Book Review: Making Her His by Lucy Leroux

Parts of this review have been posted on GoodReads on Jan. 29. The rest is a retrospective review on the novel, since I have delved further into the romance genre.
Honestly, this was my first  romance only novel. I have always been a fan of romance in my  books, but aside from Fifty Shades of Grey (which I LOVED) I haven’t  really delved in to the world of romance novels.
I mean I guess I shouldn’t be surprised with a title like “Making Her His”. Until reading this book, I didn’t even know Alpha Male Romance was a thing.  I’ve got a soft spot for possessive, obsessive, controlling male love interests ( That’s why I love Stephenie Meyer’s books and the ever popular Fifty Shades of Grey) that goes back as far back as Labyrinth (come on, if you didn’t think Bowie’s Goblin King was sexy as hell  and obsessive about Sarah we clearly didn’t see the same movie) and my original controlling, obsessive and possessive masked man, The Phantom of the Opera.
It’s kind of hard to judge for me personally, since this really is my first forte into the romance genre as a whole, although at the time of writing this review for the blog- I have started actively reading more romance books.  What do I have against romance you ask?
Nothing really; I love romance because I am an incurable romantic- the only issue I have if you want to call it an issue to begin with is that I feel the genre is too broad, and sub-genres are not represented well.
Couple that with terrible titles and covers, and it’s easy to see why I was so hesitant to try a romance novel, despite my own romantic nature. I am not entirely new to the genre,  but the last “romance” books I read where Harlequin books back in middle school, and I thought they were awful then.
I’ve learned since reading this book, that some titles are classified as romance when they should be classified as erotica, new romance,  or dark romance., or other such as paranormal, fantasy, and so forth.  This is what makes it a little difficult for me to dive in.  When I read a book classified as romance, I have NO IDEA what I’m really going to be reading.  This was the case for Making Her His. I knew there was going to be sex, I was prepared for that- but looking back on it now after reading titles like The Bonding by Imogen Keeper, it feels kind of tame and even more contrived and stereotypical in context.
I don’t have a problem with sex in books, but for me at least I feel that the fact I read Fifty Shades of Grey FIRST kind of ruined me for reading this. I know Fifty Shades gets a lot of flack and hate, but at least it was somewhat believable in its storytelling. As in, maybe not the situation but more the dialogue and conversational exchange. Even the psychological context into WHY Christian was the way he was, and Ana’s own personal choice to be with Christian despite his baggage was something I could actually buy into.
I felt like this book was something of a watered down cross between Fifty Shades and Cruel Intentions. I like both of the aforementioned, but somehow I had trouble buying that Elynn ( who I didn’t know how to pronounce her name if it was Ellen or Eelynn) was totally into the idea of having sex with her step-brother, given her past issues with men. Elynn’s male baggage includes almost being raped because she innocently didn’t realize some douchebag’s intentions that he wanted to bang her, and thus she doesn’t really understand she gives off mixed signals and doesn’t really have any desire to date.  I did like Alex’s character, where he was actually really sensitive to her needs because he understood them (you know being her step-brother and all)  and he relented and worked with her.
Another main issue I had was the dialogue. It felt forced and at times really really cheesy. I’m no prude by any means, but the C grade porno dialogue just makes me cynical and I can’t take it seriously. There is even a scene in which Elynn sees Alex’s schlong and being the virginal 25 year old she is she widens her eyes and gasps “is it going to fit?”… I rolled my eyes and laughed out loud because as far as I know no one actually talks like this in reality. It’s stereotypical and dumb.  The scenes felt so rushed once we got to the plot of Elynn and Alex sleeping together, and although you can see the plot move as Alex changes his ways, there is an err of predictability to it all, which I’m not sure that’s a good thing. I like uncertainty, that’s what pulls me in to the story to find out what happens. If I know how it’s going to end, what’s the point in continuing to read?
I did NOT like the ending either, even though I knew where it was going.  They get married, and live happily ever after and Alex changes to a family man. Gag.  I hate traditional tropes like this.
I think in one of the sex scenes he gets turned on at the idea of impregnating her. I wanted to throw up after reading that, and the ending.  I get some women have that fantasy in real life- wanting to change a man into wanting domestic bliss and have a family- but I am not that woman.  I have my own issues with the concept of having kids, and I’m sure that influences my distaste for the generic happily ever after, but more so I  feel left out as an target audience. Don’t assume because one is a woman and reads romance, that every woman that reads romance wants to end up  married, in a relationship with kids.
I also assumed that since this was #1 in the series, that the rest of the books were about them (before I finished the book, that is). I was wrong.  The story wrapped up so quickly, that upon finishing the book, I realized this was the end of their story and I was kind of bummed.
I gave this book  2 stars on GoodReads, because it was ok. I read it in one day, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it, but I enjoyed it in the same way I enjoy eating vegetables instead of cake.  It’s not bad, but it doesn’t taste as good as the cake. Still I didn’t want this book to be the only representation I had for the romance genre, so while I didn’t like it as much, I did not let it deter me from trying more books in the genre.
I plan on doing a genre review not in the near future, but once I have read a good bit of romance books.  So far I have read about 5 books, from different authors, and I have downloaded about 7 or 8 books from bestselling  authors in the genre with classifications in the sub genres of dark romance, new adult romance, paranormal romance, and a few others.  I want to do this genre review because I feel personally that my preconceived notions about the genre in general make me a better fit than someone who is inherently interested in the genre. It’s harder to win over someone who doesn’t traditionally read a particular genre, and at the same time I can objectively look at the structure and progression of plots and character development and concepts because I’m not emotionally invested.
Thanks for reading this review, and as always keep checking back for more reviews!

