Local independent bookstores help foster a sense of community, and that's what drew me to Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, Georgia. The first time I walked through their doors during the Decatur Book Festival many years ago, I could see that this bookstore was doing more than selling Children's and Young Adult books. They were promoting a literary community in Decatur for children, adults, and even dogs (more on the dogs later). Little Shop of Stories is the type of bookstore that I walk into knowing I'm going to end up finding at least one or two things I have to buy. It's the type of place I recommend to friends whenever they're visiting from out of town and looking for something fun to do. Because, as corny as this might sound, it's more than a bookstore. It's a fun place to be.
This past weekend while I was in Atlanta visiting friends and family, I had an opportunity to sit down with Justin Colussy-Estes to talk more about Little Shop of Stories, what makes this store so awesome, and its connection to the Decatur community.
Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert is the third novel in our YA Book Club Winter Games Series. We previously reviewed The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue and There's Someone Inside Your House. For our final installment, we'll be discussing They Both Die at the End at the end of March. But for now, let's get into Little & Lion!
Emily: Little and Lion was, surprise surprise, a Book of the Month pick. As we have mentioned in past blog posts and podcast episodes, a lot of contemporary lit (especially thrillers) seems to get mental health issues completely wrong. When I saw that this was a novel that had a main character with bipolar disorder, I was really intrigued to read it because my experience with YA novels is that, generally speaking, they are a lot better at handling the topic of mental health than, say, The Couple Next Door. Just as a for instance.
So for a quick summary, Little & Lion is the story of Suzette (Little) who is sent away to boarding school after her brother Lionel (Lion) is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. While Little is away at school, she has her first relationship with a girl, causing her to question her sexual identity. Little comes home for the summer, and those issues of identity are exacerbated when she gets a crush on two different people, her childhood friend Emil and a girl named Rafaela, who her brother Lion ALSO HAS A CRUSH ON. DUN DUN DUUUUN.
Apologies for my belated post. I was having my own Winter Games in Denver this week. And by Winter Games, I mean I was playing board games with my nephews in Denver and it was snowing outside, but that still counts. Anyway, it meant I didn't get to watch this treasure of a show until several days later, but I still have thoughts and opinions. And I have an extra hour worth of this bananas show to cover, so I'd better just get into it.
This seems early to have a "read more" cut, but like I said last week, the structure of this post is going to mirror the structure of this show, so, like, it's non-existent.
For two insane weeks, Bachelor Universe is going to have to put up with not one, not two, but three nights of Bachelor television. I don't know about you guys, but I'm not sure if my wine budget can handle two nights a week of this show on top of the regular Bachelor. Regardless, I will be here to recap all four episodes of the Bachelor Winter Games over these two insane weeks, and I'll even live tweet when I have nothing better to do with my time. Don't say I never did anything for you.
Like the rest of Bachelor Universe (we're a universe now, btw. We were a nation and then this show happened and introduced us to the International Bachelor contestants. Next season on Winter Games, I fully expect The Bachelor: Mars to participate), I had no idea what to expect from this show. After watching two episodes, I still have no idea to expect. So similar to the format of the show itself, the format of my recaps is going to be... nonexistent. I'm just going to chat about whatever moves me. Hold on tight.
On February 15th, Marvel released the highly anticipated Black Panther movie, directed by Creed's Ryan Coogler and featuring a star-studded cast including Angela Bassett, Michael B. Jordan, Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong'o . . . the list goes on. Did the movie live up to the hype? Mary and Emily are here to provide their spoiler-filled opinions.
Emily: Let me turn on the Black Panther soundtrack for this. I advise our readers do the same.
Mary: So, like the rest of the world, Black Panther has been on our radar for a while now. The new Marvel film features an all star cast, high budget special effects, and a look at something we haven’t seen before from Marvel: world building (on earth).
The movie follows Prince T’Challa, the successor to the throne of Wakanda, as he takes his place as the Black Panther, the mystical, powerful protector of the nation. However, as he journeys to take down the noted thief and all around crazy person Ulysses Klaue, T’Challa discovers that there’s an even bigger threat to Wakanda’s way of life. Michael B. Jordan.
