Monday, September 14, 2015

What I've read lately

In August I read 18 books!  Not as many as last month (30) but still really good.  I know I said I was going to try to mix things up and read something other than romances but I guess I didn't pick the right books to try because I couldn't even finish some of them.  So if you have any mystery/thriller recommendations, I would love to hear them!  This past month I read a lot of books that are part of a series, so I tried to include that in the title.  Although they are part of a series they are stand alone books, so you don't need to read the others in the series to understand what is going on.  (With the exception of Darker the release)

Just Say Yes by Alyssa Goodnight 
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
 Jade was s single mother to a teenage daughter named Evie when her new friend Opal introduced her to Max. Max was a contractor and Jade hired him to completely remodel her kitchen. They both felt the magnetic pull towards each other and tried to fight it at first. Max decided to give in and made a bet with her that if he could finish her kitchen in 2 weeks then she would have to go out on a date with him.

At Any Price by Brenna Aubrey
My rating: 2 and a half out of 5 stars
Mia is a popular gaming blogger who decides to auction her virginity online (yep, you read that right) to help pay off her mother's debt and get her through school.  Adam is a software prodigy/millionare who wins the auction.  I just couldn't get into this one at all.  I had a hard time understanding the way Mia would reason things out.  She was a smart girl but seemed to not want to use her brain much

SLATE (Breaking the Declan Brothers #2) by Kelly Gendron
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Rayna and two of her friends head to her old hometown for vacation and she sees her first love Slate there.  It doesn't take her long to realize that he is not the same man that she remembers.  He is now a scarred MMA fighter that is battling addiction issues.

Tamed By The Outlaw by Michelle Sharp
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Jesse is an erotic romance writer who meets and has an amazing night with a man in Vegas. It was great until he left without a word the next morning...or did he?? Grayson was the new CEO of the publishing company that Jesse works for and he thought SHE walked out on HIM. When they are forced to work together a year after their night together sparks fly and they have to decide if they can work things out or not. I loved Jesse's spunky personality, and Grayson was trying so hard to be a good guy. I do wish the story was just a little bit longer. The ending felt a little bit rushed to me

Darker the Release (Revenge Saga #2) by Claire Kent
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars
This was the second part of Sweet the Sin.  I honestly didn't care for the first one very much but I am a curious person and NEEDED to know how it ended. lol!  I ended up not being overly thrilled.

Jayhawk Down by Sharon Calvin
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Caitlyn Stone is a Jayhawk pilot in the Coast Guard who has vowed never to date another doctor OR anyone in the service again, but then she meets Dr. Stillman Gray. Not only is he a doctor but he also flew Blackhawk helicopters and ran dangerous missions in the service.  I liked how strong of a character that Caitlyn was at the beginning of the story but then I feel like she started to fall apart. I also thought the story really dragged towards the middle, I wanted a little more action!

Broken Play by Samantha Kane
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
This is a very different type of romance than I am used to reading.  It involves 2 men and one woman all falling in love and making a relationship with each other.  I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about the idea of a menage type of relationship but I thought the author handled it really tastefully, for the most part.  There was a lot of sexually explicit content (just a warning for some readers).  I thought they ending was a bit strange but that could just be me.

The Doorway by Alan Spencer
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Morty comes home late from the bar one night to find his wife missing. Not only that but an overwhelming burning smell is coming from his bedroom and the doorway is glowing bright red. An investigation is started and one night Morty, his daughter, his friend Bruce, the detective, a reporter, and several officers are pulled through the red doorway to face a horror beyond anything they could have expected. This story definitely contains bloody and gory violence, so readers beware!

And Then Forever by Shirley Jump
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Darcy and Kincaid had a summer romance when they were younger and then Kincaid left to go back to his privileged lifestyle with his family. Now 7 years later he returns and sees Darcy again working at The Love Shack where they used to hang out. Sparks fly and old feelings come back to the surface but Darcy has a 6 year old secret, with eyes and hair just like her dad, that she never told him about.

Gypsy Heat (Gypsy Beach #3) by Jillian Neal
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Nadya has just left an abusive relationship with her ex-husband and decided to return back to Gypsy Beach where she grew up. She is excited to be home and free from her ex but she has a lot of issues she needs to work through. Gypsy Beach is also the home to her first love Grady. They both want to rekindle things but face some obstacles, including someone trying to bring down Grady's family. I loved both Nadya and Grady's characters. While she was definitely damaged she still had a fierceness about her and Grady was such a sweetheart

It's In His Heart by Shelly Alexander
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Ella was married to Coop's best friend Bradley for years until she lost him to cancer. When Bradley passed away he left his cabin to both of them. After 2 years of mourning his death, Ella decides it's time to move on but before she does she want to spend some time at the cabin because it was his favorite place. She doesn't expect Coop to be there when she gets there and she definitely doesn't expect the sparks between the two of them.

Here All Along by Crista McHugh
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
I like "friends first" types of stories, so I was excited to give this one a try.  I thought Gideon was sweet but a bit childish. While there were some parts of the book I really like, other parts had me rolling my eyes. But it was a nice quick book that passed the time.

King Stud by Liv Rancourt
My rating: 1 out of 5 stars
Dani has three months to remodel her grandmother's old house before she has to get back to her life in LA.  She hire her best friend's younger brother to fix up the place and they both are attracted to each other.  Dani tries to deny the way she feels for him because she just got out of a relationship, she has to go back to LA soon, he is her best friend's brother, and because he is 9 years older than her.  Ryan has his own set of problems: he has an extremely attached ex-girlfriend who is an alcoholic and won't take no for an answer AND he also has extremely bad anger issues.  I tried really hard to get into this one but every single character drove me absolutely insane.

