Tag Archive | fashion

Meow meets wow in photos – Men & Cats, by Marie-Eva Gatuingt and Alice Chaygneaud

book cover of Men & Cats by Marie-Eva Gatuingt and Alice Chaygneaud published by Perigee | recommended on BooksYALove.comIf kitty pix make you go “Awwww” and photos of gorgeous guys make you go “Rawr!” then this is your book!

Add it to your favorite indie bookstore wishlist (search here for a great bookstore near you: http://indiebound.org) or just go buy it now as a gift for the person who appreciates cat cute and masculine musculature.

And, yes, the French photographers are adding more fellow and feline picture-pairs to their tumblr!


Book info: Men & Cats /Marie-Eva Gatuingt and Alice Chaygneaud. Perigee Books, 2015.  [authors’ tumblr]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Photos of men and cats in matching poses prove that no words are needed to communicate the concepts of “cute plus captivating” as the creators of the wildly popular Des Hommes et des Chatons tumblr have created 50 new combos for this book.

Whether shirtlessly lounging in the sunshine or dually dapper in bowties, each pair of pix has a particular shared visual element (the one with blue eyes!).

Praying and yawning, serene and playful – enjoy men, enjoy cats, enjoy this preview of the book:

Adorable adornments – maker books for Slow-Down Sunday

Slow down the pace today, as you craft unique summertime styles for yourself and your home with expert instruction.

book cover of Junk Box Jewelry by Sara Drew published by Zest Booksbook cover of Stitch It Simple by Beth Sheard published by Taunton PressJunk Box Jewelry  leads you from tools and materials to finished fashion as you transform found items into unique bracelets, earrings, and necklaces – my recommendation here.

Peek into Stitch It Simple (my recommendation here) for patterns that you can adapt to create pillows, wall hangings, and giftables that you’ll be proud to share.

What craft books would you suggest for summer?


Geek Girl, by Holly Smale (book review) – a beauty of a geek?

book cover of Geek Girl by Holly Smale published by Harper CollinsAnimals? Adores them!
Fish anatomy? Fantastic!
High heels? Huh?

Aspiring natural scientist and focus of every school bully, clumsy Harriet reluctantly goes with lovely Natalie to a fashion tryout – and is chosen! What??

I just loved Geek Girl when I read an advance copy in 2013 and was so sad that it was only available in the UK then. At last, Harper Collins has brought freckled Harriet here – just out this week!

Read the beginning of Harriet’s headlong rush into modeling here on the publisher’s site for free.

The second book in the series, Geek Girl: Model Misfit, will be published in the US this July – whatever will Harriet get into next?


Book info: Geek Girl (Geek Girl, book 1) / Holly Smale. Harper Collins, 2015.   [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Harriet is just fine with being a geek and so are her best friend Natalie and smitten Toby – it’s everyone else at school who hates her for being smart. Tricked into attending a mall fashion show, it’s ginger-haired, freckled Harriet who’s chosen as a model, not beautiful Nat! And wanting to change from despised geek to anything else, Harriet says yes.

From her suburb to the London modeling agency, Harriet’s dad is excited, her lawyer stepmom is skeptical, and Harriet is about to pass out from nerves. This is not part of the plan – she wants to be a paleontologist! It’s Natalie who’s always dreamed of being a model. At least the cute dark-haired guy from the mall is there, rescuing her from outside the agency where she’s hyperventilating.

The flamboyant modeling agent who discovered her (that’s Wilbur with a –bur not an –iam!) calls her Plum-cake and Treacle-Nose. Harriet doesn’t recognize the name of the very influential designer who wants to meet her, but she does know that this clothing brand is top-of-the-line (online research about fashion modeling last night paid off).

Suddenly, a gawky fifteen-year-old geek is the new face of Baylee, slated for a photo shoot in Moscow in the morning! Her stepmother disapproves of teen girls modeling or missing school, but Harriet and her dad are determined to pull this off anyway.

How could she know that getting to Moscow was the easy part?
Why didn’t Wilbur tell her that cute Nick would be there?
Will Nat ever forgive her for stealing her dream?

