Book Review | Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

Published by Dial Books on May 20, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 256

Source: #BooksforTrade

Goodreads: ★★★

Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him.

Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she’s being realistic). But is ambition alone enough to get her in?

Enter Lisa.

Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa steps into his world, along with her charming boyfriend, Clark, and soon the three form an unexpected bond. But, as Lisa learns more about Sol and he and Clark grow closer and closer, the walls they’ve built around themselves start to collapse and their friendships threaten to do the same.

BOOK REVIEW

After hearing great things about John Corey Whaley’s work, I was interested to pick up Highly Illogical Behavior very soon after its release. This young adult contemporary follows a teenager named Solomon who has agoraphobia, and hasn’t left his home in three years. One of his old classmates, Lisa, decides that she is going to “fix” Solomon for her college admissions project. We follow these teens as they become friends, and discover whether Lisa will be able to solve Solomon’s problems all on her own.

I was unfortunately left a bit underwhelmed by Highly Illogical Behavior. It took me a long time to get through this short book because I found it difficult getting immersed into the story. By the end, I did become attached to the characters, and I was overall pleased with the book. However, there are many things about this book that I find quite problematic.

First, Lisa’s character really bothered me. She is a know-it-all who thinks she has the capacity to be giving a fellow teenager mental health advice. I would like to say that she had good intentions, but Lisa is a huge liar and I feel like she never learns her lesson. I don’t think Lisa is necessarily a bad person, but all of her poor choices made her very unlikable for me. I can see how her character is purposefully written to be flawed, but I did not see Lisa truly grow even after sabotaging the people she is supposed to care for the most.

Moreover, Highly Illogical Behavior seemed very derivative of other books in the young adult genre. For example, I saw a lot of parallels between this story and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. In the same way, this book includes one of my least favorite tropes in young adult literature, which is the absent parents. Lisa and her boyfriend Clark spent a lot of time away from home at Solomon’s house. They stay nearly all hours of the day, and their parents never bat an eyelash as to where they are. I find it difficult to believe that any parent of a teenager, especially the ones depicted here, would let their child stay out until 1:00-2:00am without even touching base. The inclusion of this trope in Highly Illogical Behavior took away from the story’s credibility for me.

My final critique of this book is the ending. I did like the big event that takes place as the book comes to a close, but there are a lot of loose ends that did not get tied up for the reader. I wrote down a list of questions that I had after finishing the book, and I think an epilogue could have easily answered them.

Nonetheless, I really appreciate how Highly Illogical Behavior is #OwnVoices representation for mental illness, specifically agoraphobia. It was very helpful to see what Solomon goes through on a daily basis from his perspective and through the eyes of other characters. I thought it was great that Whaley includes both positive and negative receptions of Solomon’s mental health, as that portrays how he would be treated in the real world. Highly Illogical Behavior is also an #OwnVoices LGBTQIA+ novel, as Solomon is gay and Whaley is, too.

Overall, Highly Illogical Behavior is a good story that has an important place in the young adult world. While I did find a lot of issues with it, I also do recommend reading it. If the plot sounds interesting to you, read a few more reviews and see if you would get more enjoyment out of this novel than I did.

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Affiliate links used. All opinions are my own. See my Disclosure Policy for more information.

2016 Reflections & 2017 Goals

Happy Friday! Today I wanted to check in with the New Year’s Resolutions I made for 2016, and also share my goals for 2017. I go through different phases in my life where sometimes I want to make very specific goals, and other times I don’t want to make any goals at all. When 2016 began, I definitely had specific goals in mind. This year, however, I would much rather focus on overall themes than particular resolutions. What I’ve decided to do is check in with the five resolutions I made for 2016, and then share with you what I hope to accomplish in 2017.

If you would like to see my original 2016 New Year’s Resolutions blog post, you can read it HERE. I will be mentioning each resolution as I share my reflections with you.

My first goal for 2016 was to paint my nails more often and try out more nail art. The main reason I made this resolution was because I began this blog to talk about nail polish, and I felt like I needed to use the polish in my collection and share more with all of you. While I did blog a good amount about nail polish in 2016, I did not wear polish much in my daily life. However, I did a fantastic job at decluttering my nail polish collection and getting it down to a somewhat reasonable number for me. I’m at the point right now where if I don’t feel like painting my nails, I’m not going to, and there is nothing wrong with that. I will not attempt  to force myself to paint my nails more, nor try any new nail art.

