Ipsy Glambag, August 2017

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This is an exploration and review of my August Glam bag from Ipsy and the products I received and have or have not yet tried.

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First of all, this bag is freaking adorable. It is right up my ally: I don’t love pink, but the fade and the message on the front and extremely me! “Good Vibes” is my motto, my Avon team name, and one of my favorite, go-to lines. I was so excited to see that I got this option out of the two, because it is SO perfect for me!

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This is all of the booklet/paper stuff from this month’s bag. The larger booklet contained lots of info on their new Shopper program that gives you cash back when you shop online! I have used this program already (I got 25% cash back on a DLS Kitty blush to match my gorgeous, favorite highlighter Bellissima) and I am a fan.

The first product in my Ipsy bag this month was

LXMI Crème du Nil Pore-Refining Moisture Veil

in a .3 fl. oz. size. I think this is a pretty nice size for a moisturizer sample, because it is often enough to last a few weeks and really see how it works for your skin. I have not opened or tried this one yet–it is in my bag of moisturizers to try!

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Next up was the

EYEKO Black Magic Mascara Deluxe

and I am very excited to try this! I have never tried a mascara in a tube like this one. The Eyeko liquid liner I have is absolutely amazing, so I have high hopes for this product. However, I have received so many mascaras lately that I have not had a chance to get into this one yet. It looks intriguing!

The third product in this Glam Bag was this

AURORA Pro Color Corrector in Pistachio

which I was a little nervous about. I have never really used a color corrector before. However, this is the perfect choice for a first one, because redness is my main skin concern (besides dryness). I used it for the first time today and really liked it! It is thin, so it is easy to blend, but it has enough coverage that it makes a real difference. I am very happy with what it does for my skin so far, and the liquid formula is really best for my dry skin.

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The final product in this Ipsy bag was

theBalm Cosmetics
theBalm Voyage Vol. 2 Eyeshadow in Kuwakaribisha

which I am extremely happy with as a highlighter! It is a very pretty champagne kind of color that catches the light in a truly beautiful fashion. The first time I wore it I accidentally overapplied it, almost like a blush, and it was still really pretty (even though it was a little flashy, lol). The Balm shadows and shades that I get from ipsy are really neat to me, because they all come in these cute little book things. They can get a little dried out or difficult to get to, but overall I think it is a really neat way to try a whole pan of their products.

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So, that was the Glam Bag for August 2017! Please let me know if you have comments or suggestions on using these products. Did we get any of the same products? What did you get? If you are interested in ipsy, feel free to use my link to sign up for a Glam Bag with 5 products for just $10 each month!


Ipsy Unboxing, July 2017

Here is an exploration and unboxing of my July 2017 Ipsy Glambag. If you are interested in getting an Ipsy Glambag every month with 5 products and a cosmetic bag for just $10 every month, please feel free to use my referral link so that we get some extra points. 🙂

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July’s bag was an adorable gudetama theme! The bag is thick and plasticky, very sturdy. I thought it was hilarious that his little butt is on the back! The idea behind this bag was easy/lazy makeup days and taking good care of your skin.

The first item in my Glambag was the Ofra Gold Rush eye shadow. This single went straight into my Z Palette. It is pretty and I have never had an Ofra eye shadow before, so I was excited to try it.

It seems like I get a lot of gold and bronze eye shadows, though, and I am not a big warm-tones person, so it will take me quite a while to get through them. I know a lot of people like them, though, so I understand why Ofra would choose a shadow like this to send out.

The second item in my Ipsy bag was the Ciate London Wonderwand Gel-Kohl Liner with a brush smudger. I was very interested in trying out this product. I’ve used it a few times. It is very inky black, which I love, and applies very smoothly with no tugging. The brush smudger is very interesting and easy to use.

It is very inky black, which I love, and applies very smoothly with no tugging. The brush smudger is very interesting and easy to use. However, I had the issue I usually have with non-liquid liners: transfer. I have hooded lids and this liner definitely transferred up onto my upper lid pretty badly.I will try it again to see if I can get it thin enough not to do it, but it drives me crazy.

I will try it again to see if I can get it thin enough not to do it, but it drives me crazy. The only non-liquid liner I’ve ever had not transfer is the Avon Glimmersticks.

