Sunday, August 20, 2017

Book Review - A Name Unknown (Shadows Over England #1) by Roseanna M. White

Photo Credit - Amazon
Rosemary Gresham was an orphaned at a young age when her family became sick. She was taken in by a bar owner along with a band of other orphans. Together, they rob from wealthy to survive in the streets. However, a wealthy gentleman approaches Rosemary to spy on a British citizen to determine if his loyalties lie with Britain or Germany. The mysterious gentleman knows more about Rosemary and is offering her a great deal of money that her family desperately needs.  

Peter Holstein has dual citizenship with Germany and Britain which causes people to mistrust him. His neighbors think he sympathizes with Germany and terrorize him whenever he goes. Peter is quite elegantly with the written word and is an established writer but writes under a pen name because of his German name.  When Rosemary arrives at his door and willing to help him look through his files to prove his loyalty to England; Peter believes his prayers has been answered. Will Rosemary be able to prove where Peter's true loyalty lie? Will Peter be able to fight for his happiness?

The novel had an interesting premise but I felt the book was about 100 pages to long. I felt that it dragged on and it had a lot of unnecessary fluff pieces. The ending had a bit of a twist but it wasn't enough to warrant me to ever want to read this book again. I wasn't very fond of Rosemary either, that she thinks that because the wealthy has so much that she is entitled to steal from them. They wanted the wealthy to treat them with respect and they found several people from the gentle class who treated her with respect but yet they continue to act that everyone who is wealthy deserves to be stolen from. If they don't want to be disrespected they shouldn't treat other people that way.

**Disclosure - I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion**

Friday, August 18, 2017

Book Review - Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

Photo Credit - Amazon
Three years ago, the Tanners sisters just disappeared. The left no trace of their disappearance other than an abandoned car and a pair of shoes. Three years after their disappearance, Cass, the younger sister returns home. She recounts a story of kidnapping, betrayal, and heartache on a mysterious island. Dr. Abby Winter is a psychiatrist who is assigned to the Tanner case and she believes there is a lot more going on than Cass is telling. What is the story Cass is not telling? What happened on the island where Cass was held captive? Where is Emma?

The novel was a very suspenseful read. I kept falling into the rabbit hole with the novel but the writer's writing style left me wanting more. The ending was a bit of a disappointment as the farther I read, the less believable the story became. The characters were well-developed but  their actions were bit confusing at times and left disengaged from the story. An interesting read for those who like thrilling and suspenseful novels.

**Disclosure - I received a free uncorrected copy of the book in exchange for an honest opinion**

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Bonvivant Illuminator Whitening Water Gel Mask

The clear water gel has a pudding consistency that promises to hydrate dry skin. It is enriched with daffodil root extract and alogwhite extract. The water gel mask went on smoothly and left my skin radiant without any sticky residue. I usually use the mask overnight and wash off in the morning and I noticed how different my skin feels and looks in the morning.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Book Review: Beautiful Animals by Lawrence Osborne

Photo Credit - Amazon
Naomi is the only child of a wealthy British art collector and her family routinely vacations in the Greek island of Hydra. One day, Naomi sets out another part of the island to escape the oppressing force of her father and stepmother. She comes across another young woman, who is also vacationing there. Samantha is a younger American girl who is immediately besotted by Naomi's presence. The pair become quick friends and decide to take a hike together. The stumble upon a refugee named Faoud who looks like he is homeless with barely any belongings. Naomi believes it is their duty to help the less fortunate and convince Sam that they should hatch a plan to help him. While, they beginning to hatch their plan, the friendship between the three begin to deepen. However, an unfortunate accident causes both the plan and the friendship to unravel. Will the girls still be able to be friends? Who is this mysterious man?

The novel was an interesting read but I had a hard time getting into the novel. I have read another one of his books, "Hunters in the Dark" and I don't particularly find his writing style appealing. I found the novel made me crave wanting to know more but the ending left me unsatisfied. I felt like the backstory of Faoud could have been more detailed and even the supporting characters could have more depth.

