Listen to Me by Hannah Pittard

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Genre: Fiction/Thriller

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

In an attempt to help his wife recover from the trauma of a recent mugging, Mark takes Maggie on a road trip to his parent’s vacation home.  After getting a late start on the road, the couple realize they will need to find a hotel to stay in overnight.  What follows next is their tumultuous journey to find a safe place to stay, while stuck in an unfamiliar and isolated area.

I went into this book without reading many reviews or knowing much about the plot.  Although I really wanted to enjoy this book, unfortunately I didn’t at all.

The overall plot is good, but doesn’t noticeably progress until the very end.  The majority of the story revolves around Mark and Maggie’s feelings about themselves and each other.  It’s exhausting trying to keep up with the changing moods and dynamic between the two.  I may have been able to overlook this element, if it weren’t for the ending.  The conclusion almost brought me to tears and left me with an awful feeling.  Although I’m happy the event brought Mark and Maggie closer and helped Maggie overcome her previous anxiety, I really wish it had happened another way.  I also didn’t like the way the author portrayed Mark as the victim at the end.  It almost felt as if the two spouses had simply reversed roles.  I would have liked to see both spouses gain strength from the traumatizing ordeal they went through, instead of only Maggie.

While I didn’t enjoy this book personally, others may feel differently.  Have any of you read this one?  If so, let me know what you thought in the comments!

 

Favorite Finds: For the Pup

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Happy Friday!  It’s been awhile since I’ve done a pet related post so I thought I’d share some of the items my husband and I like to get our dog!  Here’s the roundup of our favorite products:

  1. Nylabones – Bindy loves to chew and will pretty much destroy any toy other than these bones!  We got her this one first but switched to some of the other Nylabones that don’t have rubber on them because she liked to chew it off.  If you have trouble making your pet’s toys last, I would recommend trying one of these out.  They’re not indestructible but it takes a lot longer for pups to chew their way through them.
  2. Food Bowl – Bindy loves to gulp her food down super fast so we got her this bowl to help her eat a little slower.  The bowl is really good quality and has a rubber lining on the bottom to prevent it from sliding around on the floor.  If you have a similar issue with your dog, I would definitely recommend this bowl.
  3. Feeding Mat – We got a mat very similar to this one from Gordman’s for around $6 or $7.  It’s perfect for keeping water from overflowing from the bowl on to the floor.
  4. Purina Natural Dog Food – Over the past six months or so, we’ve started getting this dog food from either Target or Walmart.  It’s only about $4 higher than the regular dog food we used to buy.  We tried feeding her a natural dog food from Aldi but she didn’t seem to like it so we’ve been sticking to this one.
  5. Leash – Target’s Boots and Barkley brand offers a ton of affordable items that are great quality.  We have this leash and it’s perfect for medium or large dogs.  It’s much stronger than some of the retractable leashes and holds up well over time.

Do you have any favorite pet items?  Let me know in the comments!  Thanks for stopping by the blog.

Book Review: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

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Genre: Psychological Thriller

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I’ve came across a lot of good books this month but this one was by far my favorite!  One of my favorite parts of reading thrillers is trying to guess what will happen next.  In some books it’s pretty easy, while others are a complete surprise.  The books that have reveals I don’t see coming usually end up being some of my favorites.  I Let You Go had so many great twists and caught me off guard multiple times.  As soon as I thought I knew what was going on, the author would reveal another clue and completely change the way I viewed both the characters and the story.

The plot centers around the tragic hit and run that takes the life of a young boy.  The story alternates between the police investigation and the woman who leaves everything behind by fleeing to a small town far away from her previous life.  Although I originally thought I understood the woman’s story and what she was feeling, the author revealed twist after twist that made me realize I was completely wrong.

This book was both moving and suspenseful writing at its best.  I felt so bad for some of the characters and the terrible things they went through.  If you’re looking for an emotional read that leaves you guessing right up until the last page, this may be the book for you.

How to Get Cheap/Free Products

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Today, I wanted to share some of my favorite ways to score great deals and free products.  These are the programs I consistently use and are all fairly quick and easy.

  1. DSW – DSW has a free rewards program that allows you to earn points for every $1 you spend and get $5 or $10 coupons throughout the year.  They also send a $5 or $10 coupon on your birthday.  They always have a huge section of clearance shoes and accessories and it’s usually pretty easy to find an item (or two!) for free or extremely cheap.  My best friend has gotten tons of shoes for either a penny or completely free.  Although it’s easier to find free items with a $10 coupon, the $5 ones are perfect for scoring smaller items like socks or clearance jewelry! You can sign up for the program here or in stores.
  2. Kohl’s – Kohl’s also has a free rewards program that allows you to earn points for every $1 spent and get $5 coupons for every 100 points.  They send $5 coupons for signing up and on birthdays.  Kohl’s has clearance and sale items year round and it’s usually pretty easy to find something close to or under $5.  The last time I earned a $5 coupon I put mine toward these leggings (mentioned in this post).  You can sign up for the program here or in stores.
  3. Target – Target just revamped their Cartwheel app and it’s better than ever!  Before the update, the app allowed you to get discounts on certain products by scanning the bar code on items or searching the app to see if they were on sale.  While the app still offers these discounts, it now allows you to earn points even if you purchase items that are not on sale.  For example, if I bought a mascara that wasn’t being offered at a discount on the app, I could still earn points from the purchase.  Once you reach 5000 points, you get an item for free.  Some of these items include free makeup, coffee, food, household products and more.  To sign up for the program, simply download the Target Cartwheel app and create an account.  Once you’re signed in, click on “Offers” to search or scan items.  When you’re ready to check out, click “Check Out” and it will bring up a bar code for the cashier to scan and you will start earning points!
  4. Coupon Blogs – Although coupon blogs are a little different than the programs above, they are a great way to learn about free products and deals.  I subscribe to Coupon Pro (mentioned in this post) and Krazy Coupon Lady and get emails every day about different freebies and discounts.  I sign up for at least one or two freebies a week and print coupons when I see a discount on an item I was already planning on buying.  My best friend introduced me to both of these sites and I have been hooked every since!  To subscribe to Coupon Pro click here and for Krazy Coupon Lady click here.

