Review: Hello Bicycle by Anna Brones

I got into bicycling a few years ago when my parents-in-law bought my husband and I a pair of bikes. Since we lived in Long Beach, we loved to take trips along the Los Angeles River. Long Beach has a great bike community, and the streets were always perfect for cycling.

Hello Bicycle by Anna Brones

Hello Bicycle Review by Bumbling Panda

I didn’t know much about bicycles though, which is why this book HELLO BICYCLES by Anna Brones was such a cute addition to my library. It’s a guide for bicyclists that touches on how to exercise to keep in shape to cycle and also how to keep your bicycle tuned. There are even crafts projects that will turn an old tire tube into a wallet and other cool objects.

Hello Bicycle by Anna Brones Review by Bumbling Panda

Hello Bicycle Review by Bumbling Panda

The illustrations in this book were also adorable. The book is aesthetically pleasing to look at and thumb through. I loved the color scheme. I think it would make a perfect coffee book as well as an informative guide for the bicyclist. If you have a friend who loves to cycle, I’d definitely recommend buying this book for them.

Hello Bicycle by Anna Brones Review

Review: Red Queen and Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen by Victoria AveyardGlass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

I’ve been on this huge YA kick, probably because I’m trying to write one of my own and mostly because they’re the best stories out there. I’ve never been into those super literary novels. Sure I love my classics (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE will always have a special place in my heart), but once in a while I like to indulge in gripping action-y teen romance, fickleness and all.

That being said, I’m really sick of these series where the books just end mid-cliff-hanger.

I get it. Sometimes stories are long and a trilogy or series is necessary. But even so, each installment in a series is meant to be a story on its own, complete with beginning, middle, end; inciting incident, growth, rising action, climax…you know, that mountain thing our English teachers were always drawing on their white boards.

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But lately the series I’ve been reading, especially YA, are all just one long story that drags on for as long as possible, broken into three chunks that aren’t really complete in and of themselves. And then you’re forced to wait and read the next story just because you’ve already started this one and you need to know how it ends.

Now that my tirade is over, here’s what I thought of Red Queen and Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard.

I like a strong female character.

Mare isn’t a simpering female fool, and it’s refreshing to see a female character grow into her own in a realistic way (as realistic as developing magical abilities and rising to great power in a matter of months can be).

Thank God there was no love triangle.

I’ve never been a fan of love triangles, so I’m glad that any hint of one in this book is pretty clear cut. I don’t like characters that go back and forth between their love interests. That’s greedy. Make a decision.

Action and progress.

These books were pretty easy to read, because there was a lot of killing and fighting and attempted murdering; and scenes that didn’t involve action sequences were very short.

But there was no sizzle.

However, while having shorter, progressive scenes made this book fly by, it also made the world, story, and characters feel distant. I could never quite connect with Mare because I felt as if most things were summarized. Unless she was killing something or someone was killing her, there was a slight fuzziness to the story, like I was viewing it through a glass. I couldn’t get myself to care about the characters that she cared about, because I never got close enough to them. I’m usually a sucker for romance. Any mention of a blush or faster heartbeat in the presence of a muscled prince, and my spine goes ramrod straight. But with Mare and Cal…there was no sizzle for me.

The villain didn’t get to me.

Along that line, when (spoiler alert) Mare is betrayed by a certain someone…I didn’t feel betrayed. I didn’t hate him. To me it was just another…[insert plot point here]…sort of thing.

Overall, I enjoyed these novels. My opinion might be overshadowed by how upset I was that the book ended abruptly on a cliff-hanger, and I really just don’t appreciate getting sucker punched like that. I also normally wait until a trilogy is complete before I embark on the journey because this is a personal pet peeve. I don’t like having to wait until the next installment to find out what happens. The fact that the second book ended the way it did, added to the fact that I now have to wait for the next book made it even worse.

But I will be reading the last book. So it was a pretty entertaining series nonetheless. I would give these a solid 3/5. Hopefully by the time the last book comes out, my anger will have dissipated, and the story will justify its spread across three books.

DressLink.com Shopping and Products Review

Pink Purse with Floral Maxi DressMaxi Dress with Pink Purse

Maxi Floral Dress from DressLinkInside of Cross Over Body Ba

Floral Maxi Dress and Watermelon Bag from DressLinkInside Cross Over Body Bag

Maxi Floral DressFloral Maxi Dress

Maxi Dress with PurseMaxi Dress with Watermelon Red Purse

Dress | Purse | DressLink.com

A few weeks ago, I posted a wish list on DressLink.com, a site I’d been eyeing for some time. I don’t know why, but for some reason I totally fell in love with this chiffon maxi dress. I usually don’t even like maxi skirts for a number of reasons:

  1. I was afraid they’d make me look shorter
  2. I’d trip on the hem and fall flat on my face–something that I already manage to do without skirts tangling┬ámy legs, so why risk it?

But this dress totally caught my attention and I couldn’t really stop thinking about it. Also, it’s so difficult to work with chiffon that I’d never be able to make it myself anyway, despite all the dresses I’ve created in recent weeks (10 Dresses Series is almost over, yo! So sad…). So I decided to snag this one right up.

And you know what? I’ve worn this baby all day to church this morning, running errands, and moving around the house. I haven’t tripped once. (Knock on wood. I mean, the day’s not over yet.) And bonus, Husband says it actually makes me look “longer.” Note that “longer” was the word he used, not taller. So who knows what that even means. ­čśŤ

I have no complaints to make about the dress. It’s exactly like it appears in the picture, and the length is PERFECT, ending just at my ankles.

The purse I got is also adorable. I’m so used to carrying around my crossover body clutch, which barely has enough space for itself much less anything else, that I was pleasantly surprised by how spacious the inside of this purse is. I can fit my ┬ácompact Bible, gigantic phone, keys, AND sunglasses in there. It was like watching a bunch of clowns disappear inside a Beetle Volkswagen.

It seems really sturdy too, and I hope it lasts long. The color is exactly as pictured, “Watermelon Red.” (More pink than red, but what a cute name, huh?) Then again, I tend to throw my bags and swing them all over the place, so if it breaks apart, that’s more my fault than anyone else’s. My only caveat is that it smelled rubbery when I first opened the package, but that faded really quickly.

My shopping experience with DressLink was amazing as well. I placed and completed the order on August 8, and they promptly emailed me with a tracking number and order update. Then I received the order on August 26, so it took about two and a half weeks for the items to get here. BUT you kind of have to consider that this package is traveling half way around the world. Also, when I ordered from SheInside.com (which is a similar site also in China), the order took about 2 months to get here. I almost didn’t get my dress in time to see Wicked, which was why I had ordered from there in the first place.

So all in all, I would totally recommend shopping from DressLink.

:: Overall Thoughts ::

10/10 for shipping
10/10 for customer service
10/10 for tracking
9/10 for products

Also, don’t you looooooove my giant sunglasses???!

This honest┬áDressLink.com Shopping and Products Review is sponsored by DressLink.com. ┬áThank you for supporting the brands that support this blog. That being said, please see my affiliate policy, and be aware that I’m completely honest and straight-forward in anything I promote or write about on this blog.