The next product to come out of my Ipsy bag was this herbal lip balm from Hempz. After I rated the lotion I got before highly, it made me more likely to get more from them, which is one of my favorite ideas behind the ipsy bags. The more you rate the products you get, the more personalized your bags become! I like this lip balm so far: it has a little bit of a pineapple kind of smell, I think. It feels really nice on the lips.

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The next item in my bag was this BRTC Jasmine Waterful Sleeping Pack. I have not tried it out yet.




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The last item in my bag was this Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Ultra-Natural Mascara. I haven’t tried it yet, because I’m almost done with my Wide Awake mascara and my Grande mascara from a previous Ipsy bag.

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Overall, my July ipsy bag was really cool, and I am really excited to try it all out. I feel like this bag could be a whole face of makeup all on its own, which is really cool to me.

What did you get in your July Ipsy bag? Have you tried some of the items that I got? What do you think?

Giveaway! Information About the GastlyGirl/JosieAdeline Summer/Fall 2017 Giveaway


Hi there! The following is the set of terms and conditions governing the subscriber giveaway I am hosting. I am very excited to be able to do a giveaway, and these kinds of rules and regulations are necessary to its proceeding.

i. Title: This giveaway will be known as “the GastlyGirl/JosieAdeline summer/fall 2017 giveaway.” (I like slashes, okay?)

ii. No Purchase Necessary: There is no purchase necessary to enter this giveaway. Purchases of any kind will not increase one’s odds of winning or influence the drawing of the winner in any way.

iii. Promotion Description: One (1) prize bundle/box will be created by me (“GastlyGirl/JosieAdeline”) and shipped to the chosen winner. This prize bundle will include assorted goods, such as cosmetics, skincare, coupon code(s), handmade gifts, et cetera. For any questions, please email josieadeline@outlook.com.

iv. Eligibility: The winner must live in the continental United States of America and be at least eighteen (18) years of age.

v. How to Enter: In order to be eligible to win this prize, you must be subscribed to Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC63FUw8mlnVo74yTFsTuW7Q or to the blog located at URL josieadeline.com on December 1, 2017 when the drawing is done.

vi. Winner Selection: The winner will be drawn December 1, 2017 (time to be determined). The winner will be drawn from all collected users who are subscribed to Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC63FUw8mlnVo74yTFsTuW7Q and users who are subscribed to the blog located at URL josieadeline.com. The winner will be chosen at random and the odds of winning are dependent on the number of subscribers on December 1, 2017.

vii. Winner Notification: Upon being drawn, the winner will be contacted on the account they are subscribed with in order to get an address for shipment. If the user does not respond within 3 days (72 hours), or if the user does not live within the continental United States, a new winner will be drawn and contacted in the same manner until a successful winner is chosen.

viii. Privacy Policy: No personal information collected for the purpose of this giveaway will be sold or otherwise used for my own material gain. By accepting the Sweepstakes Prize, you grant me permission to share your email address and any other personally identifiable information with the other Sweepstakes Entities for the purpose of administration and prize fulfillment, including use in a publicly available Winners list.

ix. Limitation of Liability: I assume no responsibility or liability for (a) any incorrect or inaccurate entry information, or for any faulty or failed electronic data transmissions; (b) any unauthorized access to, or theft, destruction or alteration of entries at any point in the operation of this Sweepstakes; (c) any technical malfunction, failure, error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or communications line failure, regardless of cause, with regard to any equipment, systems, networks, lines, satellites, servers, camera, computers or providers utilized in any aspect of the operation of the Sweepstakes; (d) inaccessibility or unavailability of any network or wireless service, the Internet or website or any combination thereof; (e) suspended or discontinued Internet, wireless or landline phone service; or (f) any injury or damage to participant’s or to any other person’s computer or mobile device which may be related to or resulting from any attempt to participate in the Sweepstakes or download of any materials in the Sweepstakes.

