Saturday, September 17, 2016

A Day in the Life: September 1st-17th, 2016

SEPTEMBER 1ST-17TH, 2016. The month of September has been mostly good to me so far. My friends and I've had more time to go out and do things together, meet new people and the like. Saturdays are typically filled with a girl's day (thrifting, shopping, lunch at Panera, makeup hauls and later, a bar night with the boys) and that alone has been a treat. Nothing says the weekend like spending money you probably shouldn't (oh, that Jessica! What a rebel!) and splurging on that yummy menu of soup/salad Panera has. 

Sometimes, the older you get and the less you can see your friends, due to scheduling conflicts, you forget what it's really like to be out there with people you truly love. For the first time in a few years, I've felt incredibly alive and free. This isn't to say that I feel disconnected in my day-to-day life. Because I don't--but it's still a nice change of pace for someone like me, who always used to need to be doing something to feel like myself. 2015-2016 has been filled with new additions to my circle of friends and I couldn't be happier because of it.


Marrow: A Love Story by Elizabeth Lesser | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (2.5)

As a note, a printed galley of this novel was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.  

When I was growing up, my Grandmother used to tell me I had to give a book a real chance and dig deep to understand it. I find this is probably one of the reasons I never leave a book unfinished, even if I am not fond of the story in question. Marrow, a memoir that hits you right in the heart, was one of those books that I almost didn't finish at times but damnit, I could feel my Grandma shaking her head at me in spirit. Because it is a memoir, there's this underlying feeling of intimacy to it that will keep readers focused in some of its more pivotal moments.

However, Marrow did have its slow moments. Many, actually. It's not going to be for everyone and while it moved me on many occasions, it's not something that I will pick up again in the future. Marrow is all about family and reconnecting. It's about what illness can do to a person and those you are, or once were, connected with. In this, it stands out in recent non-fiction releases and Lesser really put her heart and soul into this.


Run the Risk by Allison van Diepen | Rating: ★★★☆☆

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via Edelweiss by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

First things first: I'm relatively unfamiliar with Allison van Diepen's work and I had to get acquainted to her previous releases to really get Run the Risk. Based upon the summary of this particular story, I was incredibly intrigued from the start. That's something huge to note: there aren't many stories out there like this one, at least in the contemporaries I've been reading, and it's a standout in that sense. If you're looking for something new and heartfelt and intriguing, Run the Risk is the very sort of novel that you should be checking out.

Let's start with the basics, shall we? We've got a relationship that is fun and a bit darker to look into (on the how's, I won't say since the release date is still a bit off)--it leads to a sort of suspense and vulnerably that will captivate its audience. Both have solid back stories that play into the novel's biggest plots. They have a past, together and apart, that meshes with each other in a way that's smart and fast paced. Allison van Diepen really understood these characters and where the story was to go. She has this honest tone that is unbelievably breathtaking and full of spirit and complexities, I loved that so much.


Friday, September 16, 2016

Beauty Must-Haves: The Best Pink Lipsticks

When I was a preteen, my mom used to work for the (much-beloved) beauty company Mary Kay. Chances are you know all about them even if you've never used their variety of products. No, she didn't have a pink car but, admittedly, I'm sure she wanted one. Because of her position, I was exposed to various products from the start. Every few months, she would pass along a sample or two from her big bag of goodies. Somedays, the treats were merely a sample packet of lipstick or gloss or eyeshadow. Other days, the freebies were full sized products to play with.

Either way, it was an awesome experience when it came to my discovery of beauty products. The first pink lipstick I truly fell head over heels for was from Mary Kay and called Pink Ice. It even came in a cute, hot pink travel case that I've kept with me through all these years; pictured above. I wasn't much for pink at the time but something about the colour made me swoon instantly.

Needless to say, it was my first big love when it came down to lip products and I'm certain that it singlehandedly pushed me down the path of obsession when it comes to lipsticks. Although I no longer purchase from Mary Kay (for no real reason except I've moved onto different tastes and brands) my love of the pink lip remains. Be it a natural shade or an in-your-face neon colour, pink lips can be an instant mood lifter for somebody like me.


Friday, September 2, 2016

Lucy & Andy Neanderthal by Jeffrey Brown | Rating: ★★★☆☆  

As a note, a printed galley of this novel was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.  

As someone who is looking further into graphic novels and children's books for my best friends young daughter, it goes without saying how thrilled I was to see a galley of Jeffrey Brown's release Lucy & Andy Neanderthal waiting for me when I got home. In fact, I daresay I've gotten spoiled when it comes to the kids books I've received this year alone. 

Don't let the reviews scolding the so-called accuracy (or lack thereof) when it comes down to the nature of the characters names. This is a children's book and it should be thought of as such and not taken seriously. I mean, come on, don't get so picky about historical accuracy--this is a humorous book targeted at children. Sorry. I'm getting a bit testy because I find it so utterly silly to go into entertainment with a mindset along those lines. I'm serious. Lucy & Andy Neanderthal isn't something I would personally pick up again but it's the perfect read for your children (or your friends children, in my case) to round up their summer or say hello to the autumn at last.


Four by Veronica Roth | Rating: ★★★★★

Dead people can be our heroes because they cant disappoint us later; they only improve over time, as we forget more and more about them.” 

What's the first word that comes to mind when I think of Four? Four as in both this collection and the character? Swoon. Swoon, I think about swooning. Actually, come to think about it I do more than think about swooning, I swoon the heck on out of this Popsicle stand and before you know it, my icy exterior has melted to the sidewalk like that ice cream cone I wept over as a child. But that's neither here nor there and I'm soooo not bitter about it or anything. 

Honestly, though. Four--Tobias Eaton, if you prefer--is one of my top ten book boyfriends of all time and frankly I loath the term book boyfriends but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, you know? And Four is completely worth the silly hair twirling (which, admittedly, I found myself doing in the more romantic scenes of his) and that's a pretty high compliment from me. 

Typically I'm not one for collections of short stories. None of my favorite series have little bonus stories in their line-up (that's a lie; The Darkest Minds and Splintered have done so and those were fantastic, too) so I tend to sprint in the opposite direction when I do see installments as such. While many authors and publishers do so only to bank on the success of their series and make that $$$$ (get that money, y'all!) Roth, instead, uses to build onto the series we already know and love. I love, love, love the collections that I listed above but Four goes above and beyond that.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi | Rating: ★★★☆☆

“And we are quotation marks, inverted and upside down, clinging to one another at the end of this life sentence. Trapped by lives we did not choose.”

My first thought on the action-packed finale of the Shatter Me series isn't all that full of praise. Whereas the two which came before it were magical, steamy and thrilling, something about Ignite Me fell short for me. Lackluster would be the accurate way of processing it, really, and that is painful to say--as I loved the first two books. See, the prose was still full of magic and excellence and there was plenty of action and romance, but something about this installment left me feeling less than what I'd desired or come to expect. 

This isn't to say it wasn't good. It is the weak link in the series and that's a damn shame, because I liked where things were going until I didn't. I felt like a lot was rushed and left a weird feeling with me in terms of development. There were moments when the characters grew and reflected who they were in the first two books and then there were the frustrating moments in which you asked yourself, "Who are they?" at familiar faces. While some character growth was pleasing and made sense, there were other things that felt chopped up and off. You know, the very opposite of character growth and I hated it.