Sunday, October 2, 2016

Introducing Top Five, Bottom Five: August-September 2016

I'm not huge on the beauty/lifestyle blog community or all the beautiful Youtube makeup gurus. Not because I'm not a fan, but because I don't always have the time or the energy to devout myself to keeping tabs on these talented men and women. I do watch a few but never anything consistently beyond Emily Noel, from Beauty Broadcast. Over the last year, I've taken to both her channel and blog because she is bright, bubbly, and has exceptionally good taste. I think we all have at least one blogger/vlogger we admire from affair and she is definitely my number one when it comes down to it.

Through her videos, she's often taken to posting a TOP FIVE, BOTTOM FIVE roundup dedicated to her favourite products from various brands and I thought, you know what? That sounds like fun. Which is why I've decided to start doing monthly Top Five, Bottom Five posts when it comes to literature I'm reading or have read in the weeks leading up to that entry.

September was a pretty busy month and while I didn't read enough to really get back into the groove of my literature habits, I did read enough to make this post. I encourage all my followers to join me in making a Top Five, Bottom Five post and would love to hear your picks!

A Day in the Life: September 25th-October 2nd, 2016


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Mini Makeup Haul | Too Faced, Milani, Rimmel

I'm a bit makeup obsessed. I don't really have to say it, anyone who knows me in real life or based upon my Instagram photos knows this. I can't really help it. I just am. But maybe that's not entirely a bad thing--I'm a sucker for all things beauty and lately, it's been showing more and more. Between Ulta's 21 DAYS OF BEAUTY (which ended not that long ago), having to replace one of my beloved Too Faced palettes and my hunt for Milani Cosmetics (which is a total bitch to find in my area for whatever reason)--a good chunk of my paychecks have been handed to select beauty companies.

This is just a random round-up of my thoughts on such and a brief, somewhat shitty, review of each of the new products I've splurged on.

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess | 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.  

First things first: I have to admit, I had both doubts and intrigue when it came to this novel. Mostly doubts. I'm a huge fan of a good fantasy novel that deals in witchcraft and the like. So much so that sometimes I get a bit jaded. I naturally hesitated. Hear me out: it took me a bit of time to really get into it, but my guess it was because I had been reading it in between time at work/while I was at the doctors office with my friend. But when I did get into it?

Holy cow, it was so bloody good. Actually, it was fire. I'm telling you guys, this book was practically as flame-worthy as the stunning cover art you see next to my thoughts. Jessica Cluess paints a dark, vivid and magical world in A Shadow Bright and Burning--one thing's for certain based on this release: we're in for a lot as the series continues. I'm more than ready for this adventure.

I should warn you guys that A Shadow Bright and Burning is a fantastic trip but it also had its moments where things felt a bit slow or underwhelming, like we'd been here before. There will be elements that you've seen in other releases of similar plots. But (but!) that's okay because while it did have these hiccups, it was still an excellent read that was fast paced and fulfilling. I found the novel, as a whole, to be a huge page turner once it really got into its groove and it definitely doesn't allow its flaws, nor its slow start, to define it.

Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehric | Rating: ★★★★☆

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

Readers who appreciate a good old fashioned mystery/thriller will flock to one of the latest YA offerings in the genre above. Last Seen Leaving, out October 4th, is the perfect read for autumn. Told in a format that is thoughtful, breezing and thrilling, the main themes all will resonate with younger and older readers alike. It's more than a mystery--it's a tale of growing up and out, the ups and downs of relationships and so much more.

There's quite a lot happening in it and while Last Seen Leaving isn't exactly the most original mystery (it isn't meant to be), it's still an ultimately satisfying read that will leave its audience feeling something. It's the kind of mystery that leaves a long list of suspects and motives; tying into a bigger picture of the missing girl, January, and what could have happened to her.

Our mystery unfolds in a chilling find: January, the girl who has a backstory you would expect from such a novel, has gone missing and the biggest clue we've got is her bloodied clothing. I like that we get to see the layers to her and the flashbacks we've witnessed when it boils down to her relationships with our narrator, Flynn. We see his attempts to find out what happened to her and a budding relationship in the meantime--all the while, secrets and more questions unravel.

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.