Just One Reason by Brooklyn Skye
My rating: 2 and a half out of 5 stars
Declan is working at a dueling piano bar trying to save up enough money for his brother to have a serious surgery, when he meets Melody. Melody happens to be the CEO's daughter and could be his ticket to getting the better position he's been hoping for. I liked this one to start out but it just got more and more unbelievable as the story went on. Melody's "poor me" attitude and he complete lack of faith in herself really started to grate on my nerves. The ending ended up just seeming ridiculous

Hold Me Down (Deacons of Bourbon Street #3) by Jackie Ashenden
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
I've read all 3 of the books in the series.  The Deacons are a motorcycle club in New Orleans.  This one is about "Blue" and Alice.  I've enjoyed all 3 books but I still think the first one is the best in the series.  I did like this one a bit more than the second one though.

Fighting Dirty (Worth the Fight #5) by Sidney Halston
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I wasn't sure if I was going to like this one as much as the last one I read (Cain's story) because both of their personalities were so extreme: her the crazy "fly by the seat of your pants" artsy type, and him the OCD neat freak businessman. But I really loved "watching" them grow as the story went on. Enzo had his alpha moments but was such a sweetheart to her. I love this series and can't wait to read Travis' story! I don't want this series to end!

Wrong Number, Right Guy by Elle Casey 
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars
I wanted to like this one, I really did! I loved Elle Casey's Shine Not Burn books but this one just fell a bit short for me. I loved the humor that she mixed into it, but then May was just so painfully awkward that it killed any attraction that may have been there between her and Ozzie. I didn't feel the spark with them. He came off a bit cold.

Off Limits (Aces Hockey #1.5) by Kelly Jamieson
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Andrew, who is a defenseman in the NHL, was taken in by the McFadden family when he was young and lost his family. He becomes part of the family and best friends with their son but can't help his growing attraction for their daughter Jenna. Jenna has loved him since she was a young teenager but knew they could never be together because she knows he fears he would lose the new family that he's made. I ended up loving it even more than the first one in the series!

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Monday, August 31, 2015

What I bought in August

I got a little overexcited shopping this month.  I was on a spending freeze for almost 2 months so I guess I should have known it was coming, AND I'm really proud of the deals I found.  I have been really obsessed with stripes, so I stocked up on more....because you can never have enough stripes, right?!  Okay, maybe that's just me.  I also tried finding a few more basic pieces.  I only spent full price on one top in that whole collage!  I couldn't help myself.  (I'll let you know which one towards the end)

Everything I bought below was from an online site called ThredUp.

ThredUp is basically an online thrift store.  They buy and sell gently used clothing from top brands.  I love Express clothing but can't really afford to buy it at the full price, so this has been a great option for me.  Every top above is from Express.  The only thing I bought that wasn't from Express was the striped skirt on the bottom left.  

Here is what I paid for 8 tops, 1 jacket, and 1 skirt from ThredUp:
Express camel sweater - $8.49
Express red and navy baseball tee - $7.49
Express b&w dolman top - $12.49
Express blue and black top - $10.49
Express red & white henley -  $7.99
Express berry top - $8.49
Express grey top - $9.49
Apt 9 skirt - $8.99
Express jacket - $18.99
Express b&w striped top - $9.49
Subtotal - $102.40
Free shipping & 20% discount TOTAL: $81.92

If you want to give ThredUp a try, here is my referral link.  Thank you in advance if you use it!

Gap b&w striped top - thrift store - $2.99
Foo Fighters top - $30
Banana Republic pink top - thrift store - $4.99
Loft grey sweater - thrift store - $2.99 - 50% off - $1.50
Charming Charlie tortorise bracelet - $6.99
Forever21 striped top - thrift store - $3.99
Total - $ 50.46

Total spent in August - $132.38

I'm really happy with that total and the amount of stuff I was able to find!  Obviously the Foo Fighters top was the full price item.  It's been a long time since I paid full price for anything, but it was worth it!  I bought my husband tickets to see Foo Fighters for our anniversary, and I have to buy a tee shirt at every concert I go to.  It's tradition!  And also why I have a whole dresser drawer full of band shirts. haha!  Ooops!

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Friday, August 21, 2015

August Ipsy Bag

Here's what I got:

Jessie's Girl Cosmetics - Eye Shadow Primer: 
This was the first time a tried a product like this and I really liked it!  I thought it really helped set the color and kept the eyeshadow from creasing.

Marc Anthony - Nourishing Argan Oil of Morocco Oil Treatment:
This smelled soooo good!  And it really helped smooth down my frizzy hair without weighing it down too much.  It also gave my hair a great shine

Hikari Cosmetics - Lip Gloss in "Merlot":
LOVED this color!  It's a deep red, which I don't own, so I was really excited to try this color out.  I don't wear lipstick on a daily basis but this one would be really pretty for a date night.  I liked that it didn't dry out my lips and the color was very pigmented.

Glamour Dolls - Eyeshadow in "Sorcery":
I thought this color was really pretty and had a nice shimmer to it.  I really like brown eyeshadows on me, but I have gotten 2 other brown eyeshadows from Ipsy already so I think it would be fun to try another color.

Trust Fund Beauty - Nail Polish in "Elegantly Wasted":
I actually already owned a color very similar to this one, so I obviously liked the color.  lol!  I did have to do 3 coats on my nails for it to not be so sheer though so that was a bummer.

So, all in all, I got a great Ipsy bag this month!  I was really happy with the variety of products I got to try.  Good job Ipsy!!  If you would like to try Ipsy, then feel free to click my referral link to get started.  Thank you in advance if you do!

I also cancelled my Birchbox subscription.  I just didn't feel like I was enjoying it as much as the Ipsy, and I also kept getting the same type of products over and over again.  

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