Book Review: Solaris Seethes by Janet McNulty

Disclaimer:
*This review contains spoilers!*
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
The spoiler free review is still pending. Hopefully it will be posted over at Online Book Club.Org

Before we get started:
I am a fan of books, and if you are a follower of this blog, you  know this by all the reviews I posted during my book challenge last year. Well, I have signed on for another book challenge this year, of reading 30 books.  I completed my 25 book challenge last year, and upped my count to 30 in July when I completed my 25. I didn’t meet my goal of 30 then, but I got to 28, still not too bad.  This year though in addition to reading 30 books, I am trying to shed my genre specific reading  disposition. I also am on a quest to find sustainable income in the form of a side hustle, something that I can do from the comfort of my own home, and something that I enjoy. I’ve  come up with this quest before, but never really dedicated myself to filing through the legitimate sources out there. I also made it a goal to write more. I enjoy writing, and reviewing things, so naturally when I stumbled upon Work From Home Happiness, and found their article Side Hustles for Booklovers: 30+ Money-Making Ideas for Bibliophiles, I just had to see how I could turn my love of books into a side hustle. I came across a couple great options, and one of them was writing book reviews! Something I already love doing. While I am just starting out in this, and I’d like to make money with this eventually, I have to start somewhere. I also would like to expand my reading material, and who knows?  Maybe I will discover a new author, or a new genre.

My first book to review for Online Book Club, was Solaris Seethes. It was my first sci-fi book, and while I had a lot of problems with it (as you will see when you read it), I didn’t hate it or dislike it enough that I couldn’t read it. I still read it over the course of 4-5 days, and I was not rushing by any means, considering it was quite lengthy.
My spoiler-free version I wrote for Online Book Club is still pending,  but I am allowed to post my full review, complete with spoilers on here.  So, without stalling further- here is my HONEST review of Solaris Seethes.

 

Science Fiction has never really been a genre that has drawn me in.  My best friend is a sci-fi fan, so I am familiar with the genre, and while I do like some aspects of it, my interests in it are pretty generic and basic.  I like sci-fi movies, but until reading Solaris Seethes; I had never read a book classified in this genre.

 

The exposition of this story is stereotypical.  Rynah, our main character is happy with her love after getting engaged to her boyfriend Klanor. It’s a normal day in the life of Rynah, going to work, showing off her engagement ring to everyone. At work, it’s life as usual, except for…… an attack! The geothermic lab in which she works is attacked by thieves who are after the crystal that keeps their planet functioning. The band of evil doers is led by none other than *yawn* Rynah’s new fiancé.  Betrayed and angry, Rynah manages to escape as her world is deteriorating around her, and finds her way to the abandoned tower where her grandfather used to work in search of a decommissioned military ship which he was working on. She finds the ship; Solaris, which is the ship’s artificial intelligence system that can communicate telepathically while the pilot wears their helmet. Amidst some obstacles, Rynah manages to escape and her planet falls to ruins as the thieves leave with the crystal.

 

 

The style of writing was hit or miss with me. One thing I did not like, was the constant side notes, in which the author used parenthesis.  Rynah is described as having “pale lavender skin (a very light shade at that)”. This somewhat informal side note kind of confused me, as I don’t see why the author had to put that in parenthesis when it would have worked just fine in description without it. Rynah is also described as having “emerald green hair with flecks of gold.”  Maybe it’s because I’m a Marvel fan, and have seen Guardians of the Galaxy, but with Rynah’s description I kept picturing Gamora from the Guardians of the Galaxy movie.  The similarities didn’t stop there for me either, and at times the book felt like something of a watered-down version of the Marvel story.