My next resolution was to nail down a skincare routine. While I definitely did not achieve this goal, I did focus on skincare more than I had in the past. I still struggle when it comes to taking care of my skin, and I know I need to make skincare a daily habit. I see a huge difference in my skin when I use skincare products regularly, and I know taking care of my skin is important. I hope that in 2017 I can make my skin a priority.

Wow! I can’t believe how much my health has changed in one year. In my 2016 Resolutions post, I mentioned how I didn’t aim to go vegan yet, but as it turns out I made the switch in June. I began seeing changes in my health after a few weeks on a vegan diet, and I’m sure that is attributed to eating more products, whole grains, and legumes. I would still like to exercise regularly, as I majorly struggle with being active. I did go on a lot of walks in the fall, but I want to prioritize movement more in 2017. Health is very important to me, both physically and mentally. In 2017 I hope to care for myself mentally by journaling regularly and connecting more with people in person rather than online.

I also wanted to become a more organized person in 2016, and I made great strides with this goal. I got rid of many boxes and bags of my belongings, and I continue to declutter my space on a regular basis. I’m especially proud of the work I’ve done in my bathroom – I no longer hoard products, I only buy what I need, and everything has a place. I even got a lot of products and tools off of my bathroom countertop! My organization was aided by my paper planner, and the dedicated journals I began for my reading and my blog. In 2017 I want to continue to declutter my space. In particular, I want to get rid of the things I own for purely nostalgic reasons.

My final goal for 2016 was to read 40 books. I achieved this goal early in the year, and ended up reading 67 books total! This year I’ve decided to challenge myself to read 50 books. I should easily be able to accomplish this, but I wanted to keep the number on the small side to encourage myself to read longer books. I also want to read more adult fiction this year. I still love young adult, but one reason I love reading is because of the shared experience I can have with other people. My real life friends tend to read popular adult fiction, and I would like to be able to discuss those books with them.

Overall, I am happy with the progress I made in 2016, and I am looking forward to the strides I can make in 2017 as well. I am constantly reminding myself that every day is a new opportunity, and we are in full control to better ourselves at any moment. It’s okay to fail at goals, and it’s okay to change your goals and your direction. I hope you will join me as I discover what adventures 2017 has in store!

 

 

December Empties | #365DaysofEmpties | 2016 Conclusion + 2017 Goals

Happy Wednesday! Today I am really excited to share my December empties with all of you, and to discuss how my #365DaysofEmpties project went for the year. I decided to challenge myself to complete 100 products in 2016, and at the end of November it was pretty clear to me that goal would not be possible. Let me show you the products I used up in December, and then I’ll share my thoughts on this project for 2016 and whether or not I plan to continue in 2017.

SKINCARE

Michael Todd Charcoal Detox Deep Pore Gel Cleanser [BUY] – 1 bottle

  • Mini Review: It took me over a year to use up this entire bottle of cleanser! I kept this in the shower, and I really like it. While this cleanser is gentle on the skin, it does an amazing job at cleaning my face and clearing it of dirt and impurities. I did get a bit sick of using it in the last few months, but it felt great to use this whole thing!
  • Would I Buy it Again? I can definitely see myself going back to this cleanser at some point in the future.

Yes to Cucumbers Soothing Hypoallergenic Facial Wipes [BUY] – 1 pack

  • Mini Review: I used up another pack of my current favorite face wipes! I’m not going to go into too much detail here, as I mention how much I love these wipes in a ton of blog posts!
  • Would I Buy it Again? Yes! I have a stock pile!

Sunday Riley Good Genes All-in-One Lactic Acid Treatment [BUY] – 1 sample

  • Mini Review: My skin was in a very bad place for a while, so I used this sample I got in a subscription box. Wow! Good Genes really brought my skin back to life! It helped clear my breakouts and balance out my skin tone. I did not like the pungent smell, and I do wish this product was vegan (though it is cruelty free!). Unfortunately, I would not be able to repurchase this even if it became vegan – it’s $105!

