Summer Reading Challenge: The Wonder (Queen of Hearts Saga #2)

The Wonder (Queen of Hearts Saga #2) by Colleen Oakes

Dinah, the former Princess of Wonderland Palace, has been chased into the wilds of Wonderland after the brutal murder of her brother and the ruin of her impending crown. Now, as her half-sister Vittiore sits on the throne beside her Father, the brutal King of Hearts, Dinah finds herself alone in the forbidding Twisted Wood with only Morte, a homicidal beast, for company.

Hunted by the King and his army of Cards, Dinah struggles to evade those who long for her head, including Cheshire, the King’s clever advisor, who is slowly tightening his grasp around her. Spurred on by her rising terror, the former Princess finds herself at the center of a web of conspiracy reaching far beyond the Palace and deep into the mysterious Yurkei mountain tribes. Even with the balance of an entire Kingdom at stake, Dinah knows something that her allies and enemies do not: that the most dangerous conflict of all has already begun as she battles the enticing rage that beckons her ever closer as love slips further from her grasp.

If you haven’t read the first book in Colleen Oakes’ Queen Of Hearts Saga, take a minute to read my review. The Wonder picks up right after The Crown as Dinah continues to flee from her father, the King of Hearts, but, even away from the palace, she isn’t safe. Unaccustomed to fending for herself, Dinah struggles to survive in the Twisted Wood while avoiding the king’s forces. Eventually, she is tracked down by a Spade, one of the king’s henchmen, but instead of killing her, Sir Gorrann offers to help her. However, he leads her to Wonderland’s fiercest enemies, the Yurkei. Held prisoner, Dinah fears for her life, but it is in the enemy’s land that Dinah learns the truth about herself and the path she must take.

I really like this series. The second book is just as enjoyable as the first, maybe even more so. As Dinah struggles to understand who she is and her place in Wonderland, it’s easy to see how an unloved teenager could become the evil Queen of Hearts. As Dinah fights to control her rage and make the right choice, she can’t escape the comments that she is mad nor can she forget the awful things that have happened to those she loves. I can’t wait for the next book!

You can find out more about Colleen Oakes by visiting her website and following her on Twitter and Facebook.

booksparks summer reading challenge

This book was sent to me for review and is part of BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge.

Links à la Mode: The IFB Weekly Roundup


That Summer Look by: Jennine Jacob

Whether your summer is your thing, or if it’s really that time you need a vacation. Heck, we all need a vacation! Anyway, these summer months usually mean taking it easy. With our style, and with our schedules. But just in case you need a little bit of inspiration to keep the summer blues away, this week we have some wonderful links for you!

Links a la Mode: July 17th

SPONSOR: East Dane VMT, Kurt Geiger, Vacance, Campomaggi bags, Bucketfeet, Baggu, RVCA Men, Solace London, Bussetto, Noble Denim & Owen & Fred

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My Style Uniform: Five Key Pieces

I find the idea of a minimalist wardrobe appealing, but in practice, I need more than just a handful of pieces.  It’s so boring to wear the same thing over and over again.  However, last month, Xandra from Fashionably Light posted My Style, in 5 Key Items, which is about the five items that define her style.  Then, Kristian from Never Fully Dressed (Without A Style) recently posted Q+A: 5 Things in Every Girl’s Closet and asked other bloggers what five pieces every woman should own.  So, I started thinking about my style and the pieces I keep repeating…

1.  Jeans

I’m moving away from skinny jeans and am embracing the bootcut.  I like jeans with a darker rinse and a little bling, such as the Miss Me pair in the video.

2.  Cream Tops

I usually avoid anything white or cream because I am so pale, but cream is slowly invading my wardrobe.  Off white tops and jackets get dressed up with colorful scarves and cardigans.  Some of my favorite tops are from American Eagle and Denim & Supply.

3.  Cardigans

Layers are key since it’s impossible to count on the weather or air conditioning.  J. Crew makes great cardigans in a variety of styles.

4.  Scarves

Scarves are nice because they instantly make an outfit look put together, and you don’t have to splurge to get something cute.  The blue scarf is from Brokedown and came in my March 2014 PopSugar Must Have Box.

5.  Flats

Ballet flats, sandals, sneakers, I wear a lot of flat shoes.  This summer, I can’t stop talking about my red Keds; I wear them almost everyday.

The wonderful thing about personal style is that it evolves, and the five pieces that define my style today may be completely different from what I wear next year.  I think that is what makes fashion so exciting.  Fashion allows you to reinvent yourself one piece at a time.

My Style Uniform

What five pieces define your current style?

DIY: How to Make A Fringe Scarf Out of a T-shirt

It’s summertime and the t-shirts are piling up. Why not turn one into a fringe scarf? This project is a Pinterest favorite and is super easy to make.  It only requires a t-shirt, scissors, and a little time.

To get started, lay the tee flat on a table. Cut the tee straight across from one armpit to the other. The bottom half is what you will use to turn into a scarf.

Working from the raw edge of the t-shirt, cut half inch strips.

To make fringe, gently tug each strip so that the fabric rolls in on itself. The tightness of the fringe will depend on the fabric. Then, randomly knot some of the fringe.

How to Make A Fringe Scarf Out of a T-shirt

Voilà! Easiest scarf ever.

How to Make A Fringe Scarf Out of a T-shirt

This entry was posted in Fashion and tagged .