**Disclosure - I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest opinion**

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Book Review - Arena (Arena #1) by Holly Jennings

Photo Credit - Amazon

Kali Ling was chosen to be the first female captain in the RAGE tournaments. She along with hundreds of modern day gamers who train like athletes fight in the virtual world. In game, they fight and kill each other but while the deaths are fake the pain is real. However, that changes when one of Kali's team member overdoses on HP and dies. Unable to cope with the pain; the virtual world and reality starts to blend for Kali. Her life comes crashing down when the new recruit and her continuously butt heads. 

When I first read the description of the novel, I had very high hopes for this novel. Sadly, I was left very disappointed. The supporting characters didn't seem fully developed unless they were Kali or Rooke. I also found Kali's personality to be very abrasive and arrogant -- hard to want her to succeed.  The writing felt flat and forced like the writer was trying to hard to look like a gamer herself. I don't recall anyone writing "pwned" in the recent years and I doubt with how far in the future this book takes place that they would even know what it means. It is like the author bashes the gamer lingo on the reader's head.

**Disclosure - I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion**

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Book Review - The Little French Bistro by Nina George

Photo Credit - Amazon

After forty one years in a loveless and unhappy marriage, Marianne decides to take action. She decides to leave her old life behind and head to the coast of Brittany for a new beginning. She meets locals who while eccentric are nothing short of loving. While Marianne loses herself in this new world, she realizes its never to late to start over. Will Marianne be able to love again?

While, this novel was a short read,  I found that it had potential to be a heart warming, soul seeking cure for those in "loveless" relationship. However, the novel didn't live up to it's potential. I am not sure if it is because it was translated but some of the sentences didn't make sense. There was a lot of characters to keep track who were not well developed. I couldn't also see myself connecting with Marianne and hoping she has a happy life because some of her story seems to contrived.  A very disappointing book that I had very high hopes for after reading great reviews for her first book.

**Disclosure - I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion**

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Book Review - The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Photo Source - Amazon

Evelyn Hugo is world renown aging Hollywood icon who is ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous but secretive life. The world is baffled when she picks a young reporter named, Monique Grant to write her life story. Monique is relatively unknown writer in the journalism world and was beyond perplexed when she was picked for the story. While, the pair begin the journey of writing the Evelyn's life story, each with a different motive; the two begin to bond. Evelyn's story is filled with lost loves, ambition, desire and the great love of her life. As Evelyn's story comes to a conclusion it becomes very clear to Monique the horrible way their lives are connected. Why did Evelyn chose Monique to write her story? Why did Evelyn chose to become a recluse? Will Monique be able to forgive Evelyn?

The novel was very engaging and interesting to read. Once, I picked it up I couldn't put it down and I ended up missing my train stops a few times. The beautifully written novel showcase a woman who was lost, struggled, wanted acceptance and wanting to be loved. It made me aware how easy it is to judge someone without fully knowing exactly what they are going through.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Bonvivant That Day Mask Pack - Blemish Care

Bonvivant was Memebox’s own foray into the sheet mask game. The blemish care mask is enriched with swiss alpine herbs, mugwortand, aloe vera, and lime oil. The potent mix of ingredients promises to help fight pimples and blemishes that usually occur during that time of the month. The mask  fit my face decently well and left my skin feeling soft, smooth and radiant. I had a small pimple that looked smaller but that could be wishful thinking. For around $2-3 a piece, a decent mask for the price.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Book Review - A Letter from Lancaster County by Kate Lloyd

Photo Credit - Amazon

A tale of two different sisters who face sibling rivalry but only one pair of sisters get a second chance at life and love. 

Angela and Rose might be sisters but they are completely opposite. Rose is insecure dominant business owner who is dating someone who is constantly cheating on her but she still follows him around. She longs for a husband and children which is everything Angela already has. However, Angela is unhappy in her relationship with her husband, Frederick and feels like her children are taking her for granted. Unlike her businesswoman sister, Angela is a stay at home mom that doesn't even know what her finances look like and relies on her husband to support the family. Angela is submissive to Frederick and she is annoyed she gave up her dream to become a dancer when she married Frederick. Rose believes that Angela allows Frederick to treat her cruelly just like their father treated their mother.

When they received a letter from their estranged Aunt Silvia, the two sisters decide to go visit their aunt. While there, Angela hopes the two of them can repair their strained relationship. However, they learn that not everything they knew about their family is what they should believe and that they are not the only two sisters who couldn't get along.