BODY CARE

Dr. Carver’s Easy Shave Butter [BUY] – 1 sample

  • Mini Review: I got this sample from Dollar Shave Club, and it did not work for me at all. In fact, my skin felt quite irritated after trying out this shave gel!
  • Would I Buy it Again? No!

The Body Shop Mango Sugar Body Scrub [BUY] – 1 jar

  • Mini Review: I really like this scrub from The Body Shop. I didn’t use it as often as I would like because mango wasn’t a seasonal scent. I love using seasonal scents, so I need to plan my purchases a bit better going forward. For example, the only scrub I have now is pink grapefruit, and I haven’t wanted to use it!
  • Would I Buy it Again? Yes, but in the summer!

Seventh Generation Natural Hand Wash Free & Clean Unscented [BUY] – 1 bottle

  • Mini Review: This hand soap was a huge disappointment for me! First of all, it is not unscented. It has a chemically smell, which is ironic since this is supposed to be natural. Plus, I feel like my hands didn’t get 100% clean with this soap. Even if this soap was vegan, I would not buy it again.

DECEMBER EMPTIES: 6 

TOTAL 2016 EMPTIES: 90

As you can see, I did not reach my goal of completing 100 products in 2016. I did come very close, and I am happy with my progress. I had no idea when I began this goal that I would be switching to a vegan lifestyle halfway through the year. This switch resulted in my decluttering many of my non-vegan products and repurchasing vegan items. This is especially true when it came to makeup. Of course, I still have a good amount of non-vegan products to use up, and you will see these in future empties posts until I decide I’m no longer comfortable using those products (or until they are all done!).

This was the first year I tracked all of the products I’ve used up, so it will be very interesting to see how I do in 2017. I will continue to document my empties with all of you on the blog, but I will do so seasonally instead of monthly. I felt like my empties posts seemed a bit repetitive sharing them every month.

My new goal for 2017 is to use up 120 empties, or an average of 10 empties per month. I do think this is an achievable goal, as I won’t be switching to a new lifestyle as I did in 2016, and thus can focus on my current stash. I’ve also become much better at only buying what I really need, and only using 1-2 products at a time. I also know that while it’s fun to give myself a specific goal to strive towards, my main focus in doing the #365DaysofEmpties project is to save money and not hoard excess products. I hope to be even better at this going forward!

Did you participate in the #365DaysofEmpties?! Please share how you did in the comments!

Some of the products in this post were originally provided for my unbiased review. This post includes affiliate links. All opinions are my own. See my Disclosure Policy for more information. 

Top 10 Books of 2016!

Happy Monday! Today I am excited to share with you my favorite books of 2016. It was my goal to read 40 books, and I am very happy to announce I surpassed that and read 67 books this past year. My average star rating was 3.65, so it’s safe to say I read some wonderful books and some books that I wouldn’t recommend, too. My top ten list features my favorite reads of the year whether or not they were 2016 releases. I will also be sure to link to my full reviews if you would like more information on any of these books.

10. The Hundred by Kass Morgan [REVIEW] [BUY]

I read the first three books in The 100 series by Kass Morgan this year, and I really fell in love with it. This is a young adult science fiction series, and it follows four teenagers who grew up on a space station after Earth was savaged by chemical wars. Three of our protagonists are sent to Earth to see if it is livable again, while one is still on the space station. I love the survival aspect of this series, and I think Morgan’s writing is really well done. There are so many twists and turns that keep me on my toes, and I always have fun reading these books.

9. When We Collided by Emery Lord [REVIEW] [BUY]

I picked up When We Collided by Emery lord on a whim from the library, and I am so glad I did! This is a young adult contemporary book that follows two main characters, Jonah and Vivi. They meet one summer in Jonah’s hometown, and the book follows their relationship. Vivi is also suffering from mental illness, and we get to learn about how this affects her life on a daily basis. If you are looking for an emotional read, this is a great one.

