew so you can curl up safely on the couch to read the book’s twists and turns.
I received my review copy of Eliza Wass’s The Cresswell Plot buried in a wooden box full of dirt. Needless to say, it piqued my attention. Everything about the book, from the unsettling cover to the eerie blurb makes you think you’re in for an extremely creepy read. And yeah, The Cresswell Plot is definitely creepy, although it may not be creepy enough to satiate readers hoping to be truly unsettled. Continue reading “Book Review: ‘The Cresswell Plot’ by Eliza Wass”→
The new season (or half-season; who can keep track?) of Pretty Little Liars premiered recently, and while watching the first episode I couldn’t help but notice how egregiously the story catered to fan-favorite ships, almost to the point of silliness. Avert your eyes if you don’t want to see spoilers for the summer premiere episode, or if you are staunchly #TeamEzria.
So let’s start with the most blatant example: Hanna and Caleb. As of the summer premiere episode, Caleb is in a relationship with Spencer. There have not been any established issues with that relationship. Sure, there were some flashbacks in the preceding handful of episodes indicating that perhaps Hanna and Caleb’s relationship may have ended prematurely and moments showing they still have feelings for each other. I’ll buy that. It’s what comes next that is problematic.
In the summer premiere, Hanna is being held hostage and AD is threatening to kill her if the Liars don’t turn in Charlotte’s true murderer. Caleb immediately acquires the most one-track mind I have ever encountered and begins obsessing over saving Hanna. Which, okay, Hanna is great and I’m not going to sweat anyone who wants to save her. If Hanna got killed off this show, poor Spencer would be the only Liar with more than half a brain left.
But instead of finding a remotely subtle or intelligent way to show Caleb drifting away from Spencer and back to Hanna (because that would require planning), the writers basically turn Caleb into a huge jerk, which is quite uncharacteristic. Just for this one episode, he suddenly cannot be bothered to even try to act civil to Spencer. I legitimately cracked up when he straight hung up on Spencer when she peacefully called to offer to bring him some food. He might as well have said, “You’re annoying because you’re not Hanna; you matter 0% to me.”
Caleb is basically the only decent human male on Pretty Little Liars, so I took some offense to him suddenly being turned into a massive jerk. And what’s particularly terrifying is that he was turned into a massive jerk because people who ship Haleb are expected to find his behavior romantic. We’re not supposed to care how awful he’s being because he’s doing it as part of his quest to save Hanna. Sigh, how romantic. Not. I’m all for reuniting Caleb and Hanna, but can we at least try to make it a thoughtful story arc and not just lazy fan service?
Next up we have Aria, who I believe is still technically in a relationship with the elusive Liam despite having cheated on him with Ezra and apparently not feeling all that worried about it? Fact check me here; because all the Ezria drama has started to blend together in my brain. In the summer premiere, Aria and Ezra briefly mention how they need to talk about their situation, but then Aria’s like, “whatever, I just NEED YOU TONIGHT” or some garbage.
Regardless of whether I’m remembering correctly about Aria and Liam still being together, we can agree that Ezra is a manipulative liar, right? Yes, I am right. Even if you ignore the fact that he was using Aria to write his true crime book to the point of putting her in major danger (and really, how do you ignore that?), he continues to emotionally manipulate her even though they are no longer officially “together.” It’s creepy and gross and I simply can’t understand how anyone could want any of the Liars, even one as pointless as Aria, to end up with a dude as emotionally abusive as Ezra. But somehow #Ezria persists and fans are completely obsessed and committed to this relationship.(This probably says something depressing about patriarchy but that’s a story for another day.)
So we’ve got Haleb and Ezria covered, what about good ol’ Spoby? Well, we got a taste of that in the premiere too. While Caleb is busy chasing Hanna, Spencer and Toby pair up to do some field research. It’s not like they share a ton of meaningful looks or anything, but they are portrayed essentially as they were back in happier times – helping each other out, impressing each other, generally being a fantastic team, and getting along splendidly. Of all the ship fan service in this episode, the Spoby situation bothered me the least. There was no actual cheating (or suggestion of it) and no major character shifts, just some genuinely nice scenes with a couple of characters who clearly relate well to each other.
