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Gorgeous Rituals Holiday Gift Set!!!

The first thing I noticed about this is the gorgeous pink decorative box! The company even encourages to reuse it instead of throw away the packaging.

My favorite products were the body scrub and lotion. All are classy and subtle so they fit in nicely to most decor. The body scrub is so moisturizing. After using it I barely neededr lotion. The scent was perfectly balanced. The lotion is a perfect size to keep at home or put in your purse. Moisturizing but not greasy. The hand soap is fairly standard. The scent is a little too strong. The body wash is a lather type that is hard to use. I’m not sure if my product container was defective or if that’s how it typically works. It’s moisturizing and smells nice.

Overall it was a gorgeous, luxurious and indulgent box of items that most people use often. A few issues, but nothing too extreme.

I think this would be a great gift for those special people who you know, but don’t know well enough to buy an extremely personalized gift for.  Or those gift giving opportunities when you need a generic gift and only know gender and age range (aka work parties)

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this gift set for free, through #RitualsUSA and the #Tryazon program, in exchange for my honest feedback.

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So excited!

I’m super excited to try Rituals Cosmetics for the Holidays TryaBox through Tryazon! This luxurious box of beauty products looks amazingly indulgent 😊 I’ve been wanting to try this out for awhile and am so honored that Tryazon chose me, amongst many others, to test out, review and spread the word about these awesome holiday beauty boxes. More info to come when I review it!

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Where the Lies Hide by Renee Roman

Rating: 4 stars

Published: August 1, 2019

Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

Pages: 264

Genres: romance, contemporary, LBTQIA+, feminism

Recommend to fans of: other books by the same publisher, modern day diverse romance novels, kids with tough childhoods grow up to be strong adults
Synopsis:
Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Bold Strokes Books and Renee Roman for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Like:
– the main characters: smart, intriguing, want to be friends with them (and yes, I know it’s a romance novel but to me the mark of a great romance novel and really any book is well written characters)
– Some sexy times but it doesn’t overshadow the rest of the storylines

Love:
– chronic pain (migraines) is shown realistically – as part of life, annoying, frustrating, doesn’t make you weak but also does truly impact your life
– The investigative mystery storyline of Cam trying to find Sarah’s family. An intense captivating story that allows for other storylines to authentically come into play.
– The personalities of both main characters (and love interests) Cam and Sarah. They’re super interesting to read about.

Wish that:
– Sarah’s biological dad was featured more. He seemed like a great guy that could add a lot to the book.

Dislike:
– the flirting with older women at the beginning. Am I missing something? I don’t really get it.
– The story wrapped up a bit too quickly. Another 20 pages would have allowed the final details to be explored more

Overall, a really great novel. Well written incredible characters, an interesting investigation storyline and the perfect amount of sexy times. I highly recommend giving Where the Lies Hide a read.
Come say hi!
Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

Instagram: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

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The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger | ARC #BookReview that’s Super Late :-/

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The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger 

Rating: 4 stars 

Published: July 2, 2019 

Publisher: Riverhead 

Pages: 450 

Genres: contemporary fiction, women’s fiction, domestic fiction 

Recommend to fans of: families with unique/gifted kids, domestic fiction novels, drama!

 

Synopsis:

Smart and juicy, a compulsively readable novel about a previously happy group of friends and parents that is nearly destroyed by their own competitiveness when an exclusive school for gifted children opens in the community

This deliciously sharp novel captures the relentless ambitions and fears that animate parents and their children in modern America, exploring the conflicts between achievement and potential, talent and privilege.

Set in the fictional town of Crystal, Colorado, The Gifted School is a keenly entertaining novel that observes the drama within a community of friends and parents as good intentions and high ambitions collide in a pile-up with long-held secrets and lies. Seen through the lens of four families who’ve been a part of one another’s lives since their kids were born over a decade ago, the story reveals not only the lengths that some adults are willing to go to get ahead, but the effect on the group’s children, sibling relationships, marriages, and careers, as simmering resentments come to a boil and long-buried, explosive secrets surface and detonate. It’s a humorous, keenly observed, timely take on ambitious parents, willful kids, and the pursuit of prestige, no matter the cost.

