Thursday, June 17, 2021

Book Review - This House Is Haunted by John Boyne


Its a cold winter day in 1867 and Eliza Caine decides that she is ready for a new challenge. She reads an ad for a governess position at Gaudlin Hall and she decides its the change she needs. When she traveling to her new home, she is shaken by an accident that occurs during her trip. However, she tries to move on from the occurrence when she meets her new wards, Isabella and Eustace. 

Upon her arrival and meeting the children, she realizes that there is no adult present with the children or any sign of her mysterious employer. The children are hesitant to speak about their parents and she is met with an similar experience with the townspeople. Eliza tries to get some sleep and decides to tackle the issue tomorrow but, she feels a foreboding presence in her room. She knows that something is very wrong at Gaudlin Hall.

Eliza tries to discount her experience from the previous night. However, she keeps feeling that something is following her. Eliza realizes that if is she and the children are to survive the violent ghost, that she will need to uncover the history behind the evil presence. Will Eliza be able to uncover the truth before it's too late?

The book was an interesting tale but, was poorly executed. While reading the novel, it reminded me of older Gothic stories I have read and I was surprised that the book was published in 2013. I thought the novel moved a bit slowly for my taste.I felt like details were used to draw out the novel in place of actual story details. Eliza is portrayed as a smart woman but, I felt like she did some questionable things. Perhaps, I should be more understanding as she seems to be grieving and the job seems to be something out of her realm of experience. The ending and "secret" was predictable and I was able to figure it out quickly.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Book Review - The Bone Code (Temperance Brennan, #20) by Kathy Reichs

 

Tempe receives a call from the Charleston coroner about a medical waste container that was tossed ashore.  When the container was opened, they found two decomposed bodies wrapped up in plastic sheeting and bound with electrical wire. Tempe realizes that these details are identical to an unsolved case she handled in Quebec years earlier. She feels that the two cases are connected and she travels to Montreal to gather more evidence.

In South Carolina, the state is chaos because a human flesh-eating contagion is spreading. Tempe is so focused on the container victims that she doesn't register that the murders and the disease may be related. As Tempe continues to investigate the murders, she realizes someone is keeping a dark secret and will is do anything to protect their secret.

I was excited to read this book because my mom loves the TV show. However, this book was a complete and utter bore. I didn't care for the writing style and I felt like the book was dragging along. This is the first book for me in the series, so I am guessing I am missing nuances between the characters but, I don't really have an interest in reading the other books in the series.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Book Review - The Perfect Nanny by Leïla Slimani

 

Myriam wants more out of life than just being the primary caretaker of her children. They decided that they will look for a nanny for their son and daughter so, that Myriam can return to work as a lawyer. They ecstatic when they find Louise who is the perfect nanny. She is quiet, polite, and devoted to the children. As the months pass by,  the family finds themselves more dependent on each other which leads to jealousy, resentment, and tensions.

I was excited to read this book as it sounded so promising. Unfortunately, this book was a complete and utter fail. The book kept switching point of views and had so many random details that added nothing to the story. I am still struggling to understand if there was even a story. This book felt like a jumbled mess of random and pointless details.

Friday, June 11, 2021

June 2021 Empties!

 

 



I can't believe how many things I finished this month! Wow, usually I am struggling to finish five full size things but, this time I had to take two separate photos to get all the empties. I hope I can keep this up and eventually actually finish more than I buy! So far, I finished 36 things but, bought 76 things this month.

Quite a few of these items are re-buys such as the Nivea in-shower cream. I love that I can apply and wash it off in the tub. It's great for days when I am in a rush or don't want that tacky lotion feel on my skin. The Juara shower gel, Sol de Janiero, and Stila lip glazes are favorites that I usually buy when my skin is fussy or if they are on sale.

I am surprised how much I liked the Ole Henriksen Phat Facial. My skin felt noticeably different after one usage. I might get this again if its on sale. I usually have problems sleeping and I used their sleeping sprays, so I thought I would get the ThisWorks Bath salts. Honestly, I thought it was completely overpriced. The scent was strong but, for the amount of product you get, there are better options. The tub last for 3 baths and that was with me being stingy with the salts. That's almost $11+ per a bath depending on how much you paid. You can get Epsom salts and scent them with lavender oils to get a similar effect. I would not buy again unless it was less than $10 a tub.