Which leads us to Emily. Emily is supposed to be the bleeding heart of the group, and she’s on a quest to gently convince Ali, who’s locked up in the looney bin, to admit to killing Charlotte. She kind of succeeds at this task (although I don’t know what kind of moron takes Ali’s deranged, clearly non-lucid proclamation of “Please forgive me” or whatever vague thing she said as an admission of murder, but whatever). But in the meantime, Emily’s having flashbacks of a pretty intense makeout sesh with Ali.
Of all the ships on PLL, the Emison situation is the one that makes the least sense to me. Ezria is awful, but at least there’s history there. The Emily & Ali relationship basically came out of nowhere. There was no established chemistry or connection between them. The writers tried to make it feel like there was but nope, sorry. Revisionist history, kids. So I admittedly am not on board the Emison ship, causing me to probably find the makeout flashback more annoying and gratuitous than I might otherwise. Regardless, it didn’t need to be in the episode for the story to make sense, and it just felt like fan service to hardcore Emison shippers. A lifeline to the dedicated followers of a pointless, sinking ship that was created only for plot drama without any true authenticity.
Needless to say, I was not terribly pleased with the summer premiere’s commitment to fan-favorite ships above good storytelling. And that’s the key – it’s one thing to build up these ships if it’s done well. If we could see true character development in a character like Ezra, for example, I might start to get on board. If the Haleb situation was more nuanced, and played out over a few episodes instead of abruptly in one, maybe I would believe it more. At best, it’s lazy writing. At worst, it’s writers intentionally dumbing things down for their audience – a problematic choice when your core demographic is teenage girls and young women.
No matter how much I whine about it, though, I’m still watching Pretty Little Liars. I don’t know if it’s out of a false sense of optimism that things will get better, or if it’s loyalty to a time when the story in the show was still strong, but I can assure you it’s not because I want to see happy endings for Ezria, Spoby or Emison.
It’s officially summer, and I’m officially hot. I’m not complaining – I’ll take 100 degrees over 40 any day. But summer weather comes with a summer wardrobe, and a summer wardrobe comes with unique challenges. Specifically: how in the world are you supposed to wear a bra with that see-through, giant arm-holed, weird-backed tank that happens to be the only thing that keeps you cool at high noon in the summer sun?
It is increasingly impossible to wear a good ol’ fashioned normal bra with trendy summer tops without it peeking out in a variety of unflattering or unattractive ways. In most cases, though, this problem can be solved with the right bralette or sports bra – something that’s both meant to be seen and doesn’t cut your body in weird places. As an added bonus, they’re usually more comfortable than a regular bra.
But you still have to be careful – the wrong bralette might not give enough support, and sports bras have a tendency to smush breasts into the dreaded uniboob. But fear not! There are bras out there that will actually look nice peeking out from under summer tops and give you some support and shape. Here are some of our favorites:
While technically a low support sports bra, this baby comes with removable padding for shape and the functional but cute design makes it perfect under racerback tanks or for yoga class. And for only $20, it’s a multitasking deal!
Lace bralettes are certainly pretty, but often they lack support. This lace bralette has a leg up on its friends due to soft foam padding, which makes it a viable option for even larger-chested ladies.
This bra takes the form and function of a normal bra and meshes it with a soft, smoothing fabric. The result? A bra that gives you shape but doesn’t poke or squish in awkward places – and it doesn’t look awkward peeking out of a shirt! (There’s a similar lace version if you’re looking for something prettier. )
This unique bra looks like a sports bra but is built to be a comfy push-up. It has the lines of a sports bra, but is a more supportive option if you’re not entirely comfortable with a minimal support bralette.
If you have a lot of low back or backless tops, this bra offers a funky, strappy design in the back that would jazz up any outfit. It has removable cups and is available in handful of unique colors and patterns.
Smooth on the front and sides but with fun lace flourishes in the back, this bralette is the perfect marriage of form and function. It would look great under a top with open sides or an open back; the only shame is that it’s not available in more colors.
Now you’re all set for a summer bra shopping spree – and don’t forget to pick out bold colors and patterns to make the most of it!
These days, it’s common for the majority of pre-teens and teenagers to have braces or some kind of orthodontia to straighten their teeth. I’d wager there are many more young adults who have had braces than who haven’t, especially in countries like the US where straight teeth are clearly the ideal, and dentists are eager to refer kids to orthodontists if their teeth are even the tiniest bit out of whack, even if it’s not medically necessary.
