Dec 31, 2015

Top 7 Books of 2015


Happy (almost) New Years, y'all! Since it's the end of 2015, I thought I would share my favorite books with y'all. This year I read some great stories and I've picked my top 7 favorites to share with y'all. 

I read my first favorite book of 2015 in April. The Good Girl by Mary Kubica. I would never have thought I liked the thriller/mystery genre but after the popularity of Gone Girl, (which I still have never read. The movie was great though!) I've discovered some really good books. This one was soooo good. A young teacher goes missing and is taken by a man, Colin. They hide out in a cabin in the woods while the police look for them. The story goes back and forth in time and each chapter switches from the time the main character (Mia) is in the cabin with her captor and later when she is rescued and is dealing with remembering what has happened. The entire story is good, but the epilogue will leave you speechless! 

In May, I was thrilled to finally read the sequel to Jenny Han's To All the Boys I've Loved. If I had done a top books of 2014 list, TATBIL would have been on it. This one, PS I Still Love You, is the sequel and oh my goodness! This is the sweetest story. It reminds me of a teen book written in the 1950's. I mean, the characters' names are Peter, Laura Jean, and Kitty. How adorable is that? Seriously, if you're looking for a cute, light, sweet YA book, this 2 book series won't let you down!

In May, I discovered Luckiest Girl Alive through Reese Witherspoon's Instagram. I'm so excited that they are turning this one into a movie because y'all, it's a fantastic read. It's about a girl named Ani, who is a truly unique character. Something has happened in her past while she was at a prestigious boarding school. She's got her life all figured out now, but the secret is weighing on her. I could not put this one down. Love, love, love!

In June, I finally read The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty. I bought this book almost a year before I ever picked it up and read it. I had it sitting on my coffee table the whole time because I just love the cover. I don't remember what made me finally decide to read it, but boy am I glad I did. This story follows the lives of 3 women and I normally hate books that follow multiple characters, but I changed my mind after reading this. What I loved about it was the fact that even though it had 3 main characters with seemingly different story lines, the stories ended up tying together into one big plot. I figured out what happened before I got to the end, but then the epilogue revealed another big secret. I LOVED this one!

After falling in love with The Husband's Secret, I decided to read Big Little Lies in July by the same author. I still don't know which one I love more. This one again followed three women (not the same ones!) as their children start kindergarten. This one was funny and fast paced and witty. I adored the character of Madeline and her daughter. Laine Moriarty is one of my new favorite authors. Be sure and read What Alice Forgot by her too!

In October, I enjoyed Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. Mindy Kaling is one of my favorite people on the planet. She is such a good role model and so smart and funny. I loved her first book, but this one was even better! I gave this one as a Christmas gift to my cousin because all girls should be motivated by Mindy Kaling!

In December I decided to read Red Queen because so many people had recommended it to me. It didn't sound like a book I would like, but I decided why not? I became obsessed with this book. It's like a cross between The Hunger Games and The Selection, which is my favorite series ever (besides Harry Potter of course!). In this world, people are divided into two groups based on their blood color. Silvers are the elite and live fabulous lives and have superpowers (this part almost made me not read it, but I got past that part) while the Reds are poor and work their entire lives. The main character, Mare, is a red who is sent to work at the palace and accidentally discovers she has powers in front of the royal court. Since everyone saw, the royals have to figure out how to deal with Mare so they tell everyone she is the long lost princess. I could have done with a *tad* more romance, but the plot twist in this one will leave you counting down the days until the sequel is released in February. Just in case you're wondering, I'm Team Cal!

So that's my year in books! What were your favorite reads that I should check out? Follow me on Goodreads to see what I'm reading next! :)





















Dec 28, 2015

Book Chat: Come Back to Me



Hi y'all! I'm currently enjoying Christmas break (ah, the perks of being a teacher!) and catching up on some good books. Today I wanted to chat about my latest read, Come Back to Me by Mila Gray.
I had never heard of this author or this book until I stumbled upon it on Goodreads. I usually never pay attention to the books they recommend to the side after you submit a book you've read, but for some reason this one caught my eye. When I read the description I knew it was one I had to read, so I immediately called my bookstore and luckily, they had one copy left. 

