Book, Reviews

Devoted by Hiliary Duff

As usual, no spoilers. I really enjoyed the second book in the series. I like that the story changed and evolved into a bigger, higher purpose. I was surprised and slightly disappointed by the ending. I already purchased the last book in the series, because I am know confused on how this can possibly continue and where it will go from here. I was enthralled with the story until the ending sort of soured it for me. I can see a better way that it could have gone, but I understand that no love story is without their sacrifices. I still recommend the series, but I did enjoy the first book better than this one. I am hoping that the last book will make everything make sense and wrap up the story nicely. I want everyone to get their happy ending, but I don’t think it is going to happen.

With Love,

Book, My Life, Reviews

Once And For All by Sarah Dessen

My best friend bought this book for me as we both really enjoy Sarah Dessen’s books. We hope that she chooses to write an adult novel as we would be all over that. I am not going to spoil this book for anyone. I do recommend that you read it, but I do have to give a trigger warning as it does go over death, loss, and grief. I really enjoyed this book as I felt emotionally connected to the main character in this book. The other characters were well fleshed out as well and not flat or two-dimensional. I didn’t have any issues reading this book or anything that annoyed me about it. It was a very solid, light read for enjoyment purposes. I enjoy reading a lot of YA novels for fun. I would give this a 5/5 personally as I adore the author and a lot of the books that she has written.

With Love,

Book, Favorites, Haul, Lifestyle, Reviews

Journal Haul

I was going to get another tattoo this year, but the artist left the studio a couple of weeks before the appointment. My deposit was refunded to me and I was sitting on cash that I didn’t have before. I had been looking at really expensive, but beautiful handmade journals. I decided to bite the bullet and purchase two of them. One she relisted just for me as she only had enough material for one book. Her Etsy shop is AfterLightDesign. They are extremely pricy from $90 to $155 a pop. It is super worth it in my opinion based on the quality.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/AfterLightDesign?ref=simple-shop-header-name&listing_id=868271769

This is the Dark Alice Journal. I think I am going to make this a personal journey for memory keeping of any story or event that I want to immortalize about my life. They don’t have to be long entries. They can be just short blurbs. I am going to get creative with this and fully enjoy using this gorgeous journal. I am thinking about calling it “The Book of Life”.

It is super thick and hard backed. It does stay closed right now without the ribbon, but the ribbon is a nice touch to keep it closed if it ever needs it. I love the frilly dailies.

I love these coffee stained pages. They are even crinkly and crunch, so no doubt that they are homemade and gorgeous! Hands down one of my favorite pages in these journals.

I love the themed pages in these journals. You can totally tell that it is a Wonderland inspired journal. I might not write on some of the decorate pages, or I just might do a quote on elaborate ones like these.

I bought the more expensive versions of these books that have many pockets, surprises, and extra cards/pages to write in. I love that this is sealed! I can wiggle the string off the page and write in it. I can decide to keep it in the journal or use it as a letter to give to a friend. I love the versatility.

These are some of the card extras that come with the book with all of the goodies in them. They have blank or less decorate backs, so you can write on them as well. They are freaking beautiful and clearly fit the theme. #sheunderstoodtheassignment

I mean, look at how beautiful this is. It is one of my favorite pages in the journal. Alice is a book character that I relate to the most. My favorite movie is Alice the mini series that aired in 2009 on the Syfi channel. Luckily, you can watch it on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsFVZ-UOhdU

This is my Nevermore journal that is Edgar Allen Poe inspired and it is gorgeous as well! I really like the spooky cover on this one. I plan on using this one to discover and write down my beliefs. I lean towards paganism and practice healing with crystals.

I love a good thick spine.

I love the pops of purple throughout this one. It makes the journal a bit more feminine, which I quite enjoy. This pocket also contains more cards, this time with an envelope.

I really love the letters with the seal, where I can write my own.

More little pockets with stickers in there.

Every journal comes with an envelope full of goodies. I also really love the mock library book style with the little card. It is really the little details with me.

It couldn’t be a Nevermore journal without featuring The Raven.

These journals are beautiful and so lovely. I’ll need to invest in a silver sharpie pen and a gold one to write on some of these pages to really pop out the text. These are only glimpses into the journals. They are filled with so much more and are even more impressive in person. She is the only person I will purchase journals from moving forward of a personal nature like this. I am sure I will be patronizing her shop next year, when I fill these pages up.