Do you know of any programs or blogs that offer deals or freebies?  Let me know in the comments!

Blog Feature: The Friendly Fig

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I haven’t posted a blog feature in awhile and wanted to mention one of my favorites that is a little different from the others I’ve posted.  (To see old blog features click here, here and here.) Some time in the past year, I came across The Friendly Fig.  The blog features recipes, meal plans, cruelty free beauty suggestions and more relating to the blogger’s vegan lifestyle.  Although I’m not vegan, I love finding new recipes and products that make a difference in the lives of animals.  Here are some of my favorite posts from the blog:

  1. 5 Vegan Meal Plans
  2. 50 Vegan Products at Trader Joe’s
  3. Turmeric Broth for When You’re Sick
  4. Cruelty Free Makeup Routine
  5. 10 Cruelty Free Beauty Products Under $10

Do you have any blog recommendations?  If so, be sure to leave a comment!

Book Review: Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson

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Genre: Psychological Thriller

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Her Every Fear was released a couple weeks ago and I couldn’t wait to see if it met up to all the hype!  I’ve noticed it on tons of book blogs over the past few months and knew it was going to a big book for 2017.

Kate agrees to swap apartments with a distant cousin, Corbin, for six months after he accepts a job in her area.  They plan for him to move into her London flat and for her to live in his luxurious Boston apartment.  Kate has recently went through a traumatizing ordeal with an ex-boyfriend and believes moving to a new city may help her break out of her comfort zone and overcome the anxiety she is feeling.  Little does she know, her anxiety will reach a new high when she faces murder, secrets and the creeping sense that someone is out to get her.

The story is told from the point of view of three different characters.  By doing this, Swanson allows the reader to understand the feelings of both the victim and the murderer.  It was interesting to read about the killer’s motives and how they justified their actions.  The transition from one character to the next added to the suspense and made me want to keep reading to find out what would happen next.  I did feel like some of the chapters were a little more detailed than they needed to be but overall really enjoyed the book.

If you’re looking for a thriller that gradually builds suspense and gets in the mind of both the victim and the killer, this may be one to check out!

Thanks for stopping by the blog!

Favorite Finds: January Edition

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Sorry for the lack of posts this month!  I’m a little behind but here are my favorite finds for this month.

  1. Favorite Show – My husband and I watched The OA a couple weeks ago and were totally hooked!  It’s about a blind girl who disappears and later returns with her sight back.  The show alternates between past and present and reveals what happened to her when she was missing.  If you liked Stranger Things, this show is slightly similar – just much darker.
  2. Favorite Boots – Love this list of warm shoes from The College Prepster.  I have a pair of knock off Bean boots (my pair linked here) and a pair of Hunters and they are the best shoes to wear when it’s icy/snowy out.
  3. Favorite Coat – I got this coat for Christmas and absolutely love it.  It’s so warm and basically feels like wearing a robe!
  4. Favorite Scrub – I’ve mentioned Alba products on here a few times and recently tried one of their new body scrubs (scent I tried here).  It smells amazing and makes my skin so smooth.  Highly recommend trying this one out!
  5. Favorite Palette – I got this e.l.f. palette for my birthday and am obsessed!  My favorite is the white highlighter.  I’ve never used a highlighter before and can see such a difference in my makeup now with this one!

I hope everyone is having a great January!  Thanks so much for stopping by the blog.

Book Review: Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia

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Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I’ve been looking forward to checking out Everything You Want Me to Be and was so excited when it came out this week.  It definitely met all my expectations and more!

Hattie is a high school senior who has spent her life playing many different roles.  She is able to pick up on the expectations of others and portrays herself differently around each person.  When she is brutally stabbed to death, her many different sides start to come to light and those closest to her begin to realize they may have never known the real Hattie.

The story is told from the points of view of Hattie, the detective searching for her killer and her high school English teacher.  Another book blogger commented on how eerie it was  reading Hattie’s side of the story, while knowing she would eventually be killed, and I couldn’t agree more.  All of the characters are extremely relatable and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for each of them – despite the roles a couple of them played in their own demise.

Although Hattie is manipulative, she is still a young girl, caught up in her emotions and unaware of the full ramifications of her actions.  Despite her ability to essentially trick those around her, I didn’t see her as a bad person.  She desperately wants to be accepted and doesn’t seem to know who she is yet.  I enjoyed reading her parts of the story the most and learning the reasoning behind her decisions.

After reading a couple longer police procedurals recently, it was refreshing to read something a little more suspenseful.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes thrillers!