Friday, April 19, 2019

Book Review - The Memory House by Rachel Hauck

Photo Credit - Amazon

Beck Holiday is still reeling eighteen years later over the death of her beloved father. She and her mother lost him during the attacks on 9/11. She can no longer remember him and lost most of her memories of him. Recently, Beck was suspended for police misconduct with a suspect. She is struggling to get her life back in order especially, with life alternating secret. She is unsure what her next steps in life should be.

When Beck receives a mysterious letter in the main alerting her of an inheritance from a woman she doesn't remember, she is confused but, takes it as a sign. She travels to the northern coast of Florida to view the house she inherited. During her stay in Florida, Beck realizes that there are some things she can't forget forever. Will the trip be able to heal her heart and restore her memories?

I have a few books from Rachel Hauck on my TBR pile. Out of the three, I decided to start with this novel first. Boy, was I sadly disappointed. The book was told from the perspective of four different people who all share a connection with the house. They all had a connection with each other. I was hardly able to build a bond or connection with any of the characters. More than 75% into the book, I lost interest in the book. There was nothing interesting going on that warranted me to waste more time reading this novel.  I think some portion of the book was poorly written and felt choppy in some parts. For example, when Beck experience a flashback of her memories and Beck believes God is speaking to her, she stumbles around into Bruno's childhood home. Then Bruno and his mother were talking about her and the incident like she can't overhear them and it's an everyday occurrence. I am not sure why, but that whole incident just felt weird to me. Overall, the storyline did not grab me enough to want to finish this novel.


 **Disclosure - I received a free  copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion. This post may contain affiliate links which means I earn advertising and/or referral fees if you purchase an item through my link. Please note, there will be no any extra charges to you. Thank you for your support.**

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Kiehl's Ginger Leaf & Hibiscus Firming Overnight Mask





I have always been a fan of Kiehl's products. However, they can be quite hefty in price especially to a gal on a budget. On a recent (and very rare) work trip, I realized I left my night cream at home. I know, what a total newbie mistake. When I realized there was a Kiehl's nearby, just a 30 minute walk (gotta save that taxi money for more products!) I knew I had to stop by.

When I came across this small travel size, I knew it was my stars to try it. This indulgent overnight mask went on smoothly, and I woke up with soft velvety skin even with Chicago scary winter weather. The mask is enriched with hibiscus seed extract and ginger leaf to help firm skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines.  I didn't get a big enough jar to see if it would help with firmness or fine lines but, it did make my skin radiant. I would definitely rebuy this mask in a heartbeat. Even if it means selling a few organs.


Monday, April 15, 2019

Sol Janerio Brazilian Bum Bum Cream






This cream has a cult following and came highly recommend from my friends. The creamy lotion is packed guarana, cupuacu butter, acai, coconut oil, mica, and pistachio caramel leaves. The sweet delicately scented cream promises to help with dry, dull, slack skin and uneven skin tone. The cream was absorbed easily but it did leave my skin a bit greasy. I didn’t noticed any difference other than my skin being hydrated.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Book Review - The Farm by Joanne Ramos

Photo Credit - Amazon


Somewhere hidden in the Hudson Valley, New York is  luxurious retreat with every amenity imaginable available. Participants have access to organic meals, personal fitness trainers, massages, beautiful and personal rooms. People who stay at the retreat reeive a small fortune in exchange for living there for full nine months of their pregnancy on the retreat property. The hosts are not allowed to leave the property and have their movements monitored in hopes that they will produce the perfect baby for someone else.

Jane is recently divorced single mother, who lives with her older cousin, Ate in a boarding house. As an immigrant from the Philippines, she has limited opportunities for a better life.  She is desperate to find a job that pays enough to take care of her daughter. Without much options, she takes on the opportunity to be a host at the Golden Oaks retreat. Jane becomes homesick and begins to miss her daughter. She yearns to be reconnected with her life outside of Golden Oaks. However, she cannot leave the retreat otherwise, she will lose out of the bonus on deliverying her child.

When I first read the summary of this novel, I was very excited to start reading it. However, I felt disappointed after completing the novel. I felt like the novel built up some great horrorific story about the retreat but, didn't actually quite deliver. Yes, being monitored and having limited outside interaction is scary but, quite understandable for the safety and privacy of the clients. After reading the novel, the story felt pointless especially, the ending. It was abrupt and jarring. I am not sure what the purpose of not only the ending but, the entire book. After I finished reading the novel, I was left wanting more from it. Maybe a secret plot of producing multiple babies for each client and only the best speciem survives (yes, this makes me terrible human to say that but, I was hoping for something that was so shocking and scary). Although, I did like that the author included a lot of minority women but, as one can say, they were taken advantage of. Overall, I would have liked this book if it had more going on and the writing was smoother and more fluid.


*Disclosure - This post may contain affiliate links which means I earn advertising and/or referral fees if you purchase an item through my link. Please note, there will be no any extra charges to you. Thank you for your support.**

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Book Review - Run Away by Harlan Coben

Photo Credit - Amazon

Simon had a perfect life. He was a beloved father, husband, and a successful businessman. All of that changes when his daughter, Paige becomes addicted to drugs and is dating an abusive man. She made it clear that she wants to be left alone. However, Simon is having a hard time letting Paige go.