Y'all, this book! Obviously, I thought it would be good since I bought it, but I didn't expect it to be as good as it was. I was expecting a light hearted, coming of age YA book that I would enjoy, but probably forget about in a few weeks. This book was more than that! The writing was great, they characters were fully developed and interesting. I LOVED it! I guess I'm getting ahead of myself. Maybe I should tell you what it's about.

The main character, Jessa, has always had a crush on her brother's best friend, but it isn't reciprocated until he (Kit) returns from Afghanistan along with Jessa's brother, Riley. Jessa is about to graduate high school and Kit is home for 4 weeks until he and Riley leave out again. Jessa and Kit begin dating in secret so her brother and dad (who is very strict and doesn't like Kit) won't find out. 
At the beginning of the book, Kit's father arrives at Jessa's house and Jessa knows he's delivering bad news. Either her brother or Kit has been killed. The reader finds out which character that is as the book goes on. The setting is over a time span of 5 years; the majority of which take place the first month of Kit and Jessa's relationship, but the story progresses through Kit's second trip overseas. 

My Rating: 5 Stars

Likes: I adored Kit! I also loved that the story alternated between Kit's point of view and Jessa's POV. 

Dislikes: Even though the epilogue jumped forward 5 years, I still had questions about the characters. I won't say more since that would be giving away who died, but I have questions!

Read if you're in the mood for: a quick, light YA/NA read with a wonderful, sweet, amazing romance! 

Mila Gray has written another book that features Jessa's best friend Didi. It's called This is One Moment. Y'all know I've already got it ordered! 

Follow me on Goodreads to see what I'm reading next!








Dec 7, 2015

October/November Book Reviews


Yep, it's December and I'm posting my October and November book reviews. Better late than never, right? I thought about skipping this post because it's so late, but I did really want to share these books with y'all because there were some great ones that I read during the months of October and November. Let's get started!

After seeing this one on Reese Witherspoon's Instagram, I knew I had to check it out. I never realized how much I liked the crime genre. I never thought I'd say that either but all these Gone Girl inspired books are great! I haven't been able to get through GG yet though. 
In a Dark, Dark Wood is about a group of women and a guy who go away to this glass house in the woods for a bachelorette party and someone dies. It was really good and kept me guessing until the end! 

I can't remember how I discovered Taylor Jenkins Reid, but boy am I glad I did! Maybe in Another Life was my first read of hers and it was one of my favorites of October/November. It was about a choice the main character makes one night after seeing her old flame. One set of chapters shows the life she had if she stayed the night with him and the other set of chapters shows her life if she left. Love, love, love!

I've seen Jojo Moyes books on the shelves for a while now, and I've never brought myself to read one because I HATE the covers! They look like books from the 1970's! Ew! I decided to not judge a book by its cover and picked this one up. Oh my goodness. It was wonderful, but make sure you bring tissues! I don't think I've ever cried as much after reading a book as I did when I finished this one. 
There's a sequel to this one called After You, but I'm not reading it. It couldn't possibly be like I want it to after this one's ending. 

Karen Slaughter's Pretty Girls is another Gone Girl inspired (in my opinion) and I was excited about it! Sadly, it didn't live up to what I wanted it to be. It was way too much about the process of uncovering the husband's lies and not enough about the actual story of how the characters got to where they did. If this plot had been written like Big Little Lies or The Husband's Secret, I would have loved it! The idea of the storyline was great, but the execution was a miss for me. 

The Mara Dyer series is a YA trilogy. I read the first two a few years ago and the last one came out earlier this year. I remember LOVING this series when I originally read it, but I remembered nothing about it, so I decided to reread the first two before getting the third. 
My taste in books must have changed because I did not find this one interesting at all. I managed to get through the first one, but I was ready to move onto something else and decided to abandon this series! 

After reading TJR's Maybe in Another Life, I immediately ordered this one and After I do. I loved this one, but it was a sad one! I read it and Me Before You back to back and after finishing them, I definitely needed a happy, light hearted read! This one is about a girl and a guy meeting and falling in love in six weeks. They get married and 6 days later the guy dies. This book is the story of how they met and how the girl moves on. It's a great read! 

Hits: In a Dark, Dark Wood; Maybe in Another Life; Forever, Interrupted; Me Before You

Misses: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer; Pretty Girls

October/November Favorite Read: Maybe in Another Life

Check out my other book reviews!


