Friday, July 30, 2021

Book Review - Cold Hearted (Villains, #8) by Serena Valentino + Giveaway


The tale is familiar as time. A young beautiful maiden is grieving for the loss of her mother. Her doting father is desperate to give his daughter a new mother. However, the girl's new stepmother is cold, cruel and selfish and when her husband dies, she makes the girl a servant in her own home.

But who is the stepmother really? What is the true story behind her life and what lead to her being so closed off? Before the glass slipper and the prince, there was another love story being told. There was a widow who thought she lost the love of her life and would never find love again. Then she finds herself falling in love with someone else. Only after she gives her heart and money does she realize that she doesn't get her own happily ever after.

I love books that retell classic story with a twist. However, I was quite disappointed in this novel and found it to be boring. There was no special twist or an interesting moment in the entire story. I am not sure if its because I didn't read the other books in the series but, after reading this novel I don't think I would ever pick up the other books.

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



About the Book

Title: COLD HEARTED (Villains #8)

Author: Serena Valentino

Pub. Date: July 6, 2021

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Pages: 304

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonKindle, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD,

This was supposed to be her happily ever after...

It’s a familiar tale: A kind and beautiful young girl, reeling from loss. A doting father, frantic to bring a mother’s love back into his daughter’s life. And the selfish, cruel woman who insinuates herself into that family―a woman so unfeeling, so cold hearted, that when her new husband dies, she makes the girl a servant in her own home.

But who is that evil stepmother, that icy lady of the house? How did she become so closed off that, in the face of a child’s grief, she thought only to seek wealth and power for herself and her abhorrent daughters? Before that fateful ball, before the glass slipper and the prince, there was another story―a story of love and grief, of hope and of dreams dashed. It is the story of Lady Tremaine.

Even the coldest of villains are sometimes wives and mothers, women who loved and lost and hoped for something grander for their lives . . . once upon a dream.

The latest novel in Serena Valentino’s deliciously devious Villains series introduces the most famed and hated wicked stepmother of them all―but turns everything you know about her on its head.



Don’t miss Serena’s live stream on July 6th on Creepy Kingdom’s YouTube Channel!


About Serena:

Serena Valentino has been weaving tales that combine mythos and guile for the past decade. She has earned critical acclaim in both the comic and horror domains, where she is known for her unique style of storytelling, bringing her readers into exquisitely frightening worlds filled with terror, beauty, and extraordinary protagonists. The books in her best-selling Villains series are best enjoyed when read in the following order: Fairest of All, The Beast Within, Poor Unfortunate Soul, Mistress of All Evil, Mother Knows Best, Odd Sisters, Evil Thing, and Cold Hearted.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of COLD HEARTED, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:





BookHounds YA



Rajiv's Reviews


Week Two:


Kait Plus Books



She Just Loves Books






History from a Woman’s Perspective









Fyrekatz Blog


Week Three:


The Reading Wordsmith



Lilly's Book World






Phannie the ginger bookworm






Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers



Don't Judge, Read


Week Four:





A Fictional Bookworm






Books Are Magic Too









The Momma Spot


Week Five:


Books and Zebras @jypsylynn



Bookish Rantings














two points of interest


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Book Review - Swimming Home by Mary-Rose MacColl


Catherine Quick is a young fifteen-year-old that loves to swim. She arrives in London from her native Australia after her beloved father passes away. She feels connected with her father when she swims. However, living in London with her aunt Louisa, Catherine feels everything she holds dearly to her has been taken away.

Louisa is a surgeon in London and is well known for her fight for equality for women. She has strict opinions and views on the appropriate behavior for her young niece. Louisa wants Catherine to focus on getting her education as she did. However, Catherine is rebellious and she is trying to find a way to fit into her new life. Louisa can't help to worry about Catherine's choices as she deals with her own past trauma.  During a chance meeting with American banker, Manfred Lear Black, Louisa decides to bring Catherine to NY to train to swim the English Channel. Louisa is hesitant at first but, then she tries to listen to her heart.