Every detailed plan that Harriet makes after that fateful mall trip seems to go awry in this funny tale of friendship, family, fashion, and wondering why high heels were ever invented. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

My Faire Lady, by Laura Wettersten (book review) – can Ren Faire cure a broken heart?

book cover of My Faire Lady by Laura Wettersten published by Simon Schuster BFYRTankards of mead and turkey legs!
Bold knights and comely maidens!
‘Tis the Renaissance Faire, indeed!
(p.s. no cell phones in the Middle Ages!)

Trying to cure her wounded heart, Rowena leaves town to become a face painter at King Geoffrey’s Faire, discovering more about herself as she spends the summer with knights, troubadours, jugglers, artists, and musicians.

Read for yourself just how Ro gets herself out of the house and into the Faire  in this free excerpt.

Been to a Ren Faire lately?


Book info: My Faire Lady / Laura Wettersten. Simon & Schuster BFYR, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk:  Rowena takes an out-of-town summer job to avoid seeing her cheating boyfriend and finds herself growing as an artist among Ren Faire performers, catching the eye of a handsome knight and a whip-cracking genius.

Kyle’s “I like someone else” makes Ro’s job at the small town mall unappealing, so she becomes a face painter and serving wench at King Geoffrey’s Faire, living onsite all summer, trying to stay in medieval character.

Clad in corset and flowing skirt, Ro works on her art beyond face painting, flirts with Christian the knight, and even learns to ride a horse. Her new friends Will, bullwhip performer heading to MIT, and Suze, who works in the tavern with Ro, are second-generation Ren Faire folk who show her the ropes.

Her friends think she’s just running away from Kyle , her parents think she’s looking for unique experience for her college application, and her own foot-in-mouth might  lose Rowena the summer fling that could heal her battered heart.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Gorgeous, by Paul Rudnick (book review) – beauty more than skin deep?

book cover of Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick published by Scholastic
Red dress, white dress,
duckling becomes swan!
One day will she awaken
to find the magic gone?

Stepping cautiously out of her trailer park and into Tom Kelly’s heady world of high fashion and celebrity, shy Becky puts on the first dress he creates for her and instantly becomes Rebecca, the most beautiful woman in the world. Of course, such a magical transformation comes at a price…

Paul Rudnick has written essays, plays, movies (Addams Family Values and others), but this is his first young adult book – and he nails it! Read the first two chapters here for free, and you’ll be hooked! Find Gorgeous at your local public library or independent bookstore to see if Rebecca/Becky succeeds.

If you had one year to do something extraordinary, what would you choose to do?

Book info: Gorgeous / Paul Rudnick. Scholastic Press, 2013 [author NPR  interview]  [publisher site] [book Facebook page]

My book talk: After her mom dies suddenly, Becky calls the mysterious phone number she left, and designer Tom Kelly swears he can transform the shy teen into the most beautiful woman in the world – how could she say no? If she’d only foreseen the consequences…

What made her sweet, funny mom hide in their trailer house and overeat herself to death, Becky never knew. As she gathers up Mom’s clothes for charity, the 18-year-old finds a ring box containing just a phone number. When she dials it, the lady answering sends her a plane ticket to New York – the world’s most famous designer must see her, right now!

Her first plane trip, first limo ride, first time out of Missouri – suddenly Becky is swept into a sophisticated glass mansion overlooking the New York skyline. Tom Kelly knew her mother (why didn’t Mom ever tell her?) and promises that if Becky will wear the 3 dresses he designs for her then she’ll be the most beautiful woman in the world. There is a catch – she must fall in love and get married within one year.

Agreeing to his idea, she finds herself being measured, fitted, and fabulously attired in the most amazing red dress as Rebecca. When she accompanies Tom into the city, the reporters and bloggers go wild – who is she? The reclusive designer escorts Rebecca to her Vogue cover photo shoot, to the opera where her unearthly beauty upstages the diva. When anyone else is around, Rebecca is stunningly beautiful, but when she’s alone, the mirror shows shy, dumpy Becky is still there.

