It’s time for our yearly classic read! Every year, our book club picks a classic novel to read. Our previous picks were Anna Karenina and Wuthering Heights. This year, the pick was Little Women.

By: Louisa May Alcott
Original Published Year: 1868
Pages: 449

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Summary (Provided by Goodreads): Little Women is the heartwarming story of the March family that has thrilled generations of readers. It is the story of four sisters--Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth-- and of the courage, humor and ingenuity they display to survive poverty and the absence of their father during the Civil War.

                                                        First Impressions

I only have vague memories of the movie and really enjoying it. I remember that at the time, I really loved Jo and even bought a few of the individual novels that were written about her. I was excited to read this book as I haven’t read it before and I haven’t seen the movie in a very long time.

                                                        What I thought

This book is so sweet. There truly is no other way to describe this book other than sweet and heartwarming.

Little Women follows the March family and is written in two parts. The first part follows the March girls through a part of their childhood, while the second part follows their adulthood.

I absolutely loved the first part of this story. I flew through that portion of the book and greatly enjoyed al of the characters. I loved the differences in the personalities of each of the girls and how they each had different bad characteristics based a lot of the age that they were at the time. I also loved how they interacted and the way they looked to their mother for teachings. I also adored the friendship between the girls, particularly Jo, and their neighbor Laurie. I felt like this part of the story just worked so well. It taught some very great lessons that I think would be wonderful for lots of little girls to read. Mrs. March is the epitome of a good Christian mother in that she teaches her children to be kind and trust that God will show them kindness back.

The second part of the book was a bit harder for me to get through. It is a lot less lighthearted because the girls are dealing with adulthood and falling in love and marriage. The family I never as connected in this second half as they are in the first and I think that’s what I missed the most. While I enjoyed getting to know each girl individually a bit more, I missed that the chapters weren’t about all of the girls together, but about their lives separately. I do appreciate that May Alcott wrote in such a realistic way of growing up and the changing relationships within a family, but it lost a little of its magic to me.

I’m so glad that this book was chosen, as I know I wouldn’t have ever picked it up on my own and I’m so glad to have read it. If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it. It is definitely a book that is a classic for a reason and, while it has its faults, they do not take away from the wonderful story. 

By: Allison Morgan
Published Year: 2016
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 384

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I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way shape or form influenced my opinion.

Summary (Provided by Goodreads): Matchmaker Bree Caxton has a 98% success rate, a book about to hit the stands, and an amazing boyfriend. Until, that is, he gets cold feet about their future and runs from their relationship.
Afraid no one will buy a book on love from a woman whose love life is a mess, Bree begs her one matchmaking failure, Nixon Voss, to pose as her boyfriend. But when they become a hit with readers, they must carry on their charade just a little longer. Fortunately, they’re both having fun...
But then Bree’s ex decides he wants her back and a newspaper presents a challenge that could expose the truth about her rocky love life. Now she must find the courage to embrace what is, or risk losing something much bigger than her reputation: her heart...
                                                          First Impressions

This cover really appealed to me. Something about it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. The red door is a bit Christmassy but the book has nothing to do with Christmas. It looks like the cover for a chick flick and I was definitely drawn in. The summary confirmed my interest based on the cover and I was so excited to get a chance to read this book.

                                                          What I thought

This book was adorable. I read it while on a lake trip with my friends and it was the perfect book to read while relaxing. I think the best way to describe this book is like a PG-13 romance novel. It has a lot of the essential romance novel/rom-com tropes (fake boyfriend) but without the raunchiness of your typical romance novel. It had some moments that were reminiscent of How to Lose Guy in 10 Days, so it’s definitely a chick flick/rom-com type of novel, which I loved.

Bree runs a matchmaking business with her friend Andrew. She is currently at the perfect point in her life, with her business doing well, her first self-help novel coming out, and her 4 year relationship with her boyfriend Sean moving to the next level with combining their finances. That is, until he breaks up with her weeks before her book is supposed to come out and the day before her 5-part interview with an important reporter. Her publicist meets with her the day before the interview to remind her that her boyfriend is expected to be a part of the interview and be there tomorrow. Bree tries to explain that her boyfriend broke up with her, but before she can do so, her publicist reminds her that in order to be a successful matchmaker, her love life needs to be successful. Succumbing to pressure, Bree uses Nixon, one of her clients, as her fake boyfriend.