I bought the entire line from Earth Harbors. I really like this cleansing oil as it removed tough eye makeup without rubbing or tugging.  However, unlike other cleansing oils I have used this didn't provide a lather or foaming action. I also tried the Kopari coconut cleansing oil and after trying the one from Earth Harbors, I would not get the Kopari one again. Yes, the bottle is bigger but, the Kopari one barely removed my makeup. Honestly, it was quite a disappointment.

Here is everything I finished this month -

Aquaphor Healing Ointment
Lush Happy Body Wash
Grown Alchemist Detox Night Cream
Milk Makeup Sunshine Oil
Eau Thermale Avene RetrinAL .01 Intensice Cream
Tarte Sugar Rush Peony Lip Balm
Dr. Dennis Gross Stress Rescue Super Serum
Simply When Cosmic Calm Soothe
Simply When Future Fresh Smooth Out
Bonvivant Botanical Mask Pack Chamomile + Tea Tree
Jayjun Cosmetics Rose Blossom Mask
Project Beauty Hairgurt Hair Masque
BBW Amber and Argan Body Oil
Kopari Coconut Cleansing Oil
Tocca Guiletta Body Scrub
Coola Daydream Mineral Primer SPF 30
Coola Dawn Patrol Classic Primer SPF 30
Nivea In-Shower Body Lotion
Ariul 7 Days Plus Trea Tree Pore Tightening Mask
Bonvivant Botanical Mask Pack Chamomile + Tea Tree
BioBelle Exfoliate and Brightens #RoseAllDay
Sandawha Camellia Intensive Essence
ThisWorks Deep Sleep Bath Soak
Sol De Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream
Facetory Collection Moon Velvet Sleeping Mask with Shea Butter + Azulene
Juara Candlenut Hydrating Shower Gel
Earth Harbor Sunshine Dew Antioxidant Cleansing Oil
Stila Stargazer Lip Glaze
Glamglow Berry Glow Probiotic Recovery Mask
Sanitas Brightening Peel Pads
Ole Henriksen PHAT Glow Facial
Feel Balanced Moisture Balancing Cream
Feel Harmony Rose Petal Facial Mask
Lollia Shea Butter Handcream Wander

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Book Review - Three Perfect Liars by Heidi Perks

 

Laura is excited to return back to work after her maternity leave. Upon her return, she discovers the woman she hired to cover for her temporarily has been offered a permanent position. Laura feels betrayed and blindsided even though she has a close relationship with the CEO. As she pushed aside, she finds herself struggling with managing the demands of work and motherhood.

Mia was supposed to be a temporary hire but, she made herself indispensable to keep herself at the agency. Everyone loves Mia, except Laura. Janie gave up her dreams to support her husband and his company. However, she has a dark secret she is hiding.

I am very disappointed how boring and predictable this book was. There was nothing thrilling about this novel. The characters were dull and seemed wooden. I can't believe I wasted so much time reading this book because I kept hoping something would happen that would not make me not regret reading this book.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Book Spotlight - Dusk's Darkest Shores by Carolyn Miller + Giveaway

About the series:
 
While most stories set in Regency England focus on the rich, the young, and the beautiful, award-winning author Carolyn Miller decided she wanted to give readers something different for a change. Her new Regency Wallflowers series follows the commoners, away from the hustle and bustle of 1810s London, out in the Lake District of England. She tells the stories of women who are slightly older and have few prospects for marriage, women who might be considered “wallflowers.”
 
About the book:
 
How can a meek wallflower help a returning war hero whose dreams are plunged into darkness?
 
Mary Bloomfield has no illusions. Her chances for matrimony have long since passed her by. Still, her circumstances are pleasant enough, especially now that she has found purpose in assisting her father with his medical practice in England's beautiful Lake District. Even without love, it's a peaceful life.
 
That is until Adam Edgerton returns to the sleepy district. This decorated war hero did not arrive home to acclaim and rest, but to a new battle against the repercussions of an insidious disease. Mary's caring nature cannot stand to see someone suffer--but how can she help this man see any brightness in his future when he's plunged into melancholic darkness, his dreams laid waste by his condition?
 
