Saturday, September 26, 2020

Wal-Mart Limited Edition Halloween Beauty Box

Hey Lovelies,

Friday Wal-Mart released their limited-edition Halloween box. When they sent their ‘Coming Soon’ email earlier in the month, I was intrigued by the box but that’s not the case now. It’s not that the products aren’t worth it, it’s just that I have a lot of these products already in my collection. 

While this box isn’t for me, I thought I would share it incase you’d like to snag one or both of the boxes. 

The box contains 5 full size color cosmetics & 2 beauty products (one is a sample) for $9.98 + shipping. 

Here’s the link:

You have two choices


The ‘Eye’ Box which contains

1 full-size Hard Candy Stroke of Gorgeous Liquid Eyeliner

1 full-size Revlon ColorStay 16 Hour Eyeshadow

1 full-size Sinful Colors Professional Nail Polish

1 full-size Milani Strobelight Liquid Highlighter

1 full-size NYX Shout Loud Satin Lipstick

1 full-size Splat Hair Chalk

1 sample-size Neutrogena® Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelette Singles


The ‘Lip’ Box which contains

1 full-size Hard Candy Glitteratzi Crystal Lip Duo

1 full-size Revlon ColorStay 16 Hour Eyeshadow

1 full-size Sinful Colors Professional Nail Polish

1 full-size Milani Strobelight Liquid Highlighter

1 full-size NYX Shout Loud Satin Lipstick

1 full-size Splat Hair Chalk

1 sample-size Neutrogena® Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelette Singles

Monday, September 14, 2020

His & Hers by Alice Feeney

There are two sides to every story: yours and mine, ours and theirs, His & Hers. Which means someone is always lying.

Anna Andrews finally has what she wants. Almost. She’s worked hard to become the main TV presenter of the BBC’s lunchtime news, putting work before friends, family, and her now ex-husband. So, when someone threatens to take her dream job away, she’ll do almost anything to keep it.

When asked to cover a murder in Blackdown―the sleepy countryside village where she grew up―Anna is reluctant to go. But when the victim turns out to be one of her childhood friends, she can’t leave. It soon becomes clear that Anna isn’t just covering the story, she’s at the heart of it.

DCI Jack Harper left London for a reason, but never thought he’d end up working in a place like Blackdown. When the body of a young woman is discovered, Jack decides not to tell anyone that he knew the victim, until he begins to realise he is a suspect in his own murder investigation.

Publisher:  Macmillan Audio| Narrators:Richard Armitage, Stephanie Racine | Length: 10 hrs 29 mins |  Genre: Thriller | Source: Purchased | Rating:

 Challenges: Audiobook Challenge

The synopsis on the back opens with: There are two sides to every story: yours and mine, ours and theirs, His & Hers. Which means someone is always lying. Let me tell you right now, everybody is lying. I’m not sure there was an honest action, answer, response in the entire book. It was filled with liars, manipulators, cheaters, and horrible people.
We are treated to three POVs throughout the story: Anna’s, Jack’s, and the killer’s (who could be Anna, Jack, or a mystery person) and they are all unreliable. Not only are they hiding things from the public, they are hiding things from each other, and, in a way, themselves. There’s also a lack of trust in the book: Jack and Anna doesn’t trust each other, Jack and his work partner have no trust, and I’m honestly not sure Anna trusts anyone, herself included.
While this book is a thriller with a murder—or rather string of murders—at the forefront, this book centers around Jack and Anna—one’s a detective and the other a journalist. They have a messy, complicated history and it goes way back before they were married and divorced. Coming from a small town, everyone in this book is connected in some way that leads back to the two of them.
I really struggled with this book. It’s filled with horrible people doing horrible things. Anna and Jack exceled at lying, concealing, and manipulating people; I don’t feel like either had a redeemable quality or even attempted to try to do the right thing. It took me a minute to get into this book because I couldn’t get behind any of the characters—trust me, the secondary characters are iffy as well. Once I realized that this book was going to be chocked full of unlikable characters, I started focusing on the plot itself and became invested in finding answers.
The thriller/mystery aspect was okay, I’ve definitely read better plot setups. While this was dark and sordid, bits of it were a little too unbelievable, a little too out there and I had to question why people wouldn’t have caught on to these happenings years before. I also found myself wondering how some of the activity in the book was concealed, especially some of the policing that was covered up. Some of the things would have been tagged in databases yet Jack made them disappear without a trace, which he would have had no ability to control regardless of him being the lead detective.   
I knew from the very first time this person entered the story that they were the murderer and I had a feeling why they were doing it and I was right. I would have liked to have seen this be a little more complex in that aspect because I’m sure a lot of readers will be able to spot the who and why from the start. The author did attempt to throw things out there to make the reader lean in one direction or the other but, to me, they didn’t really come off as making the person look guilty but rather proved my theory of who the murdered was and the reasoning behind it.
This was not a favorite book of mine—and it was a bit of a rough start—but I was sucked into this one and I think a lot of it had to do with this being an audiobook. The way this book was narrated had me eager to listen and I’m not sure I would have been as eager to pick up the physical book.
Richard Armitage was brilliant, as always, he has this edge to his voice and you never really know if he’s the good guy or something sinister, which worked brilliantly for the tone of Jack. This was my first time listening to Stephanie Racine and I thought she was able to bring Anna to life in a way that made her unlikable from the start yet she made her interesting, where you wanted to know more about her story. Then we get to hear the killer, whose voice has been disguised and that’s what really made this book such a good listen.
Overall, I decided to give this a 3.5. It’s one of those books that was an okay read that I did find myself interested in but left me with little to recommend it.
I didn’t like the characters and the who and why were easy for me to spot yet the book went by surprisingly fast. I didn’t feel like this was a ten-and-a-half hour listen.
If you’re on the fence about this one, I think listening to it would be a better experience than actually reading this one.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Little Bookshop of Murder by Maggie Blackburn

