Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Book Review - Watch Her (Hester Thursby Mystery #3) by Edwin Hill

 

 


Angela White and her friend, Hester Thursby attends a prestigious gala at Prescott University to celebrate the new lavish campus. During the gala, they are called to the house of the college's owners, Tucker and Jennifer Matson, because there was a break-in. Jennifer claims that someone broke into their home. As Angela and Hester investigate, they realize that Jennifer might be lying about the break-in.   However, they are still curious why Jennifer would lie about the incident.

Hester is asked by Maxine, the general manager of the college, to locate some missing alumni. As Hester begins to dig into the project she notices a strange pattern between the students. The case becomes more urgent when one of the missing students turns up dead. As Hester and Angela delve deeper into the case, they unearth decade old secrets that someone wants to stay buried.

This was my first book of the series. I felt like readers could read this book as a standalone but, I felt like I was missing some nuances between the characters. I thought the book moved at a very slow pace for my liking. Most of the action happened in the last 75 pages and the first few hundred pages were just filler. I am not entirely sure the plot is completely believable either. I had a hard time liking any of the characters and didn't get some of the side stories between Hester and her partner, Morgan. That whole relationship was confusing for me and I am guessing it's because I didn't read the first two books. This book would be a good read for fans of the series or people who like cozy mystery reads.

 **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, March 28, 2021

Book Review - The Stories You Tell (Roxane Weary, #3) by Kristen Lepionka

 

Roxane Weary knows a late night phone call is never good news. Andrew, her brother called to tell her that Addison, a one-time fling, turned up to his apartment frightened and requested to use his phone. After she made a phone call, she disappears and Andrew is worried. He asks Roxane to help because Allison never made it home and her friends and family are worried about her.

The police believe something happened to Roxane and they suspect Andrew might be involved.  Roxane decides to check Addison's digital footprint and finds herself getting more involved in her disappearance. When a cop is found dead on the opposite side of town, it makes the case more muddled. The staff at the dance club where Addison works goes missing suddenly, the case becomes more convoluted. Roxane tries to decipher the clues that Addison left behind, will she be able to find Addison in time?

When I first picked up this book, I didn't realize it was a part of a series. I was able to read the story and follow along without issue. However, I felt like there was some nuances I was missing between the characters. I thought the book was an interesting read but, I felt like it went a bit slowly. I was able to figure out the person behind the disappearance around half way through the book. I would be open to reading other books from the series.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Book Review - The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

 


In summer of1950, Flavia de Luce is a young girl aspiring to be chemist with a passion for poison. She becomes entwined in a mystery when a dead bird is found on their doorstep with a stamp pinned through its beak. Hour later, Flavia discovers a man dying in their garden and watches as he takes his last breath. Flavia is excited that a murder occurs at Buckshaw as she soon becomes invested in solving the case.

This isn't usually the type of book I would pick for myself. However, it was given as a recommendation to me. It wasn't a bad book but, it wasn't a book that suit my tastes. I found the boisterous Flavia to be annoying and overwhelming at times. I didn't care for the writing style and I found myself having to reread several parts of the story too many times. I was a bit turned off with scenes of  the "Oriental" magic trick and found this to be in poor taste. Some readers might find this series enjoyable, I do not.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Book Review - House of Shadows (House of Shadows, #1) by Darcy Coates

 


Sophie has grown up in a privileged world. However, that all changes when a disaster bankrupts her family. As Sophie tries to come terms with news, an unexpected solution appears. A wealthy stranger, Mr. Argenton, asks for her hand in marriage. Sophie knows if she marries Mr. Argenton it will save her family's fortune and from scandal. Sophie is torn because she knows she will have to leave her family and live in Northwood, a vast and dark mansion that is hours away from civilization.

She struggles with her new life as the mistress of the cold and desolate mansion. Her new relatives are distant and cold, while Mr. Argenton is keeping secrets. Sophie feels that there is something wrong with the house and it feels unnatural.

She hears a piano play during the middle of the night but, no one in the house plays. The house drips blood from the ceiling and she feels a dark and cold presence. Sophie begins to learn that the house is haunted and the house doesn't like intruders.

Sophie feels trapped at Northwood and she is desperate to escape. She wants to leave but, she is unable to leave Mr. Argenton behind. She finds herself drawn to him and suspects he feels the same way about her. However, she knows that the secrets that Mr. Argenton keep might cost her life.

I have quite a few of the author's novels and I have enjoyed them. This book is part of a series and it was an interesting read. However, I had a hard time liking Sophie. I felt like the character was weak and pathetic and she turns hysterical over everything. When Sophie finally grew a backbone, it was unrealistic and out of character for her. I thought it was unrealistic how quickly Sophie fell in love with Mr. Argenton when they mostly kept their distance and she knew he was keeping secrets.  I didn't understand why Sophie kept the odd behaviors of her husband's family a secret when he was nothing but understanding towards her.