I thought the novel was a rather boring and drawn-out read. I had a hard time connecting to any of the characters. I didn't care for Louisa as a person because she claims she wants equality for women but, makes choices for other women without their knowledge or consent. However, she was upset when someone did the same thing to her.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Book Review - The House of Whispers by Laura Purcell



Louise Pinecroft has lost most of her family to consumption. Only she and her father were left unscathed but, they are incredibly lonely and heartbroken. Here father, Dr. Pinecroft, decides that he will run an experiment to prove that he can cure the disease that killed his family. He believes that the sea air can cure consumption. He arranges for a group of prisoners who have been ravished by consumption to stay in the caves under his new Cornish home. While he devotes himself to the experiment, Louise finds herself surrounded by a maid who is convinced that fairies will take people from their homes.

Forty years later, Hester arrives at Morvoren House to become a nurse for the partially paralyzed and mute Miss Pinecroft. Hester takes the position because she is running from her past. However, she finds herself surrounded by superstitious staff who conducts weird rituals and mysterious events occur during the night. Will Hester's past come back to haunt her?

I have read a few books by the author so, I was excited to read this book. However, I was disappointed how boring this novel was. I felt like the author built up the story line but, the ending was very unsatisfying as it didn't really answer anything. The story is told across three different timelines and each add a bit to the story but, the author failed to make them into a cohesive and enjoyable story.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Book Review - Come Back to Me (Waters of Time, #1) by Jody Hedlund


Marian Creighton doesn't believe there is an ultimate cure that could cure any disease. She doesn't believe in her father's quest to find the cure for the disease that killed their mother and has affected her sister. However, Marian's father falls into a coma after drinking a vial of holy water that is believe to contain trace residue from the Tree of Life. Marian begins to question everything she thought she knew. Marian tries to study the clues that her father left behind to see if he crossed back in time. She didn't think it was possible until she found herself back in time during the Middle Ages.

William Durham is a knight for the king and comes to Marian rescue. He is willing to offer protection if she becomes his wife. As Marian stays longer in the Middle Age, she begins to care for William. Will she find a way to return to the present?

I thought the book had an interesting premise but, I didn't quite care for the book. I was more than one third of the way done before I lost interest in the novel. I felt like it was boring and moved very slowly. If you like time traveling romance novels with hints of medical drama, then this would be a good read for you.


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

Thursday, July 22, 2021

July 2021 Empties Part 2!


I feel like today is the first day of July and not that the month is almost over. But, I am not going to lie I am very excited for Fall weather. I didn't finish too much this round but, I did make a dent in my full size items.

I loved the BBW shower gel, it had a nice relaxing scent. I used it before leaving my apartment and it leaves me in a calm mindset. I did notice that I had to be generous with the product otherwise, I didn't have enough to lather up for the entire shower. It did leave my skin delicately scented and it lasted through the day. I would buy this again if its on sale.

I heard of this clean brand called Meta~Pora so, I was excited to try it. I heard that turmeric is good for skin but, I was quite disappointed by this mask. It left my feeling tight and it cause tingly feeling that was uncomfortable. I didn't really notice a difference between the mask and other masks I have used in the past. I doubt I would repurchase again.

I have tried Perricone MD in the past and had mixed results before. I really liked this moisturizer and felt like that it showed noticeable results after the first use. My skin felt softer and moisturized especially after using a facial sheet. When I used this with moisturizer and the Skin Inc. serum, my skin looked flawless. 

I saw that Tower 28 lip gloss got glowing reviews and I know why. This lip gloss felt like heaven on my lips. After the sticky part wore off my lips were still hydrated through the day. I would definitely buy this again.

