Books I Read in June 2022

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I was not expecting to have to start this document on June 1st, but here we are and I have already finished a book in June. So, I have to start the post. I am hoping to really knock a big chunk of my current physical TBR, I know that I have my TBR books and my extras books. 

            I am really hoping to read about 13 books this month, if not more. I have the time off so I might as well get some reading done and completed and all of that. I have some books I am really looking forward to reading this month. 

The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross (3.7/5)

            This one was cute, I love a good Beauty and the Beast retelling, I read all of it in a day. It was predictable because it is for sure a retelling so it is going to be predictable and the last like 20 pages were a little weird. I really enjoyed it though, it took me a little bit to get into but then I for sure got into it. I really liked the mirror mechanic in this one and all of the little twists and turns that were not in the Disney version. Beauty and the Beast is for sure one of my favorite Disney movies so when this was given to me as a gift, I was excited. I have not read the original fairytale but it is for sure a book I own and would like to read eventually. 

Not the Witch You Wed by April Asher (4.5/5)

            I picked this one up in March when I was on spring break in Indiana, it was the on the BookTok table, but I have never seen this book on BookTok. Who knows? It was super cute, accepting yourself and all of that. I laughed out loud more times than I would like to admit. I loved Violet and Lincoln’s dynamic and there are of course a lot of tropes that were utilized in this one. It’s of course a happy ending because it wouldn’t be a cute little rom com if there wasn’t a happy ending. I loved the characters and her grandmother is my favorite character in the whole book. I cannot wait for the sequel with her sister Rose as the main character (I think?) I looked at the synopsis for a total of three seconds before adding it to my want to read list. I really enjoyed this one and it was a super cute and quick read. 

Hot Vampire Next Door Season 3 by Nikki St. Crowe (5/5)

            I don’t rate many things five, that’s a hard rating for me to give out, but this one, this whole series has me in its clutches and I cannot wait for the next one! It all takes place over like 48 hours before to during Jessie’s pledge. Like all hell breaks loose and it let me on a cliffhanger! Nikki! Come on! Also, if Jessie and Bran don’t get a happy ending, I will riot, I will 100% riot, no one will know any peace. Like it’s spicy (real spicy and a little dark) and we got some from Bran’s perspective in this one. I cannot, it was so good! I got this like the moment it was released in paperback and then it burned a hole in my desk for two days while I read Not the Witch You Wed, it was so worth the wait though and if I really wanted to, I could read it on Kindle, but I like the tension of me checking Amazon several times a day after the ebook has been released for me to get it in paperback. There are also a lot of tie in plot lines with this one and an expanding world so here is my patiently, but not patiently at all waiting for her to give me more! 

Hooked by Emily McIntire (4.5/5)

            This was not supposed to be my next book, but I got three chapters into another book and got bored so I am going to work on that while I read other books or I am going to get bogged. A very dark reimagining of Peter Pan, hold crap was it spicy and like real dark romance. It was really good though, I read it in two sittings because I could not put it down. Like he’s not a hero, but at this point heroes are a little over rated, I love a good morally grey book boyfriend. It’s about revenge and family and loyalty and betrayal, that one thing can cascade events through time and space and it’s a lot. I have read a lot of Peter Pan themed fiction in the last year or so and this I think has been my favorite. Y’all there are a lot of trigger warnings with this one, if you want to look them up go and do it, it’s not for the faint of heart. I can promise that, it’s so good, but it’s dark. 

The Sleeping King by Bill Flippin and Cindy Dees (DNF)

            I don’t DNF and everyone who has been around my blog for a while knows that. I got like 40 pages in and it just…I didn’t like it. I have decided that I am going to DNF it and the rest of the series. Not every book is for everybody, and this one did threaten to throw me into a reading slump. So, I have chosen to let it go and move on. I am not going to count this toward my TBR now, I will pick another fantasy book from my Extras pile to replace this one. I just decided that this one isn’t for me and instead of slogging through 600 pages or skimming, I’m moving on. I should have done that with a number of books in May and I regret it. This might be your favorite book, but I felt like I was reading a weird transcript of someone’s D&D campaign, also with the forced breeding insinuation and aspect at the beginning, nah, I’m good.

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary (3.5/5)

            It was a cute book; the premise was really fun. There were just some things that rubbed me as a person the wrong way. I loved Leon and Tiffy and the whole concept of getting to know someone through post-it’s that is so cute and I do mean so cute. The unhinged ex-boyfriend, that hit me, that was weird and like emotional manipulation and gaslighting is never okay in a relationship. If you do something wrong, own it. Don’t let someone feel like they aren’t good enough because you want to be right. I have dealt with emotional manipulation in life more than I would like to discuss and reading this it hit me. There were some things that I feel like got left or untethered, was there ever a restraining order? The epilogue was what lost me on it, it really was, it was cute and they finally get together and he proposes with notes but not with words, I understand being an introvert, but that was a lot. The writing style with Leon’s chapters was also more like a transcript than prose and it was odd. It was cute, don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the cute little romcom, but I think that it will suit someone else’s bookshelf better.

The Long Dark Tea Time of The Soul by Douglas Adams (2.8/5)

            Okay, I loved the TV series, I really did it was so good and this series as a written model just doesn’t make any sense to me. I finished this because I had to. Like I liked the parts with Thor and Kate in them more than I liked the parts with Dirk Gently in them, I will be unhauling it because I don’t want them in my permanent collection. I skimmed a lot of it, I don’t and didn’t mean to skip pieces of it but I just couldn’t get into it like I wanted to. But I’m done with it and that’s fine. I know that Douglas Adams is one of those authors that so many people love, I just didn’t and that’s okay. 

The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah (4.5/5)

            This one was my June Book of The Month, it will have its own post up soon. I will be thinking about this book for the rest of the year! I loved it so much and I cannot wait for the other two! Like it took me a while to get into it and then I could not put it down, I loved the characters, the story, the imagery. The ending of this one, I cannot wait for the next one! 