 

Review:

I won this book for free through the Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, Riverhead, and Bruce Holsinger for an ARC copy. As always, an honest review. Also, I’m so sorry that it took me so long to read and review this book. Life has been absolutely busy, stressful and overall ridiculous lately. This is honestly the longest it’s ever taken me to read a book due to life stresses. But I truly enjoyed the read!

Like:
– Centers around a group of 4 moms and their gifted kids (reads like a women’s fiction book in that it centers around 4 friends, but with a literary fiction aspect)
– The teenager daughter that you know is going to cause a lot of trouble (loving and hating it)
– the underhanded drama and sneakiness of some of the characters makes for a wonderfuly addictive read

Love:
– For some reason, it’s so interesting to read about the dynamics of families with gifted children. It’s also interesting to read about these families in general (lots of gossip … please spill the tea, but without the over the top dramatics)
– Love and also hate how witty, mean, and smart these 11 year old girls can be – mean girls starting young – it’s scary good

Dislike:
-the hot tub scene between the dad and the teenage girl – while nothing sexual actually happened, it still rubbed me the wrong way and most of the people were incredibly blase about it

Wish that: —

Overall, a wonderfully highly entertaining read. Due to the chaos of life it took me weeks to actually read the entire book, but it’s actually not a slow read. The writing held my attention even when I would put it down for a week or more. I highly recommend this captivating book set in the world of families with gifted children living in suburbia.

 

Add to your Goodreads TBR here

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

Instagram: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

Book Reviews · Bookish Posts · Uncategorized

April and May Reading Wrap Up | #BookReviews

I’m back here on my blog. If you follow me on Twitter (@BooksAndLife1) and Instagram (@bookslifeandeverythingnice)  you’ll see my recent tweets about my absence. Sorry about that. I’ve had a lot going on and the stress (and extra time it takes) to blog was too much. I’ve still been reading and reviewing books on my Goodreads.

I’ve read a lot of great books (and some not so great) that I want to share with you …. but catching up on a backlog of 20+ books is not realistic. So I’m going to do a very quick wrap of the books I’ve read since my last book review posted on my blog. Organized by star ratings and click on the title of each book to be taken to my review on Goodreads.

 

2 Stars

              The Woman in the Blue Cloak                                 The Favorite Daughter

                      by Deon Meyer                                                            by Kara Rouda

2.5 Stars

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Before She Was Found

by Heather Gudenkauf

 

3 Stars

Waisted  by Randy Susan Meyers                    

   Women Talking by Miriam Toews         

The Mother-in-Law  by Sally Hepworth                 

Midnight at the Wandering Vineyard by Jamie Raintree

3.5 Stars

 

 All Our Broken Pieces                         Dear Wife                            The Lovely and the Lost

  by L.D. Crichton                         by Kimberly Belle                     by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

 

4 Stars

The Doctor Takes a Detour by Bren Christopher

The Southern Side of Paradise by Kristy Woodson Harvey

That Good Night: Life and Medicine in the Eleventh Hour by Sunita Puri

Saving Meghan by D.J. Palmer

4.5 Stars

 

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Roar by Cecelia Ahern

 

5 Stars

 

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin 

Don’t Believe It by Charlie Donlea

Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood

Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs 

 

 

So that was a lot of books to recap, but I hope you enjoyed it!

 

Which ones have you read? What did you think of them? Which books do you still need to read? 

 

 

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My #EtsyShop

white and pink floral freestanding letter decor
Photo by rovenimages.com on Pexels.com

 

That’s right, I have any Etsy Shop!

I’ve posted about it some on Twitter and Instagram, but I wanted to formally announce it on my blog as well. 

Sings Of Our Life on Etsy 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/SignsOfOurLife

featuring Photography, Adult Coloring Pages, Digital Art, Printables, and Garden Signs 

Right now I create digital download products – available instantly – so no waiting or paying for shipping 

I would love for you to check it out, favorite my shop and purchase an item that strikes your fancy if you feel so inclined. 

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Where I’ve Been . . .

I’ve been super busy lately. Well and have some migraines that make reading and type book reviews a bit difficult. But mainly busy with life and creative projects. So for now to save time, I’m not posting my reviews here on my blog. They’re still being posted on my Goodreads and NetGalley. So be sure to follow me there, so you don’t miss out!

