Popcosmo

a blog for everyone and their mothers

books

My favorite Summer Books

BOOKS & MOVIES, EXTRASKim & Chloe
books to read

It's official: we are finally completely and totally moved into our new home! Moving definitely has its ups & downs and one of the brightest upsides, born out of necessity during my many seemingly endless weeks of being internet-free (a downside for me) has been rediscovering my love of reading, in actual book form. I've forgotten how absolutely addicted to books I had been... and how exciting it is to discover a new author. Just in case you're still looking for good summer books or beach reads, these are a few that have kept me up late into the night, wide awake in the middle of the night, and up in the wee hours of the morning. (If you saw the circles under my eyes, you'd know I was not exaggerating.) the interestings copy

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

From Amazon: "An Amazon Best Book of the Month, April 2013: This knowing, generous and slyly sly new novel follows a group of teenagers who meet at a summer camp for artsy teens in 1974 and survive as friends through the competitions and realities of growing up. How these five circle each other, come together and break apart, makes for plenty of hilarious scenes and plenty of heartbreaking ones, too. A compelling coming of age story about five privileged kids, this is also a pitch-perfect tale about a particular generation and the era that spawned it. --Sara Nelson"

Although it's been called "genius" by the Chicago Tribune and "wonderful" by Vanity Fair, my superlatives are more along the line of sleep-wrecking, thought-provoking and and discussion-inducing. I truly want to drop everything I have to do and start reading again... since I'm only on page 142/469, so I shouldn't be reviewing at all yet - but I can tell you I've woken up twice over the past 3 nights at 3 in the morning just to read what happens next, which is odd since it's not an action-filled book and each chapter doesn't end with a cliff-hanger. But the writer's style keeps my interest since the timeframe jumps from decade to decade and hints are given about what happens to characters. I will definitely be reading more of Meg Wolitzer's books.

summer readingThe Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro

From The Boston Globe: “An engaging tale about art, cupidity, and a Faustian bargain . . . Shapiro convincingly depicts the rarefied art world that lionizes a chosen few and ignores the talented, scrabbling outsiders on the fringe. Shapiro is adept, too, at showing the white-hot heat of an artist engaged in creating a painting. She knows art history, painting techniques, and how forgers have managed through the centuries to dupe buyers into paying for fakes . . . Inventive and entertaining.”

The Goldfinch revived my love of art, but The Art Forger sealed it. It's a mystery wrapped up in a love story wrapped up in an art lesson. Again, I had to know what happened next, and any story that can keep me on my toes is a book that I will recommend.

 

Reconstructing Amelia Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

From Amazon: "...Kate's in the middle of the biggest meeting of her career when she gets the telephone call from... her daughter’s exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Amelia has been suspended, effective immediately, and Kate must come get her daughter—now. But Kate’s stress over leaving work quickly turns to panic when she arrives at the school and finds it surrounded by police officers, fire trucks, and an ambulance. By then it’s already too late for Amelia. And for Kate.

An academic overachiever despondent over getting caught cheating has jumped to her death. At least that’s the story Grace Hall tells Kate. And clouded as she is by her guilt and grief, it is the one she forces herself to believe. Until she gets an anonymous text: She didn’t jump. Reconstructing Amelia is about secret first loves, old friendships, and an all-girls club steeped in tradition. But, most of all, it’s the story of how far a mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she couldn’t save."

Having teens, I thought I needed to read this book. Do I really know my kids as well as I think I do? Could there be a "school life" that I know nothing about? It was a good book that made me want to keep an open avenue of communication with my kids and wonder about being a teen today.

Crazy-Rich-Asians Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

From People: "There's rich, there's filthy rich, and then there's crazy rich . . . A Pride and Prejudice-like send-up about an heir bringing his Chinese-American girlfriend home to meet his ancestor-obsessed family, the book hilariously skewers imperial splendor and the conniving antics of the Asians jet set."

Another book that's been on my reading list forever that I finally got around to reading! I loved it for the education about a culture I don't know about. It was a fun read.

 

 

 

 

On my bedside table to read next are The Heist by Daniel Silva and Flash Boys by Michael Lewis (a little yin & yang!) and at the rate I'm plowing through The Interestings, I'll be reading at least one of them this weekend.

What book recommendations do you have?

xo ~kim

 

 

 

Festive Christmas Movies

BOOKS & MOVIES, EXTRASKim & Chloe

Our Christmas tradition is a bit off-kilter since involves Will Ferrell and bb guns, but that's how our family rolls. We  have a Christmas tradition of watching silly Christmas movies and quoting lines from them out loud. All day long. Truth be told, we probably quote them all month long. And when there's a smelly basement or the mood strikes and we're on an escalator, in an elevator, or in the Lincoln Tunnel (or even just thinking of it) you might catch us quoting "Elf." It's an obsession, but since there are 4 of us in the family, we can't all be crazy… can we? What are your favorite Christmas movies and traditions?

festive christmas movies

 

 

 

 

Orphan Train: Author Interview with Christina Baker Kline

BOOKS & MOVIES, EXTRASKim & Chloe
Christina Baker Kline Interview | Popcosmo

Orphan Train

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing the author of a my new favorite book - the one I can't stop talking about, or thinking about - Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. Interviewing her was such a cool experience and I learned so much about her, the book (what inspired her to write it!), and the life of a best-selling author.