Summer Merriweather's career as a Shakespeare professor hangs by a bookbinder's thread. Academic life at her Virginia university is a viper's pit, so Summer spends her summer in England, researching a scholarly paper that, with any luck, will finally get her published, impress the Dean, and save her job. But her English idyll ends when her mother, Hildy, shuffles off her mortal coil from an apparent heart attack.

Returning to Brigid's Island, NC, for the funeral, Summer is impatient to settle the estate, sell her mom's embarrassingly romance-themed bookstore, Beach Reads, and go home. But as she drops by Beach Reads, Summer finds threatening notes addressed to Hildy: "Sell the bookstore or die."
Clearly, something is rotten on Brigid's Island. What method is behind the madness? Was Hildy murdered? The police insist there's not enough evidence to launch a murder investigation. Instead, Summer and her Aunt Agatha screw their courage to the sticking place and start sleuthing, with the help of Hildy's beloved book club. But there are more suspects on Brigid's Island than are dreamt of in the Bard's darkest philosophizing. And if Summer can't find the villain, the town will be littered with a Shakespearean tragedy's worth of corpses--including her own.
Series: Beach Reads Mystery #1 | Publisher: Crooked Lane Books |Release Date: 9/8/2020 | Genre: Cozy Mystery  | Source: Publisher | Rating: 3.5 Cups

Another day, another cozy mystery. I was eager to read this one because it was centered around a bookshop, but it had it issues.
Here’s a quick recap: Summer returns home after her mother’s death only to discover there’s more to it than natural causes. When she starts receiving threatening letters regarding the bookshop she’s inherited, Summer (with the help of her aunt and cousin) starts digging into her mother’s death.
I’m not sure if this one had teething problems because it’s the first in the series or if Summer’s just going to be one of those characters that I don’t enjoy. She was definitely not my favorite and was a bit grating at times. She’s a Shakespeare professor, so she deems only classic literature worthy of reading and looks down her nose on those who enjoy anything thing else but seems to have a particular intolerance of romance readers. I didn’t care for her attitude. Then there’s her phobia, which seemed a little over the top.
The mystery was a bit predictable. While there were a few red herrings thrown in, I just didn’t feel like they offered enough of a distraction to actually throw me off the killer. With that being said, I still found the mystery intriguing and wanted to see how things unraveled.
What kept me reading this book were the secondary characters. Agatha (Summer’s aunt), Piper (Summer’s cousin), and Piper’s daughter really kept this book enjoyable for me and made me want to finish. They were likable and livened things up.
Overall, I liked this one, I didn’t love it. Because this is the first in a series, I will give the next book a chance to see if things have improved. Had Summer not been such a book snob, this would have been more of a solid read for me.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron

Maggie Crozat, proprietor of a historic Cajun Country B&B, prefers to let the good times roll. But hard times rock her hostelry when a new cell phone app makes it easy for locals to rent their spare rooms to tourists. With October--and Halloween--approaching, she conjures up a witch-crafty marketing scheme to draw visitors to Pelican, Louisiana.

