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Review

In Reading, Review on
May 21, 2016

The Crown by Kiera Cass Book Review

Who does Eadlyn pick at the end of her Selection?

The Selection Series by Kiera Cass has finally come to a close. I can’t believe it! I’ve been enjoying and re-reading this series over and over again the past three or so years and it’s odd to finally have a conclusion.

If you haven’t heard of The Selection Series, here is a synopsis of book one:

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

In the below video I share my book review of The Crown as a whole (with and without spoilers) and how it fits in relation to the series.

 

Overall, I believe that the plot elements of The Heir and The Crown were really interesting, but I felt that they should have been explored with a few additional other scenarios added in more gradually as a three book arc. Eadlyn’s transformation isn’t a surprise to me, but I felt like it should have been more built up over time, especially considering the huge announcement she released to the country on the Capital Report in the last chapter.

As for the husband she ends up choosing, I’m happy with the choice (for spoilers on who wins Eadlyn’s selection, see the above video). However, I feel like the relationship was rushed in the last quarter of the book. There had been a few hints in book four, but it wasn’t what I would consider a gradual love that built up because of the way it was presented.

See more details in my above video and if you haven’t, check out the creative book trailer for The Crown from Epic Reads.

Did you read The Selection series? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments.

Don’t forget to also follow me on Goodreads for more book thoughts.

In Review, Sponsored on
December 9, 2015

How to Monetize a Small Blog – Book Review | ad

how to make money blogging

Hello, Kind Friends! I have a late-night post today on a blogging book that I think my fellow bloggers will all find very interesting.

I’m excited to have been given this sponsored opportunity to review How to Monetize a Small Blog by Luke Weil because I do think it is a great resource for newer and small bloggers that are looking into making money from their blog for the first time.

Luke Weil’s book is aimed to give the basics of different monetization methods so that prospective bloggers can have an idea of what they are getting into and what type of method will suit their content the best. What I enjoyed the most about this book is the matter of fact tone, where Luke describes the topics concisely as well as some practices that he doesn’t recommend. There is also several handy tips included, like a simple guide on how you should decide what to charge for banner ads based on your blog’s monthly traffic.

Specific topics covered in this book:

  1. Direct Advertising
  2. Sponsored Content
  3. Display Advertising
  4. Advertising Networks
  5. Affiliate Marketing
  6. Branded Sponsored Campaigns
  7. Building a Mailing List

I was the most excited to read the chapter on mailing list subscriptions, which is something I’ve been wanting to build for awhile, but I felt like the information provided wasn’t enough for me. For example, what kinds of content does better over email? What software is the best to use? So while this book does give a good amount of general info, it isn’t a book that will answer all of your questions once you’ve already started blogging. More research is needed to really start the monetization process.

While How to Monetize a Small Blog is budget priced at only $0.99 on Kindle and $4.99 for paperback, the content it covers isn’t too hard to find on the internet with some targeted Google searching, so I would have hoped for more personal anecdotes or information on the history of Luke’s blog and how these tips would have helped him from the beginning. Basically, something more exclusive to entice me to buy the book.

My recommendations for bloggers interested in this book is to buy the Kindle version, because while $4.99 is inexpensive, the book is only a little over 30 pages – so I don’t think it’s worth getting a physical copy. The Kindle version, however, would be a nice convenient place to start for those new to the blogging scene.

Have you read any blogging books recently? Did you find them helpful?

Tell me in the comments: What is the best bit of blogging advice you’ve received?

In Review on
November 17, 2015

Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass – Book Review

 

Hello, Kind Friends! Today I’m sharing a review of Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass, a novella bind-up set in the universe of The Selection Series.

If you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend it. The pitch I usually tell people is that this series is The Bachelor meets royalty meets dystopia.

It’s a fun ride!

Happily Ever After features the following novellas:

  • The Prince, Maxon’s novella
  • The Guard, Aspen’s novella
  • The Queen, Amberly’s novella
  • The Favorite, Marlee’s novella
  • Three scenes from Celeste’s POV
  • The Maid, Lucy’s Novella
  • The bonus epilogue
  • Where are they now?

Happily Ever AfterI felt that The Guard and The Maid were the real standouts in this collection, and reading them really helped me understand Aspen and Lucy better.

Whereas The Prince and The Queen felt a bit flat to me, more like descriptions of what was happening rather than being really flushed out characters. I was hoping to feel more emotion in it.

The Favorite and Celeste’s scenes gave some intriguing insights into unseen character arcs, so I enjoyed reading them very much. The bonus epilogues and updates on other characters in The Elite was also enjoyable.

I gave this book a 3.5 on Goodreads, mostly because of The Queen and The Prince. Overall, I think that this book purchase would be great for all The Selection Series fans. However, I think that not all of the novellas are as exciting and well-written, so it can be disappointing for people that were interested in one or two characters rather than the whole of these novellas.

Haven’t read this book yet? Grab Happily Ever After and other books in The Selection Series, or listen to one of the books for free with an Audible free trial.

What book series are you currently reading?

[Image: Epic Reads]

In Review, Sponsored on
November 6, 2015

Monthly Mystery Flower Deliveries – Bloomsy Box Review

Bloomsy Box Review

Good morning, Kind Friends. Today I’m sharing with you a floral subscription review, brought to you by a local business called Bloomsy Box.

Bloomsy Box is a monthly floral subscription service where you get a new set of beautiful single-styled flowers at your door once a month. The flowers you receive in each subscription are a complete surprise, which I think makes the experience more exciting.

They have three plans, a small bouquet for $34.99, medium for $38.99, and a large for $48.99 a month. If at any point you need to skip a month, it’s easy to do so, and if by chance you get a bouquet you didn’t like, they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee so you never have to pay for flowers you didn’t enjoy.

I received the medium bouquet this month, which brought 30 long stem roses in shades or orange, pink, red, and yellow. I imagine the number of blooms may change depending on the flower, but I was pleasantly surprised to receive 30 roses and have it not be the largest size available.

Beautiful floral subscription service

The florals shipped in a box, with the stems zip tied in place so that they wouldn’t hit the sides or ends of the box while in shipment. It came with a card sharing some care tips, as well as a flower food packet to add to your water. The shipping was incredibly quick, leaving me stunned to see the box outside my door only two days after ordering.

It has been about 6 days and the flowers are only just now starting to wilt, which compared to other flowers I’ve received seems to be about the average.

Overall, I really enjoyed having these beautiful roses in my home. This definitely seems like a fun subscription service to have, especially this time of year when everyone is usually more stressed over the holidays.

You can subscribe to Bloomsy Box on BloomsyBox.com with just a few clicks. Check them out to give yourself a little treat this holiday season.

Do you purchase flowers online? Are you part of a subscription service? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments.

In Beauty, Review on
November 4, 2015

Somaluxe Stem Cell + Peptide Complex Moisturizer Review

Somaluxe stem cell and peptide complex review

Hello there, Kind Friends. Today I’m going to share with you a pros and cons post on the Somaluxe Stem Cell + Peptide Complex moisturizer from Lady Soma (c/o). This review will help you decide whether or not you think this moisturizer would be a good fit for your routine.

This Stem Cell + Peptide Complex moisturizer is aimed for those that are looking to amp up their anti-aging skincare routine with a formula that works to help increase the skins firmness and longevity. The instructions say to use this moisturizer once per day, morning or night.

Pros and Cons

This product in the Somaluxe line from Lady Soma has many pros to it.

Pros

  • Great all-natural and organic ingredients
  • Cruelty-free/No animal testing policy
  • Smooth non-watery texture
  • Calming subtle floral scent
  • Great basic moisturizer for normal to oily skin
  • Works well on sensitive skin

And then one con that puts it in the no column for my skin type.

Cons

  • Not very moisturizing on dry skin

In my anti-aging routine I need a moisturizer that plumps my skin up while it treats because my skin is perpetually dry. On the bright side, however, it is one of the few anti-aging products that does not make my skin feel irritated with prolonged use.  I’ve been using this product once a day for a little over a month now without any negative skin interactions, which is hard for me to find in anti-aging products.

I personally did not notice a change in the firmness of my skin or in my wrinkles but at the moment I only have fine lines around my eye area, which is where I use a separate eye treatment product and not this moisturizer in particular.

How does the Somaluxe moisturizers work on dry skin?

Overall thoughts

I believe that the Lady Soma Stem Cell + Peptide Complex moisturizer from their Somaluxe line wold be a good product for those that don’t have dry skin and want to embalm their face with some high-quality organic ingredients. For me personally, I will be using it mainly on my neck, chest, and hands rather than on my face since I need some more moisturizing in my routine. At the moment, I don’t plan on purchasing a bottle myself but I’ll wait to see how it works on other areas of my body before I make my final decision.

What is your favorite anti-aging moisturizer? What products are you using in your routine?

I’d love to know your recommendations as to what I should try next, so please do let me know in the comments.

You can purchase this anti-aging moisturizer on LadySoma.com or Amazon.com

In Beauty, Review on
October 21, 2015

Honest Beauty Brow Filler Review and Demo – Rich Brunette

honest beauty brow filler

Hello Kind Friends, today I have a followup on my Honest Beauty unboxing haul. I’ve been using the Honest Beauty Brow Filler in Rich Brunette for a month now and wanted to give my impressions after using it regularly.

Other Honest reviews: Honest Deodorant Spray, Honest Healing Balm, Honest Beauty Subscription Free Trial, Honest Body Lotion, Honest Breathe Right Rub, Honest Candles

Honest Beauty is a cruelty-free and all natural brand in The Honest Company umbrella. The Brow Filler is one of the few products that are under $20, with this product clocking in at $15.

Review and Demo of Honest Beauty's Brow Filler

I chose the color Rich Brunette for my medium brown hair but they also have Dark Blonde, Warm Auburn, and Deep Black.

Rich Brunette was a dark brown color that did not have any red hues. The retractible pencil feels stiff and waxy and does not bleed, even if you touch your brows right after application. I can wear this product all day without the color fading and it is capable of making thin or thick strokes.

To take off the product I use a cotton ball dipped in olive oil or coconut oil.

Overall I can definitely see myself purchasing this product again because it was an exact color match to my brunette hair.

Do you have any questions about this Honest Beauty Brow Filler review? Let me know in the comments.

You can buy the Honest Beauty Brow Filler on HonestBeauty.com.

Here is a look at my unboxing and demo video that was exclusively on my YouTube channel this past month.

 

If you aren’t subscribed to my YouTube channel, do so in the widget below. I don’t always post my videos on my blog so you may have missed a few!

 

In Beauty, Review on
September 21, 2015

Honest Beauty Bundle Subscription Free Trial Write-Up and Thoughts

Honest Beauty Review

Hello there Kind Friends! I apologize for the impromptu blogging intermission. I’ve been fighting an infection (which is weird for me because I never get sick for more than a day) so I’ve been very fatigued. Also I’ve been obsessively re-listening to The Selection Series on Audible, randomly.

How it works

Today I’m sharing with you a look into the new beauty/skincare free trial beauty subscription from Honest Beauty, a new store in The Honest Company branding. Honest Beauty is cruelty-free and all natural, so obviously I’m very intrigued. I have been closely following the start of this company for several months on Instagram and was ecstatic when they sent out the grand premiere email.

Like The Honest Company, Honest Beauty is launching a monthly subscription option but this time for skincare and makeup products. For The Honest Company, they ship you five essential home items a month for $35.95. At Honest Beauty, they charge $50 a month for three beauty products of your choice. The free trial option to try out the Honest Beauty bundle provides with you three small skincare products based on either dry skin, oily skin, or balanced/normal skin.

When you receive the free trial (you still pay shipping) you have 7 days to cancel or you are automatically enrolled into the $50 beauty bundle. Don’t let that deter you though, if Honest Beauty is anything like The Honest Company’s customer service — canceling by phone will be no problem. I’ve spoken with The Honest Company on the phone several times and it was a rather pleasant experience.

My thoughts

I requested the dry skin kit and it came with the Refreshingly Clean Gel Cleanser, Younger Face Deep Hydration Cream, the Beyond Protected Sheer Tint Daily Beauty Fluid SPF 30, and a cute grey bag.

A first impressions on the new skincare beauty bundle from The Honest Company's new brand, Honest Beauty.

I’ve only used the products once so far, since I only received them this morning, so the following are my first impressions.

The packaging is not my favorite. Although I do love the calm pale pink used on the website and in these products, the plain packaging reminds me of the brand Clinique — which I actually don’t like. I assumed given the packaging of The Honest Company that Honest Beauty would also have a fun look, oddly I imagined Honest Beauty to be like a less raunchy version of Benefit.

The products though, seem great after my first use. The gel cleanser is definitely refreshing, as the name suggests, and has a light foam. I’m also happy to say that this product does not sting my eyes. Yay! It cleaned my face without making it feel striped.

The Younger Face moisturizer was my favorite of the three thus far, it has a wonderfully thick consistency that reminds me of something I’ve used before but I can’t put my finger on it. It’s driving me nuts but I can’t figure it out. Regardless, it has a delightful texture and smells wonderfully like baby powder! I can see this becoming a staple for me when I eventually get a full sized bottle.

The Beauty Fluid surprised me. The bottle says sheer tint but it actually came out of the bottle with a bit of color. It wasn’t really noticeable, more of a highlighted sheen on me, but I would be curious to see how it looks on darker skin tones. It works as an SPF but I believe I applied it too quickly after applying my moisturizer because it did sting my face a little. I attribute this to my sensitive skin and the fact that my pores were still wide open from a freshly washed face. The sensation went away after a minute or two and has not bothered me since.

I really enjoy the sheen it gives me and anticipate it looking lovely under makeup. It isn’t a greasy look or feel though, despite the shine. It’s more of a healthy glow. The Beyond Perfected Sheer Tint Daily Beauty Fluid (mouthful) also does not smell like a traditional sunscreen, so basically it’s great.

Honest Beauty Bundle Gift Bag

The grey bag it comes with, is gorgeous. It honestly (ha) is worth the shipping charge all by itself since it feels really high quality and has an adorable print on the inside. The inside pattern is delicate and sophisticated when combined with the hole-filled front. Having this bag with these three product samples is a steal.

Closing thoughts

Overall, I’m very pleased to have spent $5.95 for these samples and the little bag. I don’t plan on spending $50 for a subscription as it is not something I can add to my budget right now but I definitely will try out more products from the brand soon when I have a little more to splurge with.

Would you try out a sample bundle like this? I’m very excited that The Honest Company brought this idea to Honest Beauty as well.

 

Go to HonestBeauty.com to check out their product offerings and grab your free trial.