 

 

The main plot of the story is that there is the great ancient prophecy that talks about there being 6 crystals- much like the infinity stones in Guardians of the Galaxy- that when brought together can create a weapon of great power and destruction-again with the Guardians similarity, and maybe even a little like the Death Star in Star Wars. Part of the prophecy tells of four heroes, who we later find out are 4 humans from the Terra Sector, aka Earth. The catch is that each human is from a different time period.  Solaris, who is more than just a ship, but also a character herself; transports our heroes to her ship. For being transported from their relevant time periods our characters should take to adapting to being on ship in space with a humanoid alien pretty well.  Alfric is a Viking King, Solon is a scribe from ancient Greece, Brie is a stereotypical scared high school girl from the present, and Tom is an inventor from the future of 2099.  While I like this idea of incorporating the different time periods, the characters don’t really have that much depth to them. Brie is depicted as “mousy” and “timid” and all as an around pushover and weak. I’m not saying all the woman have to be tough as nails, but I don’t like it when they make the girls your run of the mill damsel in distress. Brie is constantly homesick, and constantly whining and crying and complaining she’s useless. She comes in handy towards the end, but she still remains a flat character with little actual development. Even Alfric is    somewhat stereotypical, being depicted as an enormous gruff and tough Viking who always ready for battle and very skilled as it.  The only character who didn’t really fit the stereotype is Tom.

 

That’s not the only two-dimensional aspect either- when explaining the situation to the heroes, Solaris tells them that they will be a surprise to Klanor, since he doesn’t know about that aspect of the prophecy or about the Terra Sector. This is then contradicted when to drive the point of how dangerous Klanor is to to the humans, she tells them that if Klanor succeeds, he will come after Earth next to destroy it- but moments earlier Klanor supposedly didn’t know about Earth.  There is also some backstory with Klanor where it states that he believed in the ancient stories and that the crystals were real, but that others did not believe him. This seems kind of strange considering that the planet Lanyr in which Klanor and Rynah live functions of the existence of a crystal which stabilizes their magnetic field.

 

The contradictions continue, when for a world who supposedly shuns Earth at best, has many earth derived things.  On the Junglar planet which is-you guessed it- is jungle themed with large Venus fly trap style plants and Mayan style temples and human-esque indigenous people.  The indigenous people act and are depicted similarly to the Mayan people with references to their culture such as human sacrifice, and godly worship.  Even the atmosphere of the planet is habitable as they can breathe the air, and there are lush green plants and life everywhere, mimicking a rainforest. This is supposed to an alien planet, mind you. The references don’t stop there either- aboard the ship Brie tells Rynah her breakfast smells life waffles. When Rynah has a flashback to her grandfather making her pancakes, with boysenberry syrup, nutmeg and whipped cream, she then allows Brie a sampling of her pancake which Brie says tastes like a lemon torte.  The planet Lanyr which Rynah is from had orange clouds, and double sunsets.  How would they be able to grow plants to get nutmeg or berry? Not to mention whipped cream is a dairy product that comes from cows. Do they have cows in outer space?  When our band of misfits are abandoned on the frozen world of Ikor after pirates steal Solaris- amazingly they can breathe without helmets on this planet too; they are attacked by a large sabretooth tiger style animal. Alfric the almighty slays it, and later our heroes hear wolf howling.  Wolves and saber tooth tigers are still very much earthly animals. In outer space, on an alien planet.  When they run into lone man on the Antarctic style planet, of course Rynah knows him as a friend of her grandfather’s named Obiah. Upon inviting the heroes into his home within the walls of ice, it is discovered he has a full-fledged Italian style kitchen, complete with a stove.  The heroes cook pasta with marinara sauce.  On Obiah’s cherry wood dining table is a vase of marigolds. I wasn’t aware Ethan Allen Furniture existed in a galaxy far far away, but more of a question is how would marigolds survive on the planet of Ikor. Even to get them inside, the flowers would wilt or die in the frozen atmosphere in transport. Where would one even get marigolds? They need soil, water and sunlight, on Earth. Probably one of the biggest contradictions that bothered me, was when Obiah explains Klanor’s appeal to the heroes in such a way as “People like Klanor always attract the darker side of humanity.” This really bugged me.  Rynah, Obiah, Klanor are all supposed to be aliens. Humanoid aliens- they have purple skin for goodness sake.  When Solaris is stolen by pirates, the captain Jifdar who eyes up fair skinned damsel Brie; claims he believes they all descended from the same parent race, and living in a different galaxy on different planets they have evolved differently but share the same traits and make up. This begs me to question whether or not our humanoid aliens are human or not.  They are described many times as humanoid, which leads me to believe they are not human. If this is indeed the case, claiming Klanor attracts the darker side of humanity is completely out of context. Klanor isn’t supposed to know about Earth at all, remember?