The novel seemed like it would be an interesting read with very lively characters. However, I found both Angela and Rose to be very annoying and over-the-top. They act very selfish and harsh towards each other but expect the other sister to love them back in return. I also wish the story between Juliana and Silvia was developed a bit more instead of being filled with fluff pieces of Rose and Angela going to the antique store and playing with horses. 

**Disclosure - I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion**

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Tuscan Honey by Camille Beckman Glycerine Hand Therapy

The thick vegan cream is enriched with glycerin to promote softer and hydrated skin. With scents of warm amber, vanilla and honeycomb to enrich and tantalize the senses. The gluten free formula was thick but for the first few uses it came out of the tube easily, however the more I used it the less willing the lotion wanted to come out.While I can understand the Tuscan Honey scent, I can’t say I was very excited for it. It smelled more like stale honey to me. Overall, nothing exciting or notable about the lotion.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Book Review - My Daughter's Legacy (Cousins of the Dove #3) by Mindy Starns Clark & Leslie Gould

Photo Credit - Amazon
The novel is narrated from two different women from the Talbot's family tree. Therese's story takes place in Virginia, 1864 during the Civil War. During the war, her beloved father passes away and leaves her and her widowed mother to live alone in a small home where they can barely survives. However, when her mother's father passes away, he leaves them a plantation with slaves. Theresa can't bear the idea of owning slaves as her father was a strongly opposed to owning slaves. She decides to flee the plantation and take up work as governess while at night to tend to wounded soldiers. Nicole's story takes place during present day and it shows her struggles of getting her life back on track after years of substance abuse. During summer break, she takes an internship as equine therapist to help ease her own demons. However, her boss can't seem to tolerate her even if though she tries her best to get alone with him. While facing stress at work, the real reason she return home was to share a secret with her family that has been haunting her since she was a child. How are the two women connected? What secrets are the family hiding?

I found the novel to be interesting concept but quite boring during some parts of the novel. I felt that the novel was long than it was necessary. I couldn't really connect to any of the characters and felt the story was not very interesting. 

**Disclosure - I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest opinion**

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Book Review - Grounded Hearts by Jeanne M. Dickson + Giveaway

Photo Source - Amazon
Nan O'Neil was living a peaceful life as widowed midwife when an injured Canadian pilot knocks at her door for assistance. During World War II, Ireland became a neutral nation which meant all soldiers and those who help them will be considered enemies of Ireland. When, the pilot came knocking at her door, trouble came as well. Unable to turn away from midwife instincts of healing the sick, she takes in the "flyboy", Dutch Whitney.  While tending to his physical wounds, the two bond and Nan feels her emotional wounds hurt less when she is around Dutch. Will Nan be able to love again? Will Dutch be able to escape imprisonment? 
The book was a quick read and was very interesting. The characters were well developed and entertaining. However, I had a hard time to fall in love characters and the story line even though I was entertained while reading the book. A decent read but not a book I would love to re-read.

**Disclosure - I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion**
What do you get when you mix World War II, a brave midwife, a wounded pilot, and a risky secret? Jeanne M. Dickson's new historical fiction novel, Grounded Hearts. When midwife Nan O'Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she's taking a huge risk by letting him in. Still, something compels Nan to take in "flyboy" Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection-and an unbreakable bond.

Join Jeanne in celebrating the release of her new book by entering to win the Celtic Knots Giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on July 31. The winner will be announced August 1 on the Litfuse blog.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

BareMinerals Eye Shadow - Breathless

A velvety eye shadow that was easy to blend and apply. It didn't last all day and it didn't crease. It has a soft peachy beige color that is perfect for the natural makeup look or for work.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Book Review - Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble

Photo Source - Amazon
Dana Newell works as a 911 dispatcher and sees her fair share of people in trouble and in need. She is known for remaining calm under pressure and seeing the best in everyone. However, when she meets her brother's friend, Garrett, she falls head over heels in love only to find out he has an abusive streak. Determined to leave him and to start new, she moves to her hometown, Rock Harbor to stay with her brother, Chris. While Rock Harbor seems like a small idyllic town, it harbors more deadly secrets and danger than Dana accounts for. Will Dana be able to escape her abusive fiance? Will Dana be able to love again?

