Hey guys! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted a book review, mainly because I’ve been in a huge reading slump most of this year. But today I have three reviews for you. I posted a reading update on my Youtube recently, so if you prefer audio over reading make sure to check that out! Let’s get into today’s books.
Back in March, I read The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood. This book was super popular online so I had to check it out. For those who haven’t heard of this book, the story follows Olive, a graduate student who convinces a professor at her university to fake-date her. This is an adult romance novel.
Let’s start with what I liked about the book. I loved the academic setting – it reminded me of all the fun and struggles my friends and I went through in university. I am also a huge fake-dating trope fan. The situation is almost always ridiculous which is kinda why I love it. Finally, I did enjoy Olive and Adam’s (the male protagonist) relationship. They had funny banter between them and there was a nice amount of tension as well.
Now for the things I didn’t enjoy. I was not a huge fan of Olive. I found her to be pretty immature and naive – and she’s technically older than me so it’s not like I can excuse her actions on her age. It’s always harder to love a book when you don’t love the main character. I dislike miscommunication and one of the lies that Olive told Adam just drove me up a wall. I had to put down the book for a week I was so annoyed. Finally, this book was hyped online to be very spicey (aka a lot of mature content) but there wasn’t much! Now that is more the fault of the reviewers than the book but I was a little disappointed on that end.
Overall I did enjoy the book but I wasn’t in love like many people online are. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a light-hearted romance. I gave the book 4/5 stars.
It had been a while since I had read a thriller so I decided to read Into The Water by Paula Hawkins. I liked Hawkins’ debut, The Girl on the Train so I was excited to read this one. I was thoroughly disappointed, to say the least. This story follows a small, British town that has had two suicides within a matter of months. This is an adult, mystery thriller.
One of the things I didn’t like about the book is that there were way too many point-of-views. It’s nice to have a few but there were close to ten points of view. Many of the characters didn’t connect until halfway through the story so it was so confusing to keep track of what was going on and who was who. The book was also just very slow-paced. Coupled with the fact that there was a lack of suspense and tension meant that I was bored the majority of the novel. Once things finally did happen It was so rushed that I didn’t feel satisfied.
Besides the plot/structural issues, I thought that Hawkins’ writing style was very nice. I will add that while there were so many characters, I felt like each was unique and well developed.
Overall I gave the book 3/5 stars. It took me a while to read the book so maybe if I were to binge-read it I would have found it more impactful? Either way, I would recommend Hawkins’ first book over this one.
The final book is my favourite book I read so far this year – People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry. This was given to me as a birthday gift and wow did my friend pick a great book! The story follows Alex and Poppy, who only see each other when they go on their yearly summer vacation. That is until two years ago when something happens that means that haven’t spoken since. Poppy manages to convince Alex to go on another vacation where she tries to fix their friendship. This is an adult contemporary romance.
I think one of the reasons why I love this book so much is how much I relate to Poppy. She’s loud and eccentric and has her own blog – sounds a lot like me haha. Alex has so many qualities that I personally look for in a partner as well. I just love their relationship and reading their dialogue was often some of my favourite parts of the novel.
The book bounces between the past and present. I loved reading about all their travel and it gave me the itch to travel myself. I like how there was tension and romance sprinkled throughout the novel to keep me engaged but also wanting more. The book was also funny AND didn’t rely on cringe/embarrassment to me funny – something I’m not a huge fan of. Finally, the ending was just so good that I even shed a few happy years. You know a book is good when it makes you happy cry.
Overall I gave this book 5/5 stars. If anyone says they want a romance book this is going to be my recommendation from now on. I know a lot of people like Emily Henry’s Beach Read so I have to check that out soon.
And those are the books I’ve read lately. If you read any of these books let me know your thoughts in the comments. And if you have any recommendations for me leave them as well because I’m always on the lookout for new books.
Hey guys! Today I am sharing with you my June Boxycharm! I can’t believe it’s the end of June already, it feels like it was just yesterday that I was writing my May Boxycharm. Let’s get into this month’s box.