The plot is thin at best, and I feel like it’s honestly been done before and better.  Every now and then I would come across phrases or words that were grammatically incorrect as well as just not sounding right. In one of the chapters, the term “tie-dyed” was spelled “tie-died”, and in another chapter the same term was spelled correctly as “tie-dyed”.  In another chapter, one of the characters says “He walked in just I managed to take this thing apart”, when the phrase is clearly missing the word as and should be read as “He walked in just AS I managed to take this thing apart.” Those mistakes are small, but really threw me as a reader as I had to re-read the lines to make sure I read them correctly.

 

Having stated my issues with the story, I can’t say I hated it or disliked it. I know it’s part of a series, and I typically like to finish series, so I’ll probably eventually try to finish this one.  Regardless of some of the major issues I had with this book, there were things I did like, such as Solaris.  I really enjoyed the idea of the ship being a character and having a personality. I felt if anything, Solaris was the strongest character. Rynah felt too much like a copy of Gamora, Alfric and Brie felt too stereotypical, and Solon had next to no personality for me.
 

I recommend this book if I can for young adult readers into sci-fi.  The writing isn’t the best, but it is full of action, and adventure and makes up in imagination for the things it lacks.  For someone who is into space ships, and time travel this might be a really good read for you.  There isn’t any romance or love triangle, so those looking for that sort of thing-which I fall into that category more often than not- are going to solely disappointed.  There are lots of action sequences with pew pew laser guns and swords, and pirates and hidden treasure. If I had to pinpoint it, I’d say it had elements from Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Firefly.  If you’re not familiar with sci-fi like me, there’s probably a high probability you won’t like this book. I did like parts of it, and was able to read it all the way through, and as I have stated I will probably check out the rest to see how the story ends. Sometimes the sequel or the later books in a series put the first to shame.  I read Neal Shusterman’s Skinjacker saga over the summer and compared to the last 2 books, the first was downright boring, and as I read it I enjoyed it enough to want to read the sequel, and boy was I glad I did, because it was an amazing sequel; and the final book in the series was the best by far.

 

Book Review: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Where do I start?

This book was amazing and perfect. I read the synopsis briefly as I cleaned over the summer and found it among a stack of books. I added it to my “Want to Read” list on GoodReads.com. The story was about a girl who was different and unique, and her struggle to fit in. As an outcast myself, I was drawn to this book from the get go, and reading about Stargirl’s unusual character and quirks sometimes made me feel like I was looking back in a mirror.

Stargirl-She changes her name when she feels it no longer suits her. She drops pennies and change just so someone can find it and smile. She photographs life as it’s happening as an observer on the sidelines. She cheers for the other team, sends cards and gifts to people with no name. She carries a pet rat, a ukulele and wears crazy clothes.  She doesn’t seem to care what people think. She’s funny. She’s kind. She is the kind of person you would be lucky to know.

I was never “normal”. I am still not “normal”. What hit me in the mega feels was that Stargirl didn’t seem to care what others thought about her, she just wanted to be herself and so she was. But deep down, she DID care, and when her boyfriend tells her she should be a little less her and a little more like THEM, she changes herself to try to fit in. This really resonated with me, reminding me of my own struggles to accept my differences. I was the “weird” girl that no one wanted to be friends with (except for a very small few who found a kindred weirdness with me), and that boys were scared to death to be liked by. Granted part of that weirdness was due to my ADHD and constantly being on meds-the other part was purely my quirky personality.  I’d always defined myself as a bright pink crayon in a box of black and grey crayons.  Why fit in when you were born to stand out? That’s something I embraced in my later years, but not so much in middle school or high school. It wasn’t until middle school where the bullying I’d been dealing with for years hit something of a high point, and school became literally miserable.  When a new kid arrived instead of befriending them, I caved into the societal norm of middle school and made fun of them (and felt terrible about it). I rectified this quickly by trying to be a friend instead because I felt so awful. One of the best lessons of my life-trying to be like someone else will NOT make you happy. Be the change you want to see. I lived in a world of them, much like Leo and Stargirl, and tried to be one of them too even though I despised THEM.  My heart clenched as Leo who supposedly loved Stargirl for all her uniqueness- told her to be normal and regretted it THE REST OF HIS LIFE.  She cared deeply for others, wanted to spread joy and make others feel special in an otherwise dull world of black and grey crayons.