Adam wants no charity, but he's also no coward. If this gentle woman can work hard, how can he do less? Together they struggle to find a way forward for him. Frustration and antipathy slowly develop into friendship and esteem. Then a summer storm atop a mountain peak leads to scandal--and both Mary and Adam must search the depths of their closed hearts for answers if they hope to find any future path with happiness at its end.
 
Best-selling author Carolyn Miller is back with a fresh series that will not only thrill readers eager for more of her work, but bring in new fans looking for beautiful writing, fascinating research, deftly woven love stories, and real faith lived out in the Regency period.
 
Click here to read an excerpt.

About the Author


Carolyn Miller is an inspirational romance author who lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children.
 
A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English literature and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. She enjoys music, films, gardens, art, travel, and food.

Miller’s novels have won a number of RWA and ACFW contests. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Australasian Christian Writers. 
 
Learn more about Carolyn at www.carolynmillerauthor.com, or find her on Facebook (Carolyn Miller Author)Instagram (@CarolynMillerAuthor), and Twitter (@CarolynMAuthor)



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Saturday, June 5, 2021

Book Spotlight - The Hotel by Pamela Kelley + Giveaway



The Hotel
By Pamela Kelley
Women's Fiction, Romance
Paperback & ebook, 270  Pages
June 8, 2021 by Piping Plover Press

Secrets and lies...at Nantucket's most exclusive and glamorous, family-owned hotel.

The Whitley is Nantucket's most exclusive waterfront hotel--a sprawling collection of pristine white cottages and an elegant main building on a long stretch of private, white sandy beach.

It's a family owned business--brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, all work there in various capacities.

Paula is happy in her back office accounting position. But changes are in store when her grandfather promotes her and fires her cousin--who then blames Paula.

Meanwhile, a blond romantic comedy superstar is hiding out at The Hotel for a few months. She meets Paula's brother, a chef--who has no idea who she is--and she likes it that way.

Paula's grandfather also hires a consultant to help her settle into her new role. But she isn't sure what to think of David, who grew up on Nantucket but now lives in Manhattan.

He's a brilliant consultant and will be assessing Paula's suitability for the role. He's also home for another reason, a difficult family issue that makes Manhattan seem very far away.

A new family saga from the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller author of The Nantucket Inn and The Restaurant.

(Affiliate links included.)

About the Author


Pamela M. Kelley is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of women's fiction, family sagas, and suspense. Readers often describe her books as feel-good reads with people you'd want as friends.

She lives in a historic seaside town near Cape Cod and just south of Boston. She has always been an avid reader of women's fiction, romance, mysteries, thrillers and cook books. There's also a good chance you might get hungry when you read her books as she is a foodie, and occasionally shares a recipe or two.


Tour Schedule


Tour Giveaway


One winner will receive a gorgeous Kate Spade totebag with two signed paperbacks, one of The Hotel and one of The Nantucket Inn (US only)

Ends June 23, 2021



Thursday, June 3, 2021

Book Review - Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

 

Alix Chamberlain is used to getting what she wants. She has built her entire empire on using her confidence to ask for things and showing other women how to do the same. She is shocked when she finds out her babysitter, Emira Tucker, was confronted while watching her daughter, Briar, one night at a high end supermarket. The security guard was approached by another customer who is worried that a child is out late with someone who doesn't look like her mother. The situation becomes escalated and Emira is accused of kidnapping Briar. The commotion causes a small crowd to gather and a bystander films everything. Emira is furious and embarrassed by the situation and Alix resolves to remedied the situation.  

I was looking forward to reading this book since it got a lot of positive reviews and as a person of color. However, I can't say I was a fan of this book. I found the book to be boring. I couldn't relate to any of the characters and could care less what happened to them. I thought the whole entire book was rather pointless.


Tuesday, June 1, 2021

June 2021 Haul!

 

 


June is here and we have reached the midpoint of the year! This year has flown by so quickly. It feels like it was just May yesterday. On to the goodies!