Five local plantation B&Bs host "Pelican's Spooky Past" packages, featuring regional crafts, unique menus, and a pet costume parade. Topping it off, the derelict Dupois cemetery is the suitably sepulchral setting for the spine-chilling play Resurrection of a Spirit. But all the witchcraft has inevitably conjured something: her B&B guests are being terrified out of town by sightings of the legendary rougarou, a cross between a werewolf and vampire.
When, in the Dupois cemetery, someone costumed as a rougarou stumbles onstage during the play--and promptly gives up the ghost, the rougarou mask having been poisoned with strychnine, Maggie is on the case. But as more murders stack up, Maggie fears that Pelican's spooky past has nothing on its bloodcurdling present.
Series:Cajun Country Mystery #6  | Publisher: Crooked Lane Books | Release Date: 9/8/2020 | Genre: Cozy Mystery | Source: Publisher | Rating: 4.5 Cups

This is the sixth in the series but I had such a good time with this cozy mystery without feeling left behind.
Here’s what’s going on. Wanting to bring in new business, Maggie comes up with themed packages that allow visitors to reconnect with ‘spooky’ aspects of her hometown’s past. Deciding to make things even more enticing for future guests, she hires a distant relative to work as the masseuse at her family’s spa. Although things start going downhill when they realize there’s more to Susannah than they first thought. Now they find themselves in a land dispute and when Susannah dies, the Crozat family is the number one suspects.
Maggie was a fun character to get to know and she seems to have a lot on her plate. There’s her upcoming wedding to the town detective (it’s her grand-mere’s wedding as well) so there’s a lot of things to iron out. Then there’s managing her family’s business. And we can’t forget the pesky murder investigation. Even though she’s barely keeping her head above water, she still remained calm and collected.
The secondary characters were such a fun lot—Maggie’s family were just as front and center as she was and it really added a nice layer to the story. Then there was Bo, Maggie’s fiancé, as well as the rest of the town that gave this cozy a small town feel, which I enjoyed.
I felt that the mystery—or rather mysteries—in this was handled well and tied up nicely. Everything made sense in the end. While I had a feeling how this one was going to play out, there were still a few twists that made it interesting along the way.
This was the first cozy mystery I’ve read that’s been set in the bayou, so this was a bit different for me and I really enjoyed the different aspects that this setting brought to the book. It was fun learning about different aspects of the bayou culture.
To add to the fun of this one, there’s some yummy recipes included.
Overall, I enjoyed this one and I can’t wait to check out the previous books in the series.

Plantation Shudders  #1
Body on the Bayou  #2
A Cajun Christmas Killing #3
Mardi Gras Murder #4
Fatal Cajun Festival #5
Murder in the Bayou Boneyard #6

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Ipsy: Future You August Ispy Glam Bag Review

Each month I receive two Ipsy Glam Bags and I thought it would be fun to start posting what I receive in them each month.

For those who don’t know, Ipsy Glam Bag is a $12 monthly beauty subscription where you receive 5 deluxe-sized—occasionally full-size—beauty products plus a makeup bag (more info can be found at the bottom of the bottom of the page). Each bag also comes with a card telling you about the product and the full size MSRP.

My ‘Regular’ Bag matches my real profile: brown hair, brown eyes, fair skin, dry, sensitive skin. I’m comfortable with makeup and like all shades of lipstick/eyeshadow/blushers. My ‘Adventurous’ Bag still has my same skin and complexion profile but I say my eyes are violet, my hair is other, and I prefer all the adventurous/bright/bold shades; no neutrals for me.

Do they get it right? Sometimes, but having two different profiles usually means I receive two different sets of beauty products.
The Theme For August Is…Ipsy Future You
Like the last few months, the card doesn’t tell you about your products. This month’s card is touching on a few ‘new’ beauty trends then giving you an IPSY web address to learn more.
To fit this month’s futuristic theme, the bag has a holographic finish and I’m just not a fan. I just opened them and they are already showing dints and creases. I’ll probably use this to throw stuff in for the car.
My Adventurous Bag

