March Book of the Month Review:

Title: Dating Dr. Dil

Author: Nisha Sharma

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I saw this book on TikTok a while back, before it was a choice for book of the month and I immediately thought of a YouTube Sims 4 series that I used to watch. It brought a smile to my face. Which is completely unrelated to this review, but just a bit of general knowledge about me as a person. 

            By now everyone knows that I have a weird relationship with romance novels, it should be no shock that I chose it though because I love a good enemies to lovers rom-com romp and this for sure was that. 

            This book was great, I really enjoyed it even though I am not a part of the culture, so some of the things were lost on me. I laughed a lot though and I hope there are going to be more because I can see some future couples from reading this book. Also, according Goodreads it’s #1 in the ‘If Shakespeare was an Auntie’ series and that title amused me greatly. 

            Let’s set it up, Kareena Mann is a career driven 30-year-old (as someone who will be 30 in a couple of weeks, that is scary) who is single, and in the culture being single at 30 is frowned upon. I mean that seems to be a cultural norm for a lot of people and that’s not fair. 

            There is a lot of strife in the family and Kareena is treated poorly by the other members of her family, they are a lot, I can for sure tell you that. Some of the running jokes with the family are hilarious though. She throws a drink on a hot-shot doctor and then they fake date, which leads to real dating, which leads to things, and then fights, doubting, and then well it’s happily ever after. Also, I love Kareena’s friends; they are real and a lot and remind me of some of my friends. 

            Of course, the love interest is a lot also, a doctor who has a very guarded heart of gold who isn’t in touch with his feelings and at the beginning is kind of painted as an ass. You learn to like him, I promise. I can’t ever see the word Charlie the same though now because of this book. That’s just a thing, I am trying not to spoil it, but there are several scenes that qualify as spicy, I didn’t expect so much spice, but I should have expected it to be honest. 

            I was a fun little book though and I breezed through it, it was a little predictable because it’s romance and they have that formula, this one was fun though and I enjoyed it even though I was lost some times with the cultural stuff, that is no one’s fault but my own. I am not part of it, so I can look at it from the outside but not understand it from an inside perspective. 

            Like Well Met, this one almost gave me New Girl vibes but more Cici and Schmidt, I really enjoyed New Girl, it was a really good show. 

            Will I read the rest in the series if this is a series? I will, it was fun and I like the characters. The epilogue in this book was really well done, as an online advice column, sort and sweet, and left it completely open. That’s the epilogue I like, let me draw my own conclusions. 

            I loved that Kareena was hard working and expected a lot of people, also this book just proved to me that online dating is for sure not for me. I do wish that a little more credence would have been given to her job because being a lawyer for a startup to help found women owned businesses sounds super cool and I felt like it was a little glazed over. 

            I didn’t get around to posting my rating up top though, so we are going to get to that here, I gave it a solid 4.4. It was good and I cannot wait for the rest if there are more, it was fun and I love interconnected standalones so much. 

            Well, there it is, my March BotM, I go an add-on this month as well and that was The Cartographers, I will get around to reading it eventually, but not quite yet. 

If you want to check out the other Books of the Month that I have gotten this year, you totally can with January and February.

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

            -MJ 

December Book of The Month Review:

Title: The Holiday Swap

Author: Maggie Knox 

Hey hey, it’s MJ, 

            There will probably be some spoilers and that is pretty much how I am going to roll with these because if you want to read it you can skip this and I will see you next post. If you aren’t sure you plan on reading it then feel free to read on and see if maybe I can convince you one way or another. 

            I gave this book a solid 3.5 out of 5, it was a little predictable for me. 

            So, if you want to read a Hallmark movie this one is for sure for you. Identical twins Charlie and Cass are both living their own lives and then Charlie gets a head injury causing her to lose her sense of taste and smell while filming a Christmas special for the TV cooking show that she works on. So she and her sister switch which causes a lot of ripples in their respective real lives. 

            They felt like real people and that’s cool, but my one issue with this book was that it just felt like a formula. That’s why I call it reading a Hallmark movie, which is fine I love Hallmark movies. Someone meets someone, they fall head over heels for each other in days, something dumb happens that separates them, and they meet under the mistletoe at the end. That literally was how the last chapter before they skipped a year ended. 

            It was fine, it was cute and cozy and who doesn’t love cute and cozy? 

            There are certain characters who were not given that much time which was odd for how important they were to the characters, like Charlie’s friend and make-up artist who just disappeared near the end, like I have no idea if she ended up in Starlight Peak. 

            I am still trying to figure out how Book of the Month tagged this as a love triangle, which I only found out about after I ordered the book and was concerned for it because that is not something I usually read. This is just a cozy love story, that’s it. Like I get where it comes from because Cass almost gets engaged to a guy but breaks up with him and he doesn’t take no for an answer (which is not okay) and then Charlie comes into town and assumes Cass’s life and meets the cute firefighter and he thinks she’s Cass and it gets awkward, but I don’t consider that a love triangle. 

            I wanted the Christmas themed one though because who doesn’t love a seasonally relevant book to read, I love a seasonal book. I read like 100 pages in one day because it did take me a while to get into and I feel like the plot was a bit thin and it didn’t grip me. It’s a Hallmark movie. (take a drink every time I say that and then when the post is over go watch a Hallmark movie.)

            It was cute and sweet and I scrunched up my nose a few times while reading it while smiling. 

            I feel like I should say more about it, the last chapter which is a year later is kind of pointless to me, I kind of wish that it just would have ended with the kiss under the mistletoe and then it was left open to interpretation, it was predictable. 

            Not every book is for everybody and that is totally okay, if you read this book, you might love it and that is amazing, I am glad that it sparked joy in you. I love books that you cannot stop talking about and that spark your joy, this one just didn’t do that for me and that’s okay. 