Spinelli’s novel addresses the issue of being popular, conforming to societal norms, and needing the validation of others. To this day, I still seek that validation much like Leo, because as my life has changed and I have embraced that I will never be like everyone else-in a strange way I still need validation that that’s ok.  Stargirl changed Leo’s life not in the way that they grew up and lived happily ever after, but because even though they fell apart-he was a better person for knowing her and experiencing kindness and compassion through watching her and helping her bring those things to others.  The school body adores Stargirl in the beginning and then turns on her in a way so fickle as high schoolers can be. They shun her for the very things they liked about her. Negativity wins out, as it usually does and in the future at their reunions they bring her up in passing and humor.

This book shows you why it is important to own who you are, and why it is important to stand out above the rest, that life isn’t about who your friends are in high school (some of us are lucky to keep the friends we had when we were teenagers, me being one of them)- it shows that you don’t have to live in between the painted lines that society has laid for you. You can cheer for the other team. You can show empathy even to total strangers. You can brighten someone’s day without even trying. You can notice the details in life and not just the vast picture.

I cried at the end, because unlike so many happy ending stories, this one ended realistically. I also heard that there is a sequel, “Love, Stargirl”- in which I must read. If it’s anything like this book, I know I’m going to love it.

I would recommend this book to probably any teenager, but most definitely to the pink crayons who don’t know how beautiful they are yet. To the outcasts who feel isolated and alone because they are different- this is your validation. In a world of Hillari Kimble’s, be a Stargirl. Always, be a Stargirl.

 

ModCloth Stylish Surprise

I have always been a fan of ModCloth’s clothing even though I didn’t actually own anything. I always peeked from the sidelines, oohing and awing at their cute, vintage boutique style. When I joined My Subscription Addiction.com, I saw a review for something called  ModCloth Stylish Surprise, so I read the review and discovered that ModCloth ran these “specials”, where you could sign up to get a mystery item, for a fraction of the price the items sold for. I was intrigued, but at the time there were no Stylish Surprise sales available, so I jumped on the list to be notified when they came around next.

I had somewhat forgotten about it until I was notified about a week ago when I was up very early for me ( I work at 3:30 in the afternoon, so 8- 9 am is early to me) that the Stylish Surprises were available, and had the most size and  style availability yet. Since they tend to sell out fast, I jumped at the opportunity not wanting to miss it.  I had read in the reviews that the clothing runs a little small, so size up from what you normally wear. I purchased one of each surprise: 1 Large Apparel which was promised to be a shirt or blouse or something of the such, 1 Large Dress, and 1 size 6 shoe. The  apparel and the dress were both $20, and the shoes were $15 which in my opinion isn’t a bad deal. With shiping, my total came to $59. The price alone can be the cost of 1 item from modcloth, so getting 3 items even though I had no idea what I was getting, was a good deal to me. I joined a Buy, Sell and Trade group for ModCloth on facebook, just in case I didn’t like what I got, I could in someway get something I DID like, but I have to say I was pretty impressed with what I got.

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img_0686 I can’t tell if they are cats or bunnies, I’m more leaning on the side of bunnies, but I think I am going to say they are cats because I love cats.(I know, I know that doesn’t make them cats) These are the kind of shoes, that I would see in a store and eye up, thinking they are cute, but ultimately not buying them because they are too expensive. A look up on ModCloth.com showed the company T.U.K. makes these in different animals, from cats (which look very different) to foxes, and other animals in between.  The look up told me I was right about the price: a whopping $59.99. The shoes alone cost more than what I paid for 3 items.

TukShoes

$59.99

I tried looking up my other items on ModCloth to check their prices, but didn’t see them listed. ModCloth’s website has a lot of clothing, so I am sure if I combed the site for awhile I’d find them, but I have ADHD and am impatient.  The going rate for a dress on ModCloth despite the brand and excluding sale prices is about $59.99 and spans a variety of  styles and goes up to dresses that cost up to $200. I was worried I was going to get some strange print I didn’t care for, and was pleasantly surprised that the dress I got, is something I would have bought myself.

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It has beautiful pleats, and though it’s a it more conservative in the top than my usual, I really like it. It even has a ribbon to tie around the waist, which is something of a trend with most of my casual formal dresses. ( I know casual formal isn’t a thing, but in my closet it is considering most of my dresses are prom and social dresses). I could see this being a day dress or an evening dress, depending on how you dress it up.  I only have 2 other black dresses, which are very formal,  so this little number will fit in my closet perfectly. I was glad I sized up and got a large, because it fit perfectly. The brand is  Moon, who I have not heard of, but the quality of the fabric is very good and I can’t wait to wear it.