 If, for any reason, the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned for reasons which may include without limitation, infection by computer virus, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes which may corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this Sweepstakes, I reserve the right at my sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the Sweepstakes in whole or in part. In such event, I shall immediately suspend all drawings and prize awards, and I reserve the right to award any remaining prize in a manner deemed fair and equitable by myself. WordPress and Youtube shall not have any liability to any participant in connection with the Sweepstakes.

x. Social Network Disclaimer: WordPress or Youtube account is required to enter. If you don’t already have an account, visit http://www.wordpress.com and/or http://www.youtube.com to create one. It is free to create an account. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with WordPress or Youtube. You understand that you are providing your information to me and not to WordPress or Youtube. By participating via the WordPress or Youtube platform, participants are also subject to these platforms’ respective data policies and terms of use found on each respective site.


Review of May Ipsy Unboxing & Products

2017-05-24 09.47.13It has been a while now since I opened up my May Ipsy bag, and I would love to go back over what I got and what I think of it so far. I had an amazing value of products in this assortment and was very impressed! If you’d like to sign up for ipsy, there is no waitlist for a limited time: I would appreciate it if you decide to sign up through my referral link.

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The bag for May was really cute. I like the size, it is a little longer and skinnier than a lot of the other ipsy bags. It is a see-through plastic texture with ice creams and popsicles on both sides. It is a great choice for summer bags or to take to the lake (I can fit my sunscreen in it!).

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Hempz Pomegranate Herbal Body Moisturizer

I have been wanting to try Hempz products for a long time, but I always have so much Skin So Soft, gifts, and sample sizes to try around that I don’t often experiment outside that. It smells nice but is not strong or overwhelming. It seems to sink into the skin easily. The texture is very thin, but still moisturizing.

I still prefer my Skin So Soft, but this is fine. It’s good to know that I don’t need to spend the money on more, but I will certainly use it up without complaint.

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Urban Decay Afterglow Highlighter in Sin

I received an Urban Decay duo chrome eyeshadow called Lounge in my first Glam Bag and wasn’t sure how much I loved it (because I expected green and the main shade is actually reddish-brown). I was a little nervous, but hopeful! The pan size is really big, especially for a high-quality brand in an ipsy bag.I have worn it several times now, and it is pretty. The formula

I have worn it several times now, and it is pretty. The formula is very nice and smooth. It is shimmery but not glittery. Unfortunately, it’s pretty gold for me. I am very fair and usually wear a peachy or pearly highlight and very cool tones in everything else, so it will probably take me a while to work through. I know a lot of warmer complexioned friends this would be pretty on, so maybe I can use it on them and pass it along if one of them loves it.

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Royal & Langnickel Precision Angled Brush

It’s hard to tell just how large this brush is in the photo, but if you check out the video, you will really be able to see it. This brush is the same shape as the angled Royal & Langnickel eye brush I received in a previous ipsy bag, but much larger.

I was a little confused about what to do with this brush at first but then thought to try it with the highlighter. That worked really well! After some playing with it, I like to use it for highlighter and setting my concealer.

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Grande Lash Boosting Mascara

The first few days of using this mascara weren’t so great, and I was worried. But it turns out that, like many mascaras, the first few days the formula was just too wet. After that, it got so much better!I am actually a definite fan of this mascara–it is especially great for length.

I am a definite fan of this mascara–it is especially great for length. I will be really sad when it dries up or runs out, but I don’t think I’ll ever be willing to spend the $25 on a new one! 😱

I’d rather spend a few dollars on my very favorite Wide Awake mascara and benefit my business. 🤷

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Pacifica Island Life Natural Mineral Eyeshadow Palette

This little eyeshadow palette is great quality. I was really excited that it is vegan and cruelty-free. It looks even better on the eyes than it does in swatches–basically, it comes off more metallic and pigmented on the eyes than in the swatches.

These are not the kinds of shades I usually use (I usually gravitate toward cool tones and these are certainly warm), but they are pretty and when I do reach for them, I feel good while pushing my personal boundaries.

Isn’t that what ipsy is really all about: experimenting and trying new things?

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Lit for Life Book Reviews: Among Wolves by R.A. Hakok

among wolves ra hakok

The book I would like to look at today is Among Wolves, the first of two books in the Children of the Mountain series by R.A. Hakok. It was published on July 10th, 2015. I read this book over the course of a day, the longest of all of my vacation-week reads (most of the days, I finished at least one book and started at least one new one). This one clocks in at 381 pages.