As always, I finished zero lip products but, I bought 90 more. I found this makeup store called Absolute NYC that sells makeup that is like NYX and ELF in terms of pricing and quality. I am curious to see how they will perform.Ciate Beauty was having a sale and I have tried their products and loved it. I snagged a few more liquid lipsticks to add to my collection. I bought a few more Milk Makeup Kush lip glazes and balm. I like that they are go on sheer and can be layered for more color.

I have been trying to buy more natural, organic and better for you and environment items. I bought this new mascara from W3LL People. I read good reviews online and I hope it works.  I bought two new liquid eye shadow from Kosas. I am really like the Copper Halo color. The color payout is vibrant but, it does take a bit to dry and I am afraid I will get a creases before its dried. 

I had mixed results with Glow Recipe but, I keep buying their products still. I got the Banana Souffle moisture cream and sadly, it doesn't taste like banana cream pie. I got two new products from Tetraforce. One is an acne patch and the other is a wash off mask. I usually have good results from using Korean beauty products.

Have you gotten anything you are excited to try?

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Book Review - Twisted River by Siobhán MacDonald

 

Kate and Mannix O'Brien live in Curragower Falls in Limerick. They live in a beautiful house that they can barely afford. Fergus, their son, is constantly bullied in school. Izzy, their daughter feels helpless as she can't do anything to help protect her brother. Kate is struggling to see her family deal with life and decides that they all need a vacation.  She thinks their luck is about to change when she finds a beautiful Manhattan apartment available on a home exchange website.

Hazel and Oscar Harvey live with their two children in Upper West Side, Manhattan. On the outside, the couple seems happy and perfect. However, Hazel is covered with mysterious bruises and Oscar has secrets about his dental practice. They decide that they need a change of pace and offer their apartment  up on a home exchange website. Hazel always wanted to show her family her native home and it will give the couple a chance to work on their marriage. However, things take a turn for the worst when Oscar discovers a body in his host's car.

The book had an interesting premise but, it failed to keep my attention. Both couples were very similar and I had to go back a few times and try to remember who they were. The book had quite a few twists but, it was mostly the author led you to believe this but, they really meant this. Almost all the twists were like this. Around the middle point of the book, this book became insufferable that I was struggling to power through it.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Book Spotlight - The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim + Giveaway

 

 

About the Book:

Title: THE LAST FALLEN STAR

Author: Graci Kim

Pub. Date: May 4, 2021

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook

Pages: 336

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, KindleAudibleB&NiBooks, KoboTBD, Bookshop.org

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Graci Kim's thrilling debut about an adopted Korean-American girl who discovers her heritage and her magic on a perilous journey to save her witch clan family.

"Graci Kim does such an amazing job of blending Korean mythology into the modern world, I am now wondering how I ever lived without knowing all this cool information."--New York Times #1 best-selling author Rick Riordan

Riley Oh can't wait to see her sister get initiated into the Gom clan, a powerful lineage of Korean healing witches their family has belonged to for generations. Her sister, Hattie, will earn her Gi bracelet and finally be able to cast spells without adult supervision. Although Riley is desperate to follow in her sister's footsteps when she herself turns thirteen, she's a saram--a person without magic. Riley was adopted, and despite having memorized every healing spell she's ever heard, she often feels like the odd one out in her family and the gifted community.

Then Hattie gets an idea: what if the two of them could cast a spell that would allow Riley to share Hattie's magic? Their sleuthing reveals a promising incantation in the family's old spell book, and the sisters decide to perform it at Hattie's initiation ceremony. If it works, no one will ever treat Riley as an outsider again. It's a perfect plan!

Until it isn't. When the sisters attempt to violate the laws of the Godrealm, Hattie's life ends up hanging in the balance, and to save her Riley has to fulfill an impossible task: find the last fallen star. But what even is the star, and how can she find it?

As Riley embarks on her search, she finds herself meeting fantastic creatures and collaborating with her worst enemies. And when she uncovers secrets that challenge everything she has been taught to believe, Riley must decide what it means to be a witch, what it means to be family, and what it really means to belong.