A little background about the book from the Booklist review of The Orphan Train:

A long journey from home and the struggle to find it again form the heart of the intertwined stories that make up this moving novel. Foster teen Molly is performing community-service work for elderly widow Vivian, and as they go through Vivian’s cluttered attic, they discover that their lives have much in common. When Vivian was a girl, she was taken to a new life on an orphan train. These trains carried children to adoptive families for 75 years, from the mid-nineteenth century to the start of the Great Depression. Novelist Kline (Bird in Hand, 2009) brings Vivian’s hardscrabble existence in ­Depression-era Minnesota to stunning life. Molly’s present-day story in Maine seems to pale in comparison, but as we listen to the two characters talk, we find grace and power in both of these seemingly disparate lives. Although the girls are vulnerable, left to the whims of strangers, they show courage and resourcefulness. Kline illuminates a largely hidden chapter of American history, while portraying the coming-of-age of two resilient young women. --Bridget Thoreson

Orphan Train Interview

When you were in high school did you enjoy writing? Yes, I loved writing, but I wrote more poetry. I actually never finished a story until I got to college. I tended to write more poetry. Studying poetry in college helped me to become a novelist, and become more aware of language as I am writing.

Did you enjoy doing research in high school for projects or papers? In high school I liked learning things, but I was never one of those people who would disappear because of it. I used the research to get inspired for the writing part. I typically research until I have a strong sense of the story and have a good plan, and then start writing and then go back and fill in the gaps.

Because Orphan Train has so much history in it, how long did it take you to research and plan for the novel? It took around three years to research, write, and revise it. I actually learned about the story a decade ago because my husband’s grandfather was an orphan on a train and he was featured in an article on orphan trains, and that was how I first heard about them.

I read on your website that you used to be a personal chef, caterer, and cook. How did you transition from that to being a novelist? I did that in college and in grad school. I had already been cooking at a summer camp in Maine and then I worked as a private chef for a writer and his wife in Martha’s Vineyard after my junior year in college. I also worked as a caterer in grad school and I have always been really interested in cooking. Writing novels is the thing that I love the most and my other interests have supported. It’s easy to get caught up in other things and not leave enough time for your writing. I also love being out in the world and interacting with other people, and I like having multiple things going on at once.

What was your dream job when you were in high school? I wanted to be either a book editor or magazine editor and I still think it would be a really fun job. I do love what I’m doing, but I still do edit for other magazine and books.

Do you have any advice for someone that wants to become a writer? One thing I would say is to be sure that you have skills and develop skills that you actually like. I have been able to teach and edit, so I have the qualifications that I need to do other types of work. You need to make sure you have something else as well, because you can’t count on always making a living out of it since there are great years and others that are harder to make money. Sometimes writers say you shouldn’t get a job in the same field and that you should do something like waitressing, but I would much rather have a job in this field, like working with other writers. I find that so much fun.

Where do you get inspiration from for your characters and books themselves? From everywhere. When I’m working on a novel anything can work itself in, like dinner party conversations. I can fill the book with anything I want. If I overhear something at Starbucks it could go in.

What is your favorite book that you’ve ever read? I have a bunch, a number of them are 19th century books, I love Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary. I also really love Virginia Woolf, but I read everything, a lot of contemporary books. I want to know what the other books on the top lists are like.

Do you have friends that are also writing or that you’ve met through writing? Yes, in fact I was just talking to one on Facebook. I do. I have a lot of writer friends. I really love that aspect and it’s really important to be a part of a community.

Thank you so much, Mrs. Kline, for taking time in your busy schedule to talk to me! I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed the Orphan Train, and if you would like to see more reviews on the book, check them out here.

Have you read Orphan Train? What’s your all time favorite book?

 

Dare You To by Katie McGarry

BOOKS & MOVIES, EXTRASKim & Chloe

Katie McGarry It's official, Katie McGarry has bottled the secret to thrilling high-school romances with unexpected twists, veering turns and chapter cliff-hangers that dare you to put her books down. Her second novel avoids the sophomore slump and left me craving even more from this circle of friends. Although we were introduced to Beth and Ryan in Pushing the Limits, as only Katie McGarry can do, she creates an entire world behind each character that leaves you vowing never to judge a person upon first meeting them,  Long after closing Dare to You, I'm still be thinking about Beth and Ryan, and I'm sure I'll still be thinking of them for a very long time when I see the typical "jock" or "skater girl."

From Amazon.com:

Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth." 

"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again....

"I dare you..." 

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does.... 

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him. 

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all.... 