In addition to all of the drama with her book and her fake boyfriend, her grandma is also notified that she hasn’t been paying taxes on her house and owes over $40,000 to the IRS. In order for Bree to help her out, she is banking on the $25,000 bonus she will get if her book debuts on the New York Times Bestsellers list. This also influences her decision to use a fake boyfriend instead of telling the truth.

As expected, romance blooms between Bree and Nixon, and Sean slowly realizes the errors of his ways. I found Bree likeable, which is very important in books like these where the main character will inevitably make stupid decisions that will make you temporarily dislike them. However, she has a lot of redeeming qualities, so you can’t hate her for long.

Nixon, of course, is heart melting. I wish that we had gotten a little bit more of him as I think he was a sweet character. I loved the way that he teased Bree and pushed her but also supported her. I did feel that his character development was a bit quick, but it still worked. I also appreciated that while I didn’t love Sean, I didn’t hate him until I was supposed to. It wasn’t a case in which you wondered what in the world Bree saw in him and how could she have wasted her time with him. I definitely appreciated it because, again, it made Bree more likable.

Even though the book is predictable, Morgan’s writing is so enjoyable that I couldn’t put this book down. I liked that there were some unique twists to this done before plot of fake replacement boyfriend that doesn’t make this book seem stale. If we were still in the late 1990s, early 2000s, I could see this book being picked up for a movie and being so successful.  

I really enjoyed this book and it was just what I needed after reading some heavier books. It is light, fun, and enjoyable but still written very well. If you enjoy romance novels and chick flicks, I highly recommend this book. Morgan’s writing is sweet and solid. The characters are likeable and the story is consistently entertaining. I look forward to reading more of her novels! I wouldn’t re-read this one, as it is relatively predictable, but if it came out as a movie I would definitely see it!

When I attended Book Con the Penguin booth was giving away a few audiobooks. I have never listened to an audiobook before, but when I saw that one of the audiobooks they were giving away was Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon, I knew I needed to check it out. I had wanted to read Yoon’s debut novel for a while and thought that this would be a fun way to try it out.

Part of the reason I was always a little wary of listening to audiobooks is that I don’t really have a time to do so and pay enough attention. My commute to work is only about 15 minutes, so it never made sense for me to listen to one on the way to and from work. I figured that the perfect time to try this would be over the summer when I’m at the pool. It would be a great way to not worry about sunglass tan lines from reading a physical book, while also doing nothing and being able to concentrate on the story. 

Summary (Provided by Goodreads): My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster

                                                              \What I thought

I was a bit surprised by how much I enjoyed this audiobook! I found myself looking forward to listening to more of it and eventually got to the point where I was listening to it in the car as well as at the pool because I wanted to know what happened. I know that this is in part due to the story, but I think the format worked well!

The only issue that I had with the audiobook was that it was mostly read by one person. There were a few moments when Olly’s character was read by a young guy and those moments really made me fall in love with his character. However, he was typically voiced by the same female reader who was reading Madeline. I would’ve liked it better if the dialogue of Olly was always voiced by the male reader.

I also found it interesting that I did move through this story at a much slower pace than I would have if I had the physical book. I can’t decide if it impacted my enjoyment of it at all, but it was different. I will say that even though I enjoyed it as an audiobook, I still find myself wanting to go back and read the physical copy.

As for the story, I loved it! Madeline is an 18 year old who has a disease most commonly known as Boy In the Bubble disease. She is allergic to everything and cannot leave her house for fear of her getting so sick that she could die. Madeline is perfectly content with her life as is, until Olly, the 18 year old boy moves in next door. She lives with her mother, has a wonderful nurse, and lives in a world of books. However, once she starts talking to Olly, she realizes that this life may not be enough.

Madeline is such an interesting character, because she is mature as her only daily interactions have come from adults and books. She always wrote these little spoiler book reviews and I loved that when writing those she shared that the meaning that she found in the book changed every time that she read it. This thought resonated with me so much because I feel like it is so true. Whenever I re-read a book, I find something new in it that I loved.