Here is everything I finished -

BBW Aromatherapy Sleep Lavender + Vanilla Body Wash
Tula Skincare Keep it Clear Acne Foam Cleanser
Goodal Waterest First Essence
SkinInc Collagen Serum
Tower 28 Lip Jelly - Chill
Meta ~ Pora Exfoliating Mask Yellow Clay & Turmeric
Perricone MD Essential Fx Acyl - Glutathione Rejuvenating Moisturizer
Bliss Rose Gold Rescue Gentle Moisture Cream
Boudoir Peony Scented Soap
Facetory Everyday Pearl Face Sheet
Logically, Skin Aquatide Soothing & Lifting Mask
Frudia Natural Hydration Maintains Moisture
Nooni Snowflake Whipping Cleanser

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Book Review - The New Girl by Harriet Walker


Margot Jones is the fashion editor at a famous fashion magazine. She is pregnant with her first child. Margot's life is the envy of other women. She has a successful career, a beautiful home, gorgeous clothes, and a doting husband.

Maggie is a freelance journalist and is envious of Margot. She wishes that she can have Margot's life. When Margot offers Maggie the temp job of covering Margot's maternity leave, Maggie is excited. She knows the job is only for a few months but, she can't help but want more.

When Margot gives birth, her oldest friend decides to end their friendship. This causes her to feel insecure and suspicious of everyone. Margot eyes everything with paranoia especially, when an online troll starts a vicious attack on her. Margot's perfect facade starts to break and it might expose a dark secret she spent years keeping.

I thought this book was going to be a thriller and it turned out to be a completely pointless book. I honestly don't think this book needed to be published. There was nothing that made this book a thriller because the story line line was two women complaining and comparing each other to themselves. The story kept dragging on to the point where I wanted to throw the book into the trash. The ending was far fetched and seemed silly. The mastermind behind "everything" needed help and to face the consequences of their actions but, it was like they brushed it under the rug.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Book Review - The Summer Sisters (Juniper Springs, #2) by Sara Richardson


The Buchanan sisters share everything including their inherited Juniper Inn. The sisters plan to remodel and do a grand re-opening of the inn. However, their mother, Lillian, refuses to attend the party because of her decades long feud with her sister, Sassy.

Rose is determined to make the celebration an extravagant one to celebrate both the inn and Sassy. Even if it means requesting the help from a certain surly hardware store owner to help with the renovations. Dahlia is heartbroken that her marriage has failed. She decides to move closer to her family. She and her kids are starting to rebuild their lives when Dahlia questions if she is ready to fall in love again. She is worried about the stability she has worked hard to give her children.

Sassy has missed her sister and tried to reconnect. However, they are both two stubborn to reconcile. When Sassy discovers something that might change her life forever, will it be too late for them to reconnect?

I thought the book was a cute and cozy romantic read. This was the second book in the series but, can be read as a standalone. This was my first book in the series and I felt like I missed some nuances between the characters. The story was told from alternating point of views and a few times I got confused between the sisters. I thought the book was a cute read and look forward to reading more books in the series. If you like Hallmark movies, you will enjoy this novel.

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

Friday, July 16, 2021

Book Review - The Rumor by Lesley Kara



There is a rumor circulating in the small seaside town Joanna lives in. The rumor is that a notorious child killer is living a new life under an assumed identity. The person who committed the crime was a young child herself. Joanna starts to suspect everyone in town.

As Joanna starts to read more about the case, she becomes obsessed with finding out the truth. However, while she is searching for the killer, she puts her and her family in the killer's crosshairs. The person is ready to kill again to protect what they love. Joanna realizes how far someone is willing to go for people they love.  

The novel was an interesting read. The twist was a surprise for me but, might have been predictable to some. The novel moved a bit slow at times and had a lot of characters. I must admit, I didn't like the scenes with the killer's point of view. When the person was exposed, I felt like their inner thoughts didn't match the person we knew.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Book Review - The Reunion by Guillaume Musso


Twenty-five years ago while a snowstorm was occurring, Vinca Rockwell, a 19-year-old student ran away with her philosophy teacher. Rumor has it that Vinca was in love with her philosophy teacher and they ran away together. Vinca believes "love is everything or nothing". That was the last time she was ever seen.