Oct 5, 2015

Empties (a long overdue post!)


Let me start off by saying that I am not a hoarder. I didn't realize how long I had been saving empties, y'all! I should have done a post a month ago and recycled! There is A LOT to talk about today! 

I didn't take individual pictures of each product because that would have taken forever. Instead, I broke the picture into two parts and I'll share my thoughts on each product that way! :)


Clean on Me (travel size)- Soap and Glory Body Wash
I was tickled pink to find this at Ulta. Ulta just open in my area last year, which is wonderful news because the nearest Sephora is over an hour away. I love Sephora way more than Ulta, but I'm still happy to see Ulta come my way! Which do you prefer?
Anways, as for my thoughts on the product. You cannot go wrong with Soap and Glory! The smells is simply the best in the world!

Origins Face Cleanser
I've always heard great things about the Origins brand, so I was excited to try this one. I LOVED it! The only problem I have with it is the price. This one was $25 and didn't seem to last all that long. With that being said, it did do a wonderful job cleaning my face. My skin felt very smooth after using this product. You can't get it at Ulta though, so I always have to wait for a trip to Sephora or order it, which typically makes me try other products that are more readily available in my area. 

BBW Sunset By the Pool Shower Gel
Do you ever go in Bath and Body Works and everything you smell smells amazing? And then you get home and think "ew! Why did I think that smelled good??" During their semi annual sale at the beginning of the summer, I went a little crazy in the store and bought a ton of shower gels. I don't even like their shower gels! Everything just smelled so good! Then I got home and realized what I did. I've finally finished using the shower gels and let me tell you: I don't think I'll be purchasing anymore! Their scents are always really heavy and I prefer a more light, fresh scent! Plus, I find that they aren't that moisturizing. 

Chi Shampoo
LOVE. It was on sale at Ulta, which is why I purchased it. I normally don't spend that much on shampoo, but after using this and the conditioner, I might splurge more often! I could smell this in my hair all day long. I LOVE it!

Fish Oil and Hair, Skin, and Nails
I love these from Nature's Mate. I cannot find the Fish Oil vitamins with the lemon scent anymore and the Hair Skin and Nails vitamins that I have now aren't as good as these. This is the best brand I've tried so far!

Herbal Essence Body Wash
I LOVE the scent of Herbal Essence, so I was super happy to find the body wash, but sadly I was disappointed. While this lathered really well, it wasn't moisturizing at all! I will not be repurchasing.

Peach Nectar Soy Candle
This was an impulse purchase at Anthropology. It smelled amazing and it made my house smell great, but the smell didn't last and the candle was $25! I wasn't as thrilled with it as I should have been for $25!

No. 7 Make Up Remover Wipes
I tried these after seeing another beauty blogger rave about them, but I don't like them as well as these. I found them to be dry, which made it harder to remove my makeup.

Poolside Breeze Victoria's Secret Body Lotion
This was from 2 years ago I believe and I finally finished it. I LOVE this scent. Smells just like summer! :)

Pantene Dry Shampoo
I am always trying new dry shampoos and this was a huge disappointment. Yuck! It was basically a can of air. I definitely wouldn't recommend this or repurchase it.

Mane and Tail Hand and Nail Lotion
I stumbled upon this little product at Sally's and immediately purchased it. I LOVE this brand and this lotion really helped soften my hands! Love, love, love!

Carress Body Wash in Tahitian Renewal
Perfect for summer!

Jergens Wet Skin
This was a June favorite. The best wet lotion I've tried. Love!

Tone Body Wash
Also a favorite. This is the best fruity smell ever!

It's a Ten Miracle Leave in Spray (Lite)
This was just okay. I didn't notice a difference in my hair, but I did like the smell. I won't repurchase, even though my old hair stylist loved it!

Body Scrubs
You can read about all 4 body scrubs here. Body scrubs have changed my skin. I swear by them now! FYI Tree Hut scrubs are the absolute best!!

Essie's Foot Cream
LOVE! Especially paired with the oil. I found mine at Target.



BBW Candle in Beautiful Day
I didn't realize BBW had candles in actual collection scents. I just thought they had seasonal scents that were for candles only. I ordered this one and fell in love! I love this scent from BBW and found this to be a great scent for my bedroom. I'm all about seasonal candles in my main living spaces, but for my bedrooms I prefer clean, year round scents.  Suntan is another bedroom favorite.