A Brief History of Jelly Shoes

A Brief History of Jelly Shoes

ASOS HEY! Heeled Jelly Shoes

Thanks to World War II, there was a leather shortage in Europe. Legend has it that a French shoemaker created the first pair of jelly shoes in 1946. Monsieur Jean Dauphant‘s plastic shoes, nicknamed Méduse (meaning jellyfish), featured an instantly recognizable fisherman’s weave and started a trend for plastic shoes that other designers would experiment with in the 1950′s and 1960′s. Interestingly, Grendene, a Brazilian shoe company, also, claims to have introduced jelly shoes to the world.  Melissa, a celebrity and fashionista favorite, is a part of Grendene and continues to design trendsetting, plastic shoes.  Jelly shoes really took off in the 1980′s, and chances are that if you grew up in the 80′s you owned at least one pair.

A Brief History of Jelly Shoes

Melissa Grey Crystal Studded Transparent Jellies

Today, you can find jelly shoes in many different styles from the classic sandal to ballet flats, boots, and loafers, but if you are looking for a classic pair with ties to Monsieur Jean Dauphant’s original, visit Sun Jellies.

Shop This Look

June Favorites

I’m a little late posting my June favorites video, but better late than never.  In June, I read more books, explored my makeup stash, and went on random adventures.


Powell’s Indiespensable

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison

Graphite Curio Heart


Benecos Natural Baked Eyeshadow: Melange Silver Purple

Red Apple Lipstick in Mauve Me (c/o Red Apple Lipstick)

Red Apple Lipstick Lipgloss in Ruby Glass (c/o Red Apple Lipstick)

My Red Apple Lipstick Reviews:

Red Apple Lipstick

Red Apple Lipstick High Def Glosses


Kino Sandals - Alpalgata

What are your June favorites?

July Wish List

We’re just into the first full week of July, and Target already has their school supplies out.  I even saw Thanksgiving decorations displayed at a craft store.  Noooooo!  There’s still so much summer left.  The only good thing about fall products popping up on shelves is that summer goods are being marked down.  It’s hard to resist a sale, especially when so much of the season is left for wearing new purchases…

July Wish List

I’m not a bikini kind of girl; however, I’m tempted to try a retro-style bikini.  Esther Williams makes fabulous swimwear, and this polka-dot bikini screams summer.  A cute cover-up is a must, and with a solid colored slip, this dress would work away from the water as well.  Finish the look with brightly colored sandals, tortoise sunnies, and a fun necklace.

Shop This Look!

What are you wishing for this month?

Summer Reading Challenge: Serenade

Serenade by Emily Kiebel

Lorelei Clark’s only concern was her future as a classically trained soprano, that is, until the day her father was tragically killed. Shattered by his death, she hesitantly accepts an invitation from a mysterious aunt to visit her lavish oceanside home in Cape Cod. She quickly discovers that her aunt and the two women who live with her are harboring a frightening secret they are sirens, terrifying mythical creatures responsible for singing doomed sailors to their deaths. Even more astounding, Lorelei is one of them. In this new world where water comes alive at her touch and an ancient power pulses beneath the tide, the most important rule Lorelei must learn is that a siren never interferes with fate. When she breaks this rule by rescuing a handsome sailor who should have died at sea, the sirens vow she must finish the job or face grave consequences. Finding herself inexplicably attracted to him, she must fight to keep him safe from the others, even if it means risking her own life, and her heart, in the process.

Serenade by Emily Kiebel is dripping with ancient mythology, yet the story is firmly rooted in the real world.  Lorelei Clark is a talented singer who is blindsided by her father’s sudden death.  Taking a break from school, Lorelei decides to visit an aunt who has mysteriously popped into her life. Naturally, all is not what it seems, and Lorelei discovers that not only is she living with an assembly of sirens but that she is a siren as well.  These women are powerful forces fate uses to bring peace to those who die at sea, but Lorelei believes the sirens should try to save people instead of letting them die.  When Lorelei saves Tyler, everything changes, and she is forced to face the consequences of her action.

The beginning of the book is heartbreaking as Lorelei deals with her father’s death.  While this is a story about life and death, it is, also, a story about defying fate and the possibilities that choice creates.  Lyrics are woven throughout the story, and you can listen to the songs from the book here.  I loved the way Lorelei’s siren training echoed her vocal training at school. Being a siren takes practice, and I thought that was an interesting idea.  Instead of suddenly being able to tap into her new-found magical powers, Lorelei has to spend time working with the water as well as memorizing songs and even attempting to put men under her spell.  When Lorelei changes Tyler’s fate and saves his life, other water forces are called into action making for a riveting ending.  There is a sequel in the works, and it is definitely one I will want to check out.

You can find out more about Emily Kiebel by visiting her website.

booksparks summer reading challenge

This book was sent to me for review and is part of BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge.

Floral Friday: Flower In Focus

instagram flowers

I must have flowers, always, and always. ― Claude Monet

In the U.S., today is Independence Day, which means fireworks, barbecue, and everything dripping red, white, and blue.  However, I find the 4th of July a bittersweet marker of summer. School supplies start popping up in stores, and summer plans give way to autumn responsibilities.  Yet, today is a beautiful, sunny day.  The grass is green, and the flowers are blooming.  I wish this weather could last forever.

Enjoy the sweet, summer nights by dancing into the wee hours.  A floral record player will set the mood as you sway to your favorite tunes.  Let’s dedicate the next song to summer…

UO X Crosley AV Room Portable USB Vinyl Record Player

UO X Crosley AV Room Portable USB Vinyl Record Player

Summer Playlist

“Summertime Sadness” - Lana Del Rey

“Summertime” – Fantasia

“All Summer Long” – Kid Rock

“Summer Love” - Justin Timberlake

“Summer Jam” – Jake Owen

“In The Summertime” – Shaggy

“Summer In the City” – The Lovin’ Spoonful

“Summer Of ’69 Live” – Bryan Adams

“Summer Nights”- Grease

“In Summer” – Frozen

Floral Fridays is a monthly photography project with different themes each month. This series is about fun and taking time out to smell the flowers. To play along, please email Trishie ( for next month’s theme.