Katie McGarry obviously knows teens. She delves into the world of her characters, from learning baseball, to listening to their music and creating playlists for each book, or as she calls them "literary symphony[ies]." Hmmm, maybe she can even be persuaded to share those playlists! Grab Dare to You as soon as it hits the shelf in June and get ready to enter the world of teen angst, instant decisions, and passions... and enjoy the ride.

The Eternity Cure

BOOKS & MOVIES, EXTRASKim & Chloe

While I absolutely adore reading and am always on the hunt for a series that has eluded me and an author I've overlooked, I'm not a huge fan of vampire novels. I realize this means I'm missing I'm entire YA genre, but seriously, how do you make a bite to the neck and love triangle feel feel unique after all the other vampire novels that, yes, I've read? When I received an advance copy of The Eternity Cure, by Julie Kagawa, I almost put it aside. Almost. What caught my eye and introduced me to a new beloved writer was one simple word about her that has absolutely nothing to do with vampires, or the fact that she is a New York Times bestselling author, or that she's another series that hit a home run, The Iron Fey. It was the word: Louisville. How could I ignore another Louisville transplant. I couldn't, thankfully, and now I'm a full-fledged Kagawa-groupie. The Eternity CureThe Eternity Cure is the second book of the Blood of Eden series and is "set in a bleak futuristic realm where humanity is besieged by vampires and monsters." Although the setting is bleak, the compassion of Allison Sekemoto, or Allie, the vampire we follow on a quest to save the world, is part of the reason I adored the book. There is also a family dynamic that adds humor to the  fantasy setting, and no love triangle. Finally, no love triangle. There is fighting, action and gore, but there is also romance and longing. In the true teen spirit of Romeo and Juliet, Allie's and Zeke's separation seems unsurmountable... yet the passion of the characters will keep a reader glued to the very last bloody drop. 

I do need to know what happens next and I'm anxiously awaiting the next installment in the series. I'm seriously hoping to bump into Julie Kagawa around town and see if she'll spill any secrets about Book 3. (I'm thinking she's the human version of Allison Sekemoto, a kick-ass author with a vivid imagination who I'd love to just chat with about ... um, I don't know... anything, but maybe Book 3.) But, my advice to anyone who was overlooking The Blood of Eden series (The Immortal Rules + The Eternity Cure) thinking they were just mere vampire novels: ignore your first instinct and pick them up and read. I'd start with The Immortal Rules and then read The Eternity Cure, because I wouldn't want to miss a word.

(The Eternity Cure available April 30, 2013) 

 

Pineville Heist

BOOKS & MOVIES, EXTRASKim & Chloe

I am addicted to Law & Order, the new season and every rerun that exists... which is a lot! I love crime shows, drama, cute guys, and a great book. If you like action-packed stories, with a little mystery thrown in for fun, that happen to have a hot guy as the main character (and we know he's hot because Booboo Stewart from Twilight is playing him in the movie!)  then get your hands on The Pineville Heist by Lee Chambers. Pineville Heist Lee Chambers (author) and Booboo Stewart (star of Pineville Heist)

What's so cool about this book is that it was written by a screenwriter, so it kind of happened backwards. Most books are written and then optioned to be made into movies. This book is already going to be made into a movie, starring Booboo Stewart, who played Seth Clearwater in Twilight.

http://youtu.be/bRkB30jSedU

As soon as you begin reading, you get a clear picture of Aaron Stevens, a stereotypical teenage boy who just wants attention from his workaholic father. But life veers from ordinary to chaotic when Aaron takes a short-cut through the woods on his way to school, and he stumbles across a bank robbery that quickly escalates into a day that goes haywire. Aaron doesn’t realize that witnessing this crime scene will forever change his life, and potentially change his relationship with his father.

There is action non-stop throughout the book that makes it hard to find a good stopping point since there is always a cliffhanger that left me wanting to know more! My only complaint is that the action at the end gets a little repetitive, but I can understand it since it is based on a screenplay, and that scene is going to be awesome in a movie. Plus, there were so many surprises that I didn't expect, that it kept me on my toes all the way until the end.

I'd recommend this book if you like crime, drama, hot guys, reading about how teens get along with parents... or just want a quick read that will grab your attention and not let go. And, um, we'l be in line to buy tickets to the movie. Probably first in line.

Booboo Stewart

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

BOOKS & MOVIES, EXTRASKim & Chloe

If you’re a fan of books with a little bit of mystery with romance thrown in, then Pushing The Limits is definitely a book you want to pick up ASAP. This book is a little “darker” than most teen books, but that's what drew me into it once I started reading. And once I started it, I couldn't stop for the 2 days it took me to finish it. Pushing the Limits has received well-deserved praise, and you can add ours to the list. I love this book and absolutely recommend it! pushing the limits by katie mcgarry

Pushing The Limits is about a Echo, a senior in high school, who has a bi-polar mother who tried to hurt her, but Echo repressed the memory of what actually happened on that brutal night. Throughout the book you follow Echo to see how she copes with what happened and the repressed memory. We all have our own issues, but what if we had to physically wear them like Echo does with the scars that were left on her arm and the assumptions others have about her? I can't imagine being in her position, and kept placing myself in her shoes and wondering what it would be like to actually be Echo... which, to me, means I'm reading such a fab book that I'm getting lost in it and kudos to the writer! I felt Echo's pain, I wanted to be her friend, and I wanted to know what would happen to her. When Echo befriended bad boy, Noah, who also had endured a tragedy, they become attracted to each other. I rooted for them both, and was drawn to these characters like true friends.