Olly is also adorable beyond belief. He is such a good guy and has a great sense of humor. I could visualize him so well with the descriptions and felt how he was in constant motion every time he talked. The interaction between him and Madeline was so sweet. He really drew out her youth and her fun side.

While parts of this book were predictable (Olly and Madeline falling in love and having to deal with her sickness), there were parts that definitely were not. I was completely in shock with parts of the storyline and I loved that they took me by surprise. I’m not often taken by surprise with stories, so I don’t know if this was because of the writing, or partly because of the format. Either way, Yoon took me by total surprise and I loved it. 

This audiobook was such great experience. Yoon’s writing was captivating and her descriptions worked very well audibly. I don’t know if I would grab an audiobook over a physical book in the future, but if I’m ever going on a road trip I think I’ll be more open to the idea! It was such a fun experience and definitely will make me remember this book even more in the future. Like I mentioned, I really enjoyed the story itself, so much so that I want to go back and read the physical copy of the book. I also highly recommend this book. It is so different from everything that is out there and Ollie and Madeline’s romance is so sweet. If you’re looking for a fresh young adult novel, please check this book out!

Have you read audiobooks? Is there one that you’ve listened to that you think I need to listen to?

Play! By Sephora is a new monthly subscription box b Sephora. It costs $10 a month and you received 5 beauty and skincare samples plus a perfume sample each month. Previously, you needed to put yourself onto a wait-list and wait to receive an email before you could subscribe, as they were rolling it out to limited quantities.

In addition to the products, Sephora includes a booklet that includes information about the product, the brand, and then tips of how to use the products. Also at the back of the book is a Play! PASS. This Pass gives you a complimentary one-on-one session with a Sephora artist as well as an extra 50 Beauty Insider points when you scan the pass at the register with any purchase. If you have the Sephora app, you can also scan the images of the products to learn more about them.

The past couple of months, the boxes were not personalized and everyone who signed up for the subscription received the same products. This month, they sent out two different boxes for different skin types (dry or oily). The theme for this month was Effortless Summer.

As a heads up, the boxes are a little bit larger and will not fit into a small apartment sized mailbox. For reference, a Birchbox box is able to fit almost perfectly into my mailbox, but this one has no chance. Therefore, I’ve had to go to the post office both months to pick up my box.

This month the products I received were as follows:

Haute Chocolate Too Faced Soleil Matte Bronzer in Chocolate (Full Size $30)- This matte bronzer is a semi-dark brown without any shimmer. It does have a vague chocolate smell to it as well since cocoa powder is an actual ingredient. Too Faced is a pretty solid makeup line and I’ve never tried any of their bronzers, so I’m excited about this. The color is almost the exact shade of the back of my hand, so I wasn’t able to show you a swatch of the product.

Smashbox Photo Finish Oil Free Pore Minimizing Primer (Full Size $39)- I love Smashbox! They point of the Smashbox makeup line is products that their products are meant to photograph well. They tailor their makeup and skin products to looking great on camera. This specific primer is meant to blur imperfections and reduce the appearance of pores as well as absorb oil. I will warn that this product (as is the case with most Smashbox Primers) does contain silica. I know that this ingredient does tend to irritate a lot of people’s skin, but it is what gives this primer its slick feel. I’m excited to try this and see if it really does control oil.

NEST Fragrances in Citrine (Full Size $68)- This perfume has notes of lemon blossom, lotus flower, freesia, dew drop accord, and previous woods. I was really excited to get a sample of this fragrance as NEST does wonderful candles. The scent is a beautiful citrus scent (surprise!) that is wonderful for summer. However, the lasting time is not long. I sprayed a little bit on and I would say that within an hour I could no longer smell it. I will definitely use up the little bottle, but will not be purchasing the big one in the future.

First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser with Red Clay (Full Size $24)- This is a gel cleanser that targets unclogging pores, removing excess oils, and cleansing the sin. Clay is really good for when you want to take impurities out of the skin, so I’m excited to try this. They state that it is specifically good for anyone with acne-prone skin. Lately, my skin has been breaking out again, so I’m looking forward to trying this. First Aid Beauty is also a natural beauty line, so there are no parabens or sulfates.