I am one of those teenagers who had braces, but my experience with them was different than most. I had a bit of crowding in my top middle teeth, but rather than referring me to an orthodontist, my dentist offered to give me braces at a discount if he did them for me. My parents were eager to save some cash on the expensive procedure, and they trusted my longtime, smallish-town dentist to get the job done right.
Rather than giving me a full mouth of braces, my dentist placed braces only on the teeth he thought needed it – the eight teeth in the top middle part of my mouth. Because of this, I dealt with wires snagging the insides of my lips constantly, but hey, like anything else, you get used to it. My dentist seemed to know what he was doing, and he gave me bright colored rubber bands, which is important to a 16-year-old. I wore my braces for about a year, then was fitted with a retainer.
At first, my teeth were straighter. I wore my retainer faithfully for a few months, then sporadically for a few more, before I stopped wearing it entirely. Yes, you know where this story is going. My teeth eventually shifted back to their original uneven position. Here’s the thing, though – my dentist never explained to teenage me how important wearing my retainer was. It seems obvious now, but I didn’t understand that the effect of the braces wasn’t permanent if I didn’t keep wearing my retainer. So there’s problem #1.
Problem #2? Well, since my teeth have shifted back to being uneven, I’ve had additional orthodontic consultations. Turns out there isn’t just a problem with my top middle teeth – my entire bite is off. There’s no way my eight braces could have truly fixed my issues fully, even if it did make my front teeth appear straighter. Even if I had been diligent with my retainer, there would still be problems that need fixing. I should point out here that my dentist was successfully sued for malpractice just a few years after he did my braces. It was major vindication, but small comfort.
So here I am, an adult with crooked teeth. And, as much as I try to ignore it, I can’t help but feel extremely insecure about it. There is a stigma with having crooked teeth, whether we openly acknowledge it or not. I’m always self conscious about smiling for photos, and I worry that my first impression on people is skewed by my teeth. I hate to be so hung up on a superficial thing, but it’s hard when I so rarely encounter other people with crooked teeth like mine. It’d be one thing if they were just a little crooked…crooked in that slightly imperfect and endearing way. But sadly that is not the case, and I can’t seem to get over it.
As I mentioned, I’ve looked into additional orthodontic treatment to fix the issues. I’d love to try something like Invisalign, but braces and Invisalign are comparable in price, and both are quite expensive, especially if you’re an adult. Insurance companies are much more likely to cover a significant chunk of the cost for braces or Invisalign on kids, but you’re lucky to get even a couple hundred dollars toward them if you’re over 18. Even if I use a provider with a generous payment plan option, I’m still looking at $200+ a month. It feels selfish to add $200 to monthly costs for what is ultimately a superficial procedure, especially when there are more pressing things like rent and student loans to pay.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will probably never get my teeth fixed, but that doesn’t make it easier to live with. So here’s my point: if you’ve been recommended orthodontic treatment, or maybe have had braces but are slacking with your retainer usage, take action. Visit an orthodontist for a treatment plan. Make a point to pop in that retainer at night. If you’re an adult who has considered orthodontia and can afford it, make an appointment and get the process rolling. Trust me when I say it will be worth it and you will regret it if you don’t. It is no fun to be self-conscious about your smile.
I’d like to know the statistic for how many new podcasts are started daily. I’m willing to bet it’s at least double digits. Anyone with a voice and a microphone can create a podcast these days, which is lovely in the sense that you can literally find anything you’re looking for…but it makes it hard to sift through to find the things really worth listening to.
Allow me to save you some time. Instead of browsing through hundreds of podcasts hoping to find one that strikes your fancy, give Mystery Show a try!
Here are 5 reasons you should immediately hit “subscribe” on the Mystery Show podcast:
#1 – Solving mysteries is fun!
The premise of this show involves host Starlee Kine (of This American Life) researching mysteries brought to her by friends, acquaintances, or the magic of the internet. Starlee readily admits she’s no Columbo, and the types of mysteries she takes on are light and low stakes. You still get the fun of solving a mystery along with Starlee, but with a humorous touch.
#2 – Starlee Kine is the human-whisperer.
As a host, Starlee does a fantastic job of keeping the story surrounding each episode’s mystery engaging, but what I find even more impressive are her fascinating asides with the people she encounters in her investigations. Starlee has an amazing way of connecting with other people quickly, and one of my favorite parts of listening to the podcast is hearing her make deep connections with other people over conversations about things like Britney Spears tickets.