If you really want to read my other reviews, you totally can. I have a few so far because I started getting BoTM in July, so you can click on the month and get my little review: July, August, September, October, and November.

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

-MJ

November Book of The Month Review:

Title: The Keeper of Night

Author: Kylie Lee Baker

Hey hey, it’s MJ, 

            Well, this book was a lot, and I mean that in a good way. It for sure took me a while to get into because the beginning just felt more slow build to me even though it was really fast paced. If you don’t like spoilers, I will see you with the next post because like I do for the rest of my BoTM reviews I am not going to keep the spoilers out. 

            This is my 5th book so far this year, I know I said that in October and that just proves that I cannot count. Somedays I am really good at things and then other days I am just not. Sorry, I am human. 

            I gave this book a 4.3/5 because I don’t like to give just a whole number rating, I am one of those people but GoodReads makes me rate them one just the standard start system and Book of The Month gives you three options, love, like, and dislike. I liked this one. 

            This week has been a lot for me because it took me from Monday to Saturday to read it, normally I can burn through a book in a few days, but with how my week was it was just not feasible, I didn’t even want to read that was the amount of stress that I was under. As I am writing this, we only have one week until Thanksgiving Break and while I love the kiddos and the adults I work with, that week off cannot come fast enough. I just need a break.

            So, here’s the gist of the story, Ren, is half Shinigami and half Reaper she is bullied because she’s different, she does something to someone and has to flee England for Japan where she wants to find belonging. She is given an assignment by the Goddess of Death to kill three Yokai (these are the spirits in Japanese folklore. (I took like six years of Japanese in high school and into college, I need to get back into it.)) who are taking more than their fair share of souls. So, the story is Ren’s journey with her brother and the mysterious Hiro to do the bidding of the Goddess of Death.

            There are a lot of twists and turns, which was for sure expected and they for sure kept me turning page after page because I read the last 10 chapters in one day and that’s a little bit less than half of the book and here we are. 

            The ending though was what really got me, it was very much “that escalated quickly” and I was sitting there with my hand over my mouth over and over again because I didn’t think it could get any crazier and then it did, repeatedly. 

            I don’t want to give away the ending but there is a second book, this is a duology apparently according to the note at the end of the book so you know that I will eventually get the second one when it comes out next year because it left it at a cliffhanger and now, I want to read the next one, I want to know how everything concludes. 

            The ending itself was shock after shock and I felt like there is going to be so much that happens in the second half of this series and I am ready for it. 

            The imagery in this is amazing and it’s so well written, the emotions felt very real throughout the entire novel from the highest highs to the lowest lows. I would for sure recommend this because let’s be honest, I recommend most books that I read because I read a lot. I know a lot of people who don’t read what I do and that’s totally cool, there is plenty that I don’t read, but we can all agree that books are great and everyone should probably read more. 

            If you want to know what else I have read this year from Book of The Month, you totally can, just click on the month: July, August, September, and October. There is one more month in this year and I am excited to see what the options are for December; I am hoping for a fun holiday book. 

            Well until my next post I hope that everyone is staying safe, happy, and healthy and I will be back later in the week with another post!

            -MJ 

October Book of The Month Review:

Title: The Ex Hex

Author: Erin Sterling

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            As I said in my 5th installment of my Books Read in 2021 series, here is the long form and more in-depth review of my October choice from my Book of The Month. It was a lot of fun and I am going to tell you all about it. 

            I wanted a book this month for BoTM that was a little magic and this one was the most magic one that was on the list. It was described as a fantasy, there is for sure some romance. Just a few pages and if you know my reading habits; romance is not something that I typically read. This one wasn’t too graphic and that made me super excited because I didn’t know really what to expect when I cracked the first page. 

            I am going to say this just because, this is a book review and that means that there will be some spoilers. So, if you are planning on taking this book for a spin; stop reading and I will see you all with the next post. 

            I am still figuring out how to write long form blog posts with book reviews, so just for now, bear with me. 

            Alright, I gave this one a 4.3/5, which is a super high score for me because usually I don’t love books. I have only rated like three books a full 5 this year and I really want to start being a little laxer on ratings. I love to read and I pretty much read anything and everything, so when I rate books, I need to give them more stars. 

            I have been reading a lot of books with multiple perspectives recently, which is fine. This one is told from both of the main character’s perspectives and it’s so much fun. 

            There is a lot of swearing in this book so if you are a little adverse to that; I would skip it, but it had me rolling. I absolutely loved the humor in this book and the characters were so much fun. I loved the fact that the hex was caused by a broken heart, too much vodka, and a Bath and Body Works candle. The main character reminded me of Jess from New Girl, I cannot tell you why but she did and I loved it. 

            It was a really quick and easy read that I could not put down. I read it in like three days and I loved it so much. I know that I have been saying that over and over again and I feel like that’s okay. I don’t get excited about books because I have had enough people in my life not share my excitement for books so I don’t share my excitement. 

            Rhys is portrayed at the beginning as an ass, I mean he kind of is and then you fall in love with him and Vivienne’s relationship because you want to root for them no matter their past. They fight ghosts, living plastic skulls, and an old curse that goes beyond anything that Bath and Body Works can do. 

            It’s old magic meeting new magic and I could not get enough of the fun and fast paced rom com that this was. I love a good rom com, there were so many in the mid-2000’s and the early 2010’s that I can still remember to this day. This is like Hallmark meets a romance novel and it was so much fun. I love a good fun book and this was one of the most fun books I have read this year.

            There is not a lot of physical descriptions of intimacy in this book, which for me was a plus when it comes to a romance. I just don’t enjoy reading a lot of “BookTok” style books because there is a lot of graphic descriptions and I just don’t enjoy that. I used to, back in high school I read a lot of stuff that was probably more mature than I should have, I don’t read it now and that’s okay. Tastes and book choices change over the years, I used to hate thrillers and I have read like four or five this year alone. 