Skinmate Shaving Gel
Can you go wrong with a shaving cream? I've never had an issue with one and this one is no exception! 

Say Yes to Coconuts Body Scrub
Yuck! Out of all the body scrubs I've tried (and yes, there have been many), this was the worse! Plus the scent was sickening! Not repurchasing!

Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration After Tan Lotion
Seeing this makes me miss summer already. Can we go back? This is the best product for applying after tanning! Not only does it supposedly extend the life of your tan, but it makes your skin feel amazing!

St. Tropez Self Tanner
Now that summer is sadly over, I am an avid user of the self tanner. St. Tropez is by far the most expensive, but the best! Invest in the mit though! 

Jergens Cherry Almond Lotion
My favorite drugstore lotion. Love!

Philopohy's Island Margartita foot cream
 LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!!!!! I stumbled upon this at TJ Maxx, so I'm not sure the retail price, but you can bet I'm on the lookout for this product!

Netrogena Clarifying Shampoo
Do you use a clarifying shampoo? I try to use one once a week to really clean my hair and get the build up out. This is my favorite clarifying shampoo. Love!

Dove Body Wash
My favorite of all the body washes. Dove is by far the most moisturizing!

Beautiful Day Hand Soap
I've already talked about the scent. What else can you say about a soap? Love!

Pink Lemonade Fizz Gel Lotion from BBW
Another favorite from July. I LOVED the gel lotion line this summer!!! 


Oct 2, 2015

September Favorites





It's time for my September favorites! I had to take these pictures on my new screened in back porch, because that's definitely a favorite! I'll share pictures once I've finished decorating. It's still lacking in the pretty department! :)

They might not photograph well, but let me tell you, these might just go down as the comfiest shoes I've ever owned! I LOVED my Tory Carolines, but they took a while to break in and they got scuffed up pretty bad, so they had to go last year. I want another pair, but until I order a new pair I needed some comfy shoes for work. I found these Lucky Brand flats are TJ MAXX and fell in love! Want to know the best part? They were $30 at TJMAXX and I went to a local department store and found the exact same pair for $60! #score!

Essie's "carry on" from a winter collection a few years back has always been a favorite of mine, but when I went to open it early this month, I discovered it had dried up :( Not to worry! I found a new fav in "In the Lobby", which is part of Essie's Fall 2015 line! Love!

Random, but I discovered I love almonds this month. I always thought I hated them, but I had never tried the roasted and salted ones. I guess I thought that all almonds tasted like the no salt ones my mom always bought. These are delicious!!! I love the Archer Farms ones from Target, but these from Publix are great too! FYI: the Nice ones from Walgreens don't have nearly enough salt on them! 

Merle Norman is a southern company, so many of you might not recognize this brand. I will not wear any other powder than Merle Norman's, and their lip pencil pluses are wonderful, too! I rediscovered my absolute favorite from the company "Sugared Plum" I know you are suppose to see the liner when you wear lip liner, and you definitely can with this, but I still love it! 

Another product that I rediscovered this month was Chi's silk infusion. I use to use this all the time and stopped for some reason. After my blonde appointment this month, I ran to Ulta to get some shampoo and conditioner and saw that they had all Chi Products on sale (Buy 2, Get One Free) so I decided to splurge. I ended up really loving the shampoo and conditioner. In fact, as I type this I realize I should have included those two products in my favorites from this month! 

This candle. Oh my word. I LOVE this candle from Anthropology! If it wasn't a $30 candle, I would buy enough to burn all year around. It is expensive, but the upside is that it does really last a long time. I think the burning time is 100 hours.... I use it sparingly, but I love it!

The leopard scarf is also a favorite. It's from Old Navy last year, but they have a similar one here

Even though this is a favorite (and I do love it, don't get me wrong) it doesn't hold a candle to the Tree Hut scrub. The St. Ives Even and Bright Pink Lemon and Mandarin Orange Scrub is the best drugstore scrub that I've tried in a while. I still swear by the Tree Hut ones those! This one smells great! 