It's Month 2 of YA Book Club Winter Games, and I bet you thought you were going to see a picture of the book we read up at the top, huh? Well you guessed wrong, and you'll soon see why we chose a picture of Sonic slushies instead. Besides just being delicious, Sonic is an integral part of our January novel There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins. Let's get into it, shall we?
Emily: So what happens when you mix Scream with YA Romance with a dash of Sonic slushies? You get this book, There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins, a book about high school and cliques and getting the hell out of your crappy small town, and of course, murder. Lots and lots of murder. This novel was advertised as a horror novel for teens, which was a shocker for many YA aficionados because Stephanie Perkins usually writes romance novels, such as Anna and the French Kiss, so this was supposed to be a big departure for her. What did you think of Perkins's first foray into horror fiction?
It's January again, which means it's time to reimagine our lives and expect more from ourselves.
For me, that means considering tidying up my apartment. For real this time. And while I made this resolution on January 1st, it's taken me half the month to move on from thinking about it to developing a plan of attack. Maybe my next move, after fifteen more days of planning my strategy, will be to actually start tidying up. But we'll see. According to Marie Kondo's manga version of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, aptly titled The Life Changing Manga of Tidying Up, I'm right on schedule. So if you're thinking two weeks into the new year is a great time for you to drop your New Years resolutions, think again, because it's time to get into the Konmari method, manga style.
Before knowing how this whole show would shake out, I decided I wanted to write a blog post about the 2018 Golden Globes...
There are general assumptions I make about this first major ceremony of the awards season. Mainly, that most celebs will be super drunk by the end of it. Also, the winners are usually a bit less predictable than the awards shows that follow because, first of all, it's the first show of the season so we're not sure how movies are going to trend just yet, and secondly, it's the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and they're just a little more edgy than the Academy, which from what I can tell is still just a bunch of boring old white people.
But here's something I should have expected for this particular show. I would have prepared myself for it had I been paying more attention. Clearly I'm an irresponsible amateur blogger, however, so I wasn't fully prepared for how hardcore everyone was going to be about trying to out-feminist one another last night. I haven't been living under a rock, so I did know that everyone was going to be wearing all black to protest all of the terrible dudes in Hollywood. I also knew that #MeToo was a thing. So give me some credit here.
Nonetheless, last night, overall, was just super weird. Most of it felt disingenuous, or if you're a Bachelor fan, disingenuine (no, that will never get old for me). But I don't want to sit here and point fingers at what celebs were true feminists and which were just wannabe poseurs. What I do want to do is give out some awards of my own for the best/worst/weirdest shit that went down last night. So here it goes.
Mary: So The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is a young adult novel by Mackenzi Lee that has swept the young adult world by storm a bit. The novel is a piece of historical fiction, following young Monty and his best friend and traveling companion Percy as they embark on their Grand Tour around Europe. The boys are to take in the sights and sounds of Europe, escorted by a guide hired by Monty's father and Monty's younger sister Felicity. BUT things go awry when the group is ambushed by highwaymen. And it's just all hijinks from there. This book has a little bit of everything, which I really enjoyed--historical notes, adventure, romance, pirates (!), alchemy, and mysteryyyyyy!
Emily: Yeah so like... read on for spoilers I guess? Cause there will probably be some?
Mary: Yes, major spoilers.
2017 is drawing to a close, which means it's almost January, and almost time for the The Bachelor. The Squad has always approached The Bachelor franchise with varying levels of enthusiasm (meaning everyone is enthusiastic except for Kelli), but the 22nd season is a special kind of bummer, as it's centered around less-than-ideal Bachelor Arie Luyendyk Junior. Come January 1st, we will be subject to approximately four hundred hours worth of some white dude's legendary make-out skills. Now is the winter of our discontent. Full stop.
Though we're disappointed in The Bachelor himself, we have reached a stage of acceptance (you can read Susan's blog post about the process here). Anyway, Arie's not so important — the Squad is all about girl power, and we're still excited to watch 29 women forge long-lasting friendships and drink lots of free alcohol. The cast of the 2018 season has been revealed, and we're here to offer our first impressions. Check them out after the cut.
About the Blog
The authors of this blog are four women with opinions about pop culture. That's all you really need to know.