            If you want a quick, almost beachy feeling read, this book is for sure for you. It was a lot of fun and I need more fun in my life. Who doesn’t need more fun in their life while we deal with what is going on in the world? 

            I want a cat that just screams “Treats!” over and over again, I can’t have cats but I love the idea of a cat that just screams at me when it wants food. The characters are fun and feel real also it’s modern, I haven’t read a modern novel since September. (It’s the second full week of October as I write this.) It was the last cozy I read and then before that it was my September BoTM, I needed something modern in my life before I go back into fantasy and historical before I finish my TBR. 

            I have bought add-on books so far but I don’t think that they will be long form all by themselves, I got The Maidens and Circe. Both of which I am really excited for, but they will be in blurb form more than these longer form reviews. 

            If you really want to read my other reviews, you totally can. I have a few so far because I started getting BoTM in July, so you can click on the month and get my little review: July, August, and September

            Well, I hope that everyone has a great rest of the week and I will see everyone over the weekend with another post. If you do read this book, I hope you enjoy it. To me it was a whole lot of fun and I really do want a shirt that says, ‘Never mix vodka and witchcraft’ because that is so much fun.

            Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

            -MJ 

Books I’ve Read So Far in 2021 Part #5

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            How is it that I am already writing the fifth installment of this series? That feels impossible. 2021 had been a whirlwind and I can’t believe it is already the end of October. As usual I am writing this post incrementally so it is the first of September when I am writing this first blurb. 

            I feel like I have read so many books this year and I really have because I haven’t just been reading cozy mysteries. I am actually reading from a To Be Read pile which is weird and exciting because it means that I am finally getting books off my shelves that have been there since college. 

I am missing one here because I lent it out and haven’t gotten it back yet!

            If you want to check out what else I have read this year, you totally can, just click on the part and it’ll take you to those posts. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 (which is really long so prepare yourself.)

            I am hoping that this list has about a dozen on it, unlike part 4 which had 17 books. That is so many books and I probably should have split it out. Maybe next year I will put a limit on the post, like if one month has over 7 it gets its own post. I don’t know if I will do that, but it was a lot to read in one sitting for one post. 

The Painted Girl by Cathy Marie Buchanan (2.8/5)

            This is my last TBR historical fiction this year, which is crazy to think that I have finished one of my categories. It’s really exciting though. This book was a lot, I read three historical fictions in a row and that is super taxing on my brain. I need some modern in my life even just for a moment. It was good though, not my absolute favorite, but still good. Each chapter split the perspective between two sisters, which is an interesting writing device. There was a lot of drama and as one of my teaching friends put it, ‘It’s historical fiction, wait til it gets sad.’ It got sad and confusing. I love Edgar Degas, I love impressionist and post-impressionist art. I have a magnet of The Dancer on my fridge. I have been to the Art Institute in Chicago and seen his work. I thought when I bought this book it would be more about him, it really wasn’t. It was fine, I bought it in like 2014 or 2015 so my tastes have changed since then, but if you like 1880’s Paris, the ballet, a family struggle, and painting; it might be for you. 

A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz (3.5/5)

            Alright, I liked this one. It was a little romantic, a lot of adventure, and a strong female character. I don’t think that I can ask for much more in a book. I mean really. I have had this book for at least five years and my mom read it before I did. I plan on adding the sequel to my list of books to read next year and eventually getting the third and final one as well. I liked it though, it took me a minute to get into it and then I read 40 chapters in 2 days and the last 16 on the third day. It was twists and turns and actions, betrayals, and a spark that kept me wanting to read it. If you are into steampunk and magic, I for sure would recommend this one. This is also my fourth historical thing in a row and I need a break. So here I am loving fantasy like always and ready to read the next one next year because I cannot wait to see what happens with Marsh and Elle. 

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney (3.9/5)

            This book blew my mind. It was so much you guys, so much. I really enjoyed it though. I wrote a whole dedicated post on it because that’s what I do for Book of The Month and I enjoy doing it that way. I know that it is kind of annoying to have to click to another blog post to read a full review, but that’s how we do it around here. It was a thriller and I am still reeling from it, everyone is crazy, there is a billion secrets, and you will not believe how everything unfolds. It’s crazy and that’s all I’m going to say about it. 

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (2.8/5)

            It was a good story, that’s what I need say first and foremost. I liked the story, but the formatting had me having trouble reading it. There were no quotation marks and that was hard for my brain to comprehend and process. I desperately wanted to go and take a pen to it as I read to put in the marks myself. I liked the premise when I picked up the book, it sounded amazing and then I read a review online about six months after I purchased it where the person doing the review also complained about the lack of quotation marks. Again, the story was great but the formatting made it difficult to follow along at points. 

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (5/5)

            So good, I really enjoyed this book. I have been following the author online for a few years now and this book has been on my to be read list for a lot longer than I would like to admit. I hate that I waited so long to read it, especially since The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is the second book on my TBR for next year. I have heard so many good things about this book and I was not disappointed. I want to go out and buy the other two like tomorrow even though I don’t know when I am going to get around to reading them. I loved the story and the characters, the twists and turns of all the London’s in the story. I have seen the opening line about Kell’s coat on the internet for years now and reading that line for myself was exciting. I loved it so much, if you like fantasy, magic, and just a touch of sass this is for sure a book for you. I actually tabbed this book and I am not great at it yet, but I’m trying. 