He searches everywhere for Paige during his spare time. One day, by chance, Simon spots her in Central Park playing the guitar for the money.  As Simon approaches his daughter, he is confronted by her abusive boyfriend which leads to a physical altercation. A few days later, Simon and Paige is a suspect in her boyfriend's murder.

A retired FBI agent turned private investigator, a hit man, and private financial advisor whose world will collide together when they have nothing in common. The novel had a few twists I didn't see coming. However, I am not sure how believable some parts of the story is. For example, the mother keeping her daughter's location a secret from her husband.  Overall, it was an interesting read and I will be interested in reading more works from the author.


*Disclosure - This post may contain affiliate links which means I earn advertising and/or referral fees if you purchase an item through my link. Please note, there will be no any extra charges to you. Thank you for your support.**

Monday, April 8, 2019

Book Review - Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim

Photo Credit - Amazon

After news of her mother's sudden death, Natalie Tan returns home. Natalie left home in anger seven years ago and hasn't spoken to her mother since their disagreement over Natalie's career choice. Natalie wants to become a chef like her grandmother but, her mother wants Natalie to follow her own path. When Natalie returns back to her childhood home, she is shocked by how the once vibrant neighborhood is suffering from failing businesses. 

The neighborhood fortune teller reads Natalie's fortune in the leaves and tells Natalie she has the power to help the neighborhood succeed. She has to cook three recipes from her grandmother's cookbook for three people who need help. Unfortunately, Natalie struggles to find three people to help and she is hesitant because she resents the neighbors for not helping her and her mother in the past. During her quest to save the neighborhood, Natalie realizes that she has people who care about her whether she realizes it or not.

The novel was an interesting and magical read. I love how the author weaved a creative tale of friendship, family, and having a place to call home. I liked that the author included recipes that Natalie made but, I think it would have been better if she added it in an appendix so, it wouldn't take away from the story. While, I enjoyed the story and found Natalie to be a relatable main character but, I wasn't blown away. Mostly because I felt that Natalie gave up on her dreams easily without trying to fight for her passions. The twist ending was partially predictable but, it was emotionally satisfying. However, I would be open to reading another one of her novels.

 **Disclosure - This post may contain affiliate links which means I earn advertising and/or referral fees if you purchase an item through my link. Please note, there will be no any extra charges to you. Thank you for your support.**

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Book Review - Samantha Spinner and the Super Secret Plans by Russell Ginns + Giveaway

Photo Credit - Amazon

Samantha loves her uncle Paul. They have shared a lot of beloved memories over strawberry waffles, puzzles, and stories. However, one-day uncle Paul just disappears without saying goodbye. He leaves the family a special gift for each of them. Samantha's sister receives a check for $2,400,000,000, while her brother, Nipper got the New York Yankees. Samantha gets a rusty red umbrella with a tag that says, "Watch out for the RAIN".

While Samantha is trying to decipher the mysterious message, she feels that her uncle is in danger. She remembers him teaching her that not everything is what it seems. As Samantha and her brother work to solve the puzzles their uncle left behind, they find themselves being targetted by RAIN. Will Sam and her brother be able to solve the puzzle before it's too late?

The easy to read the book was a fun read. I liked that the author included puzzles in the novel. The puzzles were fun but, he also included the answers. I think it was a treat how the author incorporated different languages and facts in an interesting but, educational way. Overall, this quirky book is perfect for children who love traveling, facts, and puzzles.


 **Disclosure - I received a free  copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion. This post may contain affiliate links which means I earn advertising and/or referral fees if you purchase an item through my link. Please note, there will be no any extra charges to you. Thank you for your support.**


Title: SAMANTHA SPINNER AND THE SUPER SECRET PLANS (Samantha Spinner #1)
Author: Russell Ginns
Pub. Date: February 27, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, audiobook, eBook
Pages: 256
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonAudibleB&NiBooksTBD

Get ready for round-the-world adventure with Sam Spinner and her brother Nipper in the first book in a new hilarious, puzzle-packed series filled with super-secret messages! Perfect for fans of Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library and classics like Holes.

Samantha Spinner's uncle Paul disappeared, and here's what he left:
* Samantha's sister got a check for $2,400,000,000.
* Samantha's brother got the New York Yankees.
* And Samantha got a rusty red umbrella with a tag hanging off its worn handle. The tag says "Watch out for the RAIN."

Thanks a lot, Uncle Paul.

After all the strawberry waffles, stories, and puzzles they've shared, how could he just leave without saying goodbye? And what is the meaning of that mysterious message?

The answer is simple. Sam knows in her heart that Uncle Paul is in danger. And if he taught her anything, it's that not everything is exactly what it seems. Which is why we should pay close attention to that rusty red umbrella, and never trust a monkey at a hula-hoop contest.

The RAIN is coming and Samantha Spinner is about to find herself mixed up in some super-important, super-dangerous, super-secret plans.

