Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Book Review - The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

 


 Rowan Caine was looking for something online when she stumbles across her dream job. The job seems like the perfect opportunity for her. The job is a live-in nanny with a generous salary. When Rowan is invited to interview at the Heatherbrae House, she is smitten with the luxurious smart house. The house is situated in the Scottish Highlands and it is fitted with all modern conveniences.

Rowan believes her luck has finally turned around when she gets the job. However, she doesn't realize the dangers she unleashed on herself when she takes the job -- a child is dead and she is accused of murder.

The story unfolds as Rowan is writing to her solicitor from prison. She tries to explain the situation that leads up to her predicament. She explains that she was constantly under surveillance with the cameras in the house along with the constant malfunctioning technology. She felt she was constantly tired because the speakers will malfunction and wake her up in the middle of the night.  The girls that Rowan was contracted to babysit turns out to behave badly and Rowan struggles to maintain control with them. She was told that one parent would always be home to help but, Rowan has been left days on end by herself with the kids. Rowan knows she made mistakes but, she isn't capable of murder and the real killer is out there.

The novel did move very slowly in the beginning. The book was exciting and kept me on edge but, I can't say that I was in love with the ending. I felt like it was a cop-out. I felt like a lot of details were spent talking about the house or how Rowan was struggling with the kids than building the story. However, I would still read her other books in hopes that they are better than this one.


**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 extra charges to you. Thank you for your support.**

Monday, December 28, 2020

Book Review - Voices in the Snow (Black Winter, #1) by Darcy Coates

 

 

Clare remembers being out in the cold and being surrounded by snow. She remembers seeing abandoned cars and toys scattered among the road. She recalls seeing dark shapes in the snow and being afraid. And then she doesn't remember anything afterwards.

Clare wakes up in a strange gothic home. She has no recollection on how she got there. The stranger tells her that she was in a car accident and he found her in the snow. Clare feels unsafe and wants to leave but, there is a vicious snowstorm trapping them in the house.

The stranger seems kind but, Clare doesn't know if she can trust him. He told her that they are alone but, she keeps seeing and hearing things. She feels that something is watching them in the woods.  She feels that she is being hunted and she is on edge. She fears that she might not be safe anywhere.

This novel is a departure from her normal horror house stories. Personally, I like her haunted houses stories more. This book is beginning of the series and it looks like you will need to read all the stories to get the full story. The book had creepy elements but, I felt like something was still missing. The characters didn't seem believable. I am not sure I would read the other books from this series.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Book Review - The Wicked Boy: An Infamous Murder in Victorian London by Kate Summerscale

 

 

Photo Source - Amazon

During the summer of 1895, two brothers Robert and Nattie Coombes are spending money lavishly near the docklands of East London. During a span of ten days in July, they took trips to the theater and ate out. When neighbors ask about their mother, the brothers said their mother is visiting family in Liverpool and she left them home alone. However, their aunt was suspicious because the boys' mother never mentioned she was traveling. After several days of not hearing from her sister-in-law, their aunt forced herself into their home. Upon entry of the home, the aunt noticed a pungent smell in the air and when she went upstairs, she found the boys' mother dead in her bed and badly decomposed. She called the cops and the two brothers were arrested for the murder of their mother.

Robert confessed that he had murdered his mother, while his brother, Nattie testified against Robert in exchange for a plea deal. During the trial, Robert's lawyers argued that Robert was insane during the murder. The court heard testimony on both of the brothers' personalities and their history. Evidence was given for Robert's severe headaches, his interest in "penny dreadfuls", and his obsession with violent criminals.  Robert showed no remorse for the crime but, neither the prosecution nor the defense could find a motive for the murder. The judge sentenced Robert to Broadmoor. Broadmoor was an infamous criminal lunatic asylum. Robert begins to build a new life for himself behind bars.

I thought the book had an interesting premise. The author had done the research and added a few fascinating facts. However, after reading more than eighty percent of the book, I decided to stop reading. I felt like the author was repeating the same thing over and over. The book dragged on very slowly that eventually I lost all interest. I felt like the author included a lot of details for things that didn't matter (to me atleast) like descriptions of the cricket games the brothers went to or the details of the prisoners. If the author had been more concised, I think I would have been more interested in finding out more about the murder.