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie (3/5)

            I grew up on the Disney version of this story. I grew up on the Disney versions of a lot of classical stories and this was for sure different than the Disney version. All the big things are still there and it was a good story. It was only like 160 pages long and it took me like four days to read because classical literature is dense. I say that with every classic I read. I am still working on Sherlock Holmes Volume 2 and at this point I will be lucky to finish it by the end of the year. That’s the goal folks, the end of the year. I did enjoy the book, it, like a lot of Victorian literature is tragic and a little dark. I have another retelling of Peter Pan called The Child Thief and I started reading it in high school and never finished it. I plan on reading it eventually, I promise. So, there is it another classic to tick off my list and that is so exciting at this point. 

See Something by Carol J. Perry (3.8/5)

            I wasn’t planning on reading a cozy right now, I was planning on reading a non-fiction that I though was a fiction because I am an idiot. That will be the next on the list. I read this one because I was at my parents for a few days and needed something non-hard cover to read on the bike. I chose this one. I loved it; it was so much fun but by now everyone knows that I love a good cozy mystery. I love the Witch City Mysteries because they are just slightly magical. It’s not an overarching theme, it’s just part of Lee’s life. I don’t want to spoil anything but something in this book is a long time coming and it made me smile like and idiot for like a minute and a half last night when I finished it. I can’t wait for the next one because I love these characters, I love the series, and I can’t wait to see what happens next in Lee’s life. Well, all the things that will happen next in Lee’s life. 

Depraved by Harold Schechter (3/5)

            First book of October, how is that possible. I bought this book years ago and I thought at the time that it was fiction; because apparently, I cannot read. I can read, that is proved by the fact that I have read like 48 books this year according to my Good Reads list. It was a really interesting story though, I love turn of the century true crime, who doesn’t like Jack the Ripper or H.H. Holmes. He was a devious and devilish sort of man. He was the devil in the White City, I know there is a book by that name as well that I want to read eventually. I think that serial killers are fascinating, let me rephrase that, I think that long dead serial killers are fascinating. It’s a true account of everything that he did from arriving near Chicago to his trial and hanging. (It’s not a spoiler, it was over 100 years ago, calm down.) It was such an interesting and diabolical story all wrapped up in the glamour and hardship of the later 19th century. Normally to me non-fiction is dry, but this book kept me turning page after page because it didn’t read like a non-fiction it read like a story and who doesn’t love a good story. 

Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco (4/5)

            I cannot believe that this is the last in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. It was a little spicier than I am used to with this series. It was so good though, there were so many twists and turns throughout the book and it didn’t take me long to read. This series conclusion was absolutely phenomenal and I will one day read the whole thing again, yes that’s right this series deserves a re-read and I am planning on tabbing the books the second time I go through them. I loved how everything wrapped up and man this one had me on the edge of my seat for longer than I am used to with a book. After finishing Depraved this was a really good fictional telling of the horrors of H.H. Holmes and the murder castle. The imagery in this, like all the others, is very vivid and I could not have asked for a better wrap up to Audrey Rose and Thomas’s story. 

The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling (4.3/5)

            Well, BoTM told me it was fantasy, it’s also romance. I wrote a whole blog post on this that will be out next month. I am not going to spend a lot of time on this here. I loved it, even though it did get a little saucy. I was laughing so hard throughout the book and it was such a cute little campy story. I really do want a shirt that says ‘Never mix vodka and witchcraft’. 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi by Jason Fry (3/5)

            I did not grow up a Star Wars fan, it just wasn’t a part of my life. I knew about all of it of course because I was a child when the prequels came out. Truth be told I didn’t watch all of the prequels until last year or the year before. I like Star Wars and I didn’t hate the new trilogy, I liked it. I know a lot of people hated it though and that’s totally fine, that’s your opinion. I watched the movies and I like to read novelizations of movies; I always have and this was just another in the list of books that I have read that were movies first. It’s The Last Jedi which I know a lot of people hated, I know that because I am a human on the internet and that means that I get to see everyone’s opinions of everything all of the time. It’s a quick read and I enjoyed seeing a different side of what I had already seen on film. I don’t complain about many books and this was fun, it was a good retelling that gave a little more information and that’s all I can ask for. 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (3/5)

            Reading this many classics this year was a mistake, like a huge one because I am not actually enjoying them. Classic literature is just not my cup of tea and I still have two more to read and Sherlock Holmes is one of them and I crave death. This is one of my best friend’s favorite books and I didn’t really like it. I liked the concept but it was just a lot. I found myself skimming it and being bored with it even though Frankenstein’s monster is such a popular character. The classic horror character is not articulate like the creature in the book so that was fun. It was sad and there was a lot of death which made it hard to read. It also had a fairly ambiguous ending and as someone who likes a conclusion that made me itch a little bit. I think this is another one of those books where if I listened to it as an audio book I would have probably been a lot more invested but just reading it didn’t do it for me. 

Idiot by Laura Clery (4/5)

            I was one of many people to absolutely die laughing while watching some of her sketches on Facebook, she’s so funny and this memoir is so honest. I don’t know what it’s like to have an addiction, I have a lot of it in the family though. I read this entire book in a day because I couldn’t put it down. As someone who grew up near Chicago on the Indiana side, I understood the humor of staying in the town you grew up in. I did not, but many of my classmates did. Her humor is not for everyone, but that is how comedy works. It’s not universal, not everyone finds the same styles of humor funny, I just like funny people. If there is any sort of self-deprecating humor, that is my kind of funny. It was a good read and I will eventually read her sequel to this novel, but that will be a little ways down the road. 

A Tale of Two Cookies by Eve Calder (4/5)

            I am taking a break from my TBR because it’s just two classics and I will be done but I don’t want to read A Christmas Carol until December and Sherlock Holmes the daunting size of that book has me craving death. This one though, I have had this book since it came out and I was going to read it earlier in the year, but my mom was reading it so I couldn’t and then I got busy with my TBR. I read the first two in the series back-to-back in November of last year and I could not put them down. This was another great example of that even though I had to pace myself on this one because it’s been a long week. I love Kate and the inhabitants of Coral Cay. This is a more unconventional cozy, most of the cozies have the main lead (usually female) in the room with the killer, this has much more fun endings to it, the person still gets caught, but it doesn’t involve violence. I really like that about the book, I also would love to experience Coral Cay for myself because the picture of this little community is so vivid throughout the novel and I cannot wait for the next one, I want to see how Kate gets on with everything that’s going on and I want to continue to experience this fun little beach town over and over again. 