HEY HONEY Trick & Treat Lip Balm Watermelon Balm with Natural Tint—this is a nice, hydrating lip balm with just a touch of sheer pink. It has a lovely, natural watermelon scent and gives my lips a ‘my lips but better look’. My only problem with it is I wish it had an applicator.
KALEIDO COSMETICS Muse Skin - Ultra-Fine Pearl Illuminator in Goddess $9—this is a silky smooth golden highlighter. I wasn’t expecting to like this highlighter (I don’t often use golden highlighters) but this is such a lovely highlighter once it’s on. It’s not a harsh yellow but more of a ‘lit-from-within’ glow. I think I’ll be reaching for this a lot in the coming weeks since it’s extremely hot and I’m using more natural-looking face products.
PIXI BY PETRA Endless Silky Eye Pen in Matte Mulberry $12—I love this liner—it goes on like a dream and stays put in my waterline all day. It’s a perfect Fall shade and I’m so glad they’re putting in pencil eyeliners and ones that aren’t black.
ORYZA Camo Shimmer Eyeshadow Palette $19.95—this is the perfect Fall eyeshadow palette and I’m in love with it. The colors are lovey and they go on smoothly. While this is a mini, it’s actually a full-size product. This was my August pick.
LAB FOR YOU Tomato and Pumpkin Sheet Mask Duo $18—I haven’t used these yet but I love getting sheet masks in my bag. I’m also excited that these are perfect seasonal masks and I’m such a seasonal soul.
Total Value: $58.95 (such a good value for a $12 bag)
My Thoughts on my Adventurous Bag: I really liked this bag and I will use everything in it. It was so nice to get a pencil eyeliner in a shade that wasn’t black. While I did get a mulberry eyeliner, I don’t really consider this bag to match up with my ‘adventurous’ profile.
My Regular Bag

LOTTIE LONDON AM to PM Eyeliner in Sunburst $4.49—this is a lovely golden champagne creamy eyeliner that glides on smoothly and lasts all day.
ILLAMASQUA Powder Eyeshadow in Hoard—this has to be the smallest eyeshadow ever but it’s gorgeous. It’s the loveliest rose gold shadow that applies smoothly and looks like a foil without having to wet my brush or use my finger.
HEMPZ Triple Moisture Herbal Whipped Body Crème $7.50 (travel size)—I love this lotion (use it as hand lotion). It’s super hydrating, non-greasy, and smells amazing (peachy-grapefruit scent). It’s the perfect size to throw in my handbag or keep in the car. I will never complain about getting a Hempz lotion in my bag.
MURAD Clarifying Cleanser $12 (travel size)—as I don’t have acne and this is an acne control cleanser, I won’t be using it. I have dry skin to start with so the Salicylic acid in this will just deplete my skin of moisture. I have used their Essential C cleanser in the past and loved it but this one will go to a friend.

MODA BRUSH Neon Angle Contour/Blush Brush—I love an angled brush for my blush. This one has enough give to it that it will work great for blush and bronzer. I never say no to a brush in my bag. This was my August pick.
Total Value: $23.99  
I couldn’t find the price for the brush so the value I have is for the Lottie London eyeliner (full-size) and two travel size items.
My thoughts on my Regular bag: Besides the Murad Cleanser, this wasn’t a bad bag. While it has the smallest of eyeshadows, the quality is amazing. I will use 4 out 5 of my items.
My overall thoughts: I don’t really feel like either bag followed my profiles this month. There were a lot of neutral-colored items when I specifically said no neutrals in both profiles. I also received an acne control cleanser, which again, both profiles state that my skin is dry and sensitive.
Both bags were a nice mix of skincare and makeup. It’s also nice to see that I received two eyeliners that were pencils (which I do request since I don’t use liquid eyeliner) and they were both something besides black (I guess that could count for ‘adventurous’).
With that being said, I still feel like Ipsy did a great job with this month’s selections. Each product is of good quality and I do feel like I got my money’s worth. The only thing that I hope they improve on is the bag itself.

Ipsy Glam Bag is a monthly beauty subscription that includes 5 deluxe-sized samples (sometimes full-sized products) and a makeup bag valued at $50+ for just $12 a month. The products are a mix of makeup products, haircare products, skincare products and the occasional beauty tool that have been selected based on an in-depth beauty quiz each subscriber takes. Each month you’ll be able to choose one product in your bag as your Choice option.
Other perks include:

1-Earning points when reviewing your Glam Bag Products that can be used to redeem extra products.

2-Purchasing add-ons at a discount price
3-Shopping Ipsy Offers at Member Prices

Monthly: $12  (plus tax where applicable)
Yearly: $132 (plus tax where applicable)
Shipping is free in the U.S. and  $2.95 for Canada.
You can join HERE