Beauty Blender Bloterazzi (Full Size $20)- Blotterazzi is a reusable oil blotting sponge. The beauty blender foam material is a special foam that is “thirsty” and enjoys sucking up water and oils. Supposedly, this sponge will take the oil off of your first as good as an oil-blotting sheet would with the benefit of being reusable. The single sample also came with a sample pack of the liquid cleanser. This is great because I would not want to use this product more than 2-3 times without washing it. I tried it briefly and it didn’t seem to do as much as a blotting sheet would, but I will continue to try it as it seems like a fun product.

Ouai Wave Spray (Full Size $26)- I hate receiving wave sprays. I have curly hair and they are kind of pointless for me. This specific wave spray is said to hold the perfect beachy waves without any dryness or crunch. I will try it just to see if it does anything for my hair (occasionally wave sprays have relaxed my curls a little bit), but this will more likely than not be passed on to a friend.

Yet again, Sephora has knocked it out of the park with their box. I love the variety of products that are in this box. I’m excited to try all but one of the products and can’t wait for next month!

By: Jenna Evans Welch
Published Year: 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 390

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Summary (Provided by Goodreads): Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then Lina is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept from Lina for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

                                                          First Impressions

The name of the book first caught my eye on the Debut Author’s Challenge list. Love? Gelato? Sign me up! Then I saw how cute the cover was and read the summary and knew it would be the perfect summer read.

                                                                                 What I thought

Such a cute book! When I finished I definitely wasn’t ready to leave this world.

Lina has been sent to spend the summer in Florence. The only reason she is there is because while her mother was dying, she asked Lina to promise to go. Shortly before Lina left, her grandmother told her that the man her mother wanted her to spend the summer with is he father. Up until her mother started talking about Howard after she got sick, Lina had never even known he existed. Once in Florence, she is given her mother’s journal from when she had lived in Florence. Linda decides to follow in her mother’s footsteps and explore the city with her new, adorable, friend Ren.

Everything about this book was adorable. While it starts off a bit heavy with Lina losing her mom at a young age, it never feels overly heavy. Lia is obviously dealing with grief, but that’s not the central part of the story. Instead, she is enjoying learning more about her mother’s life before she existed. At one point she mentions that she’s scared to finish reading the journal because she knows once she’s done she’ll never hear anything new from her mother again. That line broke my heart.

I loved the journal entries from Lina’s mom. Evans Welch did a really nice job of making Lina’s mom’s voice different from Lina’s and the story also transitioned easily between the journal and the present day story.

In addition to learning about her mother and getting to know the father she never knew existed, she meets Ren, short for Lorenzo. He is a boy about her age who is half American and half Italian. Ren is such a fun character! He isn’t perfect but everything he does works perfect with Lina. He is such a solid friend and tries to help her figure out her mother’s past.

Evans Welch also did such a great job at writing about Florence. It has never been on my list f places to visit, but after reading this book it has definitely made the list! Not only did it pique my interest, but I feel like I’ve already visited it a little. The descriptions of the scenery are so wonderful and vivid that I feel as though I was there with Lina. Absolutely beautiful and magical.

I also enjoyed the relationship between Howard and Lina. It wasn’t typical of what you read when people meet the father they never knew they had. Lina isn’t overly dramatic or angry, and Howard never tries to be more than who he is. He is so supportive and he is a great person.

The characters in this book make this story. They’re so fun and unique and special and I could read them for days. Evans Welch created the perfect summer atmosphere. I think one of my biggest complains is that the story was too short! I definitely want more and would gladly read a sequel or even the full story of Lina’s mom and Howard (even though we do get a lot of that through her journals). I don’t think this is one I would re-read and purchase, but I flew through this in one day and would highly recommend it. This is a great story if you are looking for a fun summer read. The Florence setting is great and it’s an easy book to fly through at the pool!

That Artsy Reader Girl
This month’s book club was picked by Stephanie. She picked The Assistants by Camille Perri. It is Perri’s debut novel.