Whisked away on a motorcycle by her teen idol Jate, Rebecca effortlessly becomes a movie star in his latest action adventure. Her best friend Rocher from home joins her as she tours the world as the face of Tom Kelly Designs. When Rebecca meets and charms Prince Gregory as they open a London children’s hospital, she decides that he’s the one for her.

Will Gregory fall in love with her, too?
Could the British public accept an American as wife of the royal heir?
Can Rebecca slow down time so her year lasts long enough?

More than a Cinderella fashion story, Gorgeous  takes aim at our insatiable appetite for who’s who, beauty,and the latest style in everything, as Becky/Rebecca tries to discover her true self during twelve too-short months. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy, by Bil Wright (book review) – chase the dream, ignore the haters

book cover of Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy by Bil Wright published by Simon SchusterWe all want to be respected,
and fabulous.

Carlos is already completely fabulous, a fabulous makeup artist at sixteen. He just has to show the world that a Latino guy from the Lower East Side can do perfect makeup on anyone, anywhere – including the fanciest department store in New York City.

Be sure to meet this fabulous guy with a not-so-fabulous family life, the perfect touch with his own makeup, and his ever-positive attitude soon. Just thinking about Carlos and his drive to succeed makes me smile!

Book info: Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy / Bil Wright. Simon & Schuster, 2011 hardback, 2012 paperback.  [author’s website] [publisher site] [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Book Talk: Carlos wants one thing, and one thing only: to be the most-respected makeup artist anywhere.

Oh, and for the cute guy in his high school class to ask him out, and for Mama to have a decent job that doesn’t wear her down, and for his sister to stay away from that loser Danny at work.

When he hears that the FeatureFace cosmetics counter at Macy’s is hiring, Carlos goes into overdrive: hiring cute rocker Gleason to photograph the models wearing his makeup designs, crafting the perfect job application, watching videos of interview tips, and sweet-talking Rosaria into coming to the interview to be his live model. Of course, the manager will want to see Carlos apply makeup in person – everyone knows that!

At school all day, working at the child care center till late evening, Carlos keeps his cellphone close by, waiting for the call from FeatureFace to set up his interview, to let him prove his fabulous makeup skills, to start on his way to the top!

Carlos proves how well he handles makeup, chatting his way through the demonstration to explain his techniques, so snooty manager Valentino just has to hire him – part-time, since he’s only 16 – and FeatureFace cosmetics has a new star.

Of course, there are still a few problems in life, like Mama’s precarious job situation, that rotten Danny trying to rough up Rosaria if she ever gets the guts to leave him, Soraya screening his calls (how could that problem with the borrowed boots really be his fault?), and the cute guy at school not flirting with him anymore.

Can Carlos really balance work, school, and family at 16?
As his schedule loads up, will his friends let him down?
Will Valentino’s disdain for his talents ever give way to respect?
Ready to take on the world, Carlos Duarte is fabulous indeed. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Time-Traveling Fashionista at the Palace of Marie Antoinette, by Bianca Turetsky (fiction) – glorious gowns in guillotine’s shadow

book cover of Time Traveling Fashionista in the Palace of Marie Antoinette by Bianca Turetsky published by PoppyIt’s a mysterious Monday, and fashion-lover Louise Lambert has received another invitation from the most exclusive vintage dress shop ever.

When Louise tries on an delicate blue gown for Brooke’s fancy dress birthday party, she is suddenly sent back to young Marie Antoinette’s court!

Weren’t they just talking about the French Revolution in history class this morning? If Louise could just remember those important dates from her homework… but can she change what happens to the princess?

While you’re getting this September 2012 release at your local library or independent bookstore, ask about book one, The Time-Traveling Fashionista  (my review here) so you can start Louise’s adventures at the beginning and join her aboard the Titanic!

Hmmm… what other fantastic history-imbued frocks do mysterious shopkeepers Marla and Glenda have in their Traveling Fashionista Shop inventory?

Book info: The Time-Traveling Fashionista at the Palace of Marie Antoinette (Time Traveling Fashionista, book 2) / Bianca Turetsky. Poppy, 2012  [author’s website] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Book Talk: Oh, no! Louise’s trip to Paris with her French class is cancelled when her dad loses his job, and history homework is building up. What she needs is some time with vintage fashion to take her mind off things. But trying on an antique gown sweeps her away from the tiny shop to the court of a French princess!