8. If I Stay by Gayle Forman [REVIEW] [BUY]

Another emotional book I loved this year is If I Stay by Gayle Forman. I was really surprised with how much I adored this book, as it is really short and quite simple to read. This young adult contemporary follows teenager Mia as she decides whether to live or die after getting into a car crash. What I found so impactful about this novel is how we get to meet all of the people in Mia’s life both in the current day and in flashback scenes. It reminded me a bit of The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom in that respect.

7. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin [REVIEW] [BUY]

Next up is a book that I started reading back in 2013, but gave up on until this year. That is A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin! I’ve never watched the television show, and I’ve managed to avoid most spoilers, so it was a huge accomplishment for me to finally finish this book. There are some things I don’t like about this book, mainly the treatment of women and graphic violence, but the characters are so intriguing and the world so rich that I have to continue in the series.

6. The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter [REVIEW] [BUY]

If you are looking for a beautifully written young adult book, I highly recommend The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter. This story follows teenager Cassie as she checks herself out of a mental hospital. Cassie claims her mother put her in the hospital for no reason other than hatred, and that there is nothing wrong with her. I was captivated by this story, and quite impressed with the stunning writing. I can’t wait to see what other books Kletter writes in the future!

5. The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron [REVIEW] [BUY]

Another book that kept me on the edge of my seat this year is The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron. This is a young adult book that takes place in a world where everyone forgets his or her memories every twelve years. The main character is a teenager named Nadia, and she is the only person who has never forgotten any of her memories. With the next forgetting around the corner, Nadia is working to ensure her family will be safe and together when all else is forgotten. Along the way she begins a new friendship with a boy named Gray, and she is afraid he will forget her. I found this story extremely addicting, and raced through this book to find out what would happen!

4. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera [REVIEW] [BUY]

Another young adult contemporary I loved is More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. I was a bit confused for the first half of this book because I felt like there was no point to the story, but once we hit a big reveal I fell completely in love with this book. We follow teenager Aaron Soto, who lives in the Bronx in a near future where there is a procedure called Leteo that removes memories. Aaron is completely against this procedure, but begins to wonder if he should get it. This is an #OwnVoices LGBTQIA+ book, and one that includes a very powerful message. I can’t wait to read more from Silvera, and already pre-ordered his next book!

3. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood [REVIEW] [BUY]

If you enjoy edgy and controversial stories, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood is the book for you! This adult fiction book follows a young girl named Wavy and her much older companion Kellen. Readers follow this couple from the beginnings of their innocent friendship through what becomes something more. This is a book that forces you to think about some of the universal truths about life. I absolutely loved the character of Wavy, and it was heartbreaking yet inspirational to read her story.

2. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany, Jack Thorne, and J.K. Rowling [REVIEW] [BUY]

I still can’t believe that 2016 was the year we got another installment in the Harry Potter series. I’ve been a huge fan of this world for nearly 20 years of my life now, and although the original series did not end the way I would have liked, it was still nice to be in this world once again. Of course, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a script and not a novel, but it was so much fun to preorder a Harry Potter book again and take part in the excitement of a new Rowling release. Many Harry Potter fans despise this book, but I absolutely loved it. If you take it as it is – the script of a stage play – I think it’s quite enjoyable.

1. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven [REVIEW] [BUY]

My absolute favorite book of the year is one I read in January, and that is All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. This is a young adult contemporary about Violet and Finch, two teens who meet on the roof of their school as they are pondering jumping. As you may be able to guess, this is an emotional book that deals with mental illness. While my heart was torn to shreds, I learned so much from this book. It is one I recommend to anyone and everyone, and a book I plan on rereading very soon.

That wraps up my top ten books of 2016! I read some really amazing books this year, and I’m happy that I got to share them with you. If you would like to keep up with my reading, feel free to add me on Goodreads HERE and follow my Bookstagram account HERE. Please share your favorite books of the year in the comments with me as well! I would love to know what reads you recommend.

This post includes affiliate links. All opinions are my own. See my Disclosure Policy for more information.

Top 10 Beauty Products of 2016!