Praise for Samantha Spinner and the Super Secret Plans:

"A winning mix of fast-paced action, fascinating facts, bathroom humor, and hidden puzzles...[that is] sure to please action-loving middle-grade readers." --Kirkus Reviews

"Full of adventure and survival,...[and with] characters [that] are likable, realistic, and well rounded...[Samantha Spinner and the Super Secret Plans is] great for [readers of] series like The 39 Clues." --School Library Journal
 

About Russell:




Russell Ginns is a writer and game designer who specializes in puzzles, songs, and smart fun. He has worked on projects for a wide variety of organizations, corporations, and publications, including Sesame Workshop, Girl Scouts of America, Nintendo, and Scientific American. Russell lives and writes in Washington, D.C. He is the author of Samantha Spinner and the Super-Secret Plans and Samantha Spinner and the Spectacular Specs. To learn more about him, visit samanthaspinner.com and follow @rginns on Twitter.


Giveaway Details:
3 lucky winners will win a finished copy of SAMANTHA SPINNER Series, US Only.

Giveaway Link:


Tour Schedule:

Week Two:
4/1/2019- Rhythmicbooktrovert - Review
4/1/2019- Kelly P's BlogExcerpt

4/2/2019- Christen Krumm, WriterReview
4/2/2019- ❧Defining Ways❧Excerpt

4/3/2019- Adventures Thru WonderlandReview
4/3/2019- The Hermit LibrarianExcerpt

4/4/2019- Savings in SecondsReview
4/4/2019- Twirling Book PrincessExcerpt

4/5/2019- Two Points of InterestReview
4/5/2019- Dazzled by BooksExcerpt

Friday, April 5, 2019

Book Review - The Center of the Universe by Ria Voros + Giveaway

Photo Credit - Amazon

GG Carter is a beautiful famous celebrity news anchor. GG is everything her daughter, Grace is not. GG is flawless, beautiful, and has impeccable taste. While Grace is an aspiring astrophysicist. GG and Grace have never quite understood each other.

Then one day GG just disappears. Reporters and camera descend on their house to report on the story. Grace and her family are struggling for answers over GG's disappearance. While the authorities are looking into GG disappearance, Grace grows closer to her high school's popular boy, Mylo. Grace realizes she doesn't know her mother as well as she thought. She is left wondering did her mother leave on purpose or was she abducted?

When I first read the premise of the book, I thought it would be an interesting read. However, roughly one-third of the book, I lost interest in the novel. I felt it like it was very slow and boring. There were almost zero buildups on why GG disappeared. During, the GG's disappearance I felt like the disappearance was a side story compared to Grace and Mylo's budding friendship. The book didn't have enough material to keep me interested in the characters.

 **Disclosure - I received a free uneditted copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion. This post may contain affiliate links which means I earn advertising and/or referral fees if you purchase an item through my link. Please note, there will be no any extra charges to you. Thank you for your support.**



Title: THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE
Author: Ria Voros
Pub. Date: April 2, 2018
Publisher: KCP Loft
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 512
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NTBD

Grace Carter's mother --- the celebrity news anchor GG Carter --- is everything Grace is not. GG is a star, with a flawless wardrobe and a following of thousands, while Grace --- an aspiring astrophysicist --- is into stars of another kind. She and her mother have always been in different orbits.

Then one day GG is just ... gone. Cameras descend on their house, news shows speculate about what might have happened and Grace's family struggles to find a new rhythm as they wait for answers.

While the authorities unravel the mystery behind GG's disappearance, Grace grows closer to her high school's golden boy, Mylo, who has faced a black hole of his own. She also uncovers some secrets from her mother's long-lost past. The more Grace learns, the more she wonders. Did she ever really know her mother? Was GG abducted ... or did she leave? And if she left, why?

Author Ria Voros (Nobody's Dog, The Opposite of Geek) reaches for the stars here, deftly combining mystery with a passion for science and themes of mother-daughter bonds, celebrity, first love and best friendship.

Facts about astronomy and astrophysics are seamlessly woven into the story and are supplemented by an interview with real-life astrophysicist Elizabeth Tasker, making this the perfect book for readers who love STEM. And even readers who don't have stars in their eyes will love this smart, suspenseful, relatable and literary novel.



About Ria:



Ria Voros is a YA and children’s author, teacher, presenter and obsessive reader. Her children’s and young adult novels have been finalists for the White Pine Award, the Rocky Mountain Book Award, and been a Best Books for Kids and Teens selection. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia. When she’s not writing, teaching or eating sweet things, Ria can be found hiking to the tops of mountains or buying too many books at any bookstore she enters. She lives in Victoria, BC, Canada with her husband, daughter and son.


Giveaway Details:
3 lucky winners will win a finished copy of THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE, US Only.


Giveaway Link:

Tour Schedule:

Week Two:
4/1/2019- Moonlight RendezvousReview
4/2/2019- PopTheButterfly ReadsReview
4/3/2019- A Gingerly ReviewReview
4/4/2019- Here's to Happy EndingsReview
4/5/2019- two points of interestReview