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (5/5)

            It should shock no one that this series is a 5 for me. This book was amazing. I laughed so hard at some points and almost cried at others. Like there are so many twists and turns and a few times I for sure said “holy plot twists Batman” thanks to BookTok I know some things, but there was a part that my heart stopped beating in my chest. I was like Sarah! Sarah, don’t you do this to me. I love the bat boys, but I would be blind and stupid not to. A lot of people that I have seen on BookTok did not like this book all that much, I loved it. (I also finished the day I found out that I didn’t get a job I wanted so it hurt for a lot of different reasons.) A Court of Frost and Starlight is actually the last book on my TBR for this year so I am looking forward to reading that one too. 

Sea of Lost Love by Santa Montefiore (3.5/5)

            It took me a long time to get into it. Like it was a who-don-it with several interesting twists, I called most of them. The plot felt a little messy for me and I had some moments where I wasn’t sure whose perspective it was in. I enjoyed it for the feel-good parts of the story, not the espionage parts. The whole plot line with the priest was a little weird. The parts in Italy were the best, it was just a lot to be honest. I liked it, I have had it in my collection for a really long time and it was time to read it. If you like a British high-born family in the late 1950’s falling apart at the seams, this one is for sure for you. 

            I didn’t hit my 13 goal and that’s okay, I read a lot of big books this month and I took some days off. I also wrote over 250,000 words in June and that is so many words, like I finished drafting three books, as of right now and I still have two days left. I might get another in that I started this month. I have been off in my own head a lot and sometimes that means I don’t read as much. 

            I am unhauling four books this month, which is weird for me. I also unhauled a whole series because I got 40 pages in the first one and didn’t want to read anymore, so I am just letting the whole series go. I did still read quite a bit this month, I enjoyed most of the books that I read, I am going to say that. Just because I am unhauling the book does not necessarily mean I didn’t enjoy it. I just never plan on reading it again. 

            I want a library and I know that takes 1,000 books, but I want to make sure of those 1,000 books that I love every single one. I like a lot of books, but if I want them in my permanent collection, I have to love them. If the ones I unhaul are your favorite books, that’s totally okay! We all love what we love and we can get along, I promise, we don’t have to step on each other’s toes to just live. 

            If you want to check out what else I have read this year, you totally can because there are over 60 books now. January, February, March, April, and May

            Alright, I was going to give my normal end of post salutation, but with everything that’s happening in the world right now, stay safe out there. Be nice to each other. A lot of us are going through it. 

            -MJ 

Let’s Keep Track Shall We?: 

General Fiction: 6/10 (The Runaway Princess, Since You’ve Been Gone, Admission, Delicious, The Royal We, The Long Dark Tea Time of The Soul, )

Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 5/9 (because one has been DNFed) (The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Hiddensee, The Crystal Cave, Sword of Destiny, The Map of Time, )

Historical: 8 /10 (The Velvet Hours, In the Shadow of Paris, And Only to Deceive, Radio Girls, Black Rabbit Hall, A Study in Death, In Falling Snow, Sea of Lost Love, )

Thriller: 2/2 (The Alienist and Meddling Kids)

Free Choice: 10/14 (Love and Gravity, A Fate of Wrath and Flame, City of Lost Dreams, It Devours!, A Court of Mist and Fury, A Study in Ashes, A Clockwork Heart, The Ten Thousand Doors of January, The Beast’s Heart, A Court of Wings and Ruin, )

Memoirs/Autobiographies: 2/2 (Buffering and Always Look on The Bright Side of Life)

General Non-Fiction: 2/2 (The Happiness Advantage and Teacher Misery)

Book of The Month: 6/12 (Reckless Girls, A River Enchanted, Dating Dr. Dil, Kaikeyi, Darling Girl, The Stardust Thief, )

Extras: 16/? (Midnight Spells Murder, Hot Vampire Next Door S1, Twisted Love, Malibu Rising, A Deal with the Elf King, Hot Vampire Next Door S2, The Fine Print, Well Met, Book Boyfriend, The Sound of Stars, Twisted Games, A Not So Meet Cute, Not the Witch You Wed, Hot Vampire Next Door S3, Hooked, The Flatshare, )

MJ’s 2022 Bullet Journal Update #2

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            When I said that I wanted to live in a fantasy world I didn’t mean a dystopian one. That’s where I am going to leave that, right here at the top and let people decipher my meaning. 

            I’ve been struggling with doing my Bullet Journal this year, I think that the theme is what is making it challenging. I love Marvel, it’s my favorite, but it’s hard to theme everything to one character per month for me. Some people probably do it super well, I am clearly not one of them. I have my theme for 2023 already, but not 2024 I might go back to simple theming in 2024. I don’t know yet though, I am not there. 

            Alright so April, May, and June. I am still working on July; it’s just getting it colored because I have to do that. I am trying, but I am struggling. I haven’t started August yet and I might change the theming for August, I don’t really know yet. I am not feeling the theme that I had planned originally because I am not sure how I could make it work. So I might completely overhaul August. 

April: Deadpool

Cover: Who doesn’t love Deadpool? I went simple, I feel like I am going simpler on my covers this year and that’s totally okay with me. I went all out last year and the year before and it was so much. I loved doing my really complex covers, but this year I just haven’t had the time or the want to really go all out with them. I am working on it, I am looking and saying “what can I do for this character that represents something that I can do to the ability of my artistic prowess?” 

Mood Tracker: Unicorns, because of course. I love stained glass and I have been really using that this year because it is something that I can do. It’s Deadpool though and a unicorn stained glass window makes sense. It makes so much sense. April was a rough month for me at the end so there are some days that were not great for me. I had some betrayal in my life in late April so it was a rough go there for a while. 

Last Page: You want to know where I stopped enjoying doing my Bullet Journal this year? Here, you can tell by this page, I loved the idea, but I never really finished it. 

May: Iron Man

Cover: Iron Man is my favorite Marvel character, there is no lie there, he’s a lot. I loved Dum-E because that’s one of the funniest things in the film franchise. It took me a lot longer than I would like to admit to do this cover because it took me weeks to actually finish. It was fun to do though and I like the robot. 

Mood Tracker: This scene in this film broke me, it broke me. I went with the snap and shards like the world was breaking apart, I had fun with this page. I really did, but I think this was the last page that I have actually had a lot of fun with. Sometimes life hits you and doesn’t let up, so here we are.

Last Page: Proof that Tony Stark has a heart, it was a fun thing from the movies that went from the first Iron Man to the close of the Infinity Saga. It got very sad, but again, here we are. I didn’t finish the background on this page either, but that’s where I am in life at the moment, it got done it was a lot of coloring and sketching so I just let it as is.

June: Spiderman

Cover: Ignore Spiderman in the center, I can’t draw people. We know this, we have known this for years. I wanted the cityscape and the webs so I rolled with it. It was a lot of coloring and stuff and it’s like my June cover last year a lot of lines. So many lines. 

Mood Tracker: It’s a spider web, because duh, what else would I do for Spiderman? I regret some of my color choices because they are so close together, but other than that, it’s fine. 

Last Page: I loved that scene in Civil War so I had to put it in where Spidey steals Cap’s shield, it’s a great scene and I wanted it in my Bullet Journal. My July theme is Captain America so you are going to be seeing a lot of the shield in the next post. 

            Well, that’s it for this one. I am hoping to find my joy again with my Bullet Journal because it’s a fun and such an important thing in my life. I enjoy working on it and I know that it helps me keep my life organized, but right now things are just so sucky and I hate it. If you want to check out the first three months of the year that is a thing that you can do because by now y’all know I love to link past posts.

            I will be back later in the week with another post, so until then…I want to say stay safe, happy, and healthy, but we all know that there are people working against that. So for now I want everyone just to stay safe out there. 

            -MJ 

Summer 2022 fabfitfun Unboxing

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Okay, so here’s the deal…it’s fine. I didn’t get an email about personalization this time so the thing I really wanted was already sold out. Which is annoying, but maybe it’s just my mental state at the moment that is impeding my joy of these boxes. I don’t know. 

            This one just didn’t provide the joy that I am used to with these boxes. I don’t know, maybe my tastes are changing as I get older, who knows. I also understand that trying to get things right now is super difficult because you know the world is going to heck in a hand basket. 

            So, what did I get this time around though? I am going to go through all of it as to what I got, the options are no longer in the magazine so I can’t tell you the things that I didn’t pick unless I go on the app. In truth I didn’t even really look into the magazine. These are also not going to be in any particular order because I’m just running through it, note my enthusiasm! Seriously, I am only marginally excited for this one, and that means that I am leaning toward apathy, sorry. 

Samara Should Bag in Peony:

            It’s cute, it’s vegan leather and it’s a nice color. I like the closure on it so that’s exciting. I know that I chose this one, that I remember. It’s a basic bag and the thing that hit me when I opened it was the smell, it didn’t smell great but it’s vegan leather and it was in a hot box for a while so I cannot fault them for that. I can’t say that in real life I would pay the price tag on this one after seeing it in person, I wouldn’t and that is 100% a personal choice. 

Z Gallerie Multi-Use Storage Duo:

            The look like candle holders, I can for sure make stickers for them on my Circuit now and use them in my bathroom or somewhere else. They are basic and cute so I will find a use for them somewhere in my place. I think I chose these two because it was the only option that looked like something that I would want or use. I know I shouldn’t be saying it like that because there is a lot of time and thought that goes into these items and no shade. No shade at all, fff is just getting predictable and a little…kitschy. 

New Balance Ab Wheel:

            This is the first like workout item that I have seen in a while and I think I chose this one as well, I was actually really excited to get this one and I will be giving it a try when I get home from dogsitting. I love trying out new workout gear and this one looked like something that I wouldn’t accidently injure myself using. That is a fear y’all, a fear that is very real. 

Lasting Smiles Soy Candle in Sea Salt and Citrus:

            I have been reading the ACOTAR series and that’s described as one of the scents and I actually a huge fan of this candle and they provide money to charities with their candles so here we are. The packaging and glass is really simple which is great and I can’t wait to be able to burn it, I still live in an apartment so it’s going to be a while before I can. It’s got a 50 hour burn time which is also great because sometimes candles burn down so quickly it’s pathetic. 

TF Publishing Co. Brain Teasers+ Activity Book Bundle:

            They will be fun for road trips. Honestly this feels super juvenile to me, I know that people of all ages use activity books, but this is like the cactus cup and that jewelry holder for me, it’s really an odd choice to put in this box. I don’t think I chose this one, I honestly can’t remember at this point what I chose for this box. It’s fun, I have done a few of the puzzles, it’s just an odd choice for this type of box for me. 

Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisturizing CC Cream: 

            It’s for your hair? I think? I am honestly not sure and the container is at home so I can’t go look at it right now. It says 10 in 1 for your hair on the app so that’s that I’m going with, when I see CC I think about makeup not hair so here we are. I mean I will for sure try it, I was just confused about it until about five minutes ago when I looked it up on the app. Well, that’s fun, here we are and me being an idiot, it should shock no one. 

Kayo Body Scrubber: 

            This was a random mystery item, I have seen fidgets like this, it’s interesting. I do not like how the back feels but I will give it a try in the shower, no matter how confused I am about it. I like how it feels with the little bristles though, that’s really nice. I will give it a try. I promise, this one just feels very random to put in the box.

            I feel some feelings about this box, most of them are neutral, some are favorable, and some are negative. I don’t want to share them right now though because I feel like I have been complaining about fff for almost a year and I still continue to get it. I might stop, I honestly at this moment have no idea. If the fall box spoilers blow me out of the water I’ll keep it, if not I think I am going to say goodbye to this box for a little while, maybe circle back to it in a year or so. I don’t know. I really don’t at the moment and I know that with supply chain issues, with inflation, and with everything else that’s going on this is expected. I just don’t feel like I am getting the bang for my buck that I used to get with this box.

            So, if you want to see what was in my spring box, you totally can because that post has been up since March. I will see everyone later in the week with another post, so until then I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy!

            -MJ

June 2022 IPSY Glam Bag Plus Unboxing

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Well, here we are and I am still just running on the line of, I am averaging 10,000 words a day and I finished two novel drafts so far this month, it’s the 19th as I am writing this. I am over 100,000 this month and about a 1,000 of those have been blog posts because I have just been in that kind of mood and I need to let my muse out or she’s going to beat me to death with the plot bat. Y’all don’t really care about that and that’s fine because that’s where I am at the moment. 

            Like I said in my Glam Bag unboxing this month, they are increasing the prices, I don’t know if I am going to keep them, it’s a balancing act. I might get rid of IPSY and FabFitFun for a while and switch to books. I don’t know yet, I just don’t and here we are. 

            I got this in the mail well over a week ago and it’s been sitting on the floor in my office because I have been working on other projects. Yea, that’s been my life, sorry, actually no, not sorry. 

The Bag:

            Not my favorite, the colors clash for me and not a huge fan of it. I love the idea of the popsicles, that’s fun. It’s just the color scheme for me that makes me cringe a little. Normally I have nothing but nice things to say, but this one aesthetically just missed the mark for me. If you like it, that’s totally cool, I just don’t and that’s okay. 

The Products: 

            I don’t remember what I picked until I actually look at the email, that’s how memorable this bag is for me. It’s fine, if I get rid of either of my Glam Bag subscriptions, it’s gonna be this one. 

Dr. Brandt Skincare Triple Antioxidant Face Cream:

            I love Dr. Brandt so this is a win in my book, but I feel like IPSY has really leaned into the skincare side and not the makeup side recently, or maybe my tastes have changed. I don’t know. I love a good face cream and Dr. Brandt usually doesn’t break me out and that’s good. Antioxidants are amazing so here we are hoping that it does all the things that it says it will.

Dr. Zenovia Hyaluronic Acid+Peptid Serum:

            Saw the name of the brand and thought it said Genovia, you know the country from The Princess Diaries and I was on board. I have been getting more and more into serums since the pandemic started, I need to use mine more. I go in spurts where I do the 12-step skin care routine and then some days I am just lucky to get my face washed and moisturized. It apparently stimulates collagen production and now that I am 30, that’s apparently a thing that I need to worry about. I miss when I could just wash my face and then everything was fine. Oh youth. 

Natasha Denona Ayana Eyeshadow Palette:

            It was Natasha Denona, it’s one of those brands that you see and go, that’s expensive and that means it’s nice. I haven’t swatched the palette and I am not home at the moment to do it, but from everything I have heard about the brand; it’s great. I love the shades though, I thought the last shade in the palette was a weird sagey green, it’s silver. I like that a lot more. This is one of those palettes that contains a whole eye look and that’s so helpful when you don’t want to pack a bunch of different eyeshadow palettes. 

Vike Beauty Makeup Melt:

            I have used micellar water, I have used cleanser, I have used solid makeup removing cream, I have used my Makeup Eraser (and love it), so when there was a product for removing makeup that I haven’t tried I was like “give it to me!” I’m going to try a makeup removing spray because why not? I will check back in with the results on that one. 

Lovita Never Lost Necklace:

            This is the first time I have been (I think) offered something that wasn’t makeup or skin care and I was all for this one too, I love necklaces and it’s a cute little compass. It’s interesting that I got this as a pickable option. So, I rolled with it, I am all for a new cool thing and it was nice to have an option that wasn’t just beauty related. I love a good lifestyle moment. 

            My box this month was worth quite a bit so you do get your bang for your buck with the GB+, I will say that, but I am not using the products fast enough to really justify it as much as I used to. I don’t know yet, I am going to see what it looks like when they increase the prices and then I will make my decisions. 

            If you want to see what else I have gotten this year, you totally can! January, February, March, April, and May!

            Alright, I will be back later in the week with another post, so until then, I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy!

            -MJ 

What Was in My June 2022 IPSY Glam Bag?

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Well, here we are, halfway through the year of these and that’s hard to believe to be completely honest. IPSY is increasing prices so I will stick it out for a little while and then I am genuinely wondering if I will keep it up. I understand that prices are increasing across the board and that’s part of the reason why I may have to cut back on unnecessary purchases. I would rather spend money on a book or something at this point so I don’t know how much longer I will be posting these specific posts and that might mean that I cut back on posting since right now it’s super erratic anyway. 

            Seriously, my posting schedule has been super hit and miss recently, sorry. I have been writing other things, like I wrote 78,000 something words last week and none of them were blog posts. I need to get back into it, but my brain has been being held hostage by my muse who I swear is just snorting whatever she can find because the book writing bug has bitten me real hardcore this year. 

            Alright, into the post though because otherwise I’m going to get bored and go work on my current fantasy novel, like I didn’t just finish one at the end of May. I finished two books in a week, one took four months and the other only took two so that’s where I am. 

The Bag:

            I love this bag! I love the meshing and the fact that it’s purple, purple is my favorite color and therefore I love this bag. I love the zipper pull which is a lemon slice. There is nothing about this bag that I don’t absolutely love all around. This would be a great bag to take the beach because it’s got holes in it so the sand would come right out. 

The Products: 

Bad Habit Wake Things Up Matcha & Mint Morning Cleanser:

            I will be humming the Ed Sheeran song the whole time I am writing this post now. I love a good cleanser and I just ran out of all the ones that I was using so this isn’t a bad thing, I almost said bad habit because that’s where my brain is at the moment. I love the packaging, it made me laugh quite a bit. I like matcha but I don’t know if I have ever had it in a skin care product so we are going to give it a try and see what we think. (Yes, I am using the royal we by accident, I’m sorry.) 

Pinklipps Cosmetics 5-Star Concealer in Independent like Aries: 

            Aries, the Greek God of War, I would say that’s pretty independent or maybe they mean the zodiac sign. Who knows? I have never heard of this brand before but I like new brands. The color match is actually really good for my skin tone which is rare for me so that’s a plus in my book automatically. It doesn’t feel super drying on the skin and it doesn’t seem to be powdering off yet, that happens so frequently and I am always frustrated when I accidently touch my face and all of a sudden half my makeup is on my hand, even with setting spray. So, this one at the moment is for sure a win in my book.

Tarte Maneater Voluptuous Mascara:

            I have used this in the past and loved it, but it’s Tarte and Tarte is one of those brands that I have never had a problem with any of their products. I am excited to get another little tube of this because I love Tarte mascara. The one problem I have with this mini is the fact that the applicator is as almost as long as the tube and that’s a problem sometimes. Otherwise, super excited to give this one another round in my makeup bag.

Tatcha Indigo Overnight Cream:

            I picked this and we have talked about how I will always pick Tatcha if is it offered to me. I love Tatcha. I for sure need something to repair my skin because stress is a real thing y’all and that means that I have been dealing with it and my skin is suffering, it’s been suffering quite a bit so I am so excited to give this one a try. One day I will buy full sized Tatcha, that day is not today but I am always so excited to get the chance to get minis!

KVossNYC Lip Potion: 

            It’s an overnight lip mask, I have another one from another brand and I didn’t like it, I know I can’t make that blanket statement that I don’t like lip masks, but I kind of don’t. They just aren’t for me. I have a problem with licking my lips at random or pursing them and that defeats the purpose. Also, I sleep like a monster, I will give it a try, but I am not going to walk in with super high hopes that it’s amazing. I hope that it proves me wrong. 

            Most of the stuff in my bag this month was super cool and I am looking forward to using it in the coming weeks because most of it is stuff that I will use as quickly as I can and I am looking forward to using it. 

            I think that’s about it for this post though so I will see everyone in a few days with another one. 

            If you want to know what else I’ve gotten this year, you can totally go and check those posts out: January, February, March, April, and May.

            Alright everyone, until next time I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy.

            -MJ

May 2022 Book of The Month Review:

Title: Darling Girl

Author: Liz Michalski

Rating: 4/5

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Well, here we are, I have had book of the month for almost a year now which is super cool because I had read a lot of really amazing books. This was for sure one of them, it was a lot. I am going to start out by saying that.

            There are going to be spoilers so if you want to read the book, stop reading this, I will see you in the next post. 

            A Darling, Wendy’s granddaughter, has secrets and they are starting to pile up and spill out. This book had a really slow start and then it really kicked off, you have to get through like the first 30 or so percent of the novel but after that it moves fast. 

            Holly is trying her best, she lost her husband and one of her twin sons and her daughter is in a coma, she’s trying to keep a company together while also trying to grow it and raise a teenage boy who is brooding and she’s trying to protect him. Her daughter’s blood has some sort of healing protein, which, cool. 

            Her daughter goes missing and that’s a lot because she’s been in a coma for ten years. So she goes to London, she suspects that Peter Pan, yes that Peter Pan has her because Peter is the girl’s father. There is mention of sexual assault so that is for sure a trigger warning for those of you who don’t like that. Peter is unhinged, like super unhinged. This is why heroes are overrated, well, what we know of them. 

            There is a lot of mentions of the original book, which I read last year and of course we have all seen the Disney film. 

            The twists and turns of trying to find her daughter take her to a hook handed man, and of course thanks to Once Upon a Time all I could picture was Hook from that show and well, here we are. Private detective with a motorcycle who’s a combat vet, he’s brooding and so much cooler than Peter.

            It’s a lot of deception and lies, there are for sure a lot of those throughout the story, I liked Holly as a character, when you are given two impossible choices you have to pick the lesser of two evils and that’s about what it is for her. 

            Peter Pan has had a lot of retellings over the years, I have a few of them in my collection from the original to The Child Thief by Brom, which needs to be on my list to actually read because that book is beautiful. I started it my senior year of high school (so 2010) and it’s been on shelf ever since, but I wanted that book for such a long time and it was worth the price.

            This book was great, I actually really enjoyed it once I got into it. The ending comes up quick and it leaves it open, I don’t mind the openness of it. I wish that they would have wrapped up what happened with Elliot though because I feel like that could come back and bite someone in the butt later on. 

            Her company was kind of secondary to the rest of the story which I was totally okay with. 

            There is a lot of family expectations in this novel and that’s totally cool as well, that dynamic really did spur the story forward throughout because while Holly is the main character seeing Jane, who is Wendy’s daughter and a typical London socialite grow and change throughout the story was really nice. I love a good dynamic character, but who doesn’t.

            Peter in this one is kind of terrifying, like I wouldn’t want to be young forever and there is a lot of loss of innocence moments throughout, innocence in different ways mind you. 

            Seriously though if you are trigger by drug use or sexual assault, I would tread carefully, it’s not a big theme but they are both still there in the story. 

            Alright if you want to see what else I have read this year, you totally can, January, February, March, and April.

            I will be back later in the week with another post, so until then I hope that everyone has a safe, happy, and healthy week.

            -MJ 

What Was in My May 2022 IPSY Glam Bag?

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I have been meaning to write this post, like my GB+ for weeks now, I have just been busy and I was actually waiting for a replacement to show up because one of my products got lost in the mail. So those came in the other day and I just haven’t had the motivation to get this post written. True story, everyone, I love writing, I genuinely do, (I am on book 19, 20, 21, and 22 at the moment) but writing blog posts lately has been hard. Sorry, it just has and I want to be more on it, but sometimes you just can’t be. 

            So, I’m going to dive right in because I want to get this written and just be done with it, which is not the attitude you want to have, full transparency. I think I am feeling just a little burnt out and that is really affecting me at the moment. 

The Bag: 

            I told y’all that I loved the GB+ bag this month and the GB bag is no different. I love the shape of it and the pattern with the rose gold zipper and zipper pull. That is for sure right up my street. I like that the back is a solid color, I do wish that it matched the front more, but I cannot complain, I didn’t design it. 

The Products: 

The Crème Shop mask duo in Peaches and Cream and Blueberry and Banana:

            I feel like I am getting a smoothie. This was my accommodation item because my original sheet masks were lost in the mail. Those masks were different too and I don’t actually remember what they were. I found my sheet, they were supposed to be Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid, those are somewhere in the country. 

Gerard Cosmetics Hydra Matte Liquid Lipstick in Bare it All:

            It’s a mauvey brown shade that the card says will channel my inner 90’s super model. I really don’t think it’s my shade per say, but I will try it out. I don’t really have much to say about this one, though it is a full-sized product which is cool. I like the simple packaging, it’s just the shade that is not really for me. 