            I kind of forgot that I needed to wrap this post up when I was finished with it. I am posting this on Halloween and I am in the middle of reading another book, which should shock no one. I’m really enjoying it, but it will be not on my TBR because the only two books left on my TBR, as I mentioned in the last blurb and two classics and I need to actually read things beyond that. I am almost done which is so hard to believe but I for sure had a goal of 45 books this year and I have read 54 so I think I have hit my goal.

            I will be back in the middle of the week with another post so until then I hope everyone has a great start to their week and Happy Halloween! 

            -MJ

Let’s keep track shall we?:

Classics:  8/10 (Alice in WonderlandTuck EverlastingThe Secret Garden, Dracula, The Complete Sherlock Holmes Volume 1, A Confederate Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Peter Pan, Frankenstein,)

Historical Fiction:  5/5 (The Painted Girls, The Last Days of NightThe Marlowe Papers, Everyone Brave is Forgiven, West of Sunset)

Sci-Fi/Fantasy:  5/5 (A Conspiracy of Alchemists, Dream LondonSoulless, The Starless Sea, Good Omens)

General Fiction:  5/5 (The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, Me Before You, All is Fair in Love and Cupcakes, Bridget Jones’s Diary)

Memoirs/Autobiographies: 2/2 (Yes, Please and Scrappy Little Nobody)

Non-Fiction:  1/1 (Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire)

Thrillers (one is non-fiction because I am an idiot, but it’s still thrilling): 2/2 (I, Ripper and Depraved

Free Choice:  15/15 (Eaves of Destruction, A Wrench in the WorksShot Through the Hearth, Stalking Jack the Ripper, Premeditated Mortar, Hunting Prince Dracula, Death in Bloom, A Study in Darkness, Escaping from Houdini, The Dalek Generation, Live and Let Chai, A Grave Matter, A Darker Shade of Magic, Capturing the Devil, Star Wars: The Last Jedi)

Book of the Month (late addition): 3/6 (Half Sick of Shadows, Not A Happy Family, Rock Paper Scissors, The Ex Hex)

Extra’s (books I read during my TBR and after I finish it): 2/? (See Something, Idiot, A Tale of Two Cookies)

Fall 2021 fabfitfun Unboxing

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

This was supposed to be last Wednesday’s post, but if you read my September BotM review you know that my internet at home is completely out and at the moment of scheduling this (Sunday) it’s still out. So hopefully it’ll get fixed this week because not having Wi-Fi is difficult. So y’all get a bonus post this week because last week was DIFFICULT.

            Well here we are again with another fabfitfun unboxing. I want to preface this with the fact that I was super excited for this box; like I was excited for the summer box. I want to make that preface before I actually get into the meat of the post because I was not as excited when I received the box as I was when I placed my order. 

            So things have changed over at FFF, a lot has changed in the last two years. I know that supply chains are having trouble keeping up and transporting goods from place to place as well as their production and manufacturing. I get that with my entire heart, things are hard right now and there is not a lot that anyone can do about it at the moment. No matter how much we probably wish we all could. 

            This box though, it left me disappointed. I know that one of the items that I had chosen was late so I chose to get money off on my next box, which was fine. I am going to go over what I thought of the box as a whole though. I don’t know what the future of this box is, I will for sure be getting the winter box, but after that; I am just not sure. 

So, what did I get? I am going to start out with what I remember choosing and then move into the bundle. I don’t like the bundling; I really really don’t like the bundling that they have been doing lately. As well as the weird item I got in my box. 

            I also miss when they would list all of the options in the magazine, I liked seeing everything on paper and allowing myself to be able to see all of the other options. They didn’t have it in the magazine this time so I had to go on the app and see everything, please put it back in the magazine. 

Golden Rabbit Enamel Swirl Mini Dutch Oven:

            I was really excited for this one, it does not really feel like what I expected it to. I expected it to be heavier. It’s small which is nice just because I am one person but I am kind of afraid to use it on the stove. I have to do some research on it before I feel safe using it. My mom suggested using it as a planter, I don’t think I want to use it as a planter. I think that would be a waste. 

Coach Open Circle Necklace and Tea Rose Stud Set:

            I chose this one too, I actually am really excited about these ones. I have had Coach things since like high school because it’s just one of those classic brands that never really goes out of style. It’s timeless. I am really excited to switch out my earrings for these ones. I just really need a better variety of timeless jewelry that I can wear with whatever. I actually really enjoy a cute little jewelry moment. One of the backs of the earrings is super loose so I am going to have to use another back or try and get it fixed because that’s how you lose earrings and i don’t like losing earrings.

Dose & Co. Pure Collagen:

            This was the only option in this choice that I actually liked; I don’t even remember the other choices. I feel like I should remember other things, but I don’t. I like collagen in my coffee because it is good for your joints and stuff. I use it not as often as I should. I should use it more than I do. I want to try out some different collagen brands and then actually pick which one that I like. 

Purlisse Pumpkin + Ginger Mud Mask: 

            While I love Purlisse, I use it all the time, I am not a huge fan of mud masks. The last one I used straight up burned my face. So while I am willing to give it a try, my hopes are not set very high for this one. I want to like it, I really do, but masks like this can be harsh on sensitive skin and if you are going to have a product like this in a box. Make sure that it can be used by everyone. I haven’t tried it yet so I can’t make a value judgement on it but here I am, hoping that when I do get around to using it, it doesn’t make my face hurt.