#3 – You can enjoy Mystery Show without dedicating years of your life to it.
Let’s be real, finding a podcast that’s less than an hour but still feels substantial can be a pretty big ask. Mystery Show episodes generally run about 45 minutes, give or take, which makes them perfect-sized nuggets for a single listen. You get the full story, start to finish, but you also still have time to eat, sleep and breathe.
#4 – The mystery topics are amazing.
I mentioned Kine’s mysteries tend to be light and low stakes, which is true…but they are also deceptively fascinating. Stories about unreturned videos, vanity license plates, and Jake Gyellnhaal’s height…you might not think these would take 45 minutes, or that they’d be particularly interesting, but you would be so wrong. Kine embraces each of her mysteries with enthusiasm and earnestness, so despite being low stakes, no stone is left unturned in solving these mysteries.
#5 – It will leave you wanting more.
As of now, there are only six episodes of Mystery Show available. I know, right?! Enough to give you a taste of how great the podcast can be, but certainly not enough to satiate your fun mystery-solving needs. According to the website, season 2 of Mystery Show is “in the works,” so hopefully more episodes will be coming soon, but for now you’ll just have to enjoy the delicious appetizer that is season one. Now do yourself a favor and check out an episode of Mystery Show…just make sure you have a KIND bar handy, because the ads are most certainly going to make you crave one. 😉
You know that feeling of anticipation you get when the final book in a beloved series finally comes out? It’s that feeling where you’re partially super excited because you really want to know how it ends, but you’re also kind of anxious that it’s not going to meet your high expectations? So yeah, that’s where I was at when I picked up the final book in Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave series, The Last Star.
I loved The 5th Wave. It had a lot going for it – a unique spin on the oft-rehashed post-apocalyptic scenario, a strong female lead, a survival story, and aliens. The story felt immediate and engaging, making it one of my favorite reads of the year. When the sequel, The Infinite Sea, came out, I wasn’t disappointed, exactly…just cautious. I liked the book fine, but something about it just felt different. That x factor I loved about the first book was missing, replaced with a bit too much philosophy and metaphor for the likes of me. But perhaps it was a bridge book issue. Maybe I’d find that thing I was looking for in the final book, The Last Star.
Did I? Yes and no. A large portion of the book did feel a bit truer to the original vibe of the series than The Infinite Sea – a fast-paced survival story that just happens to include aliens. I was really interested to see how Yancey could possibly tie up this epic story. To his credit, he manages to both provide a satisfying conclusion without wrapping things up too neatly for a story of this magnitude.
I appreciated that Yancey had a clear plan for his story progression; there are some confusing bits here and there but for the most part The Last Star helped me make more sense of what was happening in The Infinite Sea, and everything seemed to tie together fairly well. I tend to prefer sci-fi stories that are at least somewhat reality-based, in that I can imagine them being within the realm of possibility and not complete fantasy. This series stays in that realm quite well for the first couple of books, but some of the events at the end, in particular, strayed a bit too far into the unbelievable for my taste. And on that note…
I kind of hated the ending. I understand why it ended the way it did, and I would even go so far as to say it makes more sense than any other ending. I think the problem I had was that I was expecting some sort of major revelation or twist. Throughout the series, there’s this sense of secrecy and conspiracy and I just kept waiting for something new to come to light that really changed my understanding of this story. It just didn’t happen, and that left me disappointed.
And, without getting too spoilery, there’s a super cliche and unnecessary story thread in The Last Star that feels like an afterthought throughout the entire book, until it gets forced down your throat at the end. It’s a common storytelling device; it’s symbolic, whatever…I was just hoping for something a little more original when the series had so much promise of being unique from the get go.
What’s really disappointing is that overall, The Last Star is a fantastic book. Aside from playing a little fast and loose with its core group of characters, the story is cohesive, suspenseful, and exciting. Leading up to the final section of the book, I was feeling pretty darn optimistic. Unfortunately there’s no way for me to talk about this book as a series ender without dwelling heavily on the actual ending, and sadly that piece was a major letdown for me. Still, I’m glad I read The Last Star and, had I not had several years’ worth of series ending expectations built up, it’s very likely my overall impression, ending included, would have been better.