With Love,

Book, Lifestyle, Reviews

December Read

Yes, you actually read that right. I was able to finish up a book in the month of December. I am still unsure of a blogging schedule for the new year, but I am thinking 2 posts a week at most. I just don’t have a ton of time to dedicate to it and I’m at the point that I also want to time to live my life. My blog has come a long way, since I first started it five years ago now. Might even be going on 6. The years just kinda blur together. But 2019 holds a big year of changes for me. I’m gonna be moving with March being the earliest, but I start really apartment hunting at the end of Jan/Feb. I’ll have saved enough by then. I’m gonna be on my own for the first time ever with my son, which is both thrilling and terrifying. I am so ready and excited though! I’m gonna start dating again and putting myself out there. I’m gonna start building a life for myself and my son. I can be myself whoever that is, again. So, I really can’t wait for 2019.

Runaway (Airhead, #3)Runaway by Meg Cabot

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It was a solid end to the series, but I’m still a bit disappointed by it. The first book was great. The second book was still good, but not amazing. The third is just kinda meh to me. This trilogy could have just been a book and a sequel. Half the book was just sitting, hanging around her ex boyfriend’s house being a “hostage”. It could have been so much better. It was a bit of a letdown. I “read” this on audible and I have to say that the narrator was also pretty terrible. I am happy to finally close the door to this series. Maybe, I am just too old for YA books now that I am in my mid to late twenties with a child of my own. I still thought the book was okay, but nothing like the first one. I wish that I would have finished this in my younger years rather than getting around to it now. I probably would have enjoyed it more.
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Well, that is the book that I managed to finish reading in December. I think I can get through one or more books in January. I am going to start walking for my hour of lunch. It’s part of a New Years Resolution to get back to the best version of myself. I always felt the best about myself when I was exercising and keeping my body fit. I also loved myself with really long hair, so I’m also focused on growing it out and not bleaching it anymore. I’m only allowing myself to have highlights in the future. I think I’m finally at peace with my dark blonde hair. Plus, with highlights, I can still add fun colors now and again.

With Love,

Selena

Book, Lifestyle, Reviews

September Reads

Another month has passed and even though I have been exercising, I haven’t listened to my audiobook. I was too busy catching up on Youtube and I have this tendency if I’m near the end of something, I won’t finish it, so I won’t be done with it. It is a really bad habit and I am trying to get out of it. I will for sure be done with the last Airhead book this month for sure. No more putting it off. I’m not finding it that great anyway. I wanted to share some older reviews that I’m not sure if I have shared on this blog before. If so, it has been a really long time and I thought you guys might enjoy it on the months that I have no books to review. It is kinda like revisiting old favorites or hate its. Let me know if you like this or not. I am going through my Goodreads and sorting by oldest reviews first. I think this will be a lot of fun! Oh, btw, I have read 429 books since I started counting in February 2009. Apparently, there are a number of books that I never put the date that I read them on. We shall go through them first.

The Luxe (Luxe, #1)The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book so much with all of its plot twists and drama.

City Girl (Yellow Rose, #3)City Girl by Lori Wick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Best book in the series

Pregnancy: For The First Time Moms, What They Don't Tell You (Pregnancy Today Book 1)Pregnancy: For The First Time Moms, What They Don’t Tell You by Darell Spice

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Not very helpful if you know the basics.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6)Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So SHOCKING!!

A Countess Below StairsA Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was the best book about Royalty that I have ever read.

I also apparently barely wrote about the books that I didn’t bother putting a read date for. It is a good sampling to see what kinds of books that I like and enjoy for better recommendations. I really loved The Luxe series and I am so sad that I read all of them. They were my guilty pleasure books in high school. I really love anything that has to do with ages of luxury like the Victorian age or the roaring 20s. I just love all that glitz and glamour. I think I was born into the wrong time era. I would have loved to live during that time and been courted.

With Love,

Selena

Book, Lifestyle

August Listening

Once again, I have nothing read in the month of August, but I have been reading. Going to school full time is really not leaving me with much me time, never mind reading time. I am hoping to take an hour to read every week and sticking to that plan. I have been listening to my audiobook when I exercise and I have listened to it at work as well when I am working on something boring and repetitive like writing procedures. I also like listening to my audiobook the last 30 minutes of work, since I’m just wrapping up and ending the day. I am enjoying Audible a ton, but I did put my subscription on hold for 3 months. I have purchased two other books that I would like to be done with before buying another audiobook.

I thought that I would share with you the two other books that I have bought from Audible and will be listening to next. Yes, both of these books are from authors that I already love and enjoy. These books were on my to-read shelf and I cannot believe that I forgot about them. I hope that I enjoy them, but I know Audible has a great return policy.

Insatiable (Insatiable, #1)

I have had this book on my to-read shelf since 2011. I believe it is a more adult Meg Cabot book and I love romance with a mix of supernatural elements. It is 16 and a half hours of Audio which the other book was only 7, so it is more than double in length. I am hoping it will be a good story from one of my favorite authors. I want to read all of her books. I think I will read this one next. I have been looking forward to it for so long. I still need to cut down my to-read shelf. I’m down to 663 from like 750. I am getting there. It is just super tedious. I make sure to only mark things that I want to read now. I only want to do this once. Maybe, by Christmas, I will have gone through all of my picks and can have the final count of the books that I want to read.