The first product is the Eloise Beauty Sahara Nights Eyeshadow Palette. I’ll be honest that I haven’t used this palette yet. I want to keep it and use this palette because the eyeshadows look so pretty. But I don’t wear much eyeshadow regularly and it’s even rarer that I wear glitters. Not the most practical item for me but that’s just my personal preference! Price: $35 US, $42 CAD
The next product is the Tula Skincare Glow Hour Brightening & Neutralizing Eye Balm. This balm is supposed to cool, hydrate and brighten the undereye area. It has a peach colour that is supposed to neutralize the blue and purple tones that can occur under the eyes. I was pretty underwhelmed by this product. It provides the same amount of hydration as a regular eye cream would give. I didn’t really notice any difference in the brightness of my undereye. If you’re looking for colour corrector coverage this isn’t it. Maybe over time, it could help brighten but I didn’t see any immediate difference. Price: $32 US
A product that I am loving so far is the Dr. Brandt Backlight Primer. This primer is meant to smooth the skin, help with the appearance of pores and increase the wear time of makeup. This primer reminds me a lot of the NYX marshmallow primer because it gives that smooth skin looks without feeling like silicone. My skin looks smoother and my makeup lasts longer. This is the second Dr. Brandt primer I’ve tried and I’ve loved both of them. I would recommend trying this out. Price: $38 US
Another product I’ve been enjoying is the Viseart Bronze in the shade Noix. There is nothing crazy about this product, it’s just a plain old powder bronzer. But the tone of the bronzer is quite nice. It’s pretty neutral and works well with my fair skin. I appreciate the Viseart has quite a few shades of bronzer instead of one ‘universal’ shade. I hope that Boxycharm gave out different shades to match different people’s complexions! My only complaint is I find the cardboard to be a little cumbersome to unfold but it could be easily depotted into a magnetic palette as well. Price: $30 US
And the final product is the Give Them Lala Skin Stay Calm Soothing Sheet Masks. The pack comes with four sheet masks. These masks are meant to leave the skin feeling hydrated, soft and smooth. The masks are very saturated and lay nicely on the face. It has a very gentle, spa-like scent which I like. After I took off the mask there was an excess of serum that I let soak into my skin. My skin felt hydrated but quite tacky after. The tacky feeling did go away after an hour. The tackiness would probably be helpful if you’re applying makeup after using the mask. Price: $30 US
And the total of the box is $165, which I think is a pretty good price! Like most boxes, I think there are some products that I see myself using often and others that I probably won’t use much. There was also a great mix of brands in this month’s box. Let me know what you guys think in the comments.
Hey guys! Sorry for the sporadic nature of my posting lately. My life has been a little chaotic and it’s been that content creation has taken a bit of a back seat. That being said, I’m here to share a product review!
Back in April, I was kind enough to receive some products from the lovely Juno & Co. This post is by no means sponsored, I’m just writing it to show my appreciation for my first beauty PR package *eek*. Juno & Co is a small skincare brand from California that focuses on clean and sustainable products. They sent me three different products to try. Since I got the package back in April, I’ve had plenty of time to test the products. So let’s get into it.
The first product I tried was their CLEAN 10 CLEANSING BALM. This is an oil-based cleansing balm meant for all skin types to remove makeup. It has only ten ingredients (hence the name). I think this is a pretty good cleansing balm. It’s really good at breaking down all the makeup on my face. I will say it struggles a bit with eyelash glue so I find that I have to use a little more than usual to get rid of any residual glue. It has a nice citrus scent and leaves my face feeling clean. It’s a reasonable price at $20 so I would recommend it!
The second product I tried was their CLARIFYING CLEANSING POWDER. I’ll be honest, I was a little skeptical when I first got this cleanser. It’s a powder that turns into foam once you add water to it. The cleanser has papaya enzymes and rice powder to help exfoliate the skin and hyaluronic acid to help hydrate the skin. I honestly thought I wasn’t going to like this cleanser but I do enjoy it! The powder does foam up really well and keeps a bit of the grittiness to gently exfoliate the skin. I think if you travel often this would be a great cleanser because it’s a powder so it won’t count as a liquid for a carry-on! My only negative is that I dropped the cap and it cracked in half, so I had to hot glue it back together. But that might be my fault. 😅
The final product I tried was their CLEANSING COOKIE. I will say that this works but it’s just not my favourite way to cleanse my face. I think that reusable makeup removers are great at cutting down waste. They’re also perfect for those moments when I just don’t really feel like washing my face but still need to remove my makeup. That being said, I find they don’t do as good of a job compared to using a cleansing balm which is why I don’t reach for them often. This Cleansing Cookie does a great job of removing the makeup but I still feel the need to double cleanse after. But if you love reusable makeup removers then check this one out.
And that is my review of some Juno & Co skincare goodies! If you’ve tried this brand before let me know what your thoughts are in the comments!
Hey guys! Sorry, it’s a little late but here is my May Boxycharm review! I got the box this month in decent time so I did a thorough testing of each product. Let’s get into it!
The first product is the Skin Inc Serum Glow Filter. The brand claims to be the first ‘skincare makeup’ which I don’t necessarily think is true. The Glow Recipe Dew Drops immediately come to my mind when I think of skincare makeup. Anyway, this is a primer with skincare ingredients that should give a glowy, pearlized finish to the skin and reduce the look of pores and redness. I like this primer but I don’t think it does all that it claims. My skin looks dewy and smooth but I don’t see a pearlized finish nor and reduction in redness. It’s nice and I’ll continue to use it but I think there are better and cheaper options on the market. Price: $50 US
The next product is the Farmacy Honeymoon Glow Body 12% AHA/BHA Resurfacing Body Serum. I was happy to receive this body lotion because I was on the market for another one! I don’t suffer from any bumps on my body so I can’t judge that aspect of the product. It has a serum-like consistency that absorbs quickly into the skin. The smell of the active ingredients is quite strong, giving the body serum a medicinal-like quality along with a honey scent. Also, I rubbed this on my legs right after shaving and it slightly stung anywhere I accidentally knocked myself. The scent does fade once applied. If you’re looking for a product to help clear bumps, I would recommend checking out other people’s reviews since I can’t attest to that claim. Price: $40 US, $52 CAD
Cream blush is one of my favourite products right now so I was very excited to try the Ciate London Dewy Blush. I received the shade Coconut which is a nude shade. I was a little hesitant because I was unsure how the gel-like formula would work with my oily skin. But it was great! It’s very easy to apply and can even be blended out using just fingers. It is a subtle formula but I prefer that because it’s so easy to overdo blush. My only complaint is that it does fade pretty quickly so it’s not the longest-lasting formula. If you like a dewy and subtle blush check this one out! Price: $22 US, $26 CAD
The next product is the Basic Beauty Eyeshadow Primer. I haven’t been wearing a ton of eyeshadow recently so I haven’t used this product a lot. The few times I have used the primer it’s worked well. I find that setting the primer helps the shadows blend better whereas not setting the primer helps the shadow pop and look more saturated. As the name of the company, it’s a pretty basic primer. Helps prevent creasing but doesn’t do anything special. Price: $18 US
And the final product is V Kosmetik Creamy Liquid Velvet Lipstick. I decided to not test out this product in order to donate it. I don’t often wear liquid lipsticks anymore and if I do I have a few that I know that I like. I much rather pass this product along to someone who could get good use of it instead of just letting it sit in my makeup drawer. Price: $22 US
The total of the box is $152. This box was alright. None of the products were horrible but I’m also not immediately in love with any of the products. Let me know what you guys think in the comments!
Hey guys! It’s time for another product empties. I don’t know if these types of posts are very popular anymore. I love doing them because it allows me to follow up on products I’ve mentioned before and give my in-depth thoughts. I’ve been finishing a bunch of products lately. I’m trying to limit to 10 products per post but I have another 15 so maybe sometime I should do a Youtube video? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Let’s get into it!
The first product was the CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion. I’ve mentioned this before but I use a face lotion on my chest and back because those areas are acne-prone. Using my heavily scented body lotions breaks me out in those areas so I use lotions like this CeraVe one. I liked this moisturizer! First, it’s a pump which I prefer for body lotions. The formula is thin but still moisturizing. It sinks very quickly into the skin and isn’t sticky. And best of all it’s from the drugstore! I tried to repurchase this and it was sold out everywhere! I picked up a different lotion but would get this again in the future. This lotion has my stamp of approval.
A haircare empty was the Moroccan Oil All in One Leave-In Conditioner. Just want to note that this isn’t curly-girl approved but I was all out of leave-in conditioner and was gifted this so I was like might as well use it. And I did enjoy it! I did a nice job of adding a little moisture to my hair. I still think my favourite is the leave-in by Living Proof. I wouldn’t repurchase it because it’s not curly-girl approved but I think it’s worth trying out if that is not something you look for in your products!
A mask empty!! It takes me forever to go through masks and the Dr. Brandt Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner Pore Purifying Mask was no exception. I got this mask in a Boxycharm back in 2018… that’s a long time. This mask wasn’t bad it just wasn’t my favourite. The mask is white with little beads that turn blue as you rub it into the skin. This is a pore-purifying mask and I just have masks that do a better job. I won’t be repurchasing and wouldn’t recommend it.
Another Boxycharm product was the Elemis Superfood AHA Glow Cleansing Butter. I got this product back in September 2021, not four years ago haha. My initial review was that this would be great for people with dry skin and that thought still stands. It has a very creamy texture that is very hydrating. My only issue is that it wasn’t the most effective cleansing product I’ve ever used. It’s fine for light, everyday makeup but if I was wearing liquid eyeliner or lash glue it wasn’t very good at removing it. I finished the product but I won’t be repurchasing it.
One of the many cleansers I recently finished was the Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser. This is a gentle cleanser with AHAs and hyaluronic acid to help with skin texture, oiliness and acne. When they say this is a gentle cleanser they weren’t joking. If you have sensitive skin you might enjoy this. But I personally found it wasn’t strong enough for my skin. I will not be repurchasing this.
The next product was the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray. I was a little disappointed with this product. Everyone raved online that this setting spray would help make my makeup last long and I didn’t notice a difference. I was also not a big fan of the scent either, it was very floral which I personally don’t like. Now this might be because I got the mini size, but I found the nozzle often got clogged and would spray big droplets all over my face. If you want a long wear setting spray I would recommend the Milani Make It Last which is half the price of this Charlotte Tilbury one.
A cleanser that I didn’t even finish was the Juice Beauty Green Apple Brightening Gel Cleanser. Unfortunately, this cleanser broke me out so I stopped using it. I know it has Vitamin E in it which does clog my pores but I’m unsure if that was what was causing me to break out. Either way, I would suggest being cautious if you wish to try out this cleanser.
Another setting spray that I finished was the Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional: Super Setter Pore-Minimizing Setting Spray. If you read my Sephora haul post then you would know that I already repurchased this setting spray. Unlike the Charlotte Tilbury spray, I do notice a difference in my skin when I use this spray. It just helps smooth my skin and blur my pores. It’s great after I use powder to just make everything look more skin-like. I highly recommend checking out this setting spray.
The final cleanser I finished was the Glamglow SUPERCLEANSE Clearing Cream-to-Foam Cleanser. This was my shower cleanser. I generally keep on cleanser in the shower so I don’t have to remember to bring one from my skincare to the shower each time. I generally relegate cleanser I’m not as fond of or ones that aren’t as strong to the shower. I chose this one to be a shower cleanser because it’s a messy cleanser and it’s easier to contain the mess in the shower. Since it’s a charcoal cleanser it would leave grey water stains in my sink. Also this has a licorice scent which I do not like so I would also hold my breath while using this cleanser. Probably would have returned it if I had purchased it but I got it in my Boxycharm so I was persistent and finished it instead. I will not be repurchasing though.
The final product today is the Frank Body Caffeinated Scalp Scrub. This was another Boxycharm product. This was my first time using a scalp scrub and it was alright. It felt nice in my scalp to use it but I didn’t really see a difference in my scalp or hair after using the scrub. I have a rubber scrubber that I use with my shampoo and I find that stimulates my scalp enough to help with product build up and dandruff. Overall maybe if you use a lot of product in your roots you would like this more but it just wasn’t for me.
And those are my product empties! Let me know in the comments if you have tried any of these products and what your thoughts were!
Hey guys! Today I’m sharing my thoughts on my April Boxycharm. I will say that this will be a mixed review because of some products I’ve tested and otherwise I haven’t even tried – oops! Let’s get into it.
The first item is the Beauty Bakerie Sour Ya Doin’? Eyeshadow Palette. I was excited to receive this palette because I’ve heard great things about Beauty Bakerie eyeshadows. I like the colour story but I will say they’re not necessarily the most wearable everyday shades for my skin tone. I think this palette would look gorgeous on deeper skin tones. For me, it’s a more bold, colourful palette. I’ve yet to use the shimmers because they’re a little deep for everyday use. I have used the mattes and they are a great formula. I like the palette so far and can’t wait to play with it more. Price: $38 US
I was just thinking to myself the other day that it’s been a while since I’ve tested a new powder and then BAM I got the Viseart Seamless Setting Powder. I must say that the shifter on this powder is one of the best I’ve seen on a loose setting powder. It keeps the powder locked in when it’s closed but it’s easy to tap some out when I open the lid. So many loose-setting powders either let powder fly everywhere or are so difficult to get the powder out of so I appreciate that. The actual powder is pretty good. It does a good job of setting everything and gives a slight blurring effect to the last. By the end of the day, my face is a little oily and creasy which is pretty good since I have very oily skin. Overall I like this powder and I’m excited to own it. Price: $35 US
I am unfortunately not a huge fan of the Christophe Robin Instant Volume Mist. This mist is supposed to make thin, fine or flat hair feel thicker and have more body. I don’t normally struggle with that but I thought that a little more volume couldn’t hurt. If it did add any volume I didn’t notice because it made my hair so fizzy. Every time I used this mist as well my hair didn’t curl very well. This is quite surprising because this is a curly-girl-approved product. Either way, this mist just didn’t work well with my hair so I will not be using it again. Price: $39 US, $51 CAD
A product I really really like is the Item Beauty by Addison Rae Lash Snack Lengthening Mascara. You guys know I love lengthening mascaras, and this is one of the best I’ve tried yet. I will say that it gives barely any volume but the length is insane. This is great everyday mascara. It would also be great on the lower lashline. My only gripe is that the brush head is quite small so it just takes a little longer to coat all the lashes. But this mascara, along with my new Bite Beauty mascara, are easily my new favourite mascaras.
The final product is the Persona Cosmetics 24HR Waterproof Eyeliner. I’ll have to be honest, I haven’t tried this eyeliner yet. I’ve been keeping the eyes very minimal lately so I haven’t had the chance to try it. I do want to try this eyeliner eventually because I’ve heard great things about Persona Cosmetics. Price: $14 US
The overall total of the box is $141 US. This box is quite hit or miss. I like the mascara and the powder. On the other hand, I haven’t even used the eyeliner yet and I don’t like the hair mist. Let me know what you guys think in the comments. And if you are subscribed to Boxycharm, let me know what products you got in your May box!
Hey guys! I am finally sharing my Sephora Spring Savings sale haul with you all. I know the sale has been long over so sorry about the delay. It’s been a very hectic month, to say the least. I gave my first impressions of the products in my Youtube video that I posted on Sunday. I filmed that video over a week ago so I’ve been able to test the products more. Let’s get into it!
Starting with my one skincare product, I picked up the Origins GinZing Refreshing Scrub Cleanser. I picked this up because I finished my other exfoliator and had this on my wishlist. This cleanser has natural jojoba and carnauba wax to gently exfoliate as well as ginseng and caffeine to boost radiance. I initially liked this cleanser. It’s not too abrasive but still does a good job of leaving my skin feel soft and smooth. I like that it has a slight ginger and citrus smell. My skin has been breaking out lately and I’m not sure if it’s because of this cleanser or some other products I’m testing. I’m going to continue testing it and I’ll give you guys an update if I figure out if it’s this cleanser or another product.
I decided to pick up another perfume this sale. It’s starting to become a thing that I pick up a new perfume each sale haha. This time I got the Ellis Brooklyn SALT Eau de Parfum Travel Spray. I got this travel-sized spray because this is a very summery scent, so I don’t see myself using this much except during the summer. The notes are ylang-ylang, violet leaves, tiare flower, magnolia, ambergris, musk and sandalwood. It reminds me of a beach in the summer but without the coconut. I can’t wait for it to be summer so I can wear this all the time!
If you watched my haul video, you would know I was quite on the fence of the shade I got in the Merit Signature Lip Lightweight Lipstick. I got the shade Slip, which they describe as a warm neutral. I find that it’s quite brown on me. I like to wear a pink lip liner underneath to help warm up the lipstick and make it look less like I have chocolate on my mouth. I really really like the formula. It’s a very sheer and satin finish, so it’s very comfortable on the lips. It does wear off easily but it’s super easy to reapply. I love Merit’s lip oils more, but these are still great lipsticks.
A product that I repurchased is the Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional: Super Setter Pore-Minimizing Setting Spray. I got the mini during the last sale and I just recently finished it. I love it so much that I decided to upgrade to the full-sized setting spray. It’s unlike anything in my collection because it visibly blurs my pores and makes my makeup last longer without making my face look matte. Oftentimes long-lasting setting sprays are mattifying but not this one. But it also isn’t dewy or glowy either. It just helps blur everything. This setting spray is starting to cement itself in the hall of fame alongside my Mac Fix + and Urban Decay All Nighter. It’s so good!!
Another product that is quickly becoming a holy grail is the Nudestix Brow Set Gel XL. I wasn’t the biggest brow gel person before. I would only use it if my brows were getting particularly unruly. Since I’ve gotten this Nudestix brow gel, I’ve used it every day. It does an amazing job of putting my brow hairs in place without looking slicked down or like there is something in my brows. Sometimes clear brow gel will have a white cast but not the case with this brow gel! If you’re looking for something to laminate your brows this might not be the product for you. But if you just want to keep everything in place, check out this brow gel!
I’m so happy I placed my order on the first sale of the sale because the Patrick Ta Major Beauty Headlines – Double-Take Crème & Powder Blush is sold out in the shade that I got! I got the shade She’s Blushing, which they describe as a beige. Not sure why they describe it as beige because I think it’s pink. But I am loving this blush duo! The cream is so pigmented but very easy to blend. And the powder is so long-lasting, which doesn’t often happen with blushes. It’s a little on the pricey side, but it is two products in one in a beautiful compact so I’d say it’s worth it. If you’re a blush fan you need to check this product out.
And the final product I purchased is the JVN Nurture Deep Moisture Mask. If you follow my blog then you would know I’m on the hunt for a good hair mask. I’ve only used this mask once so far so it’s a little early for me to have formed my opinions yet. My first impression is that the mask has a strong scent that has lingered in my hair in the days since I’ve washed it. It’s a unisex scent, almost musky in quality but I don’t mind it. I would say that my hair does feel soft but I want to use it more and compare it to my regular conditioner before making any judgements. I will keep you guys updated on the mask.
And those are the products I got during my Sephora sale! Let me know in the comments what you guys got during the sale. I always love discussing what people got because it gives me ideas for the next time I order hehe.
Hey guys! Today I have a mascara review for you! I’m trying to be better about throwing out old, expired mascaras so I’ve recently had to purge quite a few from my collection. Throwing out old mascaras gives me the perfect excuse to pick up a new one! So let’s get into today’s review.
After seeing multiple great reviews, I decided to try the Bite Beauty Upswing Full Volume Mascara. This is a clean and vegan mascara. It’s supposed to be volumizing, deliver lift, length and curl as well as flake-resistant. I prefer a mascara that has that nice balance of length and volume so it sounded right up my alley.
I’ve had this mascara for over a month so I’ve put it to the test. I generally find that I need to test mascara for a longer period of time because I find the formula changes once the tube has been opened for a bit. That was the case with this Bite Beauty mascara. I found that it gave good length right away, but it wasn’t until I had opened the tube for a few weeks that I noticed it helped with volume.
I like this mascara! It gives great volume without looking clumpy. It gives length and most importantly stays curled throughout the day. I hate when my lashes fall through the day. I tried wearing this mascara with bold eyeliner and I was able to still see my lashes so that means that this is a great lengthening mascara for me!
The only claim that I can’t attest to is flake resistance because I don’t normally have issues with mascara flaking on me. But I can also say that the mascara is easy to remove with is also a plus.
Overall I do like this mascara! If it sounds like a formula you would enjoy then I would recommend checking it out! Let me know if you guys have tried this mascara in the comments. Also, let me know what your current favourite mascara is, I’m looking to pick up another one soon!
Hey guys! It’s been a while since I’ve posted a book review, mainly because I’ve been in a reading slump. That slump is in large part due to this series, which is quite unfortunate. So let’s get into it.
I was in a bit of a slump so I decided to start a historical fiction series. Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres so I thought it would do just the trick. The series is set in early Renaissance Italy and follow a ragtag group that includes: a priest, a teenage boy hired by the Pope, an exiled noble lady and their two companions. The group journeys around Europe trying to solve mysteries including werewolves, alchemists, witches, and death-dancers.
The first book, Changeling, really captivated my attention. I was able to read the book in four days! I found that the writing style was simple so it was easy to breeze through. Yet at the same time, the world was built well so I felt immersed. I like that there were many mini-adventures within the larger overarching plotline. And it took me a while to guess the mysteries. I gave this book 4/5 stars.
The second book, Stormbringers, was a little disappointing compared to the first. I guessed the major twist so there wasn’t that element of surprise like in the first book. I found that two of the characters were getting boring and the romance to be progressing super slowly. I found the historical and geopolitical aspects of the novel to be the most interesting. I gave this book 3/5 stars.
The third book, Fool’s Gold, is where things started to go downhill for me. Whereas the other novels had mini-adventures, this one was long and drawn out. I also figured out the mystery very quickly. I also disliked how in previous novels all the magic was actually explained by science and then suddenly this novel had magical elements involved. It felt very inconsistent. I found all the charm that the characters had in past books was gone and they all became one-dimensional. Finally, there was this weird love triangle/square going on that I was just not a fan out. I finished the book but it took me over a month to go so. I gave this book 3/5 stars.
The fourth and final book, Dark Tracks, I ended up DNFing. I started it and was struggling, so I ended up taking a break and reading something else. Then I came back and just couldn’t get into it. I decided it’s better for me to just put a book down than to force myself to read something I’m not enjoying. I just found the characters to be annoying. I also found that the overarching story wasn’t progressing enough for me. I didn’t rate this book since I didn’t finish it. I will say that the simple writing style and commitment to historical realness were consistent throughout the whole series.
Overall I was quite disappointed in this series. I enjoyed the first one but could barely stand to read a single page more by the end. It’s a real shame that a series can go downhill. I would not recommend the series since I don’t think it’s worth reading the first book to only not enjoy the later books.
Hopefully, my reading slump ends soon because I have so many books on my shelf that I need to read! As with all my book reviews, let me know in the comments what you’re currently reading or if you have any recommendations for me!
Hey guys! I know it’s taken me a while (aka over a month) but I’m here to share with you my Vancouver and Whistler trip details! I’m going to break down all the places I stayed, visited and ate and let you know if it was worth it or not. If you’re more of a visual learner, check out my Vancouver & Whistler vlog! Now let’s get into it.
On the first day of my trip, I flew in. I didn’t want to take a full day off work, so instead, I took a 7 PM flight. I just left work a few hours early and then flew from Toronto to Vancouver. I think this is also a great option because I arrived at 9 PM Vancouver time. If you’re a night owl this means you can still go out. If you’re like me and struggle with time zone changes, this is perfect because I got in at a great time to just have a quiet night in but be ready for the next day.
Just wanted to note here that I stayed with my friend so I don’t have any Vancouver accommodation recommendations.
I got very lucky weather-wise while I was in Vancouver and only had two days of rain. Unfortunately one of those two days was the first one. Since I was struggling with the time change and it was the beginning of my trip, my friend and I decided to have a lazy morning.
Our first stop idea was to go to Science World. Learn from my mistake and book in advance. We arrived thinking we could get tickets the day of to find out they were sold out.
Since we were downtown, I suggested we checked out the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens since it wasn’t far from Science World. I had read decent reviews online, with everyone saying just go to the free section. Well, we show up and turns out the free section was closed due to COVID-19. We decided to pay the $16 admission and were disappointed. The gardens aren’t very large and the information given during the tour wasn’t very accurate. If the free section opens up again I recommend checking that out, but otherwise, I would skip the Chinese Gardens.
For dinner, we went to Phnom Penh and it was fantastic. They serve Cambodian and Vietnamese food, and everything looked so delicious. Just a tip: we went at 4:00 PM on a Saturday and had to wait over half an hour for a table. So be mindful that the restaurant is busy and I can only assume during peak time there would be a long wait. But it’s worth it!
After dinner, we did a little window shopping and stopped by this store called The Nooks. It’s a space for small businesses to sell their goods. They have a bunch of locations in Ontario and BC, we stopped by the Gastown location. I got an Aries zodiac necklace from the brand Sol & Luna and I’m in love with it. I think it’s great to shop and support small businesses when travelling!
On Sunday, we decided to take a stroll over to Granville Island Public Market. We first stopped at A La Mode to get some lunch. I had a croissant sandwich and my friend had one of their pies. We spent some time walking around all the cute little shops. It was a beautiful day so there were some buskers out as well. Before we left we grabbed some coffee at Blue Parrot and some fresh pain au chocolate at A Bread Affair.
We then took a False Creek Ferry across to Aquatic Centre Dock. We were then able to walk over to Sunset Beach, English Bay and then Stanely Park. At the time that I went parts of the Seawall were closed, but we were able to cut through the middle of the park. If you want an easy stroll I would recommend sticking to the Seawall, as the middle of the park does get a little hillier. I also recommend going up to Prospect Point and going under the Lions Gate Bridge. Both offer beautiful views.
I was there on Family Day, which meant that my friend had the Monday off! To start the day we went to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. This was easily one of my favourite things I did while I was there. The main attraction is the suspension bridge but they have all these walking paths along with treehouses that you can walk around. If you don’t like heights you might not enjoy the park, but I loved it! During big holidays (such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day) they will have light installations you can visit at night. I would recommend going during the day to see all the nature. Another tip is that there is a free shuttle that will take you from downtown to the park!
One of my favourite ways to spend an afternoon is to go to high tea so I knew I wanted to go to one in Vancouver. We went to Adonia Tea House and it was divine. We picked Adonia because it offered a mini afternoon tea, which allowed us to sample the quality of the place. But the food was so good that I would recommend getting the full afternoon tea. Their tea selection was amazing. It happened to be sunny when we went, but this would be a great way to spend a rainy afternoon since we were there for around two hours.
We finished off the day by walking down to Kitsilano Beach at sunset, which was gorgeous. The views of the ocean and city at sunset are breathtaking.
On Tuesday my friend worked so I had a lazy day. After she was done, we headed over to the Vancouver Art Gallery. On Tuesdays admission is by donation, so we didn’t have to pay full price! I’m glad we didn’t pay full price because one of the floors was closed and the other had a huge line, so we only saw two out of the four installations. If you’re looking for a rainy day activity I would recommend stopping by.
For dinner, we were joined by my friend’s housemates at Trattoria Kitsilano. On Tuesdays, they do $16 plates of pasta and omg their pasta was amazing. We all sampled everyone’s food and there wasn’t one bad dish. If you’re looking for good Italian food in Vancouver I would recommend it.
My friend was working again so I had another lazy morning. I did stop by a little coffee shop called Their There. I had their chai tea latte and it was delicious. The coffee shop has a gift shop section and just has some great vibes – a very Instagrammable place (if that’s important to you).
In the evening we took a bus up to Whistler. We used two different bus companies because we couldn’t get the times we wanted at one company. We used Epic Rides and Skylynx and I would say that both bus companies were comparable.
We had decided to book an Airbnb for our stay. We were silly and didn’t realize we had booked a studio but it served the purpose for us as a place to sleep. It was on the more affordable side, especially considering it had a hot tub and pool. But it was located in Creekside, so we had to get a taxi (no Uber in Whistler) every time we wanted to go to the Whistler Village.
Honestly, I would consider getting a hotel next time I go to Whistler. It would be easier to just get an included breakfast instead of trying to cook our own. Plus we had to pay for locker storage which usually comes free with hotels. And I think we probably would have paid the same amount for a hotel compared to our Airbnb, so just something to consider if you’re looking to stay in Whistler.
For dinner that night we went to Beacon Pub & Eatery in Whistler. We had issues getting seated at a few places so we settled for Beacon and it was alright. They have a great patio so it would be great for apres ski but not the best dinner menu.
Thursday was our full day at Whistler. I had decided to rent my skis instead of flying with them. There are a ton of different options to rent skis but I went with Whistler Blackcomb’s ski rentals. They have many locations and I was able to pick mine up right at the Creekside location. The customer service was great as well. My boots were too small on the first day so I went back and I was to exchange them for a new pair with no problem. They might not be the cheapest but the convenience and customer service are worth the higher price tag.
On the first day, we skied Blackcomb which I preferred over Whistler. Just based on my skiing ability and the conditions at the time, I found Blackcomb to be better. But if you’re going for more than one day I recommend skiing on both hills.
In the evening we went to Mongolie Grill. This place was delicious. It’s a build-your-own stirfry restaurant where you select your proteins, vegetables and sauce and they cook it in front of you. Pro-tip: rice comes for free, so skip the noodles since they weigh more and will increase your bill. We did have to wait a while for a table but it was worth it!
Friday was our second day of skiing. We did Whistler, which I mentioned above I didn’t like as much. We checked out of our Airbnb and took the bus back.
For dinner, we got takeout sushi from Sushi Flamingo. It’s in a weird location but the sushi is incredible. It’s some of the freshest sushi I’ve ever had. It’s also super affordable. I’m unsure if sushi is just more expensive in Ontario or this place is cheap but either way, I was very impressed. A great casual sushi place.
For my final full day, my friend and I decided to get our second ear lobe piercings! I won’t be tagging the place because I felt it was very overpriced and therefore wouldn’t recommend the studio. But it was something I had been wanting to get for a while so I’m glad I got it done. Side note, I’m planning on doing a piercing and tattoo Q+A soon since I also got a new tattoo recently, so stay tuned for that.
Since it was raining we decided to do an early dinner and went to Jinya Ramen Bar. Man, it was some of the best ramen I’ve ever had. We went there at 4 PM and the place was packed. My friend had the Tonkotsu Black Ramen. There was a special when I was there so I was able to get a Chicken Karaage Ramen. My friend had been to quite a few ramen places in Vancouver and she said this was her favourite.
I spent my final day travelling. My flight was at noon so I had some time in the morning to finish packing and get breakfast before heading to the airport. I landed around 7 PM in Toronto. I probably could have gotten a later flight but I wanted some time to decompress and see my family before having to go back to work the next week. Honestly, I kind of wish I had taken one more day off or at least a half-day because the jet lag was awful the next day. Something I will consider next time I travel.
And that was my trip to Vancouver and Whistler! If you have any questions about my trip please let me know in the comments. I’m planning to go back in the summer, so if you have more recommendations let me know in the comments!