It’s a bit odd to speak old French with no effort and have courtiers calling her Mademoiselle Gabrielle, but Louise does pretty well at playing along. Soon she realizes that she’s part of the entourage of young Marie Antoinette – and that she might not be the only person at Versailles with a false identity…

The princess is never seen in the same ensemble twice and demands that her ladies-in-waiting follow that fashion as well. Somehow, Louise must keep her original gown hidden so that she can wear it and return to modern Connecticut safely.

So many different experiences – beautiful palace gardens and boring waits for royal arrivals, splendid gilded ballrooms and bitterly critical letters from Marie’s mother, stunning Paris-designed dresses and the stench of Parisian streets. As time passes, Louise remembers more details from history class and wonders if she should warn the princess about the perils ahead.

Who is spying for Marie’s mother, sending detailed reports back to the Empress? Can Louise make the princess understand the suffering outside the palace walls, before it’s too late? Most importantly, can she get back to her own time before France’s nobility start losing their heads in the Revolution?

The second book of the series puts this Time-Traveling Fashionista in as much danger as she faced on board the Titanic in book one. Where will Louise’s passion for vintage fashion take her next? (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Ask Elizabeth, by Elizabeth Berkley (book review) – advice on love, life, friends

book cover of Ask Elizabeth by Elizabeth Berkley published by GP PutnamGather up 30,000 teen girls in small group workshops all over the country.

Give each one a journal where she can write any question about relationships, worries, fears, dreams.

Throw all the anonymous questions into a pile and start discussing them.

Talk together. And talk some more. Bring in some advice from experts, but mainly allow the young women in each group to help one another deal with things.

Lay out everything – the good, the sad, the difficult – and share it with others to help them learn and hope and grow strong in this widely available book.

Elizabeth gives advice that matters, like action plans for learning to accept your imperfections, helping a friend who is hurting, and getting to a peaceful place when you and parents argue.

The book discusses the positive signs that you’re in a good romantic relationship, the healing steps for dealing with grief, and ways to discover your life-dream and keep growing as a person.

You’ll be glad that Ask Elizabeth is a nice, flexy paperback as it’s jammed in backpacks, passed from locker to locker, and shared again and again with friends. The Ask-Elizabeth website continues the conversations begun in the book.

Yes, this is the Elizabeth who starred in Saved by the Bell as a teen actress and has gone on to act in movies and television as an adult. Her passion for helping young women grow up with accurate answers and encouragement led her to start the nonprofit Ask-Elizabeth project in 2006.

Do you have any questions for Ask Elizabeth?

Book info: Ask Elizabeth: Real Answers to Everything You Secretly Wanted to Ask About Love, Friends, Your Body…and Life in General / Elizabeth Berkley. G.P. Putnam’s Sons/ Penguin, 2011. [author’s website] [publisher site] [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Book Talk: Every teen girl has questions about love, life, and herself – but who can you turn to for honest advice? It’s time to “Ask Elizabeth” and get answers you can trust.

How do you know if you have a real friend that cares about you?”
My parents are getting a divorce and I don’t know what to do…”
How do you get a guy (or gal) to know that you’re alive?”
My parents treat me like a baby! How do I get them to give me more freedom?”
“How do I know if I’m just in a bad mood or if I’m depressed?”

Drawing on the opinions shared by young women in her popular workshops and sharing straightforward information from health and relationship experts, former teen star Elizabeth Berkley presents real questions from teen girls with helpful and realistic answers that aren’t just one-size-fits-all.

The book looks like Elizabeth’s scrapbook, with handwritten notes from teens stuck onto pages with colored duct tape, her typewritten answers, and many photos, found objects, and heartfelt stories connecting all the chapters

Readers can dip into just the chapter that deals with an immediate need for answers or read through Ask Elizabeth from cover to cover as they meet high schoolers from many different situations who share their dreams, concerns, fears, and encouragement to help other teens grow into strong women. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Crossing Lines, by Paul Volponi (fiction) – A for Acceptance, not bullying

A is for Adonis, the bigtime athlete,
and for Alan, the new guy who wears dresses to school.
Can A be for acceptance, too?