The voice of the book switches back and forth between Echo and Noah, and it’s really fascinating to see what each of the characters thinks about situations. Pushing the Limits is a book I would recommend for teens who like mysteries and dramas with an edge and romance. I'm definitely looking forward to more books by Katie McGarry and if you are lucky enough to catch her on a book tour - GO - she's awesome and welcoming.

pushing the limits by katie mcgarry

 

"The Rise of Nine" by Pittacus Lore: Book Review

BOOKS & MOVIES, EXTRASKim & Chloe

If you are a regular follower of ours, you know (1) we are avid readers, and (2) we are humongous Pittacus Lore fans! So when we got our hands on an advance copy of The Rise of Nine, which is set for release on August 21, 2012, you know we were ecstatic. But we were also worried... would it disappoint? Inevitably, in a series, there is going to be a blip, the dip that has to come, whether it be the sophomore slump, or after. Book One of the Lorien Legacies Series I Am Number Four blew us away. Our review of Book Two tells you what we thought of The Power of Six and we also were granted a rare Interview with Pittacus Lore, so check those out to see if there was a sophomore slump. But, could Book Three The Rise of Nine continue the bestselling progression? Rise of Nine book

The short answer is an unqualified YES! Pittacus Lore is otherworldly in his ability to entertain with non-stop action, delicious details, and imaginable, yet creative, characters! And boy was he right in his interview with us - Setrakus Ra is back and he's badder than bad. The Rise of Nine picks up where The Power of Six left off... mass confusion and potential for destruction. But the two groups of Loriens: Six,Marina, Ella and Crayton are in Spain and Nine and Four, with Bernie Kosar, are hiding out in the US and each group tells their own stories. And, if you don't want the story to be ruined, then STOP HERE!

The narration jumps around from number to number which can be a bit hard to follow, but we like how the fonts change as a visual reminder that there is a new narrator at the beginning of each chapter. As typical, there is more action than the prior books put together, and we never know what to expect next. We liked this book almost as much as I Am Number Four in the sense that it was full of unexpected surprises and new powers, especially with Number Ten Eight, who we would like to meet in person, he just seems so cool!  

In fact, there are so many characters, that without a great author, we would have felt lost, but this part of the series was not just about adventures and fighting, it seemed that it was more about learning who the characters are, learning a bit more about their Legacies, what is in their chests, and how they will be interacting with each other. And we were excited to learn a bit more about each of the characters so we could start to care more about some of them. We are still partial to Six, Four and Ten, and curious about the new Legacies and how everything works in the chests. Without spoiling too much... (stop now if you don't want to know who makes an appearance in the book!) Nine and Six might make a cute, tough couple. We are thrilled Sarah made a reappearance... but Sam?! And Sam's Dad? And Setrakus Ra is just one mean and nasty dude who is the bully we all hate at school.  'Nuff said without totally ruining the plot for you. Get it and devour it. Before the Mogadorians do. 

 

 

Divergent: Book Review

BOOKS & MOVIES, EXTRASKim & Chloe

Don't start Divergent as you crawl into bed at night... that is, not if you plan on going to sleep anytime soon. But, if you are a night owl and don't mind pulling an all-nighter, then go ahead, pick it up and start reading - you'll be set until the sun rises. And then some.  Grab a copy and settle in for a mind-blowing, thrill-filled night. Because it will be. You know we love good books, and Divergent dazzles! Divergent

If you were a fan of the the Hunger Games Series, then you need to run to your local bookstore and snatch up both Divergent and Insurgent. We obsessed over the first two books of Divergent trilogy and we are not alone: it was nominated for a Teen Choice Award and we hear it's been optioned for a movie. YES! They are the kinds of books in which you want to know the next thing that happens; but, then again, you don't -- because you do not want them to end. Although a trilogy, only Divergent and Insurgent have been published. We are not certain when the 3rd book is due, but we will be finding out and tweeting about it. Promise.

All the deets: Divergent is set in a future Chicago, and instead of having political parties there are factions. You are born into a certain faction, and you have to abide by the rules until you are sixteen. Once you reach sixteen years old, you are tested to see in which faction you truly belong. Most people who go through the test end up being what they are born, but a handful of people change factions. This was true for the main character Beatrice. She actually had a choice, but ended up choosing the faction she had admired since she was little.  Although she has lived a life of selflessness, she may be seeking something a bit more exciting. But along with excitement comes danger and self-discovery. And, thank goodness, romance.