This Kindle ebook was free when I added it to my library and is still available for free as of June 2017.

This is another free Kindle ebook that was recommended in one of my daily emails from Bookbub. This service emails you about free and discounted ebooks in genres you are interested in. I have gotten tons of free ebooks through this service.

Amazon’s Summary:

There’s only one place left that’s safe.

It’s the last place you should be.

Gabriel remembers the Last Day. He and Mags had been on a tour of the White House with the rest of Miss Kimble’s first-graders when it happened. They fled with the President to a long-abandoned bunker, even as the first of the bombs began to fall.

Ten years have passed, and now Gabriel is almost grown. He still lives deep inside the mountain, waiting for the world to thaw. But outside the storms continue to rage, and supplies are running low. The President says it will be okay, because they are the Chosen Ones. But Gabriel isn’t so sure. Gabriel’s their scavenger, and he’s seen what it’s like out there.

Then one day Gabriel finds a bloodstained map. The blood’s not a problem, nor are the frozen remains of the person it once belonged to. Gabriel’s used to seeing dead bodies. There’s far worse to be found in any Walmart or Piggly Wiggly you care to wander into.

Except this one he recognizes, and it shouldn’t be all the way out here. Now all Gabriel can think is how he’s going to make it back to the bunker and let the President know what he’s found.

But Gabriel’s troubles are only just beginning. For things are not as they seem inside the mountain, and soon he will face a much larger problem: how to get Mags and the others out.”

Rating/Triggers: PG-13 (violent/gory images, themes of apocalypse and worldwide breakdown/disaster, could be scary for an audience too young for that kind of thing)

Genre/Stats: As of June 3rd, 2017, this book’s Amazon ranking and genres are as seen below.

among wolves product details 6-3

Spoilers May Exist Below!

Diversity: For a cast of characters as limited as this post-apocalyptic community, there was a surprising amount of diversity and inclusion. Many characters are not highly specified in their appearances, which was nice to me because you could think of them in all sorts of ways.

To be honest, the whole time I was reading, I was imagining what this would look like as a movie and all of the possibilities there. 😍

There was one explicitly black character, as far as I can remember, and he was dead (but vital to the plot). There were some minor characters in the subplot (a flashback-type situation where the actual end of the world was explained, but more on that later) who were Asian. But many of the characters simply weren’t described by their skin tones/races/ethnicities/etc at all (which I thought was at least better than making everybody explicitly white, right?).

The main female character, Mags, is rather rebellious and likes to push against gender norms and the system of authority in the community, which seems especially pertinent in the tiny, super-religious community setup of this novel.

Also, one of the confusions for Gabriel in the plot (like, one of the two main tensions of the major plot) is that he thinks the old man he scavenges the outside world with, who once was one of the guards/military/Secret Service/whoever guarded the underground city-in-the-mountain place where they live, murdered the other old guard (the explicitly black character I referred to before).

It turns out that the two men had been a couple. Gabriel didn’t understand at first because he had grown up in this weird, extremely religious environment that the President created underground and had never really seen/heard much about homosexuality, but then when it clicked he didn’t really question it or say anything bad, he just accepted and respected it, which was cool.

Originality & Plot: I thought that there were a lot of really neat ideas and themes going on throughout this piece. It wasn’t extremely original (small, isolated community existing post-apocalypse), but it’s hard to find an apocalypse story that is.

The way that the apocalypse is brought around is interesting, though, as is the way it is slowly revealed as a subplot while the main plot goes on. The President, who leads the little community of the only known survivors, used to be a pastor. He sends one of the devout women from his old church, who seems to happen to do calculations for what buildings in other countries might house nuclear facilities (it’s never outright explained, like some of the other details in this piece, so it’s a little difficult to figure out exactly what happens, but that’s what I got from it), on a mission in Asia to a nuclear facility she has detected.

She carries a virus she is supposed to infect the facility with. It is supposed to target and break down certain kinds of metal in order to destroy the nuclear facilities and help get rid of the nuclear threat in the world. She is told that it will not affect or harm her. But, of course, that’s not how things like this go. This book is listed in Horror, right?