I’d also like to mention how grateful I am for the existence of this series, because I do think it has opened the door for more YA sci-fi books to see the light of day, and encouraged interested authors to pursue the genre more. Oh, and I’m just one person – there are plenty of readers out there who absolutely loved The Last Star and thought the ending was perfect. So I say – take your chances. Regardless of your thoughts on the ending, it’s an exciting ride.
Max Martin is not really a household name, but if you’re a fan of pop music, you’re probably familiar with him. The Swedish songwriter & producer has crafted a gigantic amount of hit songs for an eclectic variety of artists, from the Backstreet Boys early in his career to The Weeknd more recently.
What’s fascinating is that the guy can write such a great hook, it really doesn’t matter who’s singing it. As a result, I frequently find myself in a situation where I hear a new song by an artist I normally don’t like, but am surprised to find I really enjoy the song. Then, if I look the song up online, about 99% of the time I find out it was written and/or produced by Max Martin. I am not even exaggerating here.
Let’s take a look at 5 times Max Martin managed to win me over with songs by artists I never liked before:
Out of the Woods by Taylor Swift
This was the first Taylor Swift song I heard and thought, “Yeah, I’m really into this!” It’s the song that encouraged me to research 1989, which led me to the realization that Max Martin’s fingerprints were all over it, which led to me actually buying and loving 1989. So, not that Taylor cares, but she’d be down at least one fan had she not had the good sense to jump on the Max Martin train.
Dangerous Woman by Ariana Grande
Mr. Martin has worked with Grande before (the catchiest songs on her last album were all touched by his magic), but Dangerous Woman immediately caught my attention and stuck with me. Since it’s a bit different than Martin’s usual fare, it was a pleasant surprise to learn he co-wrote and produced the tune.
Can’t Stop the Feeling! By Justin Timberlake
I could get into NSYNC and early JT, but his latest albums have been a bit of a snoozefest for me. Maybe Justin was getting a bit bored himself, because this infectious song, co-written by Martin, is an upbeat departure.
Dark Horse by Katy Perry
Martin has actually worked with Katy Perry quite a bit, which is why her songs are so catchy and popular despite her mediocre-at-best voice. But it’s Dark Horse that finally managed to get me to admit I liked a Katy Perry song, and I’m giving Max Martin complete credit for that.
One More Night by Maroon 5
As a general rule, my opinion of Maroon 5 is marred by Adam Levine’s smarmy face and the fact that their songs, which all sound alike to me, get played incessantly on the radio. But then there was One More Night. It’s so darn catchy. And why is that? Because Maroon 5 didn’t write it – Max Martin did! In some cases Martin’s collaborations have led me to albums and artists I grow to love, and other times I’m just salty about feeling compelled to sing along with a Maroon 5 song, but I am always awed by Max Martin’s talent and the fact that this brilliant Swedish dude has such an impact on American pop music.
Do you know what you’ll be doing May 24th? Because I know I, for one, will be wishing that I could spend the entire day reading the final book in Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave series, The Last Star. Probably sitting at my desk at work, trying not to scroll through Goodreads reviews for fear of potential spoilers, waiting impatiently for my chance to pick up The Last Star and dive right in.
If you’ve read The 5th Wave and its follow-up, The Infinite Sea, you understand why I’m antsy. This is a high stakes series. Aliens are taking over the earth, but a small group of survivors remains, and no one knows why the aliens haven’t just wiped out the whole planet. The stakes are high, and there are still so many questions about these aliens’ intentions and the fate of our lovely band of main characters, Cassie, Zombie, Ringer and Evan.
I’m honestly at a bit of a loss in terms of guessing how this series will play out. I have all the faith in the world in Yancey’s planning abilities and have no doubt that he will wrap up the series wonderfully, but man…how does a band of teenagers (albeit super tough ones) save the earth from aliens? I don’t expect a convenient happy ending where these kids convince the aliens to leave them alone by proving how wonderful humanity truly can be.
But I also don’t see this series ending on a tragedy either. The message throughout the first two books was hope, so I do think one way or another there will be a resolution that doesn’t end in the decimation of the human race. So far there have been a considerable amount of plot twists in the series, so I expect there to be a major one in The Last Star, but what will it be? My running theory is that maybe these aliens who we thought were responsible for all the terrible things in the first couple of books either aren’t truly the ringmaster of the destruction. But then who is?
Let us know your theories in the comments, and be sure to check out The Last Star when it hits stores (and e-readers) on May 24th!