The Bundle: 

            I am going to say this again here, I don’t like the bundle. I liked when it was just a list of options or everyone got three or four of the same items. It just made more sense to me that way. The bundle concept has really missed the mark for me personally. 

            Babe Lash Pro Lash Lifter:

            I do not use eyelash curlers; I never have and I probably never will because they terrify me. I have heard the horror stories of people losing lashes over an eye lash curler. I tried to use it to see if I could figure it out and something poked me instead. I don’t like them. I can’t say much else, they are just not something for me, they might be for others; but they are not for me. 

            Doctor Rogers Restore Lip Balm:

            It’s a lip balm, like a straight up could buy at the drug store lip balm. That just feels super weird to me. I subscribe to IPSY and this is something I would expect from them. Not FFF. While I love lip balm, I just expect a different quality out of FFF that this let’s down. 

            Zoe Ayla Eco-Friendly Comb Set: 

            Interesting choice, I like the idea of a comb. I just don’t really use combs in practice, I should. I like the colors and they feel really interesting so here’s hoping that I like them when I actually get them out of the box and use them. 

            Now onto the weird thing, there was a plastic wrapped box in my box and I was a little concerned on what it could be. I pulled the plastic off to find an alcohol-free mini can of Heineken, I have so many questions as to why there was a mini can of alcohol-free beer in my box this season. It just seems like an odd choice for a stylized company like FFF, there was also no information on why it was in the box in the magazine (if there was, I didn’t find it) so it was just an odd thing to find in my box. That left me absolutely baffled as to why that was included, but maybe I am not supposed to know. 

            FFF is one of those companies that I love and have for over three years, but the last several boxes have been, underwhelming. I know that the pandemic has put a strain on things as well as interruptions in supply lines and I understand that. I do, I really do get it, but I feel like they have changed and not for the better. There are some amazing items that are thrown in it feels like but there are so many that just don’t interest me. I hate that feeling, I miss the variety that we used to get in boxes, that excitement that I would feel when I would come home to this amazing box of goodies and I feel like my last several FFF posts have had this vibe to them. I don’t like to complain because I cannot imagine how hard everyone at the company is working, I can’t, I have no clue. I just miss the joy that I felt opening up my boxes. The pandemic has changed so much, COVID has changed so much, everything in the last year and a half has shifted and changed. So, I understand that businesses have to shift and change with it to stay afloat. I just miss the joy and excitement for getting one of these boxes left at my door. 

            Hopefully soon enough things with get back to normal, I am looking forward to the winter box spoilers, I hope they can win me over again. 

            If you want to check out what else I have gotten this year, you totally can: Spring and Summer

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

            -MJ

September Book of the Month Review

Title: Rock Paper Scissors

Author: Alice Feeney

Hey hey, it’ MJ,

I need to preface this post, sorry there was no post on Wednesday, I was going to post something but my Wi-Fi is out and I am trying to not use all of my hotspot data on my phone. I could have posted it at school but this week had us in the eighth ring. So my Wi-Fi is still out and it will be until they can run an entirely new hard line into my apartment because everything is rusted. That’s fun, it’s so fun, last week was like the worst and I can only hope that it gets better. I need better, I need some joy, and I just kind of need a win.

Now onto the review though…

            Wow. 

That’s all I can say about this book for my third month of BoTM. I wasn’t actually sure how I felt about the choices when they came out at the end of last month. This was the least objectionable to what I like to read. 

There will spoilers because this is a review and that just happens! If you want to read the book then stop reading and I will see you with my next post. 

I read it in like three days and I would for sure give it like a 3.9/5. It was so good, slow start but there was so much subterfuge that my brain is still processing what happened throughout the novel.

It’s told from two perspectives at first with interstitial yearly anniversary letters, you think that letters are being written by the main female character and then things get weird. Another perspective is introduced and you have no idea who this women Robin is to the main characters. It took me well over half the book to put any connections together because of how the story is woven. 

It is woven masterfully by the way, I was guessing and hooked most of the book while my brain slowly started to explode in my head because of everything that was going on. It’s just a lot and there isn’t really another way to put it. 

Marriage seems hard and you think that this marriage has been going on for years and then someone cheated on their spouse, that’s super true but the woman who we meet at the beginning is not the first wife, it’s the one that he cheated on his wife with and I needed to stop reading for a moment and process that. 

This is one of those books that sticks with you, it will stick with me for the foreseeable future because it blew my mind. I am going to say that over and over again because usually books don’t blow my mind. Usually they are kind of predictable and usually I like predictable, this one, this one was unexpected. So many lies, twists, turns, and just a hint of crazy. 

I have so much that I want to say but I am still reeling from this book, it was so much and I could not put it down I read most of the book in two days, I just couldn’t get enough and it kept me wanting to keep turning pages while making me question everything I had read to that point. 

I like multiple perspectives and this one has less than the last few I have read, I like when and author puts the perspective as the chapter title; it’s so helpful when reading. I don’t mind the switching perspectives especially in a thriller because you get to see everyone’s innermost thoughts. 

I also really liked the limited cast of characters that you see throughout the novel itself, I love a good locked room mystery and this was that. A converted chapel in Scotland where a weekend away was supposed to save a marriage, an ex-wife planning revenge, and a snow storm keeping everyone in place. 

Everyone in this book is crazy, I have to say that for sure; no one was the hero. No one was a victim or just a villain, love makes you do crazy things, but this book is full of so many lies and crazy situations that I am still trying to figure everything out. 

I like the mix of present and past with the letters, I think that letters in a book are fun, they provide information that may not be in the full plot line, the letters condense entire years into a few pages and it’s so good. 