Marc Anthony Super-Fast Strength Leave-in Conditioner:


            I chose this one because I have been using the first one I got and I ran out. I really like this leave in conditioner and I need to get a full sized because it’s kind of great. I haven’t been using a rinse out conditioner in weeks and I like the leave-in a little bit better. This one smells amazing, it does dry my hair out a little, but other than that I really like it. 

HEMPZ Pomegranate Herbal Body Butter: 

            I like this brand; I have for years and I just ran out of my Pineapple Mango hand crème so having a replacement will be really great. It has a very light smell and it’s pink! Who doesn’t love a pink lotion to match the pink packaging? My hands are all nice and soft now which is nice. I really don’t have much to say about it though because it’s a body cream, many of them are really similar for me. I do like it though.

Treslúce Beauty Ready to Bounce Cream Blush in Date Night: 

            I am going to say this and this is not against the brand, I like the formula and the color is nice, it’s just not for me. So, whoever picked out my bag products at IPSY clearly doesn’t know that I am ghost pale and this shade is too dramatic for me. I am very fair skinned and I have rosacea so I am always red. I don’t wear blush and if I do it is very light, this is not light. Seriously though, whoever picked out my colors this month, didn’t do a great job. I like the blush formula I like how it applied when I swatched it, but it’s not a good shade for me, it’s too bright and I could diffuse it out a lot which makes it better, but I don’t want to have to do that. 

            My bag this month was fine, I cannot really complain more than I already have. It was a lot more misses than hits this month for me. Which is okay, I understand that can and does happen and I might have to redo my beauty quiz again. Some of the products are great and I am excited to use but any of the makeup that is shaded won’t work well for me. I can use them. 

            I think that is going to be it for me on this post, I need to step away from it before I start really complaining. 

            If you want to check out what else I have gotten this year, you totally can: January, February, March, and April

            I will be back later in the week with another post so until then I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy! 

            -MJ

Books I Read in May 2022

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Well, here we are, in May, how? How is it already May? Aldo how am I currently (at the time of writing this part of my post on May 3rd) at 44 books read. How? Last year I didn’t hit the 40’s until August, it’s May. 

            I blame BookTok and my need to read like 100 pages a night. I would probably be at 45 or 46 if I hadn’t taken some nights off…oops. 

            I am hoping to be done with my TBR pile by the end of the summer and then just read what I want the rest of the year, which will be super dangerous because when I get sad, I buy books. Seriously though, my love language is books, I have determined that. Just books, buying them, reading them, talking about them, writing them; that’s it, that’s me.

            Well, I have my first book though and I want to talk about it!

A Study in Death by Anna Lee Huber (Lady Darby #4) (4/5)

            I love this series, I picked this series up because I was in a bookstore in like 2015 this was the book on the shelf and wanted it, but this was the fourth one in the series so I had to order the first one and then I read it in like 2016, I read the second one in 2020, and the third one last year. I love the series because Kiera is amazing, but I love a strong Victorian woman in a time that women were meant to be seen not heard. This one had me guessing throughout, I didn’t guess until it was pretty much revealed and I love a mystery that keeps me completely guessing until the end. I cannot wait to read the next one, it’s on my TBR for next year already because I have very little self-control when it comes to mysteries. (All books, I’m lying, it’s all books.) If you like a strong heroine and Scotland, I would suggest this one to you. 

A Not so Meet Cute by Meghan Quinn (4.8/5)

            I read it in one day, this book had me in a choke hold from about chapter two. It took me a second to get into it and then, man, did it hook me. Fake dating and all of that is a trope that would not work for me in real life, but in books it always turns into real dating. Huxley. I mean…that’s it, that’s the sentence. I loved the whole book, it was so good, the ending was a little abrupt but I am totally for it. It was spicy, not as spicy as I figured it would be, this was a ‘I saw three sentences on TikTok and bought it.’ This was for sure a BookTok made me buy it book, and it was so good. He flies her to Portland for a concert! Where are these guys in real life? I mean, they exist, I hope? It was really good and the scene in the dining room, wow. 

The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma (2/5)

            This one had such potential. I didn’t like it, I thought the premise was super interesting when I picked it up, time travel in Victorian London, sign me up. It was three stories and I was confused, the prose was great but so dense that I skimmed parts because I was getting bogged down in it. Lots of lies and deceit, I just didn’t like it. I have the second one, I will be unhauling without reading because I cannot suffer through another 600-page novel that I am not enjoying. That’s right, I read the whole thing because I cannot DNF. Like there were like 30 interesting pages in the mid-500’s and that was it. It starts out literally with a guy picking a gun to kill himself. That was trigger for page one and it didn’t get any better than that. 

Darling Girl by Liz Michalski (4/5)

            I wrote a whole post on it, literally a whole post because this was my May Book of the Month, so that will be out soon. I really enjoyed it, there are a few trigger warnings (drug use and mentions and depictions of SA) so go into that mindful to that if you want to read it. It’s fast paced and very twisty, sometimes we don’t like the hero anymore, though all villains are just heroes in their own minds. 

A Clockwork Heart by Liesel Schwarz (3.6/5)

            I read the first one in the series last fall and I ordered the third as I was finishing this one. It’s good, I liked the story, it was for sure a slow start and this one hurts. Like you want people to have a happy ending and I know there will be bumps in the road to a happy ending, but if this one doesn’t end happy you bet your sweet bippy that they will be unhauled. I will unhaul them if I am left feeling unfulfilled because the Goodreads reviews say that there was supposed to be a fourth one, well the third one was published in 2014 and nothing since then. Right, it picks up with Elle and Marsh, who I love together, then he gets taken made into a zombie and she’s trying to free him. The ending hurt! It hurt so much! 

