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!
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Book Dragon Update

I have a published review!
http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=41527

Check out my review of Mois Bennaroch’s short novel, “The Nobel Prize”!

 

In other news,  I have been on a book reading binge as of late.  It’s only March and I’m 14 books in to my 30 book year goal.  I have been actively reviewing books for OnlineBookClub.Org,  and through that I have been venturing in to some new territory as far as genres go.

This is just a quick list of some of the things I have read as of late:

Flaherty’s Crossing by Kaylin McFarren
Genre: Mystery
Making Her His by Lucy Leroux
Genre: Romance* (full review coming to the blog soon!.)
-All I Want Is You (Forever and Ever Series #1) by E.L. Todd
-If Loving You Is Wrong(Forever and Ever Series #2) by E.L. Todd
-You Are All I’ll Ever Need (Forever and Ever Series #3) by E.L. Todd
Genre: Romance*
The Bonding by Imogen Keeper
Genre: Romance
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Genre: Young Adult

Switching up my genres has been somewhat interesting, and I’m switching gears again! I just finished reading both The Bonding and A Monster Calls, two books which couldn’t be more different in terms of their storytelling and subject matter.  I’ve been experimenting with the romance genre as well, and discovering how broad it is. I found All I Want Is You by E.L. Todd as a facebook ad that advertised the first book in the series was free for download! So I downloaded it to check it out and I fell in love with it! I immediately purchased the second book, and upon finishing that I immediately purchased the third book.  I was hesitant to like it before reading because I saw there are seriously 47 BOOKS in the series. I don’t know if I’ll read all 47, but I cant wait to read the next one!
However I am shifting gears to some darker stories, starting with a Crime/Thriller/Mystery/Horror genre book, and I plan on keeping that sort of spooky momentum going by reading Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, and hopefully delving back into supernatural romance and finally read Beautiful Creatures and City of Bones.

I hope to post some new reviews on here for Making Her His, The Bonding, All I Want Is You and A Monster Calls.

 

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.

 

New Year, New Layout!

 

You may have noticed a change here at Plastic Stars & Pixel Hearts….

That’s because this year, I hope to learn a little bit more about blogging, and brush up on some coding (the last time I did any CSS was in 2007).  Please bear with me, and if you notice any errors don’t hesitate to let me know!

For someone who used to be really into .gifs and pixel art, I feel my blog is lacking a bit in the graphics department, and I hope to start incorporating a lot more artwork- from memes to animations and other sorts of graphics to help liven up these lengthy posts!

I’ve been a casual blogger, but this year I really would like to start learning more about blogging in-depth and what makes a blog good, as well as how to run a successful blog. If you’ve got tips or tricks, hit me up!

I’m always open to suggestions here as well, so if there is something you’d like to see on here, maybe a list or article you think I should cover, let me know!

Hello 2017!

Well, it’s official. 2016 is now a thing of the past. While many are grim about the era upon us for one reason or another ( the mass of celebrity deaths in 2016, Trump as President, global warming,  and other concerns), I am trying to turn over a new leaf.

Now, I’m not a “new year, new me” type person, and I very seldomly make a resolution and stick to it, but this year I have 2 resolutions I would like to try to stick with:

  1. Finish something all the way through.
    This is a big one. Having ADHD can be hard, especially if you are unmedicated. I have never been treated for my ADHD, and as an adult who has lived with this their whoel life, I’ve learned how to use it to my advantage, and how to work around it. However, I have that typical ADHD symptom of starting a hundred things and never finishing any of them, no matter how hard I try. I just loose steam and drop the commitment.  I’m setting this as a goal that I will start something(not a book, series, or game) and see it through.

2. Try to be healthier/take better care of myself.
This is the big one. I hate doctors in general, and I’ve said numerous times I’d rather not know I was dying, so I could continue to live peacefully until my ticket was up. I practically have to be in serious states to even GO to the doctors aside from physicals and check ups. I suffered strep throat a few years ago for 3 days before I went to the doctor and got put on antibiotics, and I only went because I couldn’t swallow or eat. I fell down steps a few years ago, and twisted my ankle. I elevated it and convinced myself I was fine until the next day when it puffed up and I couldn’t stand. It was sprained pretty bad, to the point I was in an air cast and on crutches and off work for a week. So, as part of my get healthy plan, I am going to TRY to make appointments to get checked over by a Dermatologist, and at least  make a gynecologist appointment (since it’s been awhile..lol)
I also plan on starting vitamins, specifically vitamins for hair, skin and nails with lots of Biotin, and also getting back on SkinnyMint TeaTox system, eating healthier and utilizing my Fitbit to help me reach my goals. I’m starting over with C25K, plan to exercise 3 times a week, drink 64 oz of water a day, and maybe just maybe join a Yoga or Zumba class.