Whenever we read a sensational book that we can't put down, we ask ourselves what makes this book so readable and relatable? Divergent is amazingly written (flowing, gives you enough hints that you are curious, but not enough that the whole story is given away) and it's the perfect blend of a love story, sharp wit, and  adventure (enough to make your heart pound).  We are Hunger Game fanatics and didn't think anything could fill the gap as we waited for the next movie... and we are thrilled, beyond thrilled actually, to admit that we were absolutely and completely wrong. Divergent fills the gap and has given us a new reason to read late into the night.  Divergent is a page-turning, fingernail-biting, must read!

 

 

The Selection by Kiera Cass "required" summer reading

BOOKS & MOVIES, EXTRASKim & Chloe

The Selection Kiera Cass The Selection is a book good enough to keep you up all night... with a love triangle that's believable, bite-your-fingernail thrills, and futuristic fantasy. My love/hate relationship with a great book is that while I savor every word, I hate reaching the last one!  When I finish a great series like The Hunger Games, I immediately look for the next big thing. And this is it: The Selection by Kiera Cass had the same "OMG - when's the next book coming out - I can't wait" impression!

I picked up The Selection by Kiera Cass, and all I can say is you should too. Now. Today.  Kiera Cass writes beautifully and creates a world in which you just lose yourself. Ok, I better back up and tell you a little about the plot:

When there is an upcoming prince is in need of a future wife, there is a "contest" that takes place called the Selection. This contest is where the upcoming prince, or Prince Maxon, randomly chooses thirty-five girls from all social classes to compete to be his wife. When the girls are chosen, they are removed from the path that was decided for them before they were born. They then live in a fantasy world to "fight" to become Prince Maxon's future wife and the Queen.

America Singer already has a boyfriend, Aspen, and doesn't even want to be part of the Selection. Her secret boyfriend convinced her to at least try for it and once chosen she isn't sure what to think. It gets complicated once she is selected because she actually likes Prince Maxon and realizes she might enjoy the life she's learning about.  She has some decisions to make....

All in all, I really enjoyed reading this book. At first I was reluctant to read it, because I'm not into "futuristic" books, but this wasn't just another dystopian fantasy. Although it had a similar romantic plot line to The Hunger Games with a love triangle, it's not really that similar, except that it's a sensational book... and I'm DYING for the 2nd book to come out (Spring 2013, we think)!!!  The story line pulls you in and the The Selection is nearly impossible to put down, so I didn't and just read through the night... honestly.  Get it, read it, let us know what you think!  And if you are looking for other great summer reads, we definitely recommend On The Line and Queen of Kentucky.

 

 

 

Beach Books: On the Line is a great catch

BOOKS & MOVIES, EXTRASKim & Chloe

When we are looking for great beach books for Spring Break or summer, or that beach getaway in our mind, we want compelling characters, a page-turning story, juicy details, steamy emotion, and enough romance to keep it real. ? On The Line, by Jackie Nastri Bardenwerper, fills our checklist perfectly... but really is so much more than just a juicy beach read. Piper, the main character, truly loves the beach. It is her home and is her essence, and because the author understands beach living and is aware of the real tensions that exist in living in a tourist destination, each of the characters were real to us; we understood them and were rooting for them. Good beach books help you pass the time and let you get lost in another world, we were hooked after a few chapters when we met Logan, the handsome newcomer with a few secrets, but who already knew about Piper's fishing skills. Is he too good to be true? What secret is he hiding... and why do strange things start happening on the island? There are so many stories within the story, but Jackie is a masterful storyteller and so skillful that we didn't realize how she was reeling us in. All we knew was that we couldn't put the book down. Which, by our very strict standards, means On The Line? is one of our beach books of the season!

Synopsis from Amazon:

Sixteen-year-old Piper Wesley has always been better at hooking fish than guys. But with her best friend Benny by her side, she’s never minded. And besides, her fishing skills have made her a celebrity in her hometown of Islamorada, an island paradise in the Florida Keys. So when a slump in tourism threatens to sink her family’s fishing charter business, Piper recruits Benny to help her win a major fishing tournament and the $25,000 grand prize. It seems like a perfect plan. Put her skills to use, win some money and help her parents weather the storm. Except that now Benny cares more about hanging out with his girlfriend Marina than helping Piper. And he keeps disappearing, usually after something suspicious happens on the island. Add in Logan, a Michigan transplant with a growing interest in something other than Piper’s fishing, and it looks like practicing for the tournament will be anything but easy. Leaving Piper to wonder how she'll win. And who will be there when it’s over.