Published Year: 2016
Publisher: G.P Putnam's Sons
Pages: 288

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Summary (Provided by Goodreads): Tina Fontana is the hapless but brazen thirty-year-old executive assistant to Robert Barlow, the all-powerful and commanding CEO of Titan Corp., a multinational media conglomerate. She’s excellent at her job and beloved by her famous boss—but after six years of making his reservations for restaurants she’d never get into on her own and pouring his drinks from bottles that cost more than her rent, she’s bored, broke, and just a bit over it all.
When a technical error with Robert’s travel-and-expenses report presents Tina with the opportunity to pay off the entire balance of her student loan debt with what would essentially be pocket change for her boss, she struggles with the decision: She’s always played by the rules. But it’s such a relatively small amount of money for the Titan Corporation—and for her it would be a life-changer . . .

                                                          What I thought

I was a bit nervous about this book. I was worried I wasn’t going to enjoy the main character and therefore wouldn’t enjoy the book. I was also worried that the book was going o be slow going and take a while to get things moving. I was pleasantly surprised to see that none of this was true.

The Assistants follows Tine, who is the assistant for the media man and one of the richest men in the world. As an assistant, she barely makes enough to get by in New York and is also working towards paying off student loan debt. When she accidentally receives a check for $20,000 she figures, what’s the harm in keeping it and using it to pay off the rest of her debt? When she is found out by another assistant, they use their invisibility and knowledge to steal money from men who have so much they wouldn’t even notice it was gone.

The Assistants addresses the unfairness that is the 1%. The men who work for Titan Corp make insane amounts of money, while their assistants make minimal and drown in student debt. As women in a male media world they feel kept down. Tina gets the chance to take the amount that Robert, her boss and head of Titan Corp, would drop on two sorry necklaces for his wife and justifies that she needs the money more than he does. She struggles with the moral dilemma of taking the money or giving it back but ultimately keeps it.

Tina then finds out that she is not alone in her struggle. Women everywhere are drowning in debt and being underpaid and underappreciated. As a young career woman with a crazy amount of student loan debt, I understand the struggle. I related to Tina in that if I received a check for the amount that I had left owed on my loans from a man who spends that in a day without thinking about it, I would be extremely tempted to keep it. The amount that these men think of as nothing is life changing to so many people. While I wouldn’t have actually kept the money, Tina did and that created a great moral dilemma throughout the story.

Perri kept the pace of the story moving very quickly which I enjoyed. I felt myself worried and anxious on behalf of Tina and the other assistants, so it was nice not to have to have that dragged out. Once I started the story, it was very easy to keep reading. I didn’t want to put it down as I wanted to find out what happened to Tina and the other assistants.

This story would make a wonderful romantic comedy. It has the feel of Devil Wears Prada or The Shopaholic with the modern struggle of student loan debt that so many women can relate to. I really enjoyed this book and felt like it would make a great beach read.

                                                       What Book Club Thought

This was such a great book club choice! It had so many great discussion points. We all enjoyed the book but at the same time had minor issues with it that made for great discussions. The general consensus was that the story was fun and moved quickly but that there were some plot and character issues. One of the book club members works in a large company and actually has experience with filing expense reports, so her knowledge of that was really interesting. I have never had to file expense reports (as I work in the schools) so I had no knowledge of how correct or probable that part of the story was. After some discussion, it seems as though Perri did not compete a lot of research on that portion of the story.

One good question that came up for discussion was “At any point did you feel ok with what Tina did?” And then we had a follow up of “Would you have ever done what she did?”

Next Book Club: August 12th 2016

Book Club Pick: Little Women  By: Louisa May Alcott

It’s time for our yearly classic! August is typically the month that we pick to read our one classic and this year we collectively picked Little Women. 

By: Jen Malone
Published Year: 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 352

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Summary (Provided by Goodreads): Not all those who wander are lost, but Aubree Sadler most definitely is on this novel’s whirlwind trip through Europe.

Aubree can’t think of a better place to be than in perfectly boring Ohio, and she’s ready for a relaxing summer. But when her older sister, Elizabeth, gets into real trouble, Aubree is talked into taking over Elizabeth’s summer job, leading a group of senior citizens on a bus tour through Europe.

Aubree doesn’t even make it to the first stop in Amsterdam before their perfect plan unravels, leaving her with no phone, no carefully prepared binder full of helpful facts, and an unexpected guest: the tour company owner’s son, Sam. Considering she’s pretending to be Elizabeth, she absolutely shouldn’t fall for him, but she can’t help it, especially with the most romantic European cities as the backdrop for their love story.