Manon, Thomas, and Maxine were best friends but, they stopped talking to each since graduation. Twenty five years earlier, the three of them committed a murder and they buried the body in the gymnasium wall. The wall is now being slated to be demolished to make way for a new building. The three friends have to decide what they will do about their secret before the body is discovered.

I thought the book was an interesting read. I had a hard time following some of the references and I felt like I was missing some nuances. The book did  move a bit slow at times but, I found the ending to be a surprise. I personally didn't care for the main character because he literally wrapped his entire life to a person who didn't really care for him. And several times I was curious how he could trust certain people so blindly. I would be opened to reading more books by the author.

Monday, July 12, 2021

July 2021 Haul!


Ah, July is almost half way finished and it can take the hot weather with it! I can't wait for cooler temperatures. On a side note, what happened to Spring? It was like winter one day and then blistering heat the next. 

I got a few products that I am very excited to try. Broo is a shampoo and condition set made with beer. I read somewhere that beer can actually make your hair really shiny. The packaging notes that it has a citrus scent which is good because I do not want to smell like beer.

I have used a few of Wander Beauty products and I love their skincare products and find their beauty items like mascara and eye palettes to be mediocre. I got two new skincare products from them - their Do Not Disturb night concentrate and their Sight C-Er which is a vitamin C concentrate. I have tons of dark spots and I heard vitamin C helps reduce the appearance of dark spots. 

I bought a few products from Aster Raine. I bought a Omni Scrub, the reverse serum. firm & glow serum, and  rejuvenating cream. I am excited to try this organic and simple ingredient brand. 

I bought another Marc Jacobs in Enamored. I love the Fresh brand but, I have a love and hate relationship with their lip balm. I saw they have a new Rose petal soft lip cream and I am excited to try it. I got two bold new colors from Stila in Beso and Mac in Starf*cker. I can't wear to wear these beauties!

I got a new scrubby face wash from HoliFrog that I am excited to try. The packaging is very beautiful. I have a few of the sleep spray and bath salts from ThisWorks and I enjoyed it. I got the Deep Sleep Body Cocoon body cream to promote restful sleeping. 

I heard so many good things about the brand Serumkind and I got their Royal Black Tulip hand cream. I been washing my hands like a crazy and most creams haven't really made an impact on my dry skin. I am really hoping this helps my skin.

Have you gotten anything this month that you are excited to try?

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Book Review - Never Miss by Melissa Koslin


Kadance Tolle used to be a former CIA sniper and she is known for her special sets of skills. She comes from a long line of assassins. However, she is on the run from her family but, she endangers herself when she saves Lyndon Vaile's life. Kadance knows the danger of exposing herself but, she feels compelled to help Lyndon. Together Kadance and Lyndon will need to work together to figure out who is after Lyndon's research.

I read more than half of the book before I decided this book wasn't for me. I felt like the characters were boring, unrealistic, and wooden. I didn't care for the writing style and felt like it was very monotone. I am disappointed as I was looking forward to reading this novel.


Thursday, July 8, 2021

Book Review - The Paris Betrayal by James R. Hannibal


Company spy Ben Calix had a mission go wrong in Rome and when he returns to Paris, he finds his entire world turned upside down. He was targeted in an ambush and a sniper is after him. He tries to get in contact with his agency and was told that they are severing their ties with him and French SWAT is after him.

Ben is desperate for answers and he is trying to avoid a biochemical attack from happening. As he tries to escape, he unwittingly causes another civilian to end up in the Company's cross hairs. He decides to travel across Europe to connect with former team members to help him stop the attack. While Ben is looking for a plan, he will also deal with the fallout from being kicked out of the Company.

I thought the novel was a quick and fast paced read. I can't say that I care for any of the characters or what happened to them because there were a lot of characters involved. I felt that the novel was a bit too predictable and I was able to guess all the twists before they were disclosed. The book was an okay read and I would be open to reading other books by the author.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Book Review - Pretty Little Wife by Darby Kane


Lila Ridgefield seems to have the perfect life. She lives in a quaint college town, has a beautiful home, and a doting husband, Aaron. However, not everything is what seems like especially, Lila. 