Instead of being fine and just passing the nano virus around the facility (though it would seem that does happen, too, it seems to spread around the world very quickly and destroys buildings and all sorts of metal objects), the woman becomes the first Fury. The virus apparently targets the iron in people’s blood (because no scientist would have thought of that! Or maybe it is purposeful, like the rest of the crazy plot) and basically turns them into a kind of vampire creature they call Furies later on.

Her hair all turns white and her eyes turn all white or all black and then she blacks out and tears some guard’s throat out in the bathroom. The virus sapping all the iron from Furies’ blood makes them need/crave other blood, apparently, and we see two others in the space of the novel. Hopefully, there will be more of/about them in the second book.

The community Gabriel grows up in is led by the President (like of the USA). His elementary class “just so happens” to be the only one visiting the White House in emergency-level circumstances when most of the country/world seems to be pretty much shutting down from the spreading virus. They are all swept into the helicopters when the President flees to his underground safe haven just before bombs start to drop, and then are raised in a small, extremely strict, extremely conservative environment, led by the President (who seems to have gone back to a kind of pastor role). He requires that the children go to his sermons and do confessions consistently, and he plans on choosing 

They are all swept into the helicopters when the President flees to his underground safe haven, just before bombs start to drop, and then are raised in a small, extremely strict and conservative environment, led by the President (who seems to have gone back to a kind of pastor role). He requires that the children go to his sermons and do confessions consistently, and he plans on choosing their partners/mates for them. I don’t even want to call it spouses, because the whole thing is just so wrong.

But it seems like any adults who have tried to say anything about the wrongs of the system disappear or die mysteriously. The children’s teacher “commits suicide” after she tries to keep educating the children though she was told not to. Many of the kids end up unable to read, which seems to be what the President wants, while Gabriel and Mags practice with books from outside and Mags even secretly teaches others. 

Ben, the black guard I’ve referred to before, started to question the community and work on a plan to travel to other underground bunkers (which becomes the second part of the plot, basically), and then mysteriously dies while outside the bunker (he is shot by the President’s main crony and Gabriel finds his body, which is why he thinks Marv, the old guy, killed him). Once Marv and Gabriel start to cause the slightest bit of trouble, the President has his crony basically put the virus in the two scavengers’ breathing masks/respirator masks. Marv kills himself eventually so that he won’t become a Fury, and Gabriel just luckily never wears his mask anyway.

And then there’s the “virgin” pregnancy. One of the girls growing up in the mountain gets pregnant and believes that she got pregnant virginly, like Mary in the Bible stories that the President tells them. She doesn’t realize that the President hs been drugging her and his crony carrying her back to her bunk afterward… And when she tells the community that she is pregnant, he exiles her outside, where she freezes to death just outside the mountain.

So yeah, murder definitely seems to be the President’s favored way of keeping his secrets and weeding his community as he desires. He has a whole weird religious fervor going throughout his community which leads to lots of interesting religious imagery throughout the book (metal crosses Marv and Gabriel wear while outside to detect the virus, the “virgin” birth, the focus on blood with the Furies, different apocalyptic threads to hold to).

Image from Brandy Dopkins on Flickr. Used under creative commons license with no alterations.

Editing Perspective: I noticed extremely minimal errors in editing and was pleased to note that my reading was never pulled from focus by mistakes or issues in grammar, content, development, or anything else. I was extremely pleased with this one!

Feminist Perspective: The children’s teacher and Mags were both strong, interesting characters who attempted to be as powerful as they could be in their situations. Mags rebels against the norms that the President tries to enforce about feminine appearance and behavior. The teacher even pushes back against him when he tries to tell her not to educate the children.

However, the majority of the characters are male, especially those who see any action in this book. The main character of the book is male. It can be argued, however, that the President enforcing his highly traditional norms on the other characters makes it this way. It also seems extremely likely that Mags and the other female youngsters will likely play much larger roles in the next book.

Final Review: I really enjoyed this book. I absolutely suggest reading it if you are even slightly interested in any of the genres or topics that are included in it. I have already added the next installment to my wishlist and will review it as soon as I obtain and read it.

I am currently working on several more book reviews and other videos and posts. Is there anything in particular you like or dislike about the content I have been creating lately? Anything you’d really like me to do next?


Ready Egg Go! (Quick Review)

Hey, how are you doing today? Have you tried anything new lately?