? beach books

Sophie and the City

BOOKS & MOVIES, EXTRASKim & Chloe

There are very few fairytales that we would recommend to such a savvy group of teens, but then again there are few that mention Tory Burch, Ralph Lauren, and Balthazar on the first page! The Super Adventures of Sophie and the City is a fashion fairy tale for ALL ages. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to spend an afternoon at the Met Ball, going to Fashion Week, and traveling to Egypt, all with a fashion fairy godfather? Sophie's story is based on the real-life adventures of sophisticated insider and author Kelly Florio Kasouf, which made it extra special since we got a kick peeking into her life with her magnificent Dad. We especially love her live interview on the Super Adventures of Sophie? iPad? App. Kelly and Sophie are ultra chic fashionistas who are also so down to earth that each of them is the kind of BFF every gal needs! So look for her on Twitter @SophieandNYC and read on for some great stories about Kelly's inspiration and top teenage moments!

Daddies and daughters have a special bond... can you share some special memories? I was my dad's mascot! He was a giant teddy bear and could make any moment in life feel like a party and you were center of attention. Fathers and daughters have an instant unconditional love for each other. My dad was my best friend growing up and we always had adventures together from playing in a doll house in the backyard to pretending I was his boss when visiting the office. I remember the first time I saw the Nutcracker with my family. I sat on my dad's lap the majority of the performance because I was too excited to sit alone. It was the whole idea of going in to the city, picking out a pretty dress, wearing a special coat and being a part of a whole night surrounded by a show that took place where the Sugar Plum Fairies danced and pranced. I remember how special I felt when I was all dressed up and my dad said I was "his date." The second time I will never forget the way my dad looked at me like that was my wedding day. He cried when he saw me in my wedding gown for the first time. It was waterworks after that (and four days of partying with 200 of our closest friends!)

Sophie sneaks to the office with her Dad. Was that a fantasy of yours, or a reality? I went to visit my dad all the time at his office. As soon as anyone from our family would step into the office, everyone knew everything what was going on in our lives. From boyfriends to concerts to field trips! The big joke in our family was:? Dad do you talk about business ever or just us! It got embarrassing at times but he couldn't help himself. I remember seeing the Vogue closet for the first time and couldn't imagine a more perfect job. Then I found out what Grace Coddington (Vogue's Creative Director) did and I was hooked.

What part of your Dad's job as the former President and CEO of Condé Nast seemed most glamorous to you? He met the most talented people in every industry and worked with them too. It was the best of the best at Condé Nast. He ran the company like it was a movie studio and all of his employees were the super stars, even down to the mailroom clerks. He made everyone feel like they were a part of something bigger. He would tell stories of cooking with world renowned chefs, Paris Fashion Week, dinners with pals Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren, escorting Princess Diana to an event, the list went on. Hearing his stories of Oscar parties and Met galas was so incredible to hear about but at the end of the day, he wanted to know how my art project was coming along. I didn't truly understand how absolutely glamourous my dad's job was until I was much older, and in the industry.

What was your most memorable exotic trip you took as a child? We went to Italy because my dad was receiving an award from the Italian Government. We made the trip for the award into a vacation. Started off in Rome with tours of the Vatican then ventured down to Positano where we stayed at Le Sirenuse and took private helicopter rides courtesy of the Della Valle family over Pompeii and boat rides on JFK's personal yacht to Capri everyday. It. was. pure. heaven.

Can you tell us about Isaac Mizrahi: is he a friend of yours, what did he think of being the fashion fairy godfather? I met Isaac when I was 15. It was Take Your Daughters to Work day and Anna Wintour took me out to lunch with Isaac. We were sitting at Da Silvano and I remember Isaac asking me about turning 16. As a joke I asked, "Would you help me design a dress?" And he said YES! It was the most amazing experience that I still hold close to my heart. He taught me everything from inspiration, to muslin forms to fabric selection. I loved going to his studio for the fittings. It was amazing to see the form emerge. When thinking back about my childhood, he just seemed like the perfect fashion fairy godfather. Plus he looked amazing in Swarovski-encrusted wings.

<---Check out this page from Kelly's scrapbook with a younger Isaac Mizrahi and a stunning Sweet 16 dress by him!

Did you have a fabulous sweet 16 party ... can you tell us about it? My sweet 16 was not over the top like you see on TV by any means. It was at the Crescent Club in Bayville, NY and we had great food, a great DJ and awesome friends. Oh yea and a killer dress! :)

You mention McQueen, Chanel, Rodarte, Diane von Furstenberg, Vera Wang and others in the book? How did you choose them among so many fabulous designers? These designers epitomize the art that it is to be a designer. Chanel was a revolutionary and McQueen was a true artist. Rodarte (the Mulleavy sisters) I met when working at Vogue for a CFDA fashion show and their work struck a cord with me. When I saw Black Swan and their amazing tutus, I thought what girl wouldn't want to twirl all day in that confection of beauty! Diane is the American Dream and Vera Wang produces fantasy. They are all amazing and talented and awesome in their own right.