Monday, March 22, 2021

March 2021 Empties Part 2!

 


Wow March is almost over and I felt like it just began! I am also very proud that I finished so much stuff this month...which means that next month I am going to finish next to nothing :D

I have love Marc Jacobs but, this was the first time I used their facial products. I am in love with the YouthQuake moisturizer. It smelled and had a texture of creme brulee. I will definitely going to be restocking this moisturizer. I have used several Elemis products and I love putting this on. The cream was so luxurious and felt amazing against my skin. 

I have quite a few of Sand & Sky products but, this was my first time using them. The colorfully bottles on my cabinet shelf. Honestly, I wasn't crazy of this mask as it burned so much and I didn't notice a difference. There wasn't much I tried this month that was a standout. 

Have you finished anything this month that you loved?

Here is everything I finished -

Farm Skin Nourishing Superfood Salad for Skin
Facetory Vitality with Pomegranate Firming Mask
Meg Two Step Jelly Mask Firming and Radiance
Bonvivant Botanical Mask Pack Mint + Teatree
Dermal Pearl Collagen Essence Mask
Orjena Natural Moisture Mask Sheet Rice
Detoskin Green Tea Time Mask
Elemis Peptide4 Plumping Pillow Facial
Marc Jacobs Youthquake
Huxley Secret of Sahara Oil Essence
Lather Bamboo Lemongrass Moisturizer
Philosophy Twinkle Berry Body Wash
NatureLab Tokyo Perfect Repair Shampoo
On10 Raspberry Ginger Ale Lip Balm
Castelbel Porto Bourbon & Pine Luxury Fraganced Soap
YNM Konad Petit Leaf Lotion
Elisha Coy Moist Up Super Hyalurone Ampoule Serum
Nuxe Paris Clarifying Cream Mask Face and Neck
Purlisse Coconut Oil + Coffee Sugar Body Scrub
Christie Brinkley Complete Clarity Daily Facial Exfoliating Polish
Sand &Sky Brilliant Skin Detoxify + Brightening Purifying Pink Clay Mask
ESW Beauty The Pink Dream Moisturizing Raw Juice Mask
Cica X Hyalon Cica 3 Step Mask Special Care Program

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Book Review - 29 Seconds by T.M. Logan

 



Sarah is a young professor who has worked and sacrificed everything for her career. However, she is struggling to prove herself to her controlling and manipulative department head, Alan Hawthorne.  Alan is a popular television host and a well known scholar. He brings in million dollar grants to the university where they work. As Alan is the university's golden child, his malicious behavior towards female colleagues have gone ignored for years. Unfortunately, Sarah is his newest victim.

When Hawthorne's unwanted advances become more menacing, Sarah feels helpless. She isn't sure what her options are. One day, during her drive home, she witness an attempted kidnapping of a young child. Sarah intervenes to prevent the child from being hurt. The child's father wants to show Sarah he appreciates her help by offering her a favor in return. The man is a successful businessman who is known to have dangerous connections with the mob. He gives Sarah a burner phone and tells her that he can make all  her problems disappear with one call.

I am not sure if I completely believe this plot. I felt like it was overdone and over the top. I had a hard time connecting with Sarah. She is a well educated professor but, her reactions and personality are the exact opposite. The story took too long to get to the point and by then, I lost interest.  I am not sure what part of the book was supposed to be thrilling but, this entire thing was a snooze fest.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Book Review - Looking Glass (The Chronicles of Alice) by Christina Henry

 


Elizabeth is a young girl who lives in New City who has a secret. She can do magic but, someone has learned her secret who has an hidden agenda of their own. They want to release a butterfly that was supposed to be locked away forever. That butterfly was once known as the Jabberwock.

Alice and Hatcher are looking for a place to call their own. They dream of their own place by the lake that is surrounded by a field of wildflowers. During their journey, they end up being caught in a severe snowstorm. Alice comes across a house that seems empty and abandoned.

Hatcher had a past life before he became known as Hatcher. He was once known as Nicholas. He was one of the best fighters in New City. He has never lost a match until, his boss wants him to fight a person who never left their opponent leave the ring alive.

As Alice and Hatcher continue looking for their new home, they come across a village in the mountains. The village inhabitants all fear and hate magic. Anyone who is caught practicing magic in the Village of Pure will be punished.

The book is composed of four novellas that are separate stories but, they are also interconnected. I didn't realize that this book was a part of a series. I felt that the book can be read as a standalone but, I felt like I was missing some nuances. I liked all four stories and found them entertaining. I think I might read the other books in the series to get the full story behind the characters.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Book Review - The Girl I Used to Be by Mary Torjussen

 


Real estate agent Gemma Brogan spent the night having dinner with a prospective client. The next morning, she is annoyed with herself for drinking so much and having a hangover.  During the span of a few days, Gemma starts receiving mementos from the night. There is a photo with her kissing someone. Then a video of her complaining about her family. The gifts start getting progressively worse and Gemma has no recollection of that night.