I just did, as I’m sure you can tell. I’ve been working more hours and more daytime shifts, so I’ve been trying to find good breakfasts that can come with me and still be yummy and nutritious.

I found a coupon on mperks for a new product that I hadn’t heard about, Crystal Farms’ Ready Egg Go. The normal price is $2.99 right now at my Meijer, and the coupon was for $1 off.

So, for $1.99, I got a hardboiled egg, cashews, and chunked Gouda cheese. (That Gouda sealed the deal for which variety I chose to try!) The pack has 18 grams of protein!

It was yummy and satisfying. I had never had the prepeeled/premade hard-boiled eggs, but I’ve seen them in the deli and dairy sections before. It wasn’t a strange texture or anything, it tasted just like a fresh, homemade one.

The cheese was as yummy as I had hoped and I was quite happy with the little kit overall. My tummy was satisfied and I didn’t get hungry before lunchtime. I’m sure I could make it myself cheaper (especially if I hadn’t had the coupon), but the coupon made it a pretty good value.

What do you think of this kit? What changes would you make to it? Do you think it is worth the price?

Lit For Life Book Reviews: The Irish Cottage by Juliet Gauvin

the irish cottage

Today’s title is The Irish Cottage: Finding Elizabeth by Juliet Gauvin. This is the first book in The Irish Heart series (which sits at 3 books), and was published in December, 2014. I read this book in about 4 hours, and it sits at 371 pages in length.

Rating/Triggers: R (Explicit sex scenes, suggestions of sexual assault, suggestions of abuse, explicit violence, guns, cursing, drinking)

Amazon’s Summary:

“Elizabeth Lara built a perfect life as San Francisco’s top divorce attorney, but when she loses her great-aunt Mags, the woman who raised her, she boards a plane and leaves it all behind.

The Irish shores welcome her as she learns a shocking truth, kept secret for thirty-five years. Devastated and now alone in the world, Beth tries to find peace in a beautiful cottage by Lough Rhiannon, but peace isn’t what fate had in mind. Almost as soon as she arrives, Beth’s solitary retreat into the magic wilds of Ireland is interrupted by Connor Bannon. A man with light brown hair, ice blue eyes and a secret of his own. He’s gorgeous, grieving, and completely unexpected.

With the help of Mags’ letters, the colorful townspeople of Dingle, and Connor, Elizabeth might just find a way back to the girl she lost long ago and become the woman she always wanted to be.

A Note From Jules:
Be forewarned you might not want to start this book late at night—several readers have reported “gobbling it up” and going on to the next book immediately. This book is literary women’s fiction, it is not a traditional romance, per se.”

Acquisition: I read this title as a Kindle ebook, which I “purchased” for free in December 2016 and just finally read this week. It was another Bookbub daily email suggestion. It is still available for free as of now, May 2017.

Spoilers May Exist Below!

Diversity: Harshly lacking. Nearly everybody is supermodel beautiful (and literally described as such), muscular, well-educated, and extremely wealthy. The romantic interest of the book, Connor, is literally a Lord who lives in a castle and is apparently embarrassed by this.  😒

Luckily, Elizabeth is not a stereotype in her emotional and mental choices/faculties. She is an extremely independent woman who has earned her own finances by being a brilliant divorce lawyer. She is strong-willed and physically defends herself, but also allows herself to hurt and mourn for her dear, recently departed great-aunt Mags who raised her.

There is also one character who is not heterosexual–one of Connor’s incredibly beautiful friends is described basically as a bisexual woman. This is mentioned when Elizabeth realizes that she is “eyeing” her, and then little other mention is made of it. In this way, the other character’s sexuality seems like a tool to reinforce Elizabeth’s attractiveness.

In the end, the characters never seem to have to work during the action of the novel, and only beautiful heterosexual love is really seen. I did not notice any differently-abled bodies, and one character, who is deemed “not right in the head,” even acts as a villain, trying to sexually assault Elizabeth and then threatening her with a gun after Connor goes to his father (see Feminist Perspective discussion below).

