Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Book Review - The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

Photo Source - Amazon
Sarah Hollenbeck has gone through her second and probably hardest life transformation. She was married to her high school sweetheart when they got divorced. Unsure of her life path, she joins a book club to pass the time. She discovers she has a passion for writing steamy romance novels. When she decides to become a Christian, she is afraid of how the members of her church would react. It also doesn't help that she is falling in love with the new pastor, either. Sarah is also on the hook for one last novel, but will she able to write another steamy novel? Will Sarah be able to reconcile with her past? Will the church members be able to accept her?

At first I love reading this book, I couldn't put it down. I probably read more than half of the book within a few hours, but towards the middle, I didn't feel the same magnetic pull. I felt some portions of the book moved too quickly, and the characters didn't get to develop. Sadly, I also didn't have a connection with any of the characters. Sarah went from reinventing herself to being a moody child acting adult. However, I would be open to read other works by the author.

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

Monday, December 4, 2017

Book Review - Deadly Proof (Atlanta Justice #1) by Rachel Dylan

Photo Source - Amazon

Kate Sullivan is tapped as lead counsel to take on the pharmaceutical giant MPC. In what can be her biggest case of her career, things become more daunting when a whistleblower dies and someone seems to be targeting Kate. Kate turns to ex-Army Ranger, Landon James for his private investigator skills, but after someone makes numerous attempts on her life, she realizes she would need his formidable bodyguard skills as well. As Kate investigates further into the case, it becomes apparent that someone is willing to risk everything to make sure MPC wins the trial.  Who is behind the attacks on Kate? Is Landon willing to forgive his past mistakes and follow his heart?

The novel started off interesting and then immediately went downhill. I felt it was really slow with very predictable story lines. Some of the characters and the story felt like an afterthought. Kate became lead counsel working with other lawyers, but we never hear about them, nor do we actually find out about the "trial" only the conclusion. And then when Kate was being harassed, it seemed very mild compared to the death of an MPC employee. Not a terrible novel, but not very fast paced or suspenseful of a novel.

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

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Juara Radiance Enzyme Scrub



The 2-in-1 exfoliator is enriched with an ingredient list good enough to eat: apple enzyme, clove flower, cinnamon, candlenut oil, turmeric, jojoba and bamboo beads. The scrub promises to reveal a smoother, brighter and more radiant skin. The scrub was a bit rough and had the same scent (candlenut, if I am not mistaken) as most of Juara’s products. The exfoliator was a bit rough and it left my skin feeling smooth and soft but it wasn’t any different from other cleansers I have used.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Yankee Candle Crisp Morning Air





The crisp scent of Autumn layering with scents of eucalyptus and mint along pear. It reminds me of walking down a leaf covered street scented of earthy and sweet. A fun scent for the fall and winter season.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

H2O+ Oasis Hydrating Treatment






The H20+ hydrating gel is enriched with sea grass and water lily extracts. The cooling gel goes on smoothly and absorbs quickly. It provides hydration for 24 hours. However, while the gel was non-greasy and didn’t make my face feel stiff, I didn’t my face to be hydrated for 24 hours. I found this treatment more useful to use as a cooling lotion after a hot day.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Book Review - Murder in Disguise (A Preston Barclay Mystery Book 3) by Donn Taylor

Photo Credit - Amazon
When news of Preston Barclay's beloved friend committed suicide, Preston is unable to believe the news. However, when the evidence points to an open and close suicide case, he decides to let sleeping dogs lie. The victim's wife, Grace, doesn't believe it is a suicide and pleads with Preston to investigate her husband's death. Preston begins to question the suicide, when details are emerging that don't quite add up including the anonymous threats. Will Preston be able to figure out the truth behind his friend's death?

This was the third novel in the Preston Barclay series, but each book looks like it can be read as a standalone. The book was an easy read but a few pages in, the number of musical references was a bit overwhelming to the point of annoyance. I found my eyes glazing over paragraphs with the music reference and found myself too lazy to search what each song was. I also found the dynamic between Mara and Preston to be boring, petty, and unauthentic. Mara is jealous when Preston talking to another female, but she purposely needles him about other men without Preston is saying or doing much. I felt like Mara and Preston made a poor investigator and they seem to be more like, "Let's kick the hornet's nest and see what happens". The author keeps mentioning Preston's Special Ops training, but not once I made it seem like he actually puts any of that to use. If anything, when I think of Preston Barclay, I think of a frumpy grandpa with his pants mid chest along with a pair of oversized glasses.