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (2.5/5)

            I wanted to like it, I really did, like I bought this and I was so excited because who doesn’t love a royal love story (this was seriously a pretty carbon copy to a certain royal love story we saw in the early 2010’s). It was so long! It had some really funny parts but the rest of it I slogged through, there was just so much needless and senseless drama involved. Like this book was just not for me I guess and that’s fine. Like they didn’t need to have his brother in love with her too, that was so unnecessary. I will not be reading the second one because I don’t care, I honestly and truly do not care about the resolution of Bex and Nick’s story, this will be unhauled. I almost DNFed this book a half dozen times but I would have stressed about not finishing it. It had so much potential and I found myself just trying to get through it, I don’t read ahead, I read ahead because I really did want to see if it was worth finishing. It had a happy ending? I have no idea because I gave up my interest in it. Seriously, so much potential and it just didn’t do it for me. Not every book is for everybody and this one was clearly not for me. (This was book fifty of the year though.)  

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow (4/5)

            I liked it, it took a while for me to get into it and I really left the door open (pun accidental but intended) for a sequel because there are a lot of threads left unbound. The splicing in of the Ten Thousand Doors really detracted from the story for me. I understand having to put context on things but they were so long and wordy, like those are what took me the longest and after they ended it was so much better and a much more fun story to read. I loved the characters and all that and do I hope that there is a second one of January going through all of these worlds and opening the doors back up, yes, I really do because I would read that. I would read that hardcore. I know that it’s a story within a story within a book and I understand that, but I need to have a more resolved ending than how this epilogue ended. 

In Falling Snow by Mary-Rose MacColl (2.5/5)

            I didn’t really enjoy it. There were too many randoms shifts in the timeline, if it would have all been WW1, I think it would have been better. There was too much drama and a lot of stuff that just felt unnecessary to the plot of the story. It left me feeling unfulfilled and that’s okay. The World War One stuff was compelling, the present? 80’s? I am not really sure when it took place in the “present”, but I was confused and it was just odd. I wasn’t even sure if it was taking place in Australia in the present or not, I think it was? I really don’t know, I think so. The chapters were either like three pages or 60 pages and that’s too much. Too much! I was just confused for 450 pages, it had potential, it didn’t deliver. 

            So that’s it for May, I had a really unfulfilling reading month and that is disappointing. Like I read nine books, I will be unhauling three and I wasn’t super wowed! by any of them. That’s so hard, why was A Not So Meet Cute the most exciting book I read this month. I liked most of them, I did, but some just left me feeling like I could easily stop reading all together, and I know that I am on book 54 of the year and we aren’t even halfway through the year. I know that some of them will not be winners, I am completely aware of that because when I bought a lot of them, I was a different reader. 

            I have some books that I will be reading in June that I am super excited about and I am so looking forward too, I want to get through the TBR so I can read whatever I want. I changed my Goodreads goal from 75 books to 100 books and I cannot believe that I did that. (I also didn’t think that I would have already finished writing three entire books this year already, but here we are.) 

            If you want to see what else I have read this year, you completely and totally can, some months are better than this one, I promise: January, February, March, and April

            Well, I will be back later in the week with another post so until then I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy!

            -MJ 

Let’s Keep Track Shall We?: 

General Fiction: 5/10 (The Runaway Princess, Since You’ve Been Gone, Admission, Delicious, The Royal We, )

Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 5/10 (The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Hiddensee, The Crystal Cave, Sword of Destiny, The Map of Time, )

Historical: 7/10 (The Velvet Hours, In the Shadow of Paris, And Only to Deceive, Radio Girls, Black Rabbit Hall, A Study in Death, In Falling Snow, )

Thriller: 2/2 (The Alienist and Meddling Kids)

Free Choice: 8/14 (Love and Gravity, A Fate of Wrath and Flame, City of Lost Dreams, It Devours!, A Court of Mist and Fury, A Study in Ashes, A Clockwork Heart, The Ten Thousand Doors of January, )

Memoirs/Autobiographies: 2/2 (Buffering and Always Look on The Bright Side of Life)

General Non-Fiction: 2/2 (The Happiness Advantage and Teacher Misery)

Book of The Month: 5/12 (Reckless Girls, A River Enchanted, Dating Dr. Dil, Kaikeyi, Darling Girl, )

Extras: 12/? (Midnight Spells Murder, Hot Vampire Next Door S1, Twisted Love, Malibu Rising, A Deal with the Elf King, Hot Vampire Next Door S2, The Fine Print, Well Met, Book Boyfriend, The Sound of Stars, Twisted Games, A Not So Meet Cute, )

May 2022 IPSY Glam Bag Plus Unboxing

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

This was supposed to come out a good week ago, so roll with me, it’s been a long few weeks.

            School is ending so I have been all sorts of busy the last few weeks and I just haven’t been in the mood to write blog posts. I haven’t really been in the mood to do much beyond drink coffee and survive. So, I have had this sitting on the floor of my office for over a week now. Whoops, my bad. 

            I got some really cool stuff this month though so I need to get this post out and done because I am still waiting on a replacement for a thing from my regular Glam Bag. My bubble mailer came open so something fell out and I had to reach out to customer service about it. They are really good, ISPY’s customer care is great.

            Let’s dive right in though because I have a billion things to do this weekend and I don’t want to do any of them. 

The Bag:

            I love this bag, I love the flower motif and the color scheme, I am actually getting to the point where I like the drawstring bags better, don’t get me wrong I still love the regular Glam Bags, but I am getting more use out of the draw string bags, which is shocking for me because I didn’t really like them at the beginning. 

The Products: 

Rodial Soft Focus Glow Drops: 

            It’s a primer, it smells good and a little goes a long way. It is an illuminating primer so it does give a very subtle glow to the skin and it really does cover pores, I used it on the back of my hand because that’s where I swatch everything and it for sure made my pores less noticeable, but it’s still a primer. I don’t really use primers so this one is something that I probably won’t use much. I want to know what helps them make the choices on what to send, because I think on my beauty quiz I for sure have that I don’t really use primers and I don’t think I rate them well either. 

Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cleanser:

            I love Kate Somerville; I love the facial lotion from this same line and I think I have one in my fridge at the moment. I am actually running out of facial cleanser so this was a really exciting one to see that they picked for me. I have never had anything from her brand that breaks me out or causes a bunch of irritation so I am really looking forward to trying this one out here shortly. 