 

And you can find me on Twitter and Instagram, talking all things bookish, fun, and creative.

 

Come say hi!

Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

Instagram: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

3 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · feminism · history · non fiction · Uncategorized

The League of Wives: The Untold Story of the Women Who Took on the U.S. Government to Bring Their Husbands Home by Heath Hardage Lee | ARC #BookReview

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The League of Wives: The Untold Story of the Women Who Took on the U.S. Government to Bring Their Husbands Home by Heath Hardage Lee 

Published: April 2, 2019 

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 336

Genres: non fiction, history, feminism 

Rating: 3 stars 

Recommend to fans of: books about strong military wives 

Foodie Vibes: coffee and a freshly baked coffee cake to offer guests even when you’re grieving the loss of your husband —- because you have to be a good Navy Wife

 

Synopsis: 

The true story of the fierce band of women who battled Washington—and Hanoi—to bring their husbands home from the jungles of Vietnam.

On February 12, 1973, one hundred and fifteen men who, just six years earlier, had been high flying Navy and Air Force pilots, shuffled, limped, or were carried off a huge military transport plane at Clark Air Base in the Philippines. These American servicemen had endured years of brutal torture, kept shackled and starving in solitary confinement, in rat-infested, mosquito-laden prisons, the worst of which was The Hanoi Hilton.

Months later, the first Vietnam POWs to return home would learn that their rescuers were their wives, a group of women that included Jane Denton, Sybil Stockdale, Louise Mulligan, Andrea Rander, Phyllis Galanti, and Helene Knapp. These women, who formed The National League of Families, would never have called themselves “feminists,” but they had become the POW and MIAs most fervent advocates, going to extraordinary lengths to facilitate their husbands’ freedom—and to account for missing military men—by relentlessly lobbying government leaders, conducting a savvy media campaign, conducting covert meetings with antiwar activists, most astonishingly, helping to code secret letters to their imprisoned husbands.

In a page-turning work of narrative non-fiction, Heath Hardage Lee tells the story of these remarkable women for the first time in The League of Wives, a book certain to be on everyone’s must-read list.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Heath Hardage Lee for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Like:

  • I could see this making a good movie. 
  • Different women and their personalities represented 
  • Recognize some of the POWs as future politicians 
  • A not too political look at the Vietnam War 

Love:

  • The feminism
  • The wives went from shutting up, behaving themselves, and being good Navy Wives to forces of nature changing thoughts and minds during the Vietnam War #BadAssLadies

Dislike:

  • Many parts are boring and drawn out – the first 1/2 of the book 

Wish that: 

  • It was not as underwhelming 
  • Got to the interesting parts quicker 

Overall, a good interesting book about the strong women whose husbands were POW/MIA soldiers during the Vietnam War. It’s a heartwarming story about a terrible event, but the details don’t interest me that much. 

 

Add to your Goodreads TBR

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

Instagram: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

3.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · feminism · non fiction · psychology · science · Self Help · Uncategorized

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily and Amelia Nagoski  | ARC #BookReview

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Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily and Amelia Nagoski 

Published: March 26, 2019

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Pages: 320

Genres: non fiction, self help, science, psychology, feminism

Rating: 3.5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: stressed out caregivers, women trying to figure out how to make their life better

Foodie Vibes: a healthy balanced meal with a dessert that you can eat at a leisurely pace without stress

 

Synopsis: 

This groundbreaking book explains why women experience burnout differently than men—and provides a simple, science-based plan to help women minimize stress, manage emotions, and live a more joyful life.

Burnout. Many women in America have experienced it. What’s expected of women and what it’s really like to be a woman in today’s world are two very different things—and women exhaust themselves trying to close the gap between them. How can you “love your body” when every magazine cover has ten diet tips for becoming “your best self”? How do you “lean in” at work when you’re already operating at 110 percent and aren’t recognized for it? How can you live happily and healthily in a sexist world that is constantly telling you you’re too fat, too needy, too noisy, and too selfish?