 

**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 extra charges to you. Thank you for your support.**

Friday, December 25, 2020

December 2020 Empties!

 

 

Happy Holidays, dear Reader! I can't believe the year is almost over...I really hope next year brings better tidings for us. Usually for the holidays, I am in a festive mood...this year I just feel off and don't really want to do anything. How about you? Are you looking forward to next year? Are you celebrating this year?

Once again, I finished quite a few face masks and treatment masks. I been taking a lot more baths lately and trying to clear up my bathroom shelves for the after the holiday sales. I don't think there was anything that I would try again or go out of my way to buy. Most of the facial sheet masks were okay, I didn't really notice anything noteworthy. I did try a new lip mask and it was disappointing. My lips didn't stay hydrated and was still dry after application.

Overall, most of the empties were meh products. I did like the IT Cosmetics night cream but, I had already owned the full size when I got this sample. I hope next month, I finish some more interesting products.

Here is everything I finished -

Jigott Pearl Real Ampoule Mask
Feelxo Pore Care Lotus Mask Black Charcoal Sheet
HaruHaruHoney Green Repairative Sheet
BlingPop Cucumber Face Mask
23 Years Old Hyaltox Petit Mask
Sur.Medic Bright Glutathione Mask
Masqueology Pucker Up! Lip Plumping Kit
Simply When Present Perfect Firm Up
ElishaCoy Lift-Up Mushroom Mask Sheet
Facetory Save Our Skin Restoring Mask with Royal Jelly
Starskin 3-Steps Cleansing Strips
Pura d'Or Scalp Therapy Shampoo
Inoface Cosmetics Body Jelly Wash in Cooling Mint
Belief The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb
L'Oreal OleoTherapy Oil Infused Shampoo
Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm
ElisaCoy Moisture Up Super Hyalurone Ampoule Serum
IT Cosmetics Confidence in Your Beauty Sleep
Evio Skin Rejuvenating Mask
Sunday Riley A+ High Dose Retinoid Serum
Avene Eau Thermale Soothing Moisture Mask
Papa Recipe Eggplant Mud Cream Mask
Hey Honey Show Your Glow Collodial Gold and Honey Beauty Mask
Tocca Simone Crema Da Mano

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Book Review - Something Worth Doing by Jane Kirkpatrick

 

 

 In 1853, nineteen-year-old Abigail Scott is a school teacher in the Oregon Territory.  She marries Ben Duniway due to situations out of her control. Abigail knew she would need to give up her teacher job when she got married but, she felt she was destined to be more than a good wife and mother. When Ben makes a few financial mistakes and suffers an injury, Abigail becomes the primary earner for their growing family. As a working woman, she is appalled by the conditions and the rights of women. She decides to devote her life fighting for the rights of women, including their right to vote.

Abigail is the mother to six children, own and operates a millinery and a private school, helps Ben with the farm, writes novels, and a column in the newspaper. However, her dream is to give speeches and run a newspaper dedicated to the issues and concern of women. Abigail tries to navigate the pulls of her dreams and taking care of her family.

I was excited to read this book because it's always interesting to learn more about the people fighting for equal rights. However, I had a hard time getting into this novel. The book is piece of a fiction but, it felt dry and boring like I was reading a textbook. I had a hard time bonding with the main character and found her off-putting at times. I stopped reading the book halfway through.


**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 extra charges to you. Thank you for your support.**

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Book Review - You Let Me In by Camilla Bruce

 


Cassandra Tipp is an infamous and eccentric bestselling novelist. She is known for her vivid imagination.  She is a famous recluse and one day she is gone but, leaves behind a final manuscript.

Everyone in town remembers the events that lead to her infamous trial. She has been acquitted with the insanity defense. Her husband died mysteriously and has never been solved. A few years later, her brother and father died in a murder-suicide.  

In her final manuscript, Cassandra details her life history. She details what happened in the happens and what she believes happened to her husband. However, her story comes with a price.

This novel is an epic waste of time. It took forever to get anywhere and the author filled the book with useless details. I read more than half of the novel but, just lost interest in it. I feel like there was nothing really keeping me tethered to the book and to read more. I tossed this book to the side and started reading something that I actually cared to read.

