Monday, November 23, 2015

The Legacy of Us: a review

I had a good feeling about this book right from the first sentence when Liz mentioned watching House Hunters International and then searching for her own properties all over the world. Who doesn't watch House Hunters and do that? But really, this book wasn't quite what I was expecting, it's a bit of historical fiction mixed in with a bit of young adult or more new adult I guess you would say.

The Legacy of Us introduces you to four generations-- the main storyline being Liz. I liked her character but couldn't stand her at the same time-- there were multiple times where I was literally yelling nooooo at the book, not wanting her to make certain choices. She's your typical twenty-something trying to figure out life, family, relationships, and everything in-between. Her grandmother suddenly passes away and leaves her a necklace and her diary-- leaving Liz the opportunity to uncover some of her grandmother's secrets.

There was also the story of Liz's great-grandmother Gabriella that you hear through the diary of her Grandmother (Ella/Nan). I thought this was so well done- something switching between people and story-lines is confusing or boring, but that wasn't the case here.

The ending was slightly predictable and cheesy, but in a good way. The story really was complex with a lot of different layers and elements, but at the same time it wasn't a heavy read.

The Legacy of Us is Kristin Contino's first novel, making it perfect for a certain category in the SCWBC in case anyone is still looking... A huge thank you to BookSparks for sending me this book to read and review!

What have you read recently?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Life Lately I

So these type of posts usually aren't my favorite to write, but I know sometimes people enjoy reading more lifestyle blog posts so I thought I'd share a few highlights from the weekend. (plus, it's an excuse to linkup with Biana for weekending!)

We finally got around to seeing The Martian! I liked the cast and would recommend it, but as usual I definitely prefer the book to the movie. We also watched the movie Run All Night-- it's one of those unrealistic Liam Nielson movies, but it was actually pretty entertaining and a good action/suspensefulish flick.

We visited my favorite store (Home Goods) and picked up this picture for $16.99! I kind of wish it featured a poodle and the Chrysler building, but it's still New York and I love it.

When I was commenting on one of Alanna's recent blog posts, one of the little suggestion links for her older posts was about best DC brunches so I naturally had to check it out. Copperwood Tavern was one of her suggestions, so we checked it out on Sunday and it was so good! I had the waffle, which is usually my standard breakfast/brunch order and it was delicious. My husband had a breakfast sandwich and his food was equally good. It definitely seemed to be very family friendly and had a nice relaxed feel to it.

After brunch we stopped by the Renwick Gallery-- it recently reopened after being closed for renovations. We had been once a few years ago before it closed, but we both really loved the current exhibit, Wonder. It was cool because the artwork was abstract to an extent, but when you read what the inspiration was behind the pieces they totally made sense. Maya Lin used marbles to demonstrate the Chesapeake Bay. My favorite was the rainbow threads-- it was so cool in person, it really did look like light rays not string! Wonder is on display through July so I definitely recommend in for anyone visiting DC-- it's right by the White House and doesn't take a lot of time to go through.

Andddd we are officially half way through November-- just one more weekend left before Thanksgiving! I hope you guys all had a great weekend and have an extra large coffee for the start of a new week.

Carly / cbh

Thursday, November 12, 2015

'Tis the Season...

...for holiday gift sets! I'll be the first to admit I can easily get sucked in my cute packaging, but a lot of the time you can get a pretty good deal on trying out different products. I've been keeping a list of sets with products I love and products I'd love to try myself. Linking up with Joey for Stuff & Things!

Smashbox L.A. Glow Prime/Bronze/Highlight $42 | An $86 value when you consider the price of the full-size blush & bronzer-- two products I personally love. The water primer & highlight stick are travel sized.

butter London Glitz & Glam Nail Set ($29) | I loooove butter nail polishes-- this little set includes all hail the queen, one of my favorite nail colors ever. This is a great gifting piece because the colors are all on the neutral side. The polishes included are .2 oz vs the full-size at .6 oz ($15 each).

Lancome Noel Eye Set ($38) | Speaking of things I love, Lancome mascaras are my #1! (actually my only one...) Here's the thing, you can pretty often get deluxe mascara samples as free gifts or as point perks from Sephora, but this includes a full-size grandoise mascara & full-size liquid liner. Plus, the eye makeup remover & lash primer are both amazing! Definitely worth the value in my opinion.

Bite Mix & Mingle ($14) | I have two of these from last year, one in nudes/neutrals and the other in a dark red and poppy. These are small, but I'm a person that never (ever) finishes a tube of lipstick.