As Gemma starts receiving more threatening and compromising photos, she is worried about her already shaky marriage. She begins to feel helpless like her life is spinning out of control.  Gemma begins to remember a night that happened years ago that changed her life.

The book had an interesting premise but, it was a bit predictable. I was able to figure out who was behind the blackmail scheme. The blackmail scheme wasn't very serious but, more an annoyance. I am surprised that Gemma made it a bigger deal than it really was. I supposed that she was worried about the state of her marriage but, she was consistently telling bigger lies to cover up small truths.  The characters were okay but, I found myself annoyed at Gemma. She kept being timid and cowardly with everyone including her husband and employees. She let her own employees tell her what to do. I understand that this was relating to an incident in her past but, it didn't make it less enjoyable.  I may read other books by the author.

 

 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Book Review - All the Children Are Home by Patry Francis

 

Dahlia and Louie Moscatelli are foster parents who provide long-term foster care for children Jimmy, Zaidie, and Jon. Their lives turn upside down when Agnes, a six year old native girl, comes to live with them.

When they decided to become foster parents, they had a few ground rules. They didn't want no newborns, no delinquents, and no girls. When Dahlia was younger, she suffered through a horrid incident that has left her a victim in her own home. She is afraid of the burden of being a girl.

Louie and Dahlia consider their family to be complete but, when a social worker turns up at their door, they have a hard time saying no. Agnes is a young girl who has been abused and neglected and suffers from emotional damage. 

Agnes Juniper is a rambunctious six year old that has no memory of her Native American roots. Agnes knows nothing about herself other than the box of trinkets she received from her mother. She knows she has a sister as she recalls some dreams of her sister. As the years pass, the Moscatelli family find themselves at odds with outside forces.

The book was an endearing read with a lot of heartfelt moments. I enjoyed seeing the children grow up and try to find their own paths. I felt like the book was a bit incomplete in the end and I am hoping that the author plans to continue the story with happens to them in the later years. I am excited to read other books by the author.

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

Friday, March 12, 2021

March 2021 Haul!

 


Wow, its already March 13th! Where has the month gone? I feel like this year has been moving so quickly...although last year was quite the blur. 

I got a few Bonvivant masks and they are pretty good. They are decent masks that I used to get from Memebox when they were selling stuff. Now, I usually get them from Amazon. I am still sad that they are no longer a store that sells other brands. They used to have some really amazing deals.

I got quite a few new lip products. I got a few Clinique chubby sticks, I haven't used these in awhile but, I remember loving them. I can't wait to use this one especially the red. I got this really cute heart shaped lipstick from Kaja in Be Mine. I got a few repeat lip products that are favorites such as the Tarte lip pencils and Burt's Bees lip balm.

As the weather is warming up, I got two new scrubs to help get rid of  flaky skin. I love coffee scrubs but, sometimes they are so messy. I bought two different brands: the Coffee Scrub and Frank Body. I am excited to see how each one performs.

I been breaking out a lot lately so, I got some of those acne patches. I heard good things about it so, I am excited to try it. I got another bottle of Huxley Secret Essence. This thing is amazing and I love it so much. I am excited to try the Peach and Lily Glass Skin serum. People swear by it and my skin could use a pick me up.

Did you get anything this month that you are excited to try?


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Book Review - Consumed (Firefighters, #1) by J.R. Ward

 

 

Anne Ashburn is consumed by things she cannot control. She is bitter about her family legacy, her career as a firefighter has ended, she is in love with the department bad boy, and her new arson case is against a fiery killer.

Anne is always up for a challenge and is willing to push herself to the limits. However, she made one risky decision and it changes her life forever. Anne has tied her entire self-worth to being a firefighter and she had to give up her dream job. She had to find a way to reinvent herself and her job.

She decides to become an arson investigator but, it pales in comparison to the adrenaline-fueled life she once had. Anne doesn't feel like she would feel the same passion for her job again. However, when a string of suspicious fires is cropping up all over her city, she begins to feel her passion revitalized.

Danny McGuire is one of the city's best fireman. However, after the accident with Anne, he is suffering from a personal crisis. He is heading for disaster after he keeps taking risks after risks. Danny seems to have a death wish until Anne reappears in his life. Will the arson case be able to help Danny find his path again?