  **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 extra charges to you. Thank you for your support.**

Friday, December 18, 2020

Book Review - The Carrow Haunt by Darcy Coates

 

The Carrow House is the most haunted in the state and Remy is the tour guide for it. People are superstitious about the house but, Remy hasn't seen any proof of paranormal activity. A guest from her tour offers to host her and six other people in a two-week-long stay to document and research the paranormal activity at the house. Remy is excited about the opportunity because she always wanted to experience the sightings first hand.

On the first day there, the guests experience their first ghost encounter.  They are excited and can't wait to see more. However, a storm moves in and cuts off all contact with the outside world. Things quickly turn sinister when doors are opening on their own, ghostly apparitions are making more frequent appearances, and their seances go wrong. The spirit medium that is hired to assist with the seances, keeps night walking in a trance. When one of the guests dies under strange circumstances, they fear that the ghost of the original homeowner might be among them. However, the homeowner was a renowned serial killer. Will they be able to escape before it's too late?

I have read quite a few books by the author and I really enjoyed this novel. I thought it was equal amounts of spooky and creepy. I believe she borrowed elements from H.H. Holmes's story.  There were a few predictable moments as this book follows the same structure as her other haunted story novels. However, I still enjoyed reading the book and look forward to reading her other books.

  **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 extra charges to you. Thank you for your support.**

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

December 2020 Haul!

 

 

Where did the month go?! It feels like it was just December 1st only yesterday!  However, I should actually know better because I bought so much stuff during the holidays and used my credit card with wild abandon.

I bought a few more bath bombs from Lush that I am looking forward to using. I been trying to indulge in a bath more often. I got a few more sheet masks from Facetory. I got another Factr mask that I am excited to try. I got a new lip mask to try but, I am on the fence. They are relaxing but, I don't know if they actually do work. Sometimes, my lip gets dry even after putting on balm.

This is our crunch time at work and I haven't been sleeping that well lately. I bought these new Dream patches that you apply to your wrist and it delivers an even dosage of melatonin. I am looking forward to how these work compared to the pill version. 

No shopping haul could be complete without me buying a few lip products. I am loving the Too Faced Drunk Dial lipstick. That purple! Swoon! I bought another Huda lip strobe in Snobby (even though I didn't even use the first one yet). I wish dining was opened again because I can't wait to wear the Scarlet Empress by Nars and Bite Beauty in  Marsala and Cognac. The Marc Jacobs in snap shut looks nice and different from anything I own. The Nars Velvet Matte lip pencil in Do Me Baby isn't as nice as I thought it would be.

I have bought a few things from Facetory's brand but, they are usually their face mask. I decided to try their cloud pouf cleanser to see how it compares to my normal one. I have used the Go-To Skincare facial oil and liked it. I decided to get their exfoliating pads to see how they work.

Lastly, I got a really expensive treat item the Chantecaille facial cream. I can't wait to use this but, I am also afraid of the results. What happens if they are so great, that I NEED this cream in my life? I dunno about anyone else but I love a good head massage. I bought this new head oil that you warm and pour all over your hair and give yourself a head massage and then wash out your hair. I can literally do not even care about the benefits to my hair, I just want a head massage.


Monday, December 14, 2020

Book Review - Search for the Scepter by Julie Dinges + Giveaway

 


 Princess Rosalie and Scarlet went to bed during a breezy night. They didn't expect to be awaken to chaos. Their father's scepter was taken by thief during the night. The entire palace is in chaos and disbelief. The princesses sneak out of bed and try to find clues to the robbery. They realize if they want the thief to be caught, they will need to do it themselves. Will the princesses be able to find the thief?

The book is beautifully illustrated. I love trying to find out what was going to happen next. I like that they display many different characters. However, I didn't like the lack of diversity. There were zero people of color or with disabilities. I feel like books geared to children should show diversity to allow every child to have included.

**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 extra charges to you. Thank you for your support.**

 

About The Book:

Title: THE SEARCH FOR THE SCEPTER

Author: Julie Dinges & Nazar Horokhivskyi (Illustrator)

Pub. Date: December 1, 2020

Publisher: Mascot Books

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Pages: 38

Find it:  GoodreadsAmazonB&N, TBDBookshop.org, Signed copy

 

When Princesses Rosalie and Scarlet went to bed on a breezy summer night, they didn’t expect to awake to such a fright. Their father, the King’s, scepter was taken by a thief.