Bite Beauty Discover Set ($55) | Speaking of Bite, if you want a bit more of a splurge this set looks amazing, and is actually a really great value. You get a full-size lip gloss ($22), lip stick ($24), and lip pencil ($24) + 3 minis and a mirror.

Sephora Collection Canister Brush Set ($34) | Powder, foundation, blush, concealer, and all-over shadow brush-- what more do you need? Maybe something for bronzer... haha but this really has just about everything, it's pretty, and it comes in a convenient little canister.

Are you a sucker for gift/value sets like me? Makeup has really been on my mind with the Sephora VIB sale this weekend.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Jackaby: a review

I finally got around to finishing a book for the Literary Ladies Book Club almost in time to link up with them! As soon as I saw the book announced, and saw it was only like $3.99 on Amazon (it's a bit more now, but still worth a read if you like the genre) I downloaded it so I didn't have any excuse not to read it-- I just got a bit sidetracked, so I'm sharing my thoughts on Jackaby a few days late of the linkup.

Going into the book about all I knew was that it was compared to Sherlock & Doctor Who. Jackaby's character definitely did resemble what I know about Sherlock Holmes-- definitely a very unique and witty-- yet likable character. If I had to compare it to other books it also reminded me slightly of The Cuckcoo's Calling in the format of the relationship of Jackaby and Abigail Rook.

It's clever and mysterious and keeps you wondering how it's all going to tie together. I liked that it wasn't ever too gruesome or dark-- admittedly, I don't usually care for fantasy, but the supernatural element to this book didn't bother me because it wasn't that serious. Think Casper the friendly ghost. I'm not sure if it's technically considered a YA novel, but I think it would read well for middle grades too.

If you're a fan of mystery with a bit of fantasy thrown in, and you like YA literature I would give this a read. I love that the girls picked this book, because it got me to read something I would have probably never gravitated towards otherwise!

In other book news, the Semi-Charmed Winter Book Challenge has officially started. I have most of my list picked out, and am currently experiencing that thing where all of your library books on hold become available at the same time and you go into a slight panic trying to figure out how you'll read them all  in 21 days. Anyway, if you're interested in seeing my list I have it HERE-- make sure to check out Megan's blog if you want to join in- it runs through January!

This year I've also been working towards an Authors A-Z challenge. In January it seemed totally possible, but with just under two months of the year left I'm not very close. I got the letters I thought would be tricky-- Q & Z, but am somehow still missing letters I thought would be pretty easy!

I hope everyone has a great weekend! I'm looking forward to one more day of 70+ temperatures, which makes my heart so happy! TGIF!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Recent Favorites (fall 2015)

Hooray for November! I know winter doesn't officially start until nearly Christmas, but once the time changes and it gets dark, it's basically winter in my mind. This year I'm determined to make the most of November and December and enjoy all of the holiday things that are to come. Anyway, on to a few favorites....

Thursday, October 22, 2015

BIGLAW: a review

You know when you read a book and then the day or so after you finish it you find yourself thinking about the characters, and then you get sad when you remember you finished the book? That was how I felt about BigLaw by Lindsay Cameron. There was a pretty big gap in when I started the book, and read the first few chapters, and then eventually finished the book in one setting. It wasn't because I wasn't into it at the beginning, for whatever reason I just didn't find the time to pick it up again right away. A huge thank you to BookSparks for providing me with the book to review as a part of the Fall Reading Challenge. 

You can read the full synopsis on Goodreads, but basically it's about a woman working in one of the huge New York law firms. It reminded me a little bit of Suits, but more realistic. I definitely kept picturing Lewis Litt as one of the characters in the book. The story follows Mackenzie as she navigates working for demanding partners, keeping up friendships and her relationship, and competitiveness in the firm.   

I enjoyed every bit of it, but it was completely predictable from pretty early on. There was a lot of obvious foreshadowing, but that didn't take away from the suspense of how everything would play out in the end. The book really kept up at a great pace that kept you wanting to know more. Lindsay Cameron is a former lawyer, so I imagine a lot of the characters and things that happened were from her personal experience. I really enjoyed her voice and would love to see something else from her in the future!

What have you read recently? Any new recommendations? 

[Linking up with Joey for Stuff & Things]

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Thoughts on Blue Apron 21 Meals Later

I can't even begin to tell you how long ago I meant to write this post. A lot of the time, not having photos is what holds me up, but I had plenty of food photos from our Blue Apron meals, I just couldn't sort out how I wanted to talk about everything I guess. But here I am, finally sharing our experience using Blue Apron for 7 weeks.