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I was a bit surprised to get this t sweater in April, but nonetheless I am in love with it.  Fall is truly my favorite time of year, and this will be perfect to pair with my LuLaRoe leggings and Bailey Button UGG boots ( I am a basic white girl, I know….I know). I can see myself wearing it, snuggling up on my couch with my favorite FootSac (it’s a blanket with pockets for your feet, from LoveSac) and a cup of hot cocoa in front of my fireplace (should we ever get the new receiver we’ve been waiting for since November that’s on undetermined back order). The fabric again is great quality and comforatable. It fits perfectly and again I am glad I sized up. The brand is again something unfamiliar to me, Blue Pepper.  I tried looking it up on ModCloth.com, but couldn’t find it. I would guess it might be about $30 or $40 since those are pretty normal prices for garments on there.

Recap:
$15 for a pair of shoes that cost $59.99
$20 for a dress that cost about $59.99 or more
$20 for a sweater that costs about $30 or more
Total with shipping cost $59.00 for all 3 items which would cost about $150 (an estimate)

Overall, I was very impressed with my items, especially for the price. I think I it is safe to say should the Stylish Surprise come around again, I will be purchasing it again.  It’s a great way to try out something new without breaking the bank, and should you get something you don’t like you can always exchange online through one of the ModCloth BST groups, or sell it.  ModCloth itself will not exchange or return since all sales are final on the Stylish Surprise, which is why I joined the BST group on Facebook. If you would like to be notified of the next time a Stylish Surprise comes around, I suggest getting on the notification list from MySubscriptionAddiction.com or join ModCloth for their newsletter, and when it does come around, make sure you order FAST. I ordered as soon as I saw, and every size was available, but many people have claimed that they had trouble finding their size because they sell out so quickly.

FabFitFun: Spring 2016

Since I signed up in February, an off quarter month, I was shipped a Welcome Box.

In my Welcome Box, I received some of the customer favorites:
The CosmoBody Jump rope, a beautiful $100 necklace from Wren, Tibetan Goji Berry Anti Aging Eye Serum, Ear buds, Gorge Miracle Leave In hair product, etc. I  don’t really even like gold jewelary, but I LOVE my heart pendant. I don’t normally use Eye Serum, but an $88 full size tube, yes I will apparently like that…(champagne taste on a ginger ale budget).


 For the most part I liked my Welcome box, so I was eager to see what a full seasonal box would be like.

First off, I would like to say that when my Welcome Box shipped, I got an email right away telling me it had shipped. After I was charged for my March Box, I knew when my box was supposed to ship, but after  no email, I decided to write to FFF’s customer service to ask them to check on the status of my box, which they did and send me tracking number. I never did get my email that it had been shipped until the day BEFORE I received the box.

The first thing I noticed upon opening was the exploded product. I thought it may have just squirted out, which is no big deal, but further investigation proved that the bottle was completely cracked and leaking. I wrote to FFF’s customer service, and they are sending me a replacement free of charge. The product is Hello Legs, a shaving butter, which I was and still am excited to try out.

  Setting the busted product aside, I continued on my journey.