 

The royal family was in utter disbelief. The princesses sneak out of bed and find a small clue. There mission is clear, they know what they must do. Along their journey, they meet friends who help them track the thief down. Will they find him and return the scepter to their father who wears the crown?

 

Print a coloring page of Princess Rosalie, Princess Scarlet and the Thief!

 

Official Book Trailer:

 

Link:

https://youtu.be/OpfXba5Py20

 


 

About Julie: 

Julie Dinges lives in Ohio with her husband, two daughters, one dog, and several fish. She loves being outside, cooking, traveling, watching science fiction movies, and reading fantasy books to her girls.

 

Julie spent many years as a technical writer before shifting focus to website design.

 

One of Julie’s greatest ambitions was to write a book. She is excited to share her first published creation, and hopes it sparks imagination and inspiration for all who read of the princesses’ quest.

Website | Facebbok | Instagram | YouTube | Goodreads | Amazon

Find out about Nazar Horokhivskyi (Illustrator) Here!

 

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will win a signed copies of the THE SEARCH FOR THE SCEPTER, US Only.

 

 Rafflecopter Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba21193/?

 

Tour Schedule:

Week Three:

12/13/2020

@Fictitious.fox

Review

12/14/2020

Lifestyle of Me

Review

12/15/2020

Jrsbookreviews

Review

12/15/2020

two points of interest

Review

 

 

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Book Review - Don't Look for Me by Wendy Walker

 


 Molly Clarke disappeared during a storm.  Her car was found abandoned and out of gas near the highway. They found a note at a nearby hotel saying she is "walking away". Her family is shattered that Molly has abandoned them.

When Molly ran out of gas, a man and a young girl offered her a ride to safety. However, when the door automatically locked behind her, Molly has a feeling she made a terrible mistake.

 A woman comes forward with a new lead on Molly's disappearance. Nicole, Molly's daughter returns to the small, desolate town where her mother was last seen. Everyone is eager to help and have bits of information to share. Except it seems that everyone has their own motivates and secrets that they are keeping. Will Molly be able to find her mother?

The the book was a quick and interesting read. I was able to predict who the kidnapper was but, the ending was unexpected. I am not really sure I was a fan of the ending. It felt a little unbelievable. However, I am still open to reading other books by 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 extra charges to you. Thank you for your support.**


Thursday, December 10, 2020

December 2020 Empties!

 

I can't believe the year is almost gone! Where did the year go? Speaking of which I did finish a few things things month. Although it was mostly face masks.

I didn't try any new masks that was noteworthy. Most of the "new" masks I tried was from Facetory and they were decent. I didn't notice any of them being good enough to purchase again. Although, they recently had a sale for Black Friday so, I did get a few more goodies. I do like their skincare items.

I bought a few things from Lush from their Holiday collection. The Snow Fairy smells like cotton candy. It has soft and sweet scent. I did like the Nuori face mask. I usually applied this after using a sheet mask to leave my skin extra soft. I didn't like Tula's Detox in Jar. It made skin feel very uncomfortable. One thing I did like was the Lime Crime Wet Cherry gloss. It smells so amazing and it made my lips shinny without tacky.

Here is the list of everything I finished -

Meg Two Step Jelly Mask Firming and Radiance
Elvis + Elvin New York Grape Stem Cell Treatment Mask
Feel Brilliant Bamboo Charcoal Facial Sheet Mask
Bonvivant Botanical Mask Pack Collage + Olive
Que Bella Professional Radiance Boost Shimmering Cream Mask
23 Years Cocoon Gold Silky Mask
Hanalei Papaya Face Mask
Orjena Nutrition Essential Vita Mask Skin Refreshing
Biobelle Facial Mask #InstantDetox
ElishaCoy Lift-Up Mushroom Mask Sheet
BetterSkin Detoxing Sheet Mask
HaruHaru Soothing Mask Cool Down Drop Kick Maqui Berry
Elensilia - Intracell Escargot + Caviar Repairing Sheet Mask
Lush Snow Fairy Shower Gel
Nuori Supreme Moisture Mask
Olie Biologique 004 Hydrating Oil
Tula Skincare Detox in a Jar
Comfort Zone HydraMemory Cream
Lime Crime Wet Cherry Gloss
Oribe Apres Beach Wave and Shine Spray
Biore Warming Anti-Blackhead Cleanser