Praise for The Last Fallen Star

The Last Fallen Star folds Korean culture as well as diaspora feelings into a magical adventure. The way Graci Kim takes traditions and lore and incorporates them into an exciting contemporary fantasy setting makes my heart soar as a Korean reader. This fantastical story is filled with heart and humor. Readers who love magical adventures, complex family relationships, and sisterhood—not to mention food!—should pick up THE LAST FALLEN STAR immediately!"—Kat Cho, internationally best-selling author of Vicious Spirits

“Korean mythology gets a modern twist in this rollicking adventure by debut author Graci Kim. From entering a secret temple by way of the fried chicken counter at H-Mart to summoning a goddess at the Santa Monica Pier, every chapter of this novel delights and surprises. At times laugh-out-loud hilarious, at times heartwarming and poignant, The Last Fallen Star will capture the imaginations of readers for years to come!”—Axie Oh, author of Rebel Seoul and Rogue Heart

“Reading The Last Fallen Star is like taking a course in Korean mythology taught by your favorite teacher ever—while riding a gigantic roller coaster beneath a sky filled with shooting stars! I loved following Riley's thrilling adventures, and pass the bulgogi tacos, please.”—Linda Sue Park, Newbery Medalist for A Single Shard

“Like a true magician, Graci Kim intertwines Korean mythology with an all-too-relatable sister story in her heart-stopping adventure that's sure to capture the heart of anyone who's ever felt like an outsider. You can't help but root for plucky Riley Oh as she engages on a quest to find belonging and acceptance.” —Jessica Kim, author of Stand Up, Yumi Chung!

"I wish I could go back in time and hand this book to young Ellen. I would have loved it so much, because this was what I was missing in my life. Thank you, Graci, for writing it!"—Ellen Oh, author of The Dragon Egg Princess and the Spirit Hunters series

"The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim absolutely shines. Riley Oh's positive voice is infectious and will have readers wanting to follow her adventures long after the last page is turned." -- Zoraida Córdova, award-winning author of the Brooklyn Brujas series

 

About Graci:

Graci Kim is a Korean-Kiwi diplomat turned author who writes about the magic she wants to see in the world. The Last Fallen Star is her middle grade debut. In a previous life she used to be a cooking show host, and she once ran a business that turned children's drawings into plushies. When she's not lost in her imagination, you'll find Graci drinking flat whites, eating ramyeon, and most likely hugging a dog (or ideally, many). She lives in New Zealand with her husband and daughter. Follow her on Twitter @gracikim and Instagram @gracikimwrites.

 

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon

 

Giveaway Details: 

3 winners will win a finished copy of THE LAST FALLEN STAR, US Only.

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Tour Schedule:

Week One:

5/1/2021

YA Books Central

Excerpt

Week Two:

5/2/2021

jillpiscitello

Excerpt

5/3/2021

Nerdophiles

Review

5/4/2021

Amani’s Reviews

Review

5/5/2021

Little Red Reads

Review

5/6/2021

The Bookwyrm's Den

Review

5/7/2021

BookHounds YA

Excerpt

5/8/2021

A Court of Coffee and Books

Review

Week Three:

5/9/2021

Kait Plus Books

Excerpt

5/10/2021

onemused

Review

5/11/2021

Midnightbooklover

Review

5/12/2021

booksaremagictoo

Review

5/13/2021

History from a Woman’s Perspective

Review

5/14/2021

Celiamcmahonreads

Review

5/15/2021

Abellafairytale

Review

Week Four:

5/16/2021

Fyrekatz Blog

Review

5/17/2021

Haunted By Books

Review

5/18/2021

Momfluenster

Review

5/19/2021

The Momma Spot

Review

5/20/2021

Ficticiouswonderland

Review

5/21/2021

Bookwyrming Thoughts

Review

5/22/2021

Book Briefs

Review

Week Five:

5/23/2021

Rajiv's Reviews

Review

5/24/2021

fictitious.fox

Review

5/25/2021

Emelie's Books

Review

5/26/2021

Eli to the nth

Review

5/27/2021

Popthebutterfly

Review

5/28/2021

Books and Zebras

Review

5/29/2021

YA Book Nerd

Review

Week Six:

5/30/2021

two points of interest

Review

5/31/2021

Lifestyle of Me

Review