But her relationship with Sam is threatening to ruin her relationship with her sister, and she feels like she’s letting both of them down. Aubree knows this trip may show her who she really is—she just hopes she likes where she ends up.

                                                         First Impressions

I am so excited Jen Malone has come out with a YA novel! I had the chance to read her debut At Your Service which was a Middle Grade novel and I really enjoyed the story and the writing (review here). Also, how gorgeous is this cover? Does it not make you want to travel the world? As someone who has extreme wanderlust, I knew I needed to read this book after seeing the cover and reading the summary.

                                                           What I thought

This book was so cute and exactly what I needed to read right before my trip.

Aubree throws a party for her high school graduation when her parents weren’t home. Her older sister Elizabeth surprises her and comes home from college during the middle of the party. When the police show up, Elizabeth answers the door and gets herself arrested. As a result, Elizabeth is no longer going to be able to fulfill her duties as a tour guide over the summer for a tour company that is looking to support the congressman she is planning on working for in the fall. Elizabeth decides that Aubree owes her and that she should go as Elizabeth and be a tour guide. Aubree ends up going and the book shares the story of her experience as she finds herself during her travels.

Putting aside the slightly ridiculous premise that gets Aubree to Europe, I really enjoyed the story. Aubree is the baby sister and is seen as a baby and a klutz. Elizabeth has always been the perfect sister and has never had any trouble until this summer. Aubree has also never left home and has never had any desire to travel. While I don’t understand that sentiment, as I have always wanted to travel and live abroad, I did understand her nerves of traveling alone at 18.

Once Aubree gets to Europe, she has to lead a tour of 6 senior citizens over the course of 21 days across multiple countries; all while pretending to be her older sister. She immediately loses the binder full of information that her sister prepared for her and so she struggles her way through the tour. The one bright side is her nightly check-in calls with Sam from the tour company. They immediately start the cutest phone flirt and it is adorable. Sam is absolutely wonderful. He is definitely my latest book crush. He is nice and funny but he’s not perfect. I loved the way he treated Aubree (as Elizabeth) and the way she was around him as well.

One part I really related to with Aubree was that she was an extremely picky eater. I am a very picky eater, though I do love chicken so I am usually pretty good wherever I go. However, there aren’t many characters in books, especially in travel books, that are picky eaters. I think her pickiness was a bit extreme, as she was only eating at McDonald’s (and even I am more adventurous than that), but I loved that little quirk of hers and related to it.

This is a great book of personal growth and has some wonderful European background. I felt as if I was along on the tour with Aubree at every moment and I loved seeing her grow. If you love travel books, I highly recommend reading this one. Just get back the improbability of how Aubree ends up as the tour guide, and you will love reading this book. It is cute, fun, surprising, sad, and everything in between. I couldn’t put it down and could see myself re-reading it in the future. It’s definitely a book that if I saw it at the library book sale I’d pick it up. I can’t wait to read more from Malone in the future!

It’s back! Each summer, Nordstrom holds their anniversary sale during which they bring out their fall products at a sale price. After they sale, they do continue to have these products, but the price goes back up to the original price. Nordstrom card holders receive early access (started July 14th) and non-card holders receive access to the sale on July 21st-August 7th. If you are a regular Nordstrom shopper, I do recommend getting a card. However, they did recently start offering their amazing rewards system to non-card holders if you sign up for the rewards program.

Just a quick side note about the rewards program, for every purchase you make you receive a point per dollar. There are also double and triple points days through the year where you can earn more points to the dollar. If you are a credit/debit card holder, you do get one personal triple points day per year. Once you earn 1000 points, you receive a $20 Nordstrom note. The best thing about these notes s that they don’t have any exceptions!

Typically, during the anniversary sale I have something specific in mind that I’m shopping for. This year, I did not. I knew I had to refill some of my makeup standards and when the anniversary sale is going on there are always gifts with purchase.


Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum ($155)

I have used the Advanced Night Repair serum for a year or two now and my skin loves it. I recently tried another serum and it made my skin break out like crazy. I decided to go back to the Advanced Night Repair. Typically, the 1.7 oz is $92. Recently, they started to offer a two pack of the 1.7 oz for $155. That makes it a $29 savings on the second bottle. For reference, it takes me about 6 months to go through the 1.7 oz bottle. Knowing that I would buy another bottle in the future, it made a lot of sense for me to purchase two at once and save myself $29 in the end.