I also intend to write a lot more, not just on here but in general. I enjoy writing, and I would like to finish one of the several “books” I have in limbo right now. It’s always been a dream of mine to publish a book, despite my ADHD and writers block getting in the way. I don’t want to say I’ll finish a book this year, but I will say I intend to shed a little more light on my lesser known talent.

Right now I think those are good goals, and I’m not going to try to overload myself. I’m hoping that our luck gets better with a lot of things, and I’m hoping that this will be a better year in general.

Cheers, and Happy New Year.

—Kei

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.

 

Kailyn’s Favorite Things of 2016

 

I know I’m not Oprah or anything, so I can’t give away gifts or yell really loudly “YOU GET A CAR!”, but I can tell you some of my favorite products and items from 2016. Why make a list? Because I want to share these cool things with you, that’s why.

So, without further ado, my list of favorite things of 2016

 

  1. JewelScent Candles

    This is one that’s been building up awhile, and I can honestly say I am nothing short of thrilled with this company. I wrote a review on the candles earlier when I started this blog, and since then my appreciation for the company has continued to grow. The products speak for themselves, so much to the point that I actually threw my first online JewelScent party back at the beginning of November. I ended up selling $248 worth of product, and ended up with $24.80 off a total order. I also got 24 reward points to use in the vault should I decide to do that instead. Their items make wonderful gifts, and every time I give one as a gift it’s always a hit. Check out their candles, soaps, tarts, body scrubs, creams and more at www.jewelscent.com

  2. Subscription Boxes

    I can’t begin to verbalize how much I’m loving subscription boxes. I started out with Ipsy and Fab Fit Fun, and have since added Marvel Collector Corps and Graze to my subscriptions.  There is something both equally fun about not knowing what you’re getting in your box (I don’t always look ahead) and getting a little pick me up when your package arrives. Ipsy has proven to be worth the $10 alone, and I’ve tried lots of great products and received some full size, great products such as nail polish, hand cream and even brushes. Fab Fit Fun has also proved to be a great box that is well worth the money. $50 every quarter for $252 worth of full sized products? It’s truly amazing.  Marvel Collector Corps also ships out on an every few month basis and has helped provide me with some great gifting options for the Marvel fans in my life. I’ve also found the snacks I get from my weekly Graze boxes help me feel a little bit better about my snacking habits.  There’s plenty of subscription box services out there, and I’ve got a few on my list I can’t wait to try such as MerLady Box, LoveFood, and Sephora Play. Joining My Subscription Addiction, I could search and check out other cool boxes, read reviews, and it has definitely helped when choosing boxes I’d like to try.

 

  1. LuLaRoe (specifically leggings)

    I have become seriously addicted to LuLaRoe. I started with a pair of leggings last February. There was a local fundraiser at the High School where I worked, and I kept seeing the signs for this “LuLaRoe”. I did some research as I always do, and found out that they make a variety of clothes but were popular with their leggings. I also found out that they make only 5,000 items with one print, so everything is limited quantities and designs. I got the card from the consultant, because that’s how you buy it. Much like Avon or Tastefully simple, consultants sell the items through at home parties but also online in weekly “pop ups”.  I got a pair of pixel heart leggings for Valentine’s day and they are the softest leggings EVER.  One consultant led to Multi- Consultant sales, which lead to more consultants and multi sales and before I knew it I added SEVERAL consultants and sale groups and can be found combing Facebook entering giveaways and hunting cool prints and items. I own 3 pairs of leggings so far and I can’t wait to try their dresses and shirts.

 

4.Marrakesh Argan & Hemp Oil

I received Marrakesh hair oil in one of my Fab Fit Fun boxes. I had always wanted to try hair oils, most predominately Moroccan Oil- so this full-size bottle got my attention. I loved the way it smelled and it’s applicable to wet or dry hair. It definitely helps my dry ends and provides beautiful and weightless shine to my hair. I loved the product so much, that when add ons came around for the Fall Box, I added another bottle of it as well as a Marrakesh gift set (shampoo, conditioner and body butter) to my box order. I use it daily, and I love it.

  1. Rose Gold

    Rose gold itself has been around awhile, but recently has been on the fast track to becoming popular.  I can’t get enough of the hue- the pinkish bronze color has me feeling some kind of way, and I’ve become slightly obsessed. My phone is rose gold colored. I asked for the limited edition rose gold Fit Bit for Christmas. I want to highlight my hair with baylayage rose gold.  I’m googling rose gold jewelry at the jewelry store. I love rose gold colored eyeshadows and glitters. I just can’t get enough of this classy, modern hue.

  2. ModCloth Clothing

    While I’m not as crazy for ModCloth clothing as I am for LuLaRoe, I have become enchanted with ModCloth. Their clothes are pretty pricey, which is why I have only bought during their Stylish Surprise, when they are cleaning out their inventory and your mystery items are a fraction of the price. Both of my Stylish Surprises have been great, and I’ll probably continue to do that sale. Other than that, I have bought 2 pairs of shoes from the website and loved them both. I have also joined an online resale group on Facebook called “Modcloth B/S/T” which people sell their brand new, like new or excellent used condition clothes for a fraction of the price. I’ve bought at least 3 dresses off the BST that were sold from ModCloth, brand new with tags-and the prices I paid are well worth it. $25 including shipping for a dress that costs $180? Brand new with tags? Yes PLEASE. I comb the sale groups looking for really great deals on brand new with tag dresses almost daily.

