Book Review: The Diviners

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I’ve read the first two books in Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle trilogy, and although I’m not interested enough to read the final book, I like her writing enough to want to check out her latest book “The Diviners”. For those of you who’ve read the Gemma Doyle books, the fantasy element here definitely has some similarities, but “The Diviners” wins in terms of setting: 1920’s New York City (which I tried to recreate in my outfit.) The heroine, 17-year-old flapper Evie, has a supernatural talent of reading secrets from everyday objects, so when the city is plagued with a series of occult murders, she uses this gift to help her uncle solve the case.

The setting is definitely one of the best parts of the story. It puts you right in the middle of NY in the 1920’s, with all the speakeasies and jazz clubs and flappers. The slang I find quite irritating (if I have to read the word “po-si-tutely” – as in positively and absolutely – one more time, I’d bellow like a bull) but it does add authenticity to the setting. The main plot is great as well; I always enjoy a good serial killer story, and this one definitely puts the shivers in my spine… well, the fact that I always read it late at night probably didn’t help. Evie is kind of obnoxious, but as a protagonist she’s fantastic, with interesting flaws to keep her from being a cardboard cutout.

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The thing is, the author obviously plans a series around this book, so it’s filled with subplots and characters to set up a more complex mythology, but they’re only tangentially connected to the main plot at best. The main plot is a great standalone story all on its own, adding all the stuff on top of it doesn’t make it feel like a part of a bigger mystery like in, say, the first Harry Potter or the first Percy Jackson book. So it takes a while for the main plot to gain traction, and once it’s resolved we are left with a “Really, that’s it?” ending. Still, I enjoyed it enough to look forward to the sequel (sequels?)

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I tried to dance the Charleston. Turned out I couldn’t

Dress & Heels: thrifted, Cardigan: Wet Seal (refashioned by me), Necklace: self-made, Hat: borrowed from my mom

Choose Your Own 1920’s Heroine

Sorry it took me so long to post my Halloween costume. My schedule is all out of whack this week.

So there’s my costume. It’s not much of a costume, really, more like a heightened version of what I normally wear. At first I was just thinking “Generic 1920’s Girl”, but my friend Debbi insisted that I picked a character.

I couldn’t think of anyone – the only 1920’s character on top of my head was Daisy from The Great Gatsby, and she’s supposed to be a blonde. So I actually had to go online to look at some 1920’s female characters, and finally I went with Cordelia Flyte from Brideshead Revisited. Obscure, I know, but at least she has a hairstyle I can mimick.

We just watched a bunch of Halloween TV episodes, but it was quite fun. Debbi was the only one who dressed up besides me – she’s Gwen from Torchwood: Miracle Day.

Reference images:

Gwen and her baby

Cordelia (as played by Felicity Jones)

And what’s Halloween a black cat, right? Say hello to Crash (he belongs to the friends whose apartment we were hanging out at):

He’s seeing into your soul…

Dress: vintage via Vintage and Gee
Cardigan: Wet Seal, dyed by me
Tights: Buffalo Exchange
Shoes: Walmart thrifted
Cloche: Payless

Whimsical Vintage

For the last day of the 21 Day Challenge, we’re supposed to “work it“, i.e. put together a killer outfit with what we’ve gathered from the challenge. At first I was kinda half-assing it since it’s Sunday and I was feeling lazy, but after reading a comment from Quest For Fashion Sense where she described my style as “whimsical vintage” (thanks!), I used that as a jumping-off point to put more thought into my outfit.

The end result, inspired by this outfit from ShopRuche’s lookbook, I feel speaks for my style – vintage-inspired, a bit of pattern mixing, and a pop of color (not too much.)

So, a big “thank you” to Kayla for hosting the 21 Day Challenge. It’s been fun. But I’m also glad to go back to my old schedule and not having to take outfit photos everyday 🙂

Dress worn as top: H&M
Skirt: thrifted, remixed
Flats & Cloche: Payless, remixed

P/S: Check out this awesome albino praying mantis I found while taking photos. It looks like something out of Pan’s Labyrinth.


Happy Independence Day, Vietnam!

I thought about wearing red and yellow (our flag colors) to celebrate Vietnam’s Independence Day, but then decided not to because 1) our flag colors aren’t really as iconic as red, white and blue; 2) all of my red shirts are in the laundry; and 3) I wanted to remix this pencil skirt.

As a final attempt to dress down this skirt, I picked the most casual graphic T-shirt I have (the only ones more casual are the ones I wear to bed.) The hat, worn for today’s prompt, “Adorn Your Head“, also helped. In the end, it’s been an interesting experiment dressing down this pencil skirt, but I’ve come to the conclusion that a gray pencil skirt looks best in its natural environment: the office.

T-shirt: Zara, gift from my cousin when I visited my aunt and uncle in Poland
Skirt: Gap thrifted, remixed
Hat: Forever21
Wedges: thrifted via Buffalo Exchange, DIY
Belt: Wet Seal

The Getty Center

Sorry for my weird facial expression. Just look at the pretty museum in the background!

Dress: Anne Klein, thrifted
Espadrilles: Life Stride, thrifted
Hat: Forever21
Bag: Payless

Debbi’s mom is in town so today we all went to the Getty Center, which is sort of a requirement for everybody who visits LA.

Of course Debbi and I have been there tons of times, so we just saw the special exhibitions (Paris – Life and Luxury for me, Gods of Angkor for Debbi, and Luminous Paper: British Watercolors and Drawings for both of us because we’re both Anglophiles :)) The only bummer is that the pond garden is under renovation so we couldn’t go down there. I did manage to get some photos of the upper level though:

A taste of fall

The architecture of the Getty Center is as much of a draw as its arts, but I didn’t bring my wide-angle lens, so enjoy some of these closer shots instead:

It’s been a nice day, but a little too crowded. Debbi bought me this awesome postcard (as part of a belated birthday present) that shows an entirely different view of the building, and in the rain too, which makes me decide I need to go back in the winter, when it rains.