Gift with Purchase

Estee Lauder (as always) is offering a free gift with $45 purchase. There are three different sets that you can pick from. One is the Lift set which includes the Resilience Lift eye and face cream, a Perfectly Clean Cleanser, the Advanced Night Repair serum, Micro Essence toner, and a lip conditioner. The second option is the Glam set which includes the Advanced Night Repair serum and eye cream, Sumptuous Knockout Mascara, Little Black Mascara Primer, Full-size Pure Color Envy Lipstick in Insatiable Ivory, and the Pure Color Envy Eye shadow compact. The third and final set is the Repair set which includes the Nutritious cleanser, moisture crème, night crème, and energy lotion, the Advanced Night Repair Serume, and a full-size Pure Color Envy Sculpting Gloss in Seductive Honey. 

I was lucky enough to receive both the Repair set and the Glam set. I don’t think I will use much of the makeup, as the lip colors are not ones that work on my skin tone. I am really excited about the mascara and the creams though!

Estee Lauder Repair Gift Set
Estee Lauder Glam gift set
Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 ($44)

I have wanted to purchase this tinted moisturizer for a while, but was waiting until my other one ran out. I purchased the shade Bisque and am looking forward to using this product. It’s a very light coverage product but it does even out my skin tone and also provides SPF 20 protection. I’m looking forward to using this on my trip and seeing how it hold up.

Dior 'Diorshow' Color & Countour Eyeshadow Dur in Hortensia ($33)
This is one of those products that are an anniversary sale early access product that I stumbled upon. As soon as I saw it and swatched it on my hand, I immediately knew I needed it. If you have been following my blog for a little while, you would know that I have a soft spot for cream eye shadow sticks. I tend to be lazy in the early mornings when I have to go to work, and eye shadow ticks become my go-to. They’re so easy and so pretty! This one is a beautiful shimmery lilac color that is perfect for spring and summer. On the other side is the softest purple eye liner I have ever used. I love to use purple eye liner to switch things up on a daily basis. I haven’t given this product the full day test yet, but it’s super creamy. This product and the other Dior products in the anniversary sale are limited edition, so if one of them catches your eye grab them before they're gone!


Zella ‘Live in’ Leggings (During Sale $33.90, After Sale $52.00)

I have casually been looking for a pair of wide band leggings for a month or two now. I prefer the wider band leggings because they don’t dig in a give a smoother line. The sales associate that I was shopping with (and have shopped with for years as well as had her do my makeup for my wedding) pointed these out and said that all of the Nordstrom employees swear by these. They suck you in and aren’t see-through which makes them perfect for wearing out of the house. They are definitely tight, but not in an uncomfortable way. They're also reversible with one side being slightly more shiny. If you’ve been looking for a new pair of leggings, I would recommend picking up a pair of these before the price goes back up! 

Kut from the Kloth Catherine Slim Boyfriend Jeans (shade Equanimous) (During Sale $49.90, After Sale $89.50)

I currently own a pair of Kut from the Kloth black pants and they are ridiculously comfortable. When I saw that they had some jeans on sale I knew I needed to check them out. I tend to purchase dark wash skinny jeans or jeggings, so I don’t own any boyfriend jeans or lighter wash like these ones. These jeans are so soft and so comfortable and I’m really looking forward to trying this new style. I will say that you are going to want to go a size down in these. They are very stretchy, but because they’re boyfriend style, it will look great if/when they start to get baggy. 

In general, this year’s sale isn’t my favorite. I’m pretty disappointed in their sweater selection and normally I can find a few that I love. My biggest issue is that all of the sweaters have these terrible slits in the front/side that look horrible on my body (see picture below for slits). I’m hoping this isn’t a new fashion trend and that it won’t be the only thing I find this fall and winter. While this year’s sale does seem a bit smaller and less exciting than previous ones, I would still recommend checking it out!

See the super awkward slits at the bottom? How do those look good?? (Photo courtesy of



1 Comment

One of my best friends and I are going on a girls trip July 20th-August 6th. We are going to be travelling Europe so the blog may be a bit iffy. I have a few posts planned to go up, but with the time change I can't guarantee that it will be going up at the typically days and times. Also, because I am on vacation, the blog posts are not my priority. Unfortunately, the blog platform I use does not allow me to schedule blog posts and have hem go up automatically, otherwise I would do that.