I was very excited to get the Kitchen Herb Garden Kit, which I had seen in the spoilers post of My Subscription Addiction.com. I received:
Kitchen Herb Garden Kit with basil, thyme and mint, BodiPure Keratin gloves and socks treatment, a yoga strap/exercise strap, Marrakesh Argan and Hemp Oil for hair, a $30 gift certificate to SterlingForever.com. a $25 gift certificate to  31bits.com, a bath bomb trio from Jus D ‘Amour, another gold plated necklace from a different company that has the word dream written on it, and probably my favorite item of the bunch, a contouring kit from ISH.
   I was very excited to get this contouring kit, because I had literally just visited Sephora days earlier for a lesson on what contouring is and how to do it, and had the woman write down the kit and colors she used, which I did not buy at the time. (She used SmashBox palette which is $45) I inquired abut contouring because when I go to DragonCon in September, I want to step my Ariel game up and have a flawless Disney look. I also plan on dressing as Poison Ivy one day, and had seen some impressive tutorials for contouring on pinterest for even contouring your cleavage. ( I know I don’t need any help in that department, but I’d like them to look flawless too when I get into my my Poison Ivy bodysuit).  I’m naturally a hair junkie, so this sleek and shiny hair oil with Argan oil and Hemp oil makes me pretty happy.  My mom worked in hair salons up until she passed away as a receptionist/inventory assistant, so I grew up in the salon environment from a young age, which is why I think I am obsessed with this particular niche of the services industry.  The smell of hair spray, nail polish and shampoo are equivalent to the smell of home for me. No body is more obsessed with their hair than me. I have been known to spend loads of money on shampoo and hair treatments.  This oil can be used on wet or dry hair, and I used it on wet hair the other day. It has an exotic hemp-ish smell, which isn’t bad in my opinion, but if your sensitive to strong smells I’d steer clear.  I noticed immediately upon  drying my hair, that it was sleek, straight and silky; almost similar to the way it feels after I use It’s a 10. I will definitely be using this as my new oil, and can’t wait to try it on my hair after I flat iron it.
  This  little mantra card was the sweetet. I am definitely going to have to read this every day, to remind myself of these things.  I can’t speak for the keratin gloves or socks yet, but I am dying to try them.
  I am really excited to try these bath bombs. I have not tried a bath bomb before, period. Once my bathroom is finished getting remodeled (hopefully soon), and I have access to my brand new tub, you can bet I’ll be trying these out.  Just checking them out in their packaging, they smell AMAZING.

Overall, the box had a value of over $250, which isn’t bad considering I paid $50.  I have said that if I get items in any of my subscription packages that I do NOT like personally for myself, I would put them aside and give them as gifts, because in all honesty the price of some of the items alone would make them decent gifts.  I am always looking for the quirkiest,  most unique gifts for people, and I love trying out new brands and products. I am interested in seeing how the Hello Legs product works out, and if it holds up to my favorite shaving cream. ( I get my favorite shaving cream from Trader Joe’s for a whopping $3.99, no joke. It’s smooth, doesn’t clog my razor, smells deliscious from the mango and honey in it, and moisturizes my skin so I’m not itchy or dry after).

The next seasonal box will be June, so I’ve got a couple months until the next delivery. I plan on trying FFF for the year, and after that if I find I really like it, I’ll keep it. If not, I will cancel and try a different subscription service.

Ipsy: March Bag Review

So, my first bag from Ipsy was a win. I loved the leave in conditioning hair item, I loved my lip gloss,  loved the  nail polish- the only thing I did not care for was the eye pencil and the under eye concealer.  Overall, I reviewed the items and the bag and was happy.  I even loved the pixel envelope design of the make up bag.

March was a bit of a let down for me.   I was excited to try the Illamasqua  liquid liner, and was pretty impressed at the buffer/file I received, but what was this toner stuff? The Make Up Forever Primer looks good, but I typically don’t use primer unless I am doing something where I am going to be photographed.

Below is a picture of my March Bag:

The Pixi by Petra blush is Rose Gold, what I have noticed as a predominant color this spring. Rose Gold is EVERYWHERE, and while I do love the color itself, I fear that the blush I received too light. I am pretty fair, and I used the darker shade of the duo, and really did not notice that much of a difference by itself. Maybe in conjunction with a contoured look it might work well, but that will have to be determined some other time.

The Illamasqua liquid liner in Jet Black looked promising; I absolutely love liquid eye liner, and eye markers, so this being a fine tip would be perfect for helping me achieve my ever sought after perfect cat eye. I attempted to line my eyes, after going almost a month without eye liner altogether (my right eye was being very twitchy, so I was giving it a break).  I had some issues with keeping my hand steady, and blinking, and that’s when I discovered just how smudgy this was.  I kept having to erase it, to try and make it match my other eye, and this stuff got everywhere.  When I finally got it to match ( the struggle is real), I happily went on with my day. I was delievering hoagies for a fundraiser with my grandmother, and then that night we were attending a community event together.  Before entering the event, I briefly checked my make up in the mirror and saw that despite my best efforts of not touching my eyes, the eyeliner had deteriorated and smudged.  I tried using it again when I just wanted a little definition around my eyes before going out to dinner,  and encountered smudge city.  I think the only way I will use this will be if I layer it over top of my eye marker I normally use, to deepen the pigment, but obviously it didn’t stand up to being what I had hoped.

The 28 Remedy skincare toner was new for me. I had never used Toner, and after some research I determined I was supposed to use it before applying my moisturizer or primer. I have used it to prep before using my moisturizer, and it seems to help it sink in better, but I don’t know if I will use it or any product similar to it again. I currently use Fresh’s Lotus Moisturizing with Super 7 Anti Aging, and while I paid $42 for it, and use it every day, I was much happier when I tried a sample of Philosophy’s Renewed Hope In A Jar ( which costs a whopping $47), and plan on purchasing that once my Lotus cream runs out.