I recieved a body serum in my Ipsy last month from some brand I had never heard of, but I fell in love with how the serum made my skin feel. I went to Ulta and asked the girl if they had it, and she swore up and down that there was no such thing as a body serum. Finally, after 20 minutes of her searching online, she discovered they did in fact carry one. This one is great and smells even better. You skin will feel amazing after you use it! :)

You can read my September Book Review here, but Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling was my favorite book this year! Loved it!!! 

Oct 1, 2015

September Reads

Happy October 1st friends! October is my absolute favorite month because it's my birthday month! We can't forget about September, though! September saw some great reads and I can't wait to share them with y'all! :)

My favorite book this month, hands down, was Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. I adore Mindy Kaling. She is so funny, witty, and smart! I loved her as Kelly Kapoor on The Officeand I love her as Dr. Mindy Lahiri on The Mindy Project. She's just such a great role model! I've read her first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (and Other Concerns) and loved it, but this one is even better! It's a quick read that I could not put down! 5 Stars. Loved it!

Emmy and Oliver is a YA book that is such a cute, light read! It's about a boy who is taken by his father when he is young. Even though he's essentially been kidnapped, the boy doesn't realize this. He thinks his mom ran away from them. He discovers the truth when he is 17 and returns to his hometown. His friends have never forgotten him and the book focuses on him to trying adjust to the life he left behind in 2nd grade. The book is written from his best friend and neighbor's point of view.  I couldn't put this one down! 5 stars! 

So I had never heard of Everyday by David Levithan. I stumbled upon it while browsing books on my iPad. My mom was having surgery and I needed a book to read while I waited. I'm not a huge fan of reading on a tablet, but I didn't have time to go to a book store, so I was forced to look at the bright light! :) I just don't know about this one. This idea is good: "A" is trapped in different bodies every day and is forced to be a different person each day. He develops a relationship with Rhiannon (which I pronounced like the singer the entire book!), the girlfriend of one of the bodies he lives in one day. Maybe it was just that I had a lot going on at the time, but I didn't really connect with this book. It wasn't one I thought about all the time and wanted to read when I wasn't. 3/5 stars. It was just okay.

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica was great! I read The Good Girl by her and it was wonderful, so I knew I had to pick this one up when it was released in late August. It's about a woman who brings in a girl with a newborn baby off the streets into her home that she shares with her husband and daughter. There's a twist at the end that I didn't see coming, and I love books like that! I didn't like this one as much as The Good Girl, but I still really enjoyed it! 5 Stars!

Fun Fact: I picked up The Good Girl after seeing it compared to Gone Girl, which I've never read!! I LOVED the movie, but I've never read the book. Have you? Should I read it? Let me know!


Aug 31, 2015

August Reads

What a sad little month for reading! August is by far my busiest month and this year was no exception. All things back to school consumed my thoughts and I was lucky to even get these three books in! Nevertheless, here's my August book review.

Sign me up for anything remotely close to Kate Middleton! Although this book was written about the lives of Bex and Nick, in my mind they were Will and Kate and I'm sure I'm not the only one that did this. I loved this book! I did, however, feel it was a bit long. I typically don't like books that span over a long time period. I feel like it would have been a quicker read if it was shorten or the time period was narrowed down. I felt like a lot of it could have been taken out and the story would have progressed at a faster and more interesting pace. I also didn't enjoy the number of characters in the plot. I cared about what happened to Bex and Nick, not Cilla and Gaz (who I'm still unsure of what they do...I skipped over a lot of their storyline!). That's just me though! I'm sure a lot of people enjoyed the different story lines. Overall it was a fantastic book that I would recommend! I would also love a sequel!! :)

I love a good time traveling back to the high school days book, so I was excited to read this new one by Beth Harbison. The author is quite popular, but I don't think I've ever read one of her books. This wasn't a favorite of mine. I didn't get the love story AT ALL. And the ending was just a jumbled up mess! There was too much reflection from the main character and not enough dialogue and action. I just didn't like it...

This was a random read, but I was in Barnes and Noble trying to find a quick, light read for this month because my busy school mind can only read light, "not deep" books right now. I saw this and realized I had never read it. I flew through it in a day. Such a fast read. And good! 

I'm already almost halfway thru with my first book of September, Pretty Baby, so I'm hoping September's book review looks a little better than August! If you're a teacher, you know what I mean! :)