This was the second book I have read by the author and I like this novel better over her earlier work, Mermaid Moon. Both of her novels are filled with mystery, thrills and deception while being fun and interesting to read. The characters were well developed and realistic. However, I found some parts of the author's writing to be confusing especially when it came to describing the death of Dana's parents, first it was described as a fire and then it was described as drowning. Since, she had two sets of parents, it would have been easier for the reader if there was a way to differentiate the two parents. Later in the book, it makes more sense but you still needed to utilize some deduction. Overall, an enjoyable book but the confusion with the parents was annoying and made me enjoy the book less.

**Disclosure - I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion**

Sunday, July 23, 2017

BBW Sweater Weather Candle

Ah, the Fall, my most favorite season -- the season of cozy sweaters, warming hot chocolate, soul replenishing fireplaces surrounded by family and the beginning of the eating season. Right around middle of Summer, I always have an ache for Fall and while I can't control the season, I can reach for this lovely Fall inspired candle. It has scents of sage, Juniper Berry, Eucalyptus and wood. And all the memories of family, fun and eating flood my sense.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Book Review - His Guilt: The Amish of Hart County by Shelley Shepard Gray

Photo Credit : Amazon
Two years ago, Mark Fisher was accused of a crime he didn't commit. He left the Amish community, in hopes to start over but he could never forget his home. Mark returns to Hart County when his mentor reaches out to him for help at his store. At the store, is where he meets the innocent Waneta or Neeta Cain. At first, Neeta is afraid of Mark but she decides the Amish way is to forgive people and decides to befriend Mark. As their friendship buds, Neeta is one of the few people in Hart County who knows Mark isn't capable of hurting anyone despite his rough exteriors. When their friendship starts to bloom romantically, one of Neeta's close friends was attacked just when Mark begins to feel at home. Then another woman who knows both Neeta and himself is attacked, Mark is scared for Neeta's safety. Who is the culprit behind these crimes? Why are they targeting these women?

I have read a couple of the author's books and have enjoyed them. This one is no exception; I love how it has a darker and grittier side to Amish romances. The novel was suspenseful and kept me guessing but like many of her books, you are given clues to the culprit's identity. A thrilling read for anyone who likes Amish romance novels.

**Disclosure - I received an uncorrected copy of this book for review**

Monday, July 17, 2017

Book Review - Dragon Seed by Marty Machowski

Photo Credit  - Amazon

A single mother with two teens each facing their own demons. Nick, her son is angry and doesn't like to be told what to do. Martha, her daughter believes that everyone is wrong and judges others on their mistakes. When Nick and his mother get into another argument and Nick decides his only option is to run away; he receives a letter bound story that was passed down to him from his great grandfather. The book which is named "Dragon Seed", is reimagination of the exile of Satan from the Kingdom along with the arrival of Jesus. While reading the story, Nick is introduce to another angry young man. Nick bonds with this other young man and realizes that the story fits his life and the struggles he also faces in life. Will Nick be able to use the lessons to fit his own lifestyles? What are these shadows that keep following Nick and his sister?

The novel was an interesting and enjoyable read. I enjoyed reading the parts of both "real life" struggle of Nick and his mother along with the spiritual story. However, I felt some of the conversation between Nick and his family felt stilted and forced while the spiritual story felt rushed towards the end especially since it was drawn out in the beginning. It was an interesting read and a good read for children to help with their spiritual lessons. The author included a 12 step biblical teaching guide for readers to reinforce the biblical principles.

**Disclosure - I receieved a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest opinion**

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Jack Black Intense Therapy - Natural Mint Lip Balm

While, this minty lip balm is targeted towards men, I tend to have several of these on me. The hydrating lip balm is enriched with shea butter, mint, avocado oil, Vitamin E, green tea extract, and antioxidants. The potent cocktail of ingredients left my skin feeling smooth, soft and hydrated.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tokyo Milk Dark Femme Fatale Collection Lip Elixirs - Salted Caramel Lip Balm

The beautifully packaged tin houses a delectable treat for the lips and senses. It is packed with aloe leaf extracts, vitamin E, caramel, sea salt, clove and rose water and it's formulated with any synthetic dyes. The clear lip balm left my lips soft and hydrated without a greasy feeling. The only downside to this product that it is nearly impossible to open and I usually have to leave the tin open. If the tin was a bit more easier to use this would replace my Smith's Rosebud Salve.