Good news is that the trip will probably produce products for small hauls and some new product reviews when I get back! Like I said, I will try my best to put some posts up while I'm gone, but I can't make any promises.

Hope you're all having a great summer! 
By: Liz Moore
Published Year: 2016
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Pages: 464

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I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way shape or form influenced my opinion of this book.

Summary (Provided by Goodreads):  Ada Sibelius is raised by David, her brilliant, eccentric, socially inept single father, who directs a computer science lab in 1980s-era Boston. Home-schooled, Ada accompanies David to work every day; by twelve, she is a painfully shy prodigy. The lab begins to gain acclaim at the same time that David's mysterious history comes into question. When his mind begins to falter, leaving Ada virtually an orphan, she is taken in by one of David's colleagues. Soon after she embarks on a mission to uncover her father’s secrets: a process that carries her from childhood to adulthood. What Ada discovers on her journey into a virtual universe will keep the reader riveted until The Unseen World's heart-stopping, fascinating conclusion. 

                                                         First Impressions

The cover is immediately intriguing. It has a mysterious look to it that I think would make a lot of people want to pick it up. The summary was also mysterious and made me curious. I thought it sounded like an interesting science mystery and I was curious to see what happened. What was David’s mysterious history? What would Ada discover? Who was going to try to stop Ada from discovering information about her father?

                                                         What I thought

While not what I expected it to be, this book was definitely interesting and unlike anything I’ve read before.

David is the single father to Ada. He is a genius and the head of a lab who is working on language with computer intelligence. Ada has grown up with the home and the lab as her education. She speaks physics, code, and math as fluently as most people speak English. At the age of 12, David’s mind begins to fail him. He shares with Ada that he has Early Onset Alzheimer’s. As his memory worsens, Ada moves in with Liston, their close family friend, and begins to attend a normal school for the first time in her life. During this time, information comes about that makes Ada and Liston question David’s history. She and the rest of their colleagues work towards unraveling this mystery and make sense of who Ada knows as her father.

I think that based on the description I thought this book was going to be more sinister. I think I pictures something more along the lines of David having done something in his past that his colleagues find out about in order to take him down and ruin his life. Instead, it was an interesting story about a young girl who realizes that she might not have known who her father is after all. With no one to turn to, as David’s memory is essentially gone by the time she starts asking questions, she has to rely on her intelligence and David’s colleagues at the lab to find answers to the millions of questions that keep coming.

This book is a bit slow to start, but as the mystery begins it becomes more difficult to put down. I think if I had understood more what this book was going to be before I started it I would’ve gotten into it quicker. I kept waiting for a villain who was going to come after David and then Ada, but it’s not that kind of story.

The story is also very centered around technology and artificial intelligence. Moore did a good job of writing about these scientific aspects without making them too scientific and above the reader’s head. I found the research that they were completing interesting and I liked how it connected with the story.

The story does bounce back and forth between the 1980s and 2009 which I found to be a little frustrating. There were a lot of times that the switch was at the most inopportune times and didn’t seem to provide any pertinent information to justify the switch. I almost would’ve preferred if it had been evenly split into Part 1: The 1980s and Part 2: The 2000s. Later in the book the switches made a bit more sense, but I still think it took me out of the story a bit when they were so sharp.

This story tells an interesting tale of what people will do for love, both for the people they love and their passions. Everyone is driven by love in some way in this book and each one of them reacts differently. The lessons that Ada learns are fascinating and enlightening.

This story is unlike anything that I’ve read before, so it has been a bit difficult for me to review. It is a bit slow at times and doesn’t always flow. I think it would be a really interesting book club pick as there are a lot of good discussion points. The mystery was captivating and kept me invested in the story. I needed to know what happened to David and Ada and it wasn’t wholly predictable. If you enjoy stories that have a realistic mystery to them, I would recommend this book. It isn’t a mystery in the sense of a thriller novel, but in the sense of real life. I would recommend this book, but I can’t see myself re-reading it or purchasing it for myself which is why I gave it a Borrow rating.