I have not actually used the nail buffer/file yet, so I can’t comment on that.

I saw that Ipsy posted it’s spoilers for some items that may be in the April bag, and they look like a better batch to me, so hopefully it will be, since I wasn’t overwhelmed with March’s bag.

Review: The Prophet of Yonwood

It’s been a little while since I posted a review, although I have been done with the Prophet of Yonwood for a while now, I have been writing this review in pieces ad my attention span has been spastic to say the least. (Thanks ADHD…)

I have been taking a break from binging, I mean reading.  While I enjoyed reading The Prophet of Yonwood, I enjoyed it for different reasons.  This story didn’t feel like it fit so much for me with the other 2 books. It feels like a separate story, and only really ties everything together in the last few pages.  I liked the approach of the power of faith, which is a big theme in all the Ember books, and the juxtaposition of how damaging people’s beliefs can sometimes be.  I much would have rather had a prequel about the destruction, and the main character Nicki on her journey to the City of Ember, and the story finish with the discarded lockbox.

I enjoyed the book on a spiritual/philosophical level rather than as a part of the series.  There were very strong messages and opinions in this book, much more than the other 2 in some cases, and made me stop and re-read a few lines with awe.  I felt as strongly as it was written, it should have been its own book, separate from the series.  Up until the very end of the book, I kept waiting for it to tie in and the tie in felt very rushed.  The story is about a small North Carolina town, who has become very religious based on the discovery of an older resident having a vision of the future, and being deemed a prophet.  Mrs. Beeson, a righteous woman, and a few select community members are the ones who decipher the prophet’s musings and mumblings, often mistaking what the old woman is saying, and spreading what they THINK she is saying as the word of God, that they must all obey to avoid being destroyed with the rest of the world.  During this time, the nation is on the verge of war with another nation, and people fear the end is near.  It turns out *SPOILER ALERT*, that the vision the old woman has is true, but it’s 50 years off.  Our main character Nicki, who is 11- her father is away on top secret business, and we find out he is one of the Builders who helped construct Ember, and 50 years into the future, Nicki volunteers to go to Ember, out of her love for the world, and desire to preserve it.
There’s other characters in the book, an 11 year old boy named Grover who loves snakes, Mrs. Beeson the righteous and faithful, power driven community pillar, Nicki’s aunt who seems to have trouble staying married and is preoccupied with the notion, Amanda the homeless 17 year old with a very  low self-esteem and easy to manipulate, but the core of the story follows Nicki and her trip to Greenhaven; her family’s historical mansion which is being sold after the death of her Grandfather, and her journey through this strange  God Fearing town.  The residents believe if they follow the word of God spoken by the prophet, they will be spared in the destruction.  When the old woman says “No sinnies” Mrs. Beeson translates it as ” No sinners” while we find out much later that the old ill woman was trying to say “No cities” as in there are no cities left.  People who go against the prophet’s words and tagged with a strange buzzing bracelet to let everyone know they were defiant.  It’s an interesting story that shows the power of suggestion, and how sheep like humans can be, blindly believing things because of our need TO BELIEVE and self-preserve.

I also enjoyed some of the other plot points in the story, but those didn’t seem to resolve.  The mansion of Greenhaven seems to have a life all of its own, being in Nicki’s family for decades; something that intrigues our main character. She discovers many photos from guests in the past, and journals written by her grandfather with musings about multiple dimensions existing at once.  These things could have been resolved for me, I wanted to know more about them. Instead, their vaguely brought up and don’t really go anywhere. It makes the details in them feel misplaced; if you weren’t going to go anywhere with it, why mention it to begin with? The story would have moved along just fine considering they weren’t detrimental to the plot or character development.

All in all, I appreciated the book, but I wished it tied in more with the other 2 books in the series.  I have ordered the final book, The Diamond of Darkhold and expect it to be delivered Sunday (yes UPS delivers on Sundays here) which means as soon as it gets here I will crack it open. I always get antsy when I know I am going to be finishing a series.  There’s an instant gratification factor for me, when I get hooked into a series I just want to live the story until it’s finished and I can come up to breath reality again.   But after I have finished, I suffer from that hole that exists when you have nowhere to go, so knowing that it will be the end is both cathartic and anti-climactic for me. I felt the same way when I finished Twilight and The Hunger Games, and after I finished the first and ONLY season of Firefly. (Including the movie).

Until next time, folks!