Sisters Emily Nagoski, PhD, and Amelia Nagoski, DMA, are here to help end the cycle of feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Instead of asking us to ignore the very real obstacles and societal pressures that stand between women and well-being, they explain with compassion and optimism what we’re up against—and show us how to fight back. In these pages you’ll learn

• what you can do to complete the biological stress cycle—and return your body to a state of relaxation
• how to manage the “monitor” in your brain that regulates the emotion of frustration
• how the Bikini Industrial Complex makes it difficult for women to love their bodies—and how to defend yourself against it
• why rest, human connection, and befriending your inner critic are keys to recovering and preventing burnout

With the help of eye-opening science, prescriptive advice, and helpful worksheets and exercises, all women will find something transformative in these pages—and will be empowered to create positive change. Emily and Amelia aren’t here to preach the broad platitudes of expensive self-care or insist that we strive for the impossible goal of “having it all.” Instead, they tell us that we are enough, just as we are—and that wellness, true wellness, is within our reach.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Ballantine Books, and Emily and Amelia Nagoski for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Like: 

  • Very educational, especially the science behind burnout and stress
  • There’s a book talking about burnout – need more of these!!!
  • Examples of how family and friends can step up and help reduce the stress on the caregivers – even though I don’t anticipate my family doing those things to help me

Love:

  • The explanation about the emotional expectations for caregivers – so spot on !
  • Goes into how stress can affect the body physically 

Dislike: 

Wish that:

  • It was more what I was hoping for. I was hoping for more practical applications, not just telling me the science of it. 
  • More examples of people dealing with burnout that related to me — didn’t see myself represented much in the book despite myself being a caregiver experiencing stress and burnout

Overall, there’s lots of good, science based information about stress and burnout. However, I wish that I related to the book more as I thought it was really going to help me. 

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

Instagram: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

3 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · Chick Lit · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · romance · Uncategorized

Otherwise Engaged by Lindsey Palmer | Release Day #BookReview

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Otherwise Engaged by Lindsey Palmer 

Published: February 26, 2019 

Publisher: Skyhorse

Pages: 304

Genres: romance, chick lit, contemporary fiction

Rating: 3 stars

Recommend to fans of: character studies, women whose lives aren’t happily ever after

Foodie Vibes: wedding cake tasting and then hitting the local bar afterwards 

 

Synopsis: 

Life is sweet for New Yorkers Molly and Gabe: They’re young, in love, and newly engaged.

But when Gabe sells his first novel—a thinly-veiled retelling of his wild love affair with ex-girlfriend Talia—and it becomes a national sensation, Molly can’t help but feel like the third wheel. To make matters worse, Talia reappears in Gabe’s life, eager to capitalize on the book’s success and to rekindle what she had with Gabe… at least, that’s how it seems to Molly. But even more concerning? Gabe doesn’t seem concerned at all. Instead, he’s delighting in his newfound fame and success.

Jealous, paranoid, and increasingly desperate, Molly starts to spin out of control. Her social life, work life, and love life all go to pieces. As fact and fiction, and past and present, begin to blur, Molly realizes the only way out of this downward spiral is to fight her way back up. But what—if anything—will be left of her life and her relationship when she arrives?

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Skyhorse, and Lindsey Palmer for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Like:

  • The character of Sam – she’s unsure about life, but she tells it like it is
  • It’s a character study
  • The storylines with Molly’s mom — so sweet!
  • Watching a far from perfect relationship unfold

Love:

Dislike:

  • Gabe’s book — the writing is so cringe worthy
  • Doesn’t go very in depth into so many hard hitting topics such as uncertainty in relationships, becoming a mother, addiction, medical fraud, and more. There’s so much potential to really understand the characters’ feelings about experiences about these struggles.
  • People cheating on each other — ahhhhh, one of the things I really dislike in books 

Wish that: 

  • Molly had just finished reading Gabe’s book, because then maybe she wouldn’t have freaked out so much
  • I liked more of the characters. None of them really resonated with me, and I wanted to shake them out of so many of their bad actions.
  • Was marketed correctly – I thought I was getting into a fluffy romance novel, but that wasn’t the case.

Overall, I feel like this is either a book you’ll love or go “meh” about. I’m in the later category. For me it’s less about the quality but more about the fit between the book and reader. 

 

Add to your Goodreads TBR

 

Come say hi!

Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

Instagram: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)