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

Friday, November 24, 2017

Rouge Bunny Rouge Gleaming Temptations Lip Gloss - 040 Smother Me with Kisses












The Rouge Bunny Rouge lip gloss promises fuller and more luscious lips. The lip gloss is packed with gold, silver, and copper shimmer and is enriched with vitamins and botanical ingredients. It promises to conditions, nourish, and hydrate slips. The shimmer raspberry pink went on smoothly and was sheer. The formula was not goopy or overly sticky nor did I notice a strong scent or taste.A decent lip gloss, but I don't think it was worth the markup.


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Book Review - Pass It on: a Proverbs Journal for the Next Generation by Champ Thornton

Photo Source - Amazon


The imitation leather journal is a Bible study on Proverbs. It is meant for one person to complete the activities and then pass it on to a loved one. Readers are asked as they go through the journal to create their own personalized wisdom with the aim to share it with their loved ones. It is the perfect keepsake and made with heirloom quality materials that won't disappoint!

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

Monday, November 20, 2017

Sabon Bath Salt - Rose







Last year I had received a $200 gift card for my birthday and just recently found it. At first, I thought $200 might be too much, but as I started adding things to the cart, I felt like maybe it wasn’t enough! I am a huge bath person and I loaded up on bath products. When I saw this, I thought it would look so beautiful (loving the glass container!) perched on my bathroom tub in my otherwise ugly bathroom. The bath salts are enriched with a blend of essential oils that left the bath water delicately scented of rose. I also liked how the salts had pieces of rose petals. Although, contrary to what was depicted in the photo on the website while ordering, my rose petals were more like small crushed pieces mixed in and bled through the normally “white” salts. The packaging recommended using 5 scoops (which would have been helpful to include a scooper); I just dumped a bit of the product into the tub. The salts and scent were relaxing, but I didn’t notice my skin being hydrated or smooth. A cool product, but I am not sure I would get it again unless I had a discount.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Book Review - The Gift (The Amish of Hart County #3) by Shelley Shepard Gray

Photo Credit - Amazon
When the Schwartz family inherited a small fortune, they couldn't wait to start their new life on a farm instead of their duplex. The family hired a real estate who found them a beautiful and affordable farm in Hart County. However, strange and deadly things start to occur once the family arrived.  Susanna hears gunshots that frighten her horse and topples over her buggy while her little sister, Traci falls through a wooden bridge into a creek. At first, the incidents seem like accidents, but eventually it starts to become clear, someone wants them gone. Who is targeting the Schwartz family? Why are they targeting them and will they be able to survive?

I have read a few of Mrs. Gray's novels and been a fan of most of them. This novel is no different, it offered a lot of suspense and questionable characters on who could be the culprit. However, I felt something was missing as the novel wasn't as exciting as her other "Hart County" novels. As the culprit became very clear midway through the novel. That isn't to say that I won't read her other novels.

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

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Book Review - A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star (Rwendigo Tales) by J. A. Myhre

Photo Credit - Amazon
Kusiima is a thirteen year old, boy but unlike the average kids his age, he has no time for school or having fun. An orphan living with his grandmother and sister, he has to work long hours to support his makeshift family. Kusiima barely makes enough to support his aging grandmother and his sickly sister when he was presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity. The owner of a prominent charcoal company asked Kusiima to accompany him to his next charcoal expedition.  However, when Kusiima realizes they are entering a protected forest where it is illegal to cut down the trees, Kusiima is surrounded by several decisions. Would Kusiima do what is best for his family? Will Kusiima be able to do what is right if it means that his family would suffer?

The short story was an interesting read. It showcased a lot of problems children from third world countries face that children in the first world would take for granted. Children in the United States complain about going to school when many children in other countries don't even have the option of attending school. However, I felt like while the story had a "happy ending", there might be a lot of topics that are too dark and stressful for the target age demographics such as AIDS, abandonment, children dying from starvation, lack of health care, degradation of natural environments, and hopelessness. While, it can be a good tool to let young ones to be more aware and to show them to treat others and Mother Earth with generosity and compassion it would be better to pair this with additional conversation to overwhelm young readers.

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

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Book Review - Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Photo Credit - Amazon

Hazel DeFord has a deep and dark secret that continues to haunt her. In 1943, a young ten year old Hazel was picking blackberries with her younger three year old sister, Maggie.  Hazel momentarily leaves Maggie alone to discover Maggie has disappeared upon her return. 