PMD Clean Smart Facial Cleansing Device in Warmth:

            I have been wanting one of these for years. I love my Foreo facial cleanser tool, but this one has a handle on it and I feel like that will be a little easier to use. It’s just so cool and seriously I have wanted one for a while and not wanted to spend the full price on it because it’s expensive. (It retails for about $100, which is a little out of my price range for something like this.) Also, it’s battery powered unlike the Foreo I have, which is really cool also because that means that it’s usable over and over again without worrying about it. 

Aceology Rose Quartz Gua Sha Facial Massager in Pink:

            I would hope it’s pink because rose quartz is pink, but really I love it. I chose this one because I have wanted a Gus Sha for a while because they are apparently really great for drainage. I have a facial roller as well that I need to use more. I’m so glad there is a diagram on the back of the box because I am an idiot when it comes to stuff like this. I love the idea of it, but in practice I am kind of dumb when it comes to all of the facial rollers and things. I am really looking forward to adding it into my beauty routine though. 

Formula Z Cosmetics Transforming Beauty Palette: 

            I like the packaging, it does remind me of Anastasia’s (I think, I am not going to dig it out of my collection at the moment) highlighter palettes. I like the shades, they look like a lot of fun and I am looking forward to actually swatching them, I can’t yet because I haven’t taken the pictures, I will in a few minutes though because I am writing this Sunday morning and it comes out at noon. It’s a pretty basic cheek palette which is never a bad thing, I just hope that the color payoff is good. 

            Well, there you have it, a post that should have come out like two weeks ago, but I have just been in a place where this wasn’t a feasible thing to work on. I am learning that while I want to post twice a week and I should be, sometimes I can’t and I would very much like to avoid burning out because that would not be the best thing for me. I am trying to balance everything and it’s a weirdly precarious balancing act that I am working on. It’s hard when that balancing act changed every week, rather let’s be real 100 times a day. 

            If you want to see what else I have gotten this year, you totally can: January, February, March, and April

            I will be back with another post later in the week so until then I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy.

            -MJ

MJ’s 2022 Book Bullet Journal Update#2: March and April

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Well, I am all the way on book 43, it’s insane. I hadn’t even read 43 by August last year. I also bought like a billion books in April because I hit the big sad for a few weeks. Let’s just say that having feelings are dumb and no one should have to deal with them. 

            In March I read like nine books and in April I read ten, two were Accelerated Reader books for school so I didn’t count them in my Bullet Journal, well at least not in all the places I count the other books I am reading that I own and have on my TBR.

            It’s really soggy outside today as I am writing this and it’s also state testing week and that means that we are all busy all the time. 

            So, this pretty much like January and February, just with new months, I know that’s such a revolutionary idea, but that’s about where I am today. Believe me, as I am sitting here my brain is trying to conceptualize a writing journal, which seems like too many journals. Way too many journals, because I have for sure already started my 2023 Book Bullet Journal, I had the time and wanted to avoid other things so here we are. 

            March, I for sure had some days where I didn’t read because we were on vacation for Spring Break and trying to read 100 pages a day in that situation is difficult, I want to read 100 pages minimum every day; some days are much more successful than others. There are also some days where I read a whole book, so here we are. 

            I considered making BookTok content, but that’s still something that scares me, that’s 100% not what this post is about though! 

March: 

Cover: I love lavender, and the quote is from The Love Hypothesis so it’s a super cute cover that I really enjoyed. Several of my covers this year are more nature themed and I probably will continue that into next year. Again, I went for simple, and it will remain that way.

Books Read: Shorter list than February because I took some time off this month reading, I was on vacation, it was a lot of driving, we went through seven states to and back in something like nine days. It was insane and did effect how many books I read.

Thoughts and Insights: This is very similar to how I write my book blog posts to be honest, it’s quick takes though, small little bullet points that say whether or not I actually enjoyed the books I was reading or not. Some of them were weird this month. Just my comments, because I don’t censor in my Book BuJo, A Court of Mist and Fury was amazing but it broke me. 

Stats: I love a good condensed statistics page and man do I love tracking stuff! It really does put into perspective though how much I read per month. 

Recap: I chose new colors and I like these ones better, so I will be sticking with them the rest of the year, provided that my markers hold out. I read more paper back than hard cover, I rated lots of books in the 4-star range, and I read like a lot of fantasy. 

Monthly Book Stack: Still going for the larger books, I accidently put the wrong name, I got a little ahead of myself when it came to the second book in the ACOTAR series because I’m dumb. 

The page between March and April is a book playlist, I have one song and that’s it. I need more but I wrote that one in here last December when I was reading Kingdom of The Wicked and Kingdom of the Cursed (I have preordered the third one because I have a problem!) 

April: 

Cover: Birthday month and I went with bubbles; I think that this one could have been executed better but the A Court of Mist and Fury quote was amazing and I needed it in here. 

Books Read: 10 this month including one for Battle of the Books at school. It takes ten books to fill up one column, at least this month. That is my one problem with this journal and why I switched to an Artist’s Loft for next year, the dots on this one change from month to month so spacing is weird. 

Thoughts: I had a lot of thoughts about the books I read this month, including two where I thought that they were going to get thrown across my office, I had a fear of a trope that is for sure a giant ick in my life. I was glad that I was wrong both times. 

Monthly Stats: I bought a lot of books, don’t judge me. I also didn’t read a 5-star book this month and that’s the first time that’s happened this year. I like having five-star books, but here we are with just an okay reading month. 

Recap: Likes of 4-star reads, a few 3-star reads (you can see my rating system if you want to, I did a whole post about it because of TikTok earlier in the year.) I read more hardcover than paperback, which for me is a little odd, but here we are. 

Book Stack: I want to see these stacks hit the top of the page, this one got closer than last month. I really should color them in, but maybe that’s something that I do next year. I don’t know, I don’t want to have it be too complicated.

The page between April and May is my Best Book of the Year Bracket, next year it’s two pages because I needed that in my life, the formatting on this one for me is a little weird, I am enjoying filling it in though. 

            Well, there you have it, my March and April Book Bullet Journal update. I like writing about my Bullet Journals, it’s fun for me even if it doesn’t matter to anyone else. 

            I will be back later in the week with another post, but until then I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy. 

            -MJ