A young college student vanished a few months ago and then Aaron disappears. The police thinks that the cases are unrelated until it's discovered the missing student case is very similar to other missing people cases. The police are desperate to find a connection.

They find a clue that makes them realize that there might be more to the story. While the town is worried over their beloved high school teacher, Lila isn't. She is confused about him being missing because she was the last person to see him alive.

The novel was an interesting and thrilling read. I enjoyed finding out the next twist and secret being revealed. I found that the novel moved at a fast pace. I didn't care much for some of the characters and thought they weren't unrealistic. Overall, the novel was a good read and I look forward to reading more books by the author.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Book Review - Pretty Things by Janelle Brown

Nina thought once she got her fancy liberal arts degree that life would be different. However, things didn't turn out as expected and she had to resort to stealing from rich kids with her con artist Irish boyfriend, Lachlan. Nina utilizes the skills she has gleamed from her con artist mother who has spent her entire life hustling to provide for them. When Nina's mom get sick, Nina realizes she will need to pull off a major scam to ensure her mom gets the proper treatment.

Vanessa comes from an extremely wealthy family and she dreams of making her mark in the world. She decides to become an Instagram influencer with all the free perks and daily demands. However, underneath her glamorous lifestyle, Vanessa's life is stained by tragedy including a broken engagement. She decides to head to the family estate, Stonehaven to regain her bearings. The mansion contains secrets that causes Vanesa's and Nina's world to merge.

I was initially drawn by the beautiful cover and noticed that the novel was highly rated.  I found that the novel was slow and incredibly boring. I thought that the characters were entitled and their plans of "revenge" were stupid and unfounded. The book was completely predictable even the "twist" in the end. This book was completely drawn out and overrated.

Friday, July 2, 2021

July 2021 Empties!



Can you believe it? It's already July, I can't believe how fast the year has went by. It feels just the other day that we rung in the New Year and I can't say I really done anything productive this year either...maybe next year since this year is already finished :D

I finished a few things that I enjoyed. I really liked the Eminence Monoi face cream smelled amazing and left my skin feeling super soft and smooth. I liked the Vichy cream because it made my skin feeling smooth almost like porcelain. I used the Ren comforting moisturizer when my skin was acting up because of my constant mask usage. It calmed my skin and made it feel less wonky.

I am really disappointed with the Glow Recipe banana souffle cream. I felt like it barely did anything to my skin. I had to constantly re-applied. I was pleasantly surprised with Verso cream.  It did leave my skin dry but, I felt like my skin looked better though. My skin tolerated it better than other retional.

Did you get anything you are exciting to try?

Here is everything I finished this month -

Eminence Organic Skin Care Monoi Age Corrective Night Cream for Face
Glow Recipe Banana Souffle Moisture Cream
Bonvivant Botanical Mask Pack Chamomile + Tea Tree
Honey Jarret Super Beau'Tea Mask Rose
Likwid Rx Stress Reliever 100% Natural Hair Oil
John Frieda Frizz-Ease Straight Fixation Smoothing Creme
Ren Organic Skincare Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask
Pantene Pro-V Foam Conditioner Sheer Volume
Verso Super Facial Serum with Retional 8
Modesa Plumeria Pineapple Scented Body Lotion

Nature Republic Acai Berry Mask
L'Oreal Power Moisture Hydrating Shampoo

Juliette Has a Gun - Vanilla Vibes
FrienVita Perfect Skin Adhesion Firming Gold Glow Mask
Real Chemistry Environmental Rescue Essential Day Cream
Leaders Insolution Illuminating Mask
JeJu:En This is My Sheet Green Tea Calming
Freeman Facial Enyzme Mask Pineapple
Vichy Liftactiv Peptide-C
Philosohpy Purity 3-in1 cleanser
L'Occitane Comforting Light Cream
L'Occitane Dry Skin Hand Cream
Kate Somerville Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment