Must Reads from March 2017

March Madness Must Reads

March was a dreary month here in Seattle. A few spots of sunshine, but mostly rain and cold. So I had quite a few opportunities to read this month and I was fortunate to find some really amazing books. You know the kind…they leave you with a massive book hangover and you‘re itching for that next fix? Well if you’re looking for your next fix, here are my March Madness Must Reads.

***There are Affiliate links included above the descriptions. I do get a small portion if you choose to purchase through the link. Even if you don’t purchase through my link, it will also allow you to read the synopsis of the books and check out info on all of the talented authors.***

Twice Burned by Emily Goodwin


I mentioned book one, Hot Mess, of the Love is messy duet in my February post. I hadn’t read it by the time this month rolled around. It left the readers on quite a cliffhanger. It’s unusual for Emily to have a cliffhanger and Hot Mess was so good, I was able to overlook that fact. Something you don’t have to do now that both books are available.

Twice Burned picks back up where book one left off. Luke and Lexi trying to get their stuff together and it taking much longer than I would have liked. They have an intense chemistry and you can tell they are just right for one another. Now they just have to drop some baggage. Can they do it is the question. This was such a fun read and there were many times I laughed out loud. Humor and drama are two of Emily Goodwin’s strong suits. I highly recommend this duet.

Currently available free through Kindle Unlimited:)

 

Silenced by Leddy Harper

Leddy is fast becoming one of my favorite author’s. Her stories are so real and unique and you feel as if you’re going to walk out of your door and run into the characters. She has the ability to build their personalities, flaws and all, in a way that make you understand them and their motives so well. I was so intrigued by the synopsis. I just knew that I had to read it and that I would love it.

Rylee and Killian meet as children and are able to create a bond that transcends time. I’ve always liked dual POVs because you get a glimpse into both characters thoughts. Rylee is the balm to Killian’s soul and she is able to get him to almost completely open up after a really tragic event in his young life leaves him silenced. Rylee and Killian are  meant to be together, yet it takes a while for them to get there. There are some twists and turns, suspense, and surprises along the way. This story is filled with emotion. I highly recommend this book.

Currently available for free through Kindle Unlimited:)

 

Dear Agony: A Novel by Georgia Cates

With a title like Dear Agony, it gives you a not so small clue that you’re going to be in your feelings all throughout this book. And ain’t that the truth because I definitely shed a few tears reading Rose and Bastien’s story. I read Georgia’s Beauty Series a few years ago, so I knew the writing would be on pointe. She has an almost poetic writing style. You feel the characters just as much as picturing them.

Rose is plucked out of obscurity, with some very painful baggage to haul around, by her adopted “fairy godmother” and things are never the same again. She’s given a second chance at life and the ability to reinvent herself. Through this process Rose becomes the companion to Bastien, who carries around some baggage himself. Including a secret that could make it difficult for this story to be a happily ever after. I’ll stop there and say this is worth the tears you may cry and the time you will lose in Rose and Bastien’s world.

Available free through Kindle Unlimited:)

 

Afterglow: An Apocalypse Romance by Maria Monroe

As you can tell by the title, it’s an Apocalypse Romance. So if you’re not into that, I would stop reading here because the rest of this month’s books are End of World stories as well. Now that I have that small disclaimer out of the way, let me tell you what a boss lady Nina is.

Nina’s grandmother is the prepared lady that taught her all she knows and how to really survive in a world like the one Maria has created in Afterglow. She taught her how to defend herself and how to shoot a gun. Obvious necessities in an environment full of chaos. No help from the government, family far away, and civil unrest are a few of the obstacles Nina has to overcome. She’s able to do that partially because of Creed, her parent’s sexy, former military neighbor. The circumstances they find themselves in, force them to cut through the typical relationship bullsh*t that comes along with finding a partner. The pretenses and walls are mostly obliterated because survival is at the forefront of the mind. This allows them to see just how great a team they make.

I have been reading more and more End of the World as we know it books, or as Preppers say Shit Hits the Fan books. This one is great. It shows a glimpse of what could and probably would happen should the social order that we’re living in suddenly collapse. Not that it will necessarily happen, but reading about it opens your mind to some things you would definitely have to think about if it does.

Available free through Kindle Unlimited:)

 

Until the End of the World Series by Sarah Lyons Fleming

This a definitely a case of don’t judge a book by it’s cover. The cover art isn’t anything to write home about. But the story inside… oh man! This series had me wanting to take my iPad everywhere and read as much as possible. I gobbled the entire series up in a couple of days. Laundry, food, and dishes be damned! I just could not put these books down. Apocalypse books are all I’ve wanted to read lately and there are a lot of bad ones out there. But this series is definitely not one of them.

If you want a kick a** and take names kind of heroine, well Cassie is for you. Not the Lara Croft kind of woman, but the smart, inventive and crafty kind of heroine. Although, physically she can hold her own too. There are a huge amount of secondary characters for you to fall in love with. They are all so multi dimensional and make the story speed forward. You feel the panic, the sense of community, the confusion, and the will to survive from every single word Sarah writes. She almost writes as if she’s been in the situations before, which of course she hasn’t. But what a talent she has!

There are three books and a novella that tell most of the story. She has a second series, The City Series, that tells about a few of the other characters mentioned in Until the End of the World. And of course, I read the first of that one too. I can’t say enough good things about the Until the End of the World series, so please just trust that I know my apocalyptic stories and just read them. You won’t be disappointed and you’ll have a new favorite author too!

Until the End of the World Book 1 is available free right now and the novella So Long, Lollipops is free through Kindle Unlimited:)

 

**Just a quick aside. I mention whether the books are available from free through Kindle Unlimited. I am not affiliated with this program, but I know sometimes that can make it an easy choice to “borrow” the book through Kindle Unlimited. Kindle Unlimited has supported my massive reading habit for a much healthier price tag. So it’s a great value if you do want to look into it.

 

Have you read any of the books above? Did you love them too? Have any that you would add to my March Madness list? Comment down below or find me on Goodreads and become my fellow book junkie:)

Shrink Pores Permanently

How to shrink your pores permanently!


**This post does contain affiliate links. You don’t have to purchase these specific products…please do your homework. It does help me out though. Check it out if you’re interested, but if that’s something you’re against just gloss right on over that link:)**

 

Everyone has pores. So what’s the difference between those whose pores you can see and those you whose pores you can’t see? The size. Sometimes it’s hereditary and sometimes it’s how we treat our skin. Want to learn how you can shrink your pores? Keep reading!

Clay has been used throughout history to heal different skin issues. According to an article in the US National Institutes of Medicine, using healing clay can be traced back to Aristotle. I’ll link the article at the end so you can read up on some more of the research going on with different clays, including healing clays and how they can be advantageous to healing your skin. Reading (slowly I might add) all of the scientific big words, had me even more intrigued and excited to do something that humans have been doing for hundreds of years. Healing my skin using bentonite clay.

I was able to achieve this by putting my skin through Veronica Gorgeois’s Bootcamp. While searching through Youtube a few years ago, I found her video on reducing blackheads and large pores permanently. After watching the video, I was so excited to try it out. She even breaks it down by skin type and she’s also an esthetician. She suggested doing a bootcamp using bentonite clay to help shrink your pores permanently.

I jumped on that because mama wanted smaller pores! Doing the bootcamp definitely visibly improved the look and feel of my skin. Her bootcamp for your skin suggests using Aztec Healing Clay or Bentonite clay and your toner or water. A container from my local health food store cost about $7. I use apple cider vinegar because I have oily skin and it suggests using it on the Aztec Healing Clay directions. I can say with complete honesty and confidence that using this mask has made one of the biggest differences in my skin care game.

*****Veronica says to do her Skincare Bootcamp as tolerated. That means to back off the frequency of use if you notice your skin becoming too dry, irritated, or it hurts or burns.*****

How to make it:

Oily Skin

1. Start with clean, slightly damp or dry skin. I tend to do this just after a shower and having just washed my face.

2. Add 1/2 tablespoon of Aztec Healing Clay and 1/2 tablespoon of Apple cider vinegar into a plastic or glass mixing bowl. You can also use your own toner if you’d prefer.

3. Mix both together until the consistency is smooth. Think yogurt consistency. If it’s too thick add just a bit more ACV or toner.

4. Use a foundation brush to spread on your face in a thin layer. I’ve used my fingers but a brush is so much easier.

5. Let it almost dry and then wash off with warm water and/or a washcloth. Between 5 to 10 minutes. It’s pretty uncomfortable if you let it dry completely.

5. Tone a moisturize as usual.

Sensitive Skin

1. Start with clean, slightly damp or dry skin. I tend to do this just after a shower and having just washed my face. 

2. Add 1 teaspoon of Aztec Healing Clay and 1 teaspoon of water or your toner into a plastic or glass mixing bowl. You can also use rose water as well.

3. Mix both together until the consistency is smooth. Think a yogurt consistency. If it’s too thick add just a bit more liquid.

4.  Use a foundation brush to spread on your face in a thin layer. If you’re super sensitive, only place it on the areas where your pores are most visible.

5. Let it almost dry (5-10 minutes) and then wash off with warm water and/or a washcloth. Don’t leave it on too long, it may irritate your sensitive skin.

6. Tone and moisturize as usual.

Combination Skin

1. Begin with clean, slightly damp or dry skin. I tend to use the mask just after getting out of the shower and having just washed my face.

2. Add 1 teaspoon of Aztec Healing Clay and 1 teaspoon of your choice of liquid (Apple Cider Vinegar, Water, Rose Water) into a plastic or glass bowl.

3. Mix both together until the consistency is smooth. Think a yogurt consistency. If it’s too thick add just a bit more liquid.

4. Use a foundation brush to spread on your face in a thin layer. Put it only on your problem areas (t-zone, breakouts, large pores, etc.)

5. Let it almost dry and rinse off with warm water and/or a wash cloth. Don’t leave it too long, it can be irritating to your skin.

6. Tone and moisturize as usual.

 

Some fun add-ins:

I’ve been using the basic mask for several years now and have started added ingredients to pump up the skin benefits.

  • Veronica mentions using raw or Manuka Honey. I’ve never tried it, but I love using honey for other masks so I can imagine the great benefits.
  • Essential oils. I’ve added about 2-3 drops of Tea Tree oil or Lavender oil and have had great results. You don’t have to add as much liquid when you use essential oils.
  • Activated Charcoal. I’ve added a capsule to the clay and just a little extra liquid. The combo has worked great. Here’s a link to my Charcoal Peel off mask is you want to try a feel off blackhead mask.
  • Veronica mentions using your toner as the liquid. I’ve used an ACV toner for a while now, but you can use your own toner. If you want to try my ACV toner recipe click here. I’ve been adding green tea instead of water and it has been so amazing for my skin.

As with anything that you want to see results from, you have to be consistent. After the initial 2 week bootcamp, use the mask a few times a week to keep up your results.

 

 

*****Veronica says to do her Skincare Bootcamp as tolerated. That means to back off the frequency of use if you notice your skin becoming too dry, irritated, or it hurts or burns.*****

 

Leave me a comment below or on my other social media pages and let me know if you add anything else to your clay mask or if you had great results with the bootcamp to shrink your pores like I did.

 

Veronica’s Video if you want to watch it:)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fs75J0v-RwA

Farah Dhukai’s video. If you need a better visual of how to make the mask and what it should look like.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eL-lh43OyCw

The article I mentioned at the beginning about clays.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2904249/

February Must Reads-ReadingWahine

February Reads…for the lover in you!

This post contains affiliate links. If you don’t want to purchase through my link, there is an unaffiliated link below each mini review of the book. Enjoy<3

 

I read many books this month, but below are the February reads that made me stay up late reading and laugh out loud or sigh because I got a new book boyfriend. These are the books you absolutely should pick up that I read in the month of February. Bon appetit babes!

 

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Fake Fiance by Ilsa Madden-Mills

I will admit I was a little jaded as I began reading this book. I mean come on…how many fake finance books are there out there? I thought this story had been told already and what was the point. But it had great reviews so I took a deep breath and dove right in.

However, from the first page, I was sucked in by Ilsa’s writing. She has a way with words and made me want to turn the pages as quickly as possible. Sunny and Max are the cutest couple. They remind you of those first few months of being in love and how high you feel all the time. The backstory from both of their lives made them likable and I was able to look passed the over used storyline. Fake Fiance has a bit of suspense and a whole lot of heat between Sunny and Max. Also, the secondary characters are amazing. If you’re tired of the same old fake marriage/fiance book, don’t count this one out. It’s also a kindle unlimited so even more incentive to give it a go.

Read the synopsis and purchase it here:

https://www.amazon.com/Fake-Fiancée-Ilsa-Madden-Mills-ebook/dp/B01N192F1J

 

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Rise by Dylan Allen


Reading the synopsis made me want to read this book fiercely. I saw the cover art as it was being pushed on social media and the beautiful woman on the cover had me intrigued. Being a woman of color, I love reading books about women and men that look like me. Especially if they are mixed race such as myself, like Addie and Simon are.

The emotion bleeds from the pages. I was completely pulled in by Dylan’s words and I felt what they felt. The pain, frustration, and love. Simon and Addie had such chemistry and the heat came off the pages. They are the epitome of angst and passion. There’s some frustrating moments in this story that took me back to some of the injustices I’ve faced over the years. But Simon and Addie give you hope and there’s not a lot more you can ask for from a hero and heroine. I highly recommend this if you want a break from the cookie cutter romances. Also a kindle unlimited book.

Read the synopsis and purchase it here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06VVQPK9J

 

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Open House by TC Matson


Riley and Brian aren’t married but have been together for over a decade. I’m always curious about those couples…the ones that stay together and don’t make the commitment. Maybe it’s my southern girl roots or my Christian faith, but it boggles my mind that people will make the commitment to stay together but not get married. In the case of Riley and Brian from Open House, my question is answered. Something about the situation drew me to the book, and I’m so glad I read it.

You could feel the frustration and loneliness leaping off of the pages from Riley. There were many times I wanted to take her aside and say “Just do it afraid, girl!” I don’t want to give any spoilers away, but after the stress, frustration and loneliness comes passion, acceptation, and love. Trenton is a new book boyfriend just in case you need a new one. A definite must read and kindle unlimited!

Read the synopsis and purchase here:

https://www.amazon.com/Open-House-TC-Matson-ebook/dp/B01MTD9937

 

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Empires and Kings (Mafia Series Book 1) by A.C. Bextor


This book is definitely a darker read. In case you couldn’t tell from the synopsis or the cover art. The first few pages are pretty graphic and set the tone for the story. I also want to point out that it’s part of a series. It doesn’t end on a serious cliff hanger, but the story is far from over.

Klara and Vlad have an unusual relationship. She’s been living in his home with his family, but not as a prisoner or the help. He feels responsible for her because he’s the reason she is parentless. They have a hot and cold, high intensity relationship that full of emotion and passion. The story is written from different perspectives, which I happen to like because it answers questions for the reader and allows a glimpse into other characters thoughts. I’m so excited for the other installments of this series. If you don’t mind an unfinished story and enjoy a walk on the dark side every once in a while, I highly recommend Empires and Kings. It’s also a Kindle Unlimited read.

Read the synopsis and purchase here:

https://www.amazon.com/Empires-Kings-Mafia-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MZA0MS5

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Scars and Tats by Kristi Pelton 


I’ve only read one other of Kristi’s novels and to be honest, it was kind of forgettable. I remember reading it and liking the plot, but I don’t remember much else. It was the opposite for Scars and Tats.

This book was pretty intense from the beginning and had a unique storyline. Kristi’s writing abilities have you feeling all that the characters feel right along with them. Mela’s desperation, fear and frustration is evident in every word and action she takes. Jackson seems to have an ulterior motive from the beginning, but he looks so sexy while you’re trying to figure it out. There is a lot of angst with a dash of suspense and a ton of passion between Mela and Jackson. If that sounds like a good time to you, I would definitely read Scars and Tats if I were you. In addition this is a Kindle Unlimited book.

Read the synopsis and purchase here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06WD8D274/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

 

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I’ll Be the One by Hazel James


Most noteworthy this month was I’ll Be the One. When I read the synopsis I was intrigued. It made me a little wary because it was about high school students and those always toe the line for me. I feel weird reading about sexual situations between high school students. They were definitely of age when anything happened, so no worries there.

This was one of those book hangovers that makes you think of it frequently. All I can say is this story from the writing, to the humor, and suspense, to the chemistry between the Rachel and James was phenomenal. I can’t say enough good things about this book. You will definitely need tissues by the end, let me warn you now. I’m almost at a loss as to how to describe just how great this book was. Please just take my advice and read this amazing story about love and loss. It’s a Kindle Unlimited as well.

Read the synopsis and purchase here:

https://www.amazon.com/Ill-Be-One-Hazel-James-ebook/dp/B01EBJ33QI

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Hot Mess (Love is Messy Duet) by Emily Goodwin


Yes you read that correctly, this is a duet my friends. Never fear, because by the time you read this the second book, Twice Burned has been released. I usually do not like to read duets or series because I hate cliffhangers or cliffies as Lexi the editor says. Lexi is the heroine and she has to be one of the most endearing characters I’ve read. She’s not perfect and she is like the books says, a hot mess. Even though she’s not a badass, she is most definitely strong and you cheer her on.

Luke is her knight in shining armor and just like Lexi he’s a hot mess. I love that about this book though. They’re not perfect and it makes you relate to them even more. Another author I’m a fan of, Tracy Ward says she write relationships and not romances and I totally feel that’s what Emily did with this book. I’m a huge fan of Emily and she hit it out of the park with this couple, so I’ll forgive her for making this a duet and making me wait to see what happens with Lexi and Luke. Another Kindle Unlimited read for you this month.

Read the synopsis and purchase here:

https://www.amazon.com/Mess-Love-Messy-Duet-Book-ebook/dp/B01N5T8ZE2

 

There you go loves, 7 February reads for the lover in you. Click here to check out last months great reads and get yourself a new book boyfriend! Comment down below if you would add any other releases to this list. Thanks for reading. Until next month, a hui hou!