We are pretty sure you know all hot spots in NYC, what places would you recommend for a teenage Sophie? The Standard Hotel for ice skating on their little rink then hot cocoa rink side. I love Chelsea Market to pick up some pastries or hit up Fat Witch bakery for a brownie and a stroll on the Highline. For the best shopping deals, I love the young designers market which just moved to the Meatpacking District. ? You can get everything from photography to jewelry with the best prices. No need to hit up Canal Street for fake designer bags. Support and enjoy emerging talent here!

Do you recall a favorite party dress as a teen... the one that made you feel like a princess? I loved my prom dress senior year. It was navy blue Vera Wang. It was boat neck, sleeveless and cut low in the back. Very Audrey Hepburn. It was my Sabrina moment! The gown was long and in the back it opened with ivory satin. I felt like a tulip. That sounds really lame but I felt really pretty that night and I loved that I set myself apart from the rest of the girls by covering up a bit. Like Coco Chanel said, “the most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”

Best teen fashion or beauty tip? If I could go back in time and talk to Kelly at 16 I would say, "WASH YOUR FACE BEFORE YOU GO TO BED!" Nothing says gross like blackened eyes the morning after a fun night out!

Do you still go to the Four Seasons for cotton candy and ice cream? Every birthday!

Thanks so much, Kelly, and we can't wait to see what future adventures Sophie takes! Think art deco glamour!

The Queen of... 2012

BOOKS & MOVIES, EXTRASKim & Chloe

We picked up the brand new book, The Queen of Kentucky by Alecia Whitaker, because of the title; but, we couldn't stop reading this pageturner because it addresses serious issues told by a teen narrator with a great sense of drama and humor who understands exactly what matters to a teen.? "Fourteen-year-old Kentucky girl Ricki Jo Winstead, who would prefer to be called Ericka, thank you very much, is eager to shed her farmer's daughter roots and become part of the popular crowd at her small-town high school. Caught between being a country girl and a wannabe country club girl, Ricki Jo begins to forget who she truly is: someone who doesn't care what people think and who wouldn't let a good-looking guy walk all over her." blurb from aleciawhitaker.com And, Alecia Whitaker is? on tour! She just read in NYC, and now she's reading from The Queen of Kentucky in... Kentucky. ? We'll see her 1/13 at 7 at Carmichael's Bookstore? and are counting down the minutes. Join us, or check her out at these locations.

Our author interview How would you sum up your book if you were pitching it to a Hollywood agent to make a movie? Judy Blume meets "Friday Night Lights".

Growing up, what was your favorite teen book &/or author? I have to say that I was a sucker for the Sweet Valley Twins series, as well as The Babysitter's Club. But other books that I read that really stayed with me were Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, and Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt.

Is there any particular passage in the book that your friends will say is "so you"? I've already gotten a little feedback about this actually. My friends see a lot of Ricki Jo's spunky nature in me and I think the scene at the beginning of Chapter 7 really nails the way I was at her age. Not one to just say, "Can I try out for cheerleading?" Ricki Jo uses her sense of the dramatics to cover all aspects of how this is a good idea and to squelch any possible reluctance her parents may have. And yes, that kind of hilarious propaganda is in my personal repertoire. As my mom just told me on the phone, "We didn't call you Drama Queen for nothing."

When you were writing this book, how did you research teen magazines and styles to reference? Well, I picked up several weeks worth of Seventeen magazine, I watch shows like "Project Runway" and "America's Next Top Model," and I follow a hilarious fashion blog gofugyourself.com. And I searched the internet, of course.

When you were a teen, what did you think you would be when you were older? How did you decide to be an author? I never had grandiose visions of being a silver screen star in Hollywood, but I definitely had the goal to make a living off of the arts and I wanted to be an actress. I have been mildly successful in that area of my life here in New York, but I think that writing is my greatest strength. I was always a good writer and I took that talent for granted. It just seemed too easy. When I finally realized that writing doesn't come easily to everyone, (that maybe I was actually special), I decided to pursue it as a career and things really took off.

Did you enjoy high school English?? Nerd Alert! I was a straight A student and English always came easiest to me. I didn't have to work at it or study. I actually enjoyed the reading assignments so English class felt like an elective... that is until Mrs. Andrews came to our school. She taught AP English my junior year and I strongly disliked her for the first 9 weeks of school. Work for my grade? Are you serious? She taught at a college level and insisted that since we were "advanced placement" students, we should act like it. I didn't like it at first, but she quickly earned my respect and became one of my all-time favorite teachers. That A in English stood out from all the others because I earned it. I was proud of it.

What advice would you give teen girls about trying to fit in or being popular? I would tell them to celebrate as many parts of themselves as they commiserate. We're so good at tearing ourselves down, especially in the area of body image, but we don't always like ourselves like we should. Once you love yourself, you'll care less about getting other people to love you.

And because we love seeing how our guests respond to our "PopCosmo Questions": Age: 32? (wait, what?) Always has: a new book to read Proudest of: my son, Knox, who is now walking everywhere and climbing everything. Is thankful for: indoor plumbing Wants to: see one of my books turned into a movie one day (SO DO WE!) Is afraid of: snakes, spiders, and a world without chocolate Believes everyone should: work as a waiter once in their life Is embarrassed by: bad manners My style is: whatever the mannequin's wearing, then down a notch Pet peeve: eye boogers (seriously, look in the mirror, get it out)

Alecia, thanks so much for sharing some of your time with us... and come back and visit with us ANYtime!