Can You Keep a Secret?

Danielle has turned me onto this author. I love her Sophaholic series and this seems like a cute stand alone. This one is 10 and a half hours. It will be a nice, humorous read and a break from dramatic stories. I have a vast taste in books and I love trying out different ones. I enjoy thrillers, but I don’t like gushy horror stories. I love chicklit and young adult books best. Danielle, if you haven’t read this one yet, you should, because it sounds amazing! I love stories that are a little racy. Keeps things adult and interesting.

If you have any recommendations on Audible, please leave them in a comment below. I’d love to check out what other people are reading. I have these two waiting in the wings, but my Audible account goes active again in November. I feel like two backups are a good number for me and will put Audible on hold again or cancel it temporarily. $14.99 is a good price, but not when I am stockpiling books every month. I have enough REAL books waiting….and my virtual kindle ones now that I think of it.

With Love,

Selena

Book, Reviews, Uncategorized

July Reading

Runaway (Airhead, #3)

Runaway (Airhead, #3)
by Meg Cabot

I actually haven’t read any books this month. For those of you who may be unaware, I have started full time online college in July and I have been so busy with that it doesn’t leave a lot of free time to myself. I thought that I would share instead the book that I am currently reading on audible and my thoughts on it at this time. I have been enjoying listening to an audio book while walking on my manual treadmill. I downloaded the Audible app to my phone (which apparently my SOS will no longer be updated, so I need to buy a new phone) and I can hit on the app to listen to where I left off the last time I was exercising.

After combing through my to read shelf on goodreads, I remembered that I hadn’t finished reading this Meg Cabot series yet. I also downloaded two more books, before putting my Audible subscription on a 90 day hold. It is already August and I am still working on my first book. I knew that the other two were going to take me some time to read as well. I am halfway through this book and it is good. Not as good as when I was reading it in my teens, but decent. The narrator is SO annoying though. Her voice irks me and it is nothing like I imaged Em to sound like. Where is the NY accent?! Why is she southern?! Makes zero sense. I’m hoping to finish this by the end of August, so I can give you guys a proper review. I do highly recommend Audible though. I got two free books through my Amazon account. Most books are worth more than the 14.99, so it is well worth it.

With Love,

Selena

 

Book, Lifestyle, project pan, Reviews

June Reads

I am so happy to have two books off of my to-read shelf at home this past month. I currently sit at 30 books to-read from my personal library. I don’t tend to reread books, so these are all books that I bought or were bought as gifts for me brand new that are sitting on my to-read shelf. I am still working on my to-read Goodreads shelf, which currently stores 700 books. I know that I cannot read all of those and I might not be interested in them anymore. I have been slowly going through it book by book, page by page and have found that some of them I have read and just forgot to switch it from to-read to read. Others, I am no longer interested in. I think I have currently combed through 120 titles to keep on my shelf. I am happy to have two physical books out of the way that I did very much enjoy.

Hope in a JarHope in a Jar by Beth Harbison

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don’t read that many adult books. I have been sticking to the YA novels, because I really love reading most of them. However, I have been getting into adult books lately and this one was the best mix of YA and Adult together. The book occurs in flashbacks from middle school and high school and goes back into the reality of being in your 30s. It was a quirky book with so many layers to it. It is very much a coming of age story and you get to play detective to see why two best friends from high school drifted about over one event in their lives. I did not see it coming and I don’t want to spoil it. This book goes DEEP without giving you all of the details. I won’t say that I was invested in any of the characters. The book doesn’t go deep enough for that. It just skims the surface of every character and no one really has that much dimension. It was still an enjoyable book and I do recommend it for those days that you just want to read a book without feeling guilty about it being chick lit.

The Moon and MoreThe Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow. It only took me 16 days to read this book. I was obsessed with reading it. From the first chapter, Dessen hooked me right in and her familiar story arc didn’t seem old and tired. I really enjoyed the characters and how the story flowed. I stopped watching Netflix, because I enjoyed this story more. It takes a really good book for me to chose it over my current obsession Lost Girl. I could relate to the main character Em with her daddy issues. I have a similar tale with my own biological dad. It might have been the familiarity that got me hooked, but it was the way Dessen made her main character so human that kept me reading. She didn’t state every few pages that Em was “beautiful” or “smart”. It is implied in the way she goes about finding solutions and her attitude towards her brother. Dessen doesn’t need a “beautiful” man character that all the boys in the book flock to. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed it so much. Em is such a real girl, a real character that I didn’t feel like anything was forced about her. Yes, there were some cringe worthy moments that I wished she would have reacted differently, but it made her more real that she didn’t react in the most ideal way. She is for sure one of the more reserved characters in Dessen’s novels.