Originality & Plot: The major driver of this novels’ plot is that Elizabeth’s dear aunt has died, and so Elizabeth has taken a leave of absence from work (which she later decides to never return to) to rent an absurdly expensive home in Ireland in which to heal. She chooses Ireland because her aunt loved to travel and the two of them had been supposed to go there together, but Elizbeth was always “too busy.”

Mags left Elizabeth a series of letters (I believe it’s 17 total, and she only gets through I think 5 or 6 in this installment) in which she explains the truth about Elizabeth’s parents and how Mags thinks Elizabeth has lost herself and can find herself again. Some of these “letters” include photographs and/or sim cards with videos that the old woman has made of herself.

The love story of this book is not especially interesting. There are some half-decent sex scenes and luckily it is fairly reciprocal, but it also seems typical and can get boring (see more in Feminist Perspective discussion below). The characters are not especially original, with the exception of Mags, but the larger plot of healing, exploration, and self-acceptance seems fairly interesting if not quite new.

Editing Perspective:  There are a few times when the author uses unnecessary all-caps. I understand that all-caps is equivalent to yelling, but in literature, you can achieve the desired effect with simple exclamation marks. There is no need to use both because it just seems harsh. I would love to know what you think, but I always cringe when I try to read anything in caps, especially entire sentences. 😒 Luckily, these only occurred at the beginning of the text.

There are, unfortunately, several times when the narrator seems messed up: they occasionally know things they shouldn’t as a third person limited narrator. Occasionally, they speak about things that Connor thinks, feels, or believes instead of Elizabeth. It is very confusing and really brings me out of the world of the book.

Feminist Perspective: This book has some definite problems, from a feminist view. The first is discussed above: the one non-hetero character is a bisexual woman whose bisexuality is only discussed or used to reinforce the attractiveness of the protagonist.

Another issue is that of the minor “villain” type character. He is, of course, set up as one of the few less-than-gorgeous people in the book. He is introduced when he makes a comment to his friends about wanting to sexually assault Elizabeth, which sends Connor into a rage, as discussed below. This character then pops up again at a dance when he tries to get a drunk Elizabeth to leave with him (she kicks his ass). After this, Connor secretly goes to the boy’s father to “tell on him” in a way, but it is alluded to that the father beats or otherwise abuses the boy. The boy then comes to Elizabeth’s house in the night with a gun, seemingly to kill her to get his revenge.

When Elizabeth gets herself out of the danger (by pretending to seduce him), she tells Connor not to be angry because the boy needs psychiatric help. I felt that his character was so confusing and strange and seemed to parallel Connor, like what Connor would be seen as if he weren’t so hot.

In fact, there are several times that Elizabeth specifically says that things Connor and his friends say or do would be really creepy if they weren’t so gorgeous. For some reason, though, this highly intelligent and independent woman excuses downright creepy and gross remarks because the men who say or do them are so attractive.

When they concede to their attraction, Connor suddenly finds himself easily enraged by jealousy and/or protectiveness (as above). He says that he has never felt that way or been violent, but “something about Elizabeth brings it out.” How many times do I have to use the side-eye emoji? She even says that it seems like a red flag, but she is just so hot for him that she is willing to ignore it, as long as sh believes he won’t hurt her.

I was pleased, however, that Elizabeth does prove herself an independent woman. She decides to follow her heart and “the Universe” as Mags’ letters have taught her to do. She decides to go on with the next stage of her journey to self-discovery by trying to help Mags with her final wishes. She leaves Connor and basically tells him, “Yeah, I love you and we helped each other heal, but I have my own adventure to go on. I’m not about to just follow you on yours.” I thought that was pretty sweet.

Final Review: In the end, I thought that this was a perfectly good quick vacation read, the kind of thing I would read on the beach if the beach didn’t sound like death by sunburn to me. I think that, as long as it is free, it is a read that wouldn’t hurt and could easily be worth your time if it sounds like something you might be interested in. I will be adding the next books in the series to my wishlist, ready and willing to review the rest of the series when I am able to do so.

It has its weaknesses, certainly, but I think that The Irish Cottage was interesting and made some good statements about self-reliance and living your own life as your adventure, owing yourself a great ride. (P.S. If you read the book, check out the Amazon page afterward and see how similar the protagonist is to the author. 😂)

Let me know if there are any specific books you would like me to review or if you have any questions/comments about this one.

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