I have started so many paragraph’s with I but here we are because it’s my review. Book of The Month is really great and I am so excited for next month’s choices, I need to not get another thriller. I need to branch out in what I am reading genre wise, but this one it’ll stick with me for a while because it blew my literary mind. 

If you want to read the other Book of The Month’s that I have gotten this year, you totally can because I just started this in July: July and August.

I hope that everyone has a good week and I will see y’all later in the week with another post. Until then I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy!

-MJ

Once Upon a Book Club Sweet Halloween Unboxing and Review

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Happy spooky season y’all, by the time this goes up it will be November 1st so after spooky season so welcome to 60% off chocolate season leading into Thanksgiving season but that is not what this post is about. This is about a really cool service and the fact that they make reading experiences immersive and who can be mad about that. All the opinions in this are my own I’m just willing to support brands and services that create things that I enjoy. 

            I found Once Upon A Book Club well over a year ago and my first box I purchased was their Sweet Halloween box last year and that book was Housewitch by Katie Schickel which took me a long time to read because last October and November was difficult for me, let’s be real all months are hard for me but I’m still kicking. But I loved that book when I got into it and the gifts were perfect, a pink scarf and mud mask and I have enjoyed both. 

            This year I decided that I wanted to write a post on the book I got this year which was 15 Minutes of Flame by Christin Brecher which is the third in the Nantucket Candle Maker Mysteries and if you think that I am not purchasing the first two you are wrong. (I will probably have them by the time this post goes live if I am lucky.) I devoured this book it was so good. I am a sucker for a cozy mystery and the story in this weaving Nantucket history and current affairs on the fictional version of the island. I loved it so much and I am excited to see the beginnings of Stella Wright in the first two novels and all of the rest that will eventually come out in the series. 

            Because this was the third in the series I did feel like I was missing some things so I want to rea the other two though I am no stranger to reading mystery series out of order I read like the 19th book in the Meg Langslow series by Donna Andrews first and then the 16th before I read the first one so I understand reading it out of order and needed to go back and meet the characters for the first time. 

            So what was the book about? The lead up to Halloween, a skeleton found in a wall of a 19th century chandlery, a murder near an old well, a mysterious map, a more mysterious map, and trying to unravel a mystery that happened over a century ago. 

It is for sure worth a read just in general, I will put this one my list for my Books Read This Year Part 4 which I expect to come out at the end of the year because I finished this book just a day after I posted the last one, (you can check out 1, 2, and 3.) 

            I don’t want to give too much away about the book but I will tell you about the gifts. On the page where you are to open your gift is a sticky note and it’s important not to open your gifts until you get to those pages and they were all late in the book so I had to wait to get them. 

            The first gift was a candle clock with a prominently featured throughout the book and it’s a really interesting concept so I am excited to actually give it a try, but I live in an apartment at the moment and I can’t burn candles so it will just have to wait until I get a more permanent place. 

            The second gift was a cup that has to do with a cup in the book and I kind of love reusable coffee mugs and this one has books on it so I cannot be mad at all about it. 

            The last gift was my favorite, in the book the group of women that come to the main character’s candle classes are called The Candeleer’s and they made cobwebs for the Halloween Haunts event and for the “cobwebs” it is a beautiful spiderweb shaped table runner which will fit perfectly on my bistro table next year when I have a chance to put it out before Halloween and I am so jazzed to have something really cool and kind of spooky to put on my table next year.

            So I think that this Halloween box is going to be a yearly tradition for me because I love the idea of this whole Once Upon a Book Club idea, eventually I would love to subscribe to their regular box or get their Advent Box one year but this year is not that year for either of those things. It’s such a fun concept and I love the suspense of waiting to open a gift that goes along with a book that I am reading. 

            If you like cozy mysteries give this one a read because it is totally worth it and I know that I am going to sink my teeth into the first two as soon as I can. 

            I hope everyone had a really Happy Halloween if you celebrate it and I hope y’all have a great start to November and I will see y’all mid-week with a new post. 

            -MJ 

Good Omens: A Witty and Only Sometimes Serious Mini-Series

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

So I am late to the party, I have been walking around like a zombie for a week or so now but I did manage to binge the entire limited series Good Omens on Amazon Prime. I feel like I am making my blog what I want and sometimes that’s not just beauty, sometimes it’s really interesting things that I watch on TV and Good Omens was amazing. I am not the first to review it, there are probably better, more put together, and more insightful reviews other places on the internet but this is my review and I’m sticking to it. 

            I mean, it’s going to have spoilers, if you haven’t seen it; don’t read it. If you don’t plan on watching it or you don’t care I will see everyone on Sunday with a different post. 

            I have been waiting for its Amazon release for a while now and I was so happy when it came out that I didn’t waste any time watching it. Now I didn’t watch all six episodes in one night, I stretched it from Friday night to Sunday night because I wanted to savor the story. I am going to say this right here right now, I have not read the book yet; I own it but I have yet to read it and since I am packing to move it’s going to be at least another month before I can sink my claws into the novel. 

            The show itself is quirky and the characters are very well played by their respective actors. I mean I now want a 1930’s Bentley that survives on sheer power of will and only plays Queen. It interweaves so many overlapping storylines and brings all of them to a crescendo so beautifully. 

            I am a huge Doctor Who fan so having one of my favorite doctor’s playing a slightly annoyed at all times demon was such a win in my book. 

            The dynamics of heaven and hell play off each other so well in this series that is the lead up to the apocalypse, both sides wanting a war and only two celestial beings, a band of children, a witch, and a witch finder can seem to solve. 

            Now I am not going to make comments on the similarities and differences from the book to the live action adaptation because I cannot make those connections, maybe one day I will do an in depth read through and watch over comparison but at this moment, I sadly am unable.