Happy Friday! Today I am excited to share my top ten favorite beauty products of 2016. The products I’m featuring were not necessarily new for 2016, but they are things I discovered and really loved this past year. I decided to group together nail polish, makeup, and skincare for this year’s post, as I focused more on using the products I already own than trying new things. I also transitioned to a vegan lifestyle in June, so I wanted to only feature the vegan products I’ve loved this year. Without further ado, let me share my 2016 favorites with all of you!

10. Tarte LipSurgence in Energy [BUY]

My favorite lip product of the year is this lip gloss from Tarte. The LipSurgence in Energy is really cool because it goes on clear and adjusts to your perfect lip shade. I love how I get a beautiful pink with this lip gloss, and it feels really comfortable on the lips, too. This is a bit expensive, but I highly recommend it because I wear it all the time.

9. LVX in Azzurrum [BUY]

I’ve really loved wearing dark nail polishes this year, especially in the fall months. I reached for an old favorite of LVX in Azzurrum on several occasions, as it is a stunning navy blue. It goes surprisingly well with my fair skin tone, and it matches nearly every outfit. I feel like it even looks nice when I wear a lot of black in the fall.

8. Zoya in Taylor [BUY]

At the other end of the nail polish color spectrum, I fell in love with Zoya in Taylor. This is a warm beige polish, and it is a go to neutral for me. I wore a lot of nail polish this fall, and Taylor was a staple in between all the dark shades.

7. ELF Clear Brow and Lash Mascara [BUY]

One of my daily staples is brow gel, and I’m so glad I found a super affordable option from ELF. For just $2.00, I can get six months worth of brow gel since this product is dual-ended. Plus, it works really well and keeps my brows in place without making them look really stiff. You need to try this if you haven’t yet!

6. ELF Baked Highlighter in Moonlight Pearls [BUY]

Another ELF favorite is the Baked Highlighter in the shade Moonlight Pearls. I was so surprised with how beautiful this highlight is since it only costs $3.00! I wear it regularly, especially on days where I want a natural look. This adds the perfect amount of light to an otherwise one-dimensional makeup look.

5. Hurraw! Lip Balm in Coffee Bean [BUY]

This lip balm has really been a savior these past few months for me. When the winter weather comes along, my lips and skin really dry out quickly. I put this lip balm on at night before I go to bed, and when I wake up my lips feel brand new. Plus, the coffee bean flavor smells absolutely amazing!

4. Zoya in Mallory [BUY]

My last nail polish favorite for 2016 is Zoya in Mallory. I am always obsessed with bright blue polishes, and Mallory is no exception. Of course, this polish has an amazing formula as well, and that encourages me to reach for it from my collection.

3. Yes to Cucumber Soothing Hypoallergenic Face Wipes [BUY]

I also rediscovered the Yes to Cucumber Face Wipes, and I’ve been using them exclusively for the past few months. If you are looking for really gentle wipes that remove all of your makeup, I highly recommend trying out this brand. While it is a bit more on the pricer side at the drugstore, Target often has the Yes to brand on sale on the Cartwheel app.

2. Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Taupe [BUY]

I was on the hunt for a new brow powder, and I splurged on the Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Taupe. I’m so glad I picked up this product! It fills in my brows beautifully, and it looks very natural as well. You also get a lot more for your money with brow powders because they last much longer than pencils.

1. Kat Von D Lock-it Foundation in Light 44 [BUY]

Last but not least, my absolute favorite beauty product of 2016 is the Kat Von D Lock-it Foundation! I purchased this foundation a few months ago, and I’ve quickly become obsessed with it. At first I was a bit underwhelmed, but the more I use it the more I love it. This is a liquid foundation with great coverage, and I personally love its mate finish. I’ve been reaching for it nearly every day I wear makeup!

That wraps up my top ten beauty products of 2016! I’m happy to see a mix of high end and drugstore products, as I feel like that really represents my beauty collection. Please share your 2016 beauty favorites with me in the comments! I would love to know what you are loving so I can try out even more new-to-me products. Happy New Year, everyone!

Some of the products in this post were originally provided for my unbiased review. This post includes affiliate links. All opinions are my own. See my Disclosure Policy for more information. 