I liked that the author took time to build each of the characters and their backstory. However, many of the side stories were bought up but, they went nowhere. I felt like barely any time was spent on the arson case. The culprit was revealed and caught by a lucky chance towards the almost very end of the book. Most of the book was spent on Anne and Danny's romance and random side-stories. I am not sure if this book was meant to introduce us to the characters or it was just a mediocre read filled with useless details.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Book Review - Fallen Beauty by Erika Robuck

 


In 1928 in upstate New York, two seemingly different women cross paths with each other and both of their worlds change.  Laura Kelley and her lover sneak away at night to attend a performance of the Ziegfeld Follies. As their night comes to a close, they make a decision that might have a dark consequence on their future.

Edna St. Vincent Millay and her husband are hosting a party on the same evening. They have a wild party in hopes of providing inspiration to Millay. She wishes for a new lover but, the young man is the first person who isn't willing to bend to her will.

Two years later has passed and Laura is an unwed seamstress with a young daughter and struggling to support her family. Millay is dealing with emotional and mental turmoil. Laura and Millay work together to create Millay's costumes for her next reading tour. However, they have to keep their complex friendship a secret otherwise, it would hurt the ones closest to them. As their friendship grows, the town condemns them as fallen women and they have to decide the price they are willing to pay to live a full life.

This book was an utter bore. I  didn't care for any of the characters. Laura was so passive and let people treat her like a doormat. She was protecting someone and her own heart from getting what she deserves. I found the Millay character quite annoying. She was so needy and doesn't seem to really care about other people but, her own needs. It took a while before their friendship started blooming and by then, I could care less. 

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Book Review - Facing the Dawn by Cynthia Ruchti

 

Mara Jacobs has been struggling for three years while her humanitarian husband, Liam, has been digging wells in Africa. She knows she should feel proud and happy for her husband who is helping widows and children nine time zones away. However, she is exhausted and working a dead end job to put food on the table. She barely has time to spend with her three delinquent children, failing to make repairs on their dilapidated house, and she feels like she is barely hanging on most days.

When Mara receives news that her husband has perished during one of his missions, her entire world gets turned upside down. Mara struggles to find joy in her life when she experiences another life alternating incident. She tries to have faith and find hope when things look bleak.

I have read other books by the author and I was looking forward to reading this book. Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting into the novel. I didn't enjoy the writing style and felt like it was fragmented. The way information was revealed felt disjointed. The book moved very slowly and it was hard for me to connect to the characters. I was more than half way done when I couldn't be bothered with reading more.

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

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Book Review - Network of Deceit (Amara Alvarez #2) by Tom Threadgill

 

After Amara Alvarez rescues nearly fifty kidnapped children, she finally lands her dream assignment. She is transferred to the San Antonio's Homicide Division. Amara receives her first case of a suspicious death of a teenager at a local water park. 

As Amara investigates the case, she notices as she applies pressure to her suspects she bring more chaos to her personal life.  Someone is watching her entire move and is stalking her online. Amara will have to trust her intuition and use unconventional methods to find the killer. She will need to prove herself that her first case won't end up in the cold case files.

This is the second book in the series and the first book I read. I was able to follow along and understand the story but, I felt like there were some character nuances that I missed. The book mentioned several times the case that Amara worked on previously. I enjoyed the story but, I had a hard time liking Amara. I felt like she was a bull in a china shop and had no chill.  I am looking forward to the next book in the series especially, the drama with her new partner.



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

 

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

March 2021 Empties!

 

 

Oh wow, it's already March! I feel like it was just January. Although, with the crappy weather I am excited for more sunny days. 

I finished quite a few things and I am keeping my momentum of finishing stuff. I am so happy but, let's ignore the face that I definitely bought more than I used.  The few sheet masks I finished, I loved using the Karuna and the Simply When masks. My face felt so hydrated and so soft after application. 

I was surprised how much I liked the Purlisse Watermelon cleanser. It left my face feeling clean without feeling stripped and it smelled amazing!  When I got the Brooklyn & Bailey Lash Next Door the mascara felt a bit dry but, after a few uses the mascara was completely dry. I felt like I was sent old product. I am not going to buy another tube from this brand because the first use wasn't impressive to warrant another buy.  

Have you finished anything this month that you would recommend?

Here is everything I finished this month -

Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb Aloe Vera
Sunday Riley Ice
Nuria Revitalizing Jelly Night Treatment
South Mane Under Eye Gels
Karuna Brightening+ Face Mask
Simply When Water Wish Hydrate Dry Skin
Holika Holika Less on Skin Redness Calming CICA Dressing Mask
Miss Spa Charcoal Clarifying Mask
Detoskin Celery Cleanse Mask
Que Bella Mask
Feel Brilliant Bamboo Charcoal Facial Sheet Mask
Brooklyn & Bailey Lash Next Door
Purlisse Blue Lotus Seed
Amore Pacific Treatment Cleansing Foam
Eva NYC Satin Dream Leave-In Cream
Bioderma Sebium Mat Control
Purlisse Watermelon + Charcoal Purifying Cleanser