 

Lorien Legacies: Interview with Pittacus Lore

BOOKS & MOVIES, EXTRASKim & Chloe

You know that feeling of starting a book, and it's so good that you just want to savor it... and never have it end. Finding that book and realizing there is a whole series is a bit like finding the perfect Anthropologie sweater in the back room sale at 95% off (as in amazingly rare). If you haven't read I am Number Four, then DO. Why? Because even if you don't typically read books about aliens, we swear on a Lorien's life that you will absolutely love this book. And yes, there's a series and The Power of Six amazed us too. Plus, the movie is as good as the book... and not just because Alex Pettyfer stars in it.

The series is about a group of Loric who have grown-up on Earth after their planet was destroyed. We meet 15-year old Number Four in an intense scene as he learns about his legacies and that he is the next target of the Mogadorians. He is the fourth of nine Lorien, who are being killed in numerical order. We could go on, but simply put, the books rock. Trust us.

Our love for the series even spread to Pittacus Lore, who agreed to an interview, giving us the scoop about  himself and the series!  As the leader of the Loric, he is writing the books to document their fight for survival. We are honored and pleased that such a dedicated leader was able to take time from his mission and communicate with us.  In return, if any Loric need a safe place... we are here for you!

PITTACUS LORE:

Age: 10,162 years

Always has: a weapon

Proudest of: Surviving

Is thankful for: The other Lorien here with me on Earth

Wants to: rid the universe of the Mogadorian threat

Is afraid of: defeat

Believes everyone should: live freely, whatever that means for them

Is embarrassed by: my age

My style is: invisible

Pet peeve: crowds

What are your Legacies? I am the only Lorien with all the Legacies. The list is actually very long.

How did you survive the destruction of Lorien? To be revealed at a later date. To do so now might give the Mogs a strategic edge.

Do the Mogadorians know that you are on Earth? Yes, absolutely. They are trying to find me and kill me.

Is The Charm permanently broken? Yes.

Will you join Numbers 4-10 in the fight against the Mogadorians? All of the Lorien on Earth are fighting the Mogs, though I can’t tell you where or how.

What is the meaning of the blue pendants? They were part of the charm. Setrakus Ra collects them when he kills one of us.

How can Number 4 be attracted to Number 6 and Sarah? Same way humans can be attracted to and love more than one person. And both are beautiful, smart, and cool.

Did Sarah really turn in Number 4 to the police? To be revealed at a later date.

Will we hear more about Number 9? The next book is called? The Rise of Nine. So yes, you’ll be hearing more about Mr. Nine.

Is Setrakus Ra in the next book? Yes, he is. And we fight him, face-to-face.

What is a macrocosm?  The universe as whole, and repeatable patterns that exist within it.

Thanks so much, Pittacus Lore... and we are holding our breath until The Rise of Nine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgotten by Cat Patrick

BOOKS & MOVIES, EXTRASKim & Chloe

  Do you sometime have trouble remembering what you had for lunch the other day, or what you talked about in AP Chem? We do! But what if daily life was erased each night when you went to sleep?

London can’t remember her past because her memory resets at 4.33 a.m. each day, so she has no idea what happened the day before. Luckily though, she can remember the future, and recalls the people who stay in her life. Every night before London goes to sleep she writes herself notes, from what she wore, to important conversations she had the day before. But why can't she remember the boy she's falling in love with and what do her nightly dreams mean?

This is one book that we couldn't put down and has kept us thinking about how we could forget the past but remember the future long after we finished it. It's a unique story, with interesting twists we never saw coming. Trust us, Forgotten is a book you we won't be able to forget!

The Aqua Net Diaries by Jennifer Niven

All, BOOKS & MOVIES, EXTRASKim & Chloe

This book is the true story of the author’s high school adventures in the 80’s. It is absolutely hilarious, and shows high school through the eyes of a real person with real teenage problems, such as bad hair days, prom dates, and driver’s ed classes. This is a perfect poolside book, but be careful where you sit because you will be laughing out loud!

Classy by Derek Blasberg

BOOKS & MOVIES, EXTRASKim & Chloe

What are some of the teen stars in the news for lately? Unfortunately, just scandals. Some of them are not role models and we all know that seeing Hollywood stars acting out shouldn't lead anyone to to act like them since their behavior is sometimes not very "classy." But what exactly IS being high class? Blasberg gives you tips in his book and has pointers from how to avoid being scandalous, to how sit properly, to what to wear while traveling. This book seems like it could just be the boring educational type your mother would want you to read, but it is definitely a fun read. We especially loved the photos of the difference between classy than trashy and recommend it to anyone who wants to see and learn the difference.