 

  1. The Skinjacker Trilogy by Neil Shusterman

    This year I saw an influx of books. I started reading after Christmas last year and made myself a reading challenge. I started reading a lot more, and while I read some adult fiction, I really fell into the Young Adult Literature. I read a few books on my break during Summer Work, as I work in a middle school the selections are all pretty much YA. I started the Percy Jackson series which I think is great, and the Skinjacker Trilogy which I think is one of my all-time favorite series now. While the first book was ok enough to keep my attention, the second and third book were spectacular. I was enthralled with the series and obsessively ready it every waking hour I could to finish the story. At the conclusion of the 3rd book, I literally CRIED.  The series is dark, twisted and hauntingly beautiful and hard to believe it is a young adult novel at times with some of the themes incorporated.  This is the book that resonated with me this year, and stood out above the rest.

  2. Theraflu Drink Packets

    This one might sound odd as a favorite thing of 2016, but it deserves its spot. I got pretty sick recently in October, with a very very sore throat. I didn’t want to keep spraying chloraseptic, and I wasn’t coughing so cough meds were out and I was well above halls or lozenges. Worried about getting Strep Throat, I needed something to take care of my irritated throat and knock it the hell out. I intended on getting Nyquil at the store for that night, and came across Theraflu hot drink packets to sooth sore throat. They were packets that contained pain reliever and fever reducer, as well as Lipton tea powder. I got Apple Cinnamon flavored. The packet is to be mixed with warm water and you need to drink it in the course of 15 minutes. Not only did it soothe my throat almost immediately, it knocked my cold clear out of me. The next day I felt better, and followed up with a packet just to be safe. The tea itself was pleasant and flavorful and not a nuisance to take like some meds. Theraflu makes its other medications in the drink packet as well, so I may be adding those to my medicine cabinet too.

  3. Stranger Things

    I can honestly say I am obsessed with this show. It came out in July, but I wasn’t ready yet. I watched it in September when we were cat sitting.  At Dragon Con, Stranger Things cosplays were EVERYWHERE, but I had no idea that was what they were. When I finally caved in to the hype, it was a little tricky to get into. the first 10 minutes of the first episode were kind of boring, but I continued to watch with the kitty cat in my lap.  By the end of the first episode I was hooked.  I binged all 8 episodes in one day, as it seemed to be the only thing that kept Precious in my lap all day. Precious is a rambunctious kitten and very active, so I was loving that she didn’t seem to mind sitting in my lap and watching the show with me. It made it that much cooler of an experience. (For those who don’t know I am pretty allergic to cats but totally enamored with them. Watching 2 kittens for a week was somewhat miserable to my allergies, but I loved every sneeze. They were totally worth it.)  I think what I really enjoyed about the show was it’s 80’s feel. It was made to feel like a Spielberg/ Stephen King horror flick set in the 8o’s and it feels like such. The music, the styles, and the environment and characters feels pretty genuine to me. I loved the main characters, the group of kids. These kids were lightning in a bottle. I especially loved Eleven, and could not get enough of her story arc.

Favorite Memories From This Year:

  1. Conventions!!!!

    I funded and attended 5 conventions this year with several new cosplays. Each convention was fun and great in its own right, but I think my #1 convention memory this year would be meeting Jared Padalecki from Supernatural, and being hugged by him. It was totally unexpected, but totally awesome.  Also, meeting Brett Dalton at Dragon Con, and Philo Barnhart (one of the key animators from The Little Mermaid) at Replay FX are going down as awesome convention memories.

  2. Weird Al Yankovic Concert

    This year Weird Al came to town, and Jeff was thrilled. He’s been a fan for a long time, but was worried that the concert fell on our 5-year wedding anniversary that I would be against going. On the contrary, I was all for going- knowing how much this would mean to my husband. It was hands down one of the best shows I’ve seen in recent years. Full of comedy skits as well as songs, incredible costumes and performances, I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun it was.

  3. Mother’s Day Brunch

    This year I invited the mothers in my life to a special brunch held at a banquet hall by my house. My Grandmothers, and future step-mom were in attendance. I got them all gifts (JewelScent, of course!) and could pay for both my grandmother’s. It made me feel very blessed to be able to do so, and share something special with them, and we all had a wonderful time. I would like to try to do the brunch again this year and include some other mothers in my life this year as well.

Honestly, I think that about sums up the year for me. 2016 was kind of a bum year for me, it certainly wasn’t one of my better years, but there were some great times, and fun things.

Bring on 2017!