Life can be complex in high school for any kid. Adonis is trying to become a better football player, live up to his firefighter dad’s expectations, deal with little sister Jeannie being in the same high school. The macho attitudes he’s learned aren’t helping him stay cool when Jeannie brings Alan over for dinner.

For Alan, scorned by his Army colonel dad, it’s simple – accept him for who he is, Fashion Club president, cross-dressing, intelligent.

The author puts current news stories about bullying into perspective when he asks “how do you decide when to stand by and when to take a stand?” Big question, strong story.

Book info: Crossing Lines / Paul Volponi. Viking Juvenile, 2011. [author’s website] [author interview video] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Recommendation: It’s simple – Adonis will be a great football player, little sister won’t embarrass him at school. Then cross-dressing new guy Alan is elected president of her fashion club. And Jeannie brings him home for dinner!

Adonis thinks Alan will be a pushover when they’re in the same group for an English project, but is surprised at his quick wit and intelligence. The rest of the football team isn’t – antigay slurs fill the air during practice and spill over into classes they reluctantly share with Alan. But Adonis’ mom and Jeannie and that cute Melody from fashion club won’t tolerate outright homophobic statements or even jokes – Adonis feels like he’s walking a tightrope all the time, trying to keep the team from grouping him with Alan, trying to keep Melody from labeling him a dumb, prejudiced jock.

Alan’s grandmother raised him until her recent death; now he gets moved from school to school because his dad is an Army recruiter. Has his dad thrown him out of the house? Is Alan gay? Why can’t he just be another guy instead of wanting to be called Alana?

As Alan determinedly forges his own path at school, wearing lipstick and dresses, the football guys get more uncomfortable and plan to teach him a lesson. Will Adonis participate in the dangerous plan? How far can bullies push someone before they snap?

Readers will see Adonis grow up, page by page, as he must decide for himself when to let things slide and when to take a stand. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Time-Traveling Fashionista, by Bianca Turetsky (fiction) – vintage dress in a Titanic time-adventure

Vintage clothes and old letters are tangible links to the past. What if the right vintage dress was a direct link to its original owner’s past, like a wearable time-travel ticket?

Louise really appreciates the fine craftsmanship of vintage clothing, frequently wearing her carefully selected ensembles to junior high school (even if her mother disdainfully calls them “used clothes”).

Who could imagine that a hand-delivered invitation to a dusty shop would take Louise so far away from her suburban Connecticut home?
First in a series – can’t wait for the next!

Book info: The Time-Traveling Fashionista / Bianca Turetsky. Little Brown Teens, 2011. [author’s website] [publisher site] [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Recommendation: Dreaming about the perfect dress for the seventh-grade dance is much more fun than studying the Titanic in history or doing math problems. Of course, it should be a vintage dress – Louise just adores vintage designer clothes.

When an invitation to the exclusive “Traveling Fashionista Vintage Sale” is hand-delivered, Louise and best friend Brooke go downtown to check it out. The shop may have eccentric owners and terrible crab dip, but its dresses are divine!

When Louise tries on a sparkling, silky pink gown, she swoons and blacks out, waking up… on board an ocean liner?

Everyone calls her “Miss Baxter” – from Mr. Baxter (her uncle and manager, says her maid Anna) to the very elegant passengers aboard. When others look at Louise, they see the beautiful young actress returning from a successful tour in Europe; when she looks at herself in the mirror, Louise sees her 12-year-old self, complete with braces and frizzy hair.

Stumbling through the plush carpeted corridors on Miss Baxter’s high heels to the sumptuous dinners at the captain’s table, Louise makes a few mistakes that her uncle explains away as stress. Once Louise discovers exactly which ship she’s on, her stress level truly skyrockets!

Can she persuade the captain of the Titanic to alter his course? Will any of her new friends survive? Will Louise ever see her parents and modern times again?

First book in a fun series that will have readers prowling vintage clothing shops, looking for the perfect ensemble to send their imaginations back in time. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)