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I am unsure of how many books I will be reading in the future with school occupying a lot of my spare time. I think I will either be reading or watching my shows on Netflix and only binge watching my Youtube shows once a week. Youtube has been a major time suck recently and I need to cut down on it. I have never been obsessed with social media before and Youtube seems to be the one that I enjoy most. If I cut down on that time, I believe that I will be able to read a book a month. I am also subscribed to Audible now and I am enjoying the last book in the Meg Cabot series Airhead as I walk on my manual treadmill. Combining reading and exercise is keeping me motivated to workout at least twice if not three times a week at 30 minute intervals. I am already looking through my to-read list for the next book that I should listen to. $14.99 a month is not that expensive for an audiobook if it is also your exercise program.

With Love,

Selena

Beauty, Book, Evening skincare routine, Haul

Birthday Haul

My best friend in the whole world recently gave me my birthday present and I want to share what I got from her with all of you. She always knows just what to get me and it is so funny. She is the one person that I find hard to shop for. We are both into beauty and books and she has a ton of both. Most of the time, she already has what I am thinking of getting her. The past two years though, I had been giving her a book in a book series and she really loved that, but she bought the next book herself. lol. I always ask for hints every year, because I don’t want to be that person who gets them something they already have. Luckily for me, I have an idea of what to get her this year and she will be impressed. Impressed, I say!

Who doesn’t love some sheets masks? The best part? She got me a cruelty free brand. Yes, you heard that right! She has been listening to my recent beauty rants on my blog. I couldn’t be happier! The brand is The Sharing Co and they donate a small portion of their sales to animal shelters. The Hyaluronan Mask is to help Pit Bulls, which I would own one if I could. The Soothing Mask is to help out Dalmatians. The Elasticity Mask is designed to help the Tabby Cat. The Brightening Mask has no animal in mind, just that happy animals (like playing in the snow) give them a better chance of survival at a shelter. The backs of the packets are so educational and when I start to use these up, I will definitely share what they say in my reviews. I cannot wait to try these and I have been more into pampering myself lately. I have been masking a few times a week and try to do a sheet mask every two weeks or so.

And of course books! My two passions in life: books and skin care. LOL. All kidding aside, I am really excited to read all three of these. I have already cracked into the Sarah Dessen book, because I read an excerpt in the most recent one that I read Saint Anything and it made me hungry for another Sarah Dessen novel. I really like the more mature themes in her recent books. I have to say that she is back up there with my favorite authors. Dangerous Creatures is a spin off series to Beautiful Creatures. I am unsure if I should read it or read the other three books first in case this one contains spoilers for the other books in the other series. Since You’ve Been Gone seems like the perfect summer read to read by the pool, which I totally plan on reading it there.

Thank you so much D! I really love everything and it was so thoughtfully picked out. I am so grateful that God brought such a great friend into my life who has been my rock through all of my ups and downs. Living life with me is a roller coaster for me and I’m glad that you have my back and I get to spend my life growing up with you.

With Love,

Selena

Book, Reviews

May Reads

So, I only managed to read one book for the month of May, but I am half way through another currently. I got so caught up in this tv series on Netflix that I have been loving Lost Girl that it has taken over my evening book reading time. I just have been glued to the screen. I am going to be taking a back seat with it though and will try to read three books in June. Danielle gave me three new books for my birthday and I am DYING to read one in particular. I might just read two of those new ones and the current one I am reading now. We shall see…
Eat, Pray, LoveEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I only really enjoyed the first part and the last part. The part in the middle, I skimmed over for the most part. I found that it was very dragged out and overly descriptive. I do want to read her sequel, because I found her relationship at the end of the book fascinating. It was a very interesting read that lasted me 4 years, because I couldn’t get into the middle section. Might be the longest it took for me to finish a book. It was a good book, but I do not recommend it. I didn’t enjoy it fully and it took 4 years to finish. It would be a lie to recommend it. I enjoyed the concept of it though. I find the author’s life was interesting, but the second book seems more up my alley. So, this book wasn’t terrible or else why would I want to read another book of hers. It just didn’t keep my interest.

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May’s book was YEARS in the making and took FOREVER to read. I am glad to be done reading it and I know that it will not survive the move next year. I plan on buying a house next year and will probably start packing up things that I don’t need in March or April. I am hoping to find the perfect home by September. So, next year will be a big declutter of stuff too. I have already donated three tote bags filled of Dean’s old clothes, the saucer bouncer, the unicorn, the activity table, and a tote bag full of old toys that Dean doesn’t play with to a new mom in need. It feels so good to let so much stuff go. Now, Dean’s room is cleaner without so much clutter of toys he doesn’t play with it.

With Love,

Selena