            I loved all of the Easter Eggs throughout the show that harkened back again to Doctor Who, many have been pointed out on Tumblr and more than likely many other social sharing platforms, I really enjoyed the small Easter Egg of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods novel being read in the series as well. 

            Cinematically is was stunning, blending so many different settings, time periods, styles, and characters into this fully amazing and realized tapestry of a masterpiece. 

            There is quite a bit of swearing, some violence, and some mildly explicit content so if you have aversions to any of those things, this may not be the show for you, I am going to give you that warning on the show right here and right now. 

            So what’s it about? For those of you who might be a little interested but aren’t convinced yet: 

            Good Omens follows an angel (Aziraphale) played by Michael Sheen and a demon (Crowley) played by David Tennant in the bringing and the coming of age of the anti-Christ, they are a bit bumbling at their jobs because they have both been on Earth since its beginning and 6,000 or so years is a long time. It follows them from the bringing to the week of the child’s 11th birthday, the whole show pretty much is contained in that one week in the lead up to the apocalypse. There are tangents showing the building of Crowley and Aziraphale’s relationship. (I will leave that up to interpretation.) Now as the time counts down heaven and hell are both on edge for a fight while our heroes? Anti-heroes? Saboteurs? I don’t know what you want to call them try and prevent the end of the world. They are not alone in the quest to make sure that the world doesn’t end but they are also opposed by the four horsemen (who ride really awesome motorcycles if I do say so myself) and the powers that be in their respective dimensions of the heavens and the underworld. As the boy comes into his power he starts to create things, things from his imagination come into being and it begins to start a global panic. While the main characters are trying to find the boy, there is a witch who goes to the village where he lives and tries to find him because of prophesies written some 400 years prior and a witch finder looking for her as well as the boy, that was a great sub-plot over all I must say. I’m not going to spoil the ending, except to say, when in hell ask for a rubber duck.

            It’s a fun watch and something that keeps you riveted from the first moment of narration to the very end frame and I will be watching it again at some point soon. (I also binged both seasons of Dirk Gentley’s Holistic Detective Agency this weekend so I was on a books made into shows kick. Such a good show, so short lived, can we get that back for the not so large audience who wants to know what happens next and see the rest of the Black Wing associated projects. Like I am raising my hand hoping beyond hope that someone picks it up even though it’s been off for two years and now I am rambling in a sidebar instead of finishing my review, my bad.) 

            Back to what I was saying, Good Omens was a great show, it really and truly was. I am not a critic so I don’t try and find fault in shows I sit, I watch, and I enjoy. It is one of those shows that you could watch over and over again and catch new and different things and because it is based off a book I now have the opportunity to go and read the book as well so I get even more insight and understanding into maybe some of the things that I didn’t fully understand from the show. 

            So if I have convinced you to give it a chance, awesome, I hope that you are not disappointed. If you don’t like my opinions, awesome, that’s why we have opinions. If you have already seen it, awesome, I want to know your thoughts! 

            Anyone have any suggestions on shows I should binge watch or just casually watch? 

I’ll see everyone Sunday with another post, I hope everyone has a great end to this week and I will see you then!

            -MJ

February Birchbox Unboxing

Guess who disappeared for a few weeks, I was out at my parent’s place for almost a week and then I didn’t have my laptop for the week after that. I had to get my keyboard replaced because of some issues with it. So I am a little late on this one, oops my bad. 

So I got my February Birchbox and to be honest, it was fine. It was not earth shattering or ground breaking because it didn’t feel super personalized to me. 

The box was super cute and I still don’t know what I am going to do with the boxes as I accumulate them. They may just be recycled because I can’t figure out a good way to upcycle or use them to DIY.

I’m going to dive right into the products because this is so late. 

Marcelle: City 24-hour Anti-Pollution Day & Night Moisturizing Emulsion

            I used to live much closer to a big city and there was plenty of pollution there, now that I have moved to more of the country I have noticed fewer problems with my skin. I am still excited to use this because I like the idea of it. It feels really good on the skin though so I am ready to try it. I am hoping that it doesn’t have any adverse effects on my skin but I guess we will see.

Number 4: Jour d’automne Smoothing Balm 

            My hair is pretty smooth to begin with so this one doesn’t feel too much like me. I will probably save it for use during the summer when the humidity takes my hair and makes it unruly. It smells really good but it just isn’t for me on a daily or even weekly basis year round.

Proenza Shouler: Arizona eu de Parfum

            It smells so good! However, a full sized bottle is $100, now I am not normally a perfume person, I don’t go out much and usually if I do put something on it is just a body spray not a perfume, because perfume it just really expensive. I like the citrus notes in this perfume because when I do use perfume I go for more floral, fresh, and fruity so this was right up my street. 

Stila Cosmetics: Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Paradiso

            The insert said this was a cranberry shade, it looks more grape to merlot shade to me. It is much more of an autumnal shade. It is a really nice shade though. I haven’t had a chance to really try it on besides a swatch but it is really not a spring color to me so when it becomes more seasonally appropriate I will give it a shot.

Sunday Riley: Auto Correct Brightening and Depuffing Eye Contour Cream

            This one I did choose when it gave me the ability to customize my box with a sample pick. I have been a far off fan of Sunday Riley for years, I have never had a product from that company before because it is really expensive but now that I am taking better care of my skin I have started to use an eye cream and I am looking for a different one as opposed to the one I am currently using. (check out my skin care routine to find that out) There is not much in the tube but it’s only a sample size so I cannot be upset about that. 

            So there was my box for February, it was fine, I cannot complain because it is only my second month getting the box and I can imagine as time goes on it will get better. There were some hits and some misses in this box but I can use everything, it does not mean that I will not use the products because after use I may love them so this is initial in my life, this is just an unboxing, this is not a full in depth review so take my opinions with a grain of salt. 

            Well I will see everyone in a few days, have a good rest of the week!

            -MJ