More than seventy years later, Hazel is still haunted by the guilt while the mystery remains unsolved. Hazel's secret has strained her relationship with her daughter, Diane, who is frustrated by her mother's paranoia and being overly overprotective. Diane's daughter, Meghan, on the other hand, loves her grandmother's affection and attention. When Meghan is hurt in an accident, she decides to use her recovery time to visit her grandmother. However, when she arrives, she finds out her mother has also planned to tag along as well.  Diane and Meghan uncover Hazel's dark secret while visiting. Meghan is a cold case detective and volunteers to help her grandmother uncover the truth behind Maggie's disappearance. Will the three generations of DeFord women be able to survive each other? Will Meghan be able to solve the mystery behind Maggie's disappearance?

The novel had an interesting premise, but it failed to deliver. I felt like the story dragged on and on until the last few chapters and I felt like the book could have detailed some characters better. For example, Hazel and her late husband's relationship; did he know about Hazel's secret? I also felt that Meghan didn't really help much with solving the mystery behind Maggie's disappearance. Her partner had a bigger role in solving it and than she did while the "mystery" was quite obvious from the beginning. I like the author's writing style so I might be open to reading more of her novels.


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

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Book Review - The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks

Photo Credit - Amazon
 When I first picked up this book and read this description: 

A novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.

Discover the next blockbuster novel of suspense, and get ready for the read of your life.
It answered nothing, but what the book was about, but left me with more questions than answers. However, I was pleasantly surprised how fitting that description is really. The novel starts out with two different points of view and the reader will make judgments of both of them. But as you start to get more into the book the more you realize, maybe you are wrong. What you assume is wrong. Who you think you know is wrong. Nothing you know is right.

The novel beautifully blends many suspenseful mini stories which will keep readers guessing how it all ties in together. An amazingly good read on a rainy just not on the train or you might miss your train stop!

**Disclosure - I received a free unedited advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest opinion**

Friday, November 10, 2017

Book Review - An Amish Christmas Love: Four Novellas by Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Kelly Irvin and Ruth Reid

Photo Credit - Amazon
The "novel" is composed of four novellas of Amish Christmas Love. Each of the mini stories is how a person experiences the beloved holiday a different way. Whether it was spending a widow spending her first Christmas alone, a young woman finally finding the right person for her, a young man who has to choose between his new girlfriend or an old flame, and an unlikely pair being the perfect match.

Each story was a fun and heartwarming read, especially when the temperatures start to drop. It made me appreciate the small things in life and to remember what is really important during the holidays. As a person speaking from experience, it's very easy to get overwhelmed and take things for granted, especially when the to do list keeps getting longer and longer. Each novel took a two to three hours to complete, but some were more detailed while others felt there could have been more details.

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

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Re:Cipe Slowganic Cleanser Lemon







The creamy cleanser is composed of 98% natural ingredients and premium herbal oils.  The handmade cleanser promises to remove makeup, dust, oil and bacteria from skin. The sweet scented lemon cleanser whitens skin and provides gentle exfoliation while improving complexion and texture. A bit of this cleanser goes a long a way. After applying and massaging the cleanser for 2 - 3 minutes, you should wash the cleanser off with lukewarm water. My face felt relaxed while utilizing the cleanser, however, my makeup didn’t get entirely removed and I didn’t notice much of a difference from regular drugstore cleansers to warrant the extra dollars.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Royal Apothic Lip Conditioner - Fig






The lip conditioner is enriched with Argan and Jojoba oil to leave lips soft and hydrated. Truth be told, the only reason I bought this lip conditioner is because of the cute old school packaging. However, that leads me to my next comment -- the product was a bit difficult to come out especially when the product was halfway used. They should have included a “clip” that slides over the tube and lets you squeeze the product out. I bought the fig scent, but it tasted and smelled nothing like fig but very horrible. It also did a poor job of keeping my lips hydrated and soft. Another failure I bought just because of packaging and marketing.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Julep Nail Polish - Dahlia












Julep listed this nail color as a "Goldenrod Micro Glitter", I called it liquid gold. The nail polish provided full coverage after one coat, but it could be a bit streaky. With two coats, it took a bit too dry and it still smudged easily after 30 minutes of dry time. A bit different from usual colors, but not my favorite.