5th Annual New Year’s Eve Manicure Contest | Entries & Winner

Happy Wednesday! Thank you to those who participated in my 5th Annual New Year’s Eve Manicure Contest! Today I will be sharing the entries with you and announcing the winner, who was chosen randomly through random.org. If you missed the announcement for this annual contest, you can view the original blog post HERE. I hope all of you had a wonderful New Year’s, and your 2017 is off to a great start!

ENTRIES

Linda: “My New Year’s manicure is China Glaze Ruby Pumps, a beautiful, ruby red with red shimmer flecks. I picked it because it’s a perfect holiday red and the shimmer flecks give it even more of a festive, holiday look.”

Liz: “I have to keep my nails short for work and I’m a busy mom. This year I spent NYE in with the family but still wanted something fun and festive so I grabbed these Incoco nail strips from my stash.”

WINNER

Congrats to Linda! You are the random winner of this year’s contest! I will be in touch with you so I can send along your prize!

Happy New Year, everyone! 

5th Annual New Year’s Eve Manicure Contest!

Happy Tuesday! Today I am excited to announce my 5th Annual New Year’s Eve Manicure Contest! Each year I hold a contest in which you all enter your manicures for a chance to win awesome prizes. This year I’ve changed things around so that it is really easy to enter and anyone can win. Let me share the new rules for the contest and this year’s prize with all of you!

CONTEST DETAILS

This year’s Manicure Contest will be held here on my blog, and not on Facebook as I did in the past. To enter, simply email me a photo of your New Year’s Eve manicure! My email is adventuresinpolishland@gmail.com, and please use the subject “NYE Manicure Contest” so I know you are entering!

Your manicure can be anything at all – nail art, glitter, or just plain polish. For examples of past entries, see these photo albums on my Facebook Page: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012. In addition to emailing me the photo of your manicure, you may send along a short description of your manicure to share why you chose the look for New Year’s Eve.

You have until Tuesday, January 3, 2017, at 11:59PM EST to email me the photo of your manicure. I will upload a blog post on Wednesday, January 4, featuring all of the entries and announcing the winner. This year, the winner will be random. That means that everyone who sends in a manicure and fits the below criteria will have the chance to win this year’s prize! I wanted this contest to be a lot of fun and really simple, so I’ll use random.org to choose a winner from the entries.

Who is eligible to win? While anyone can send me a New Year’s Eve manicure photo to be featured on my blog, only those who have a United States mailing address and are 18 years of age or older, or have parental permission, will be eligible to win this year’s prize.

THE PRIZE

The winner will receive the Rosy Cheeks set from Zoya Nail Polish. This set includes the nail polishes Noah, Courtney, and Tara, and the lipstick in Maxwell. You can see this set in full detail on Zoya’s website HERE.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in a comment or to email me.

I hope you will consider entering my contest! Happy New Year, everyone! 

 

Vegan Christmas Cookie Recipes I’ve Tried & Loved

Happy Tuesday! This will be my first Christmas on a vegan diet, and I wanted to make sure I could still enjoy my favorite holiday sweets with my family. I spent a lot of time scouring the Internet looking for vegan Christmas cookie recipes, and I’ve found three that I absolutely love. All are based on traditional cookies that my family has made since I was a child. It makes me so happy that I can make the cookies I know and love without animal ingredients! I thought I would share the recipes I’ve found with all of you to make your online search a bit easier.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Recipe: My California Roots [LINK]

I absolutely love peanut butter to the point where I eat some nearly every day. I knew I had to make some peanut butter cookies, and found a recipe from the blog My California Roots that seemed pretty easy. I am always on the lookout for recipes that have simple ingredients already in my pantry, and this one fit the bill. While rolling the cookies definitely takes some time, this recipe is very easy. Plus, the cookies are amazing! They are slightly crispy on the outside, but nice and soft on the inside. If you love peanut butter, you need to try this recipe!

Snickerdoodles

Recipe: The Viet Vegan [LINK]

I really wanted to make Snickerdoodles, as they are one of my dad’s favorite cookies. I scoured the web and found a recipe from The Viet Vegan that I really like. I think I overcooked the cookies just a bit, because they got really crispy once they cooled completely. However, they melt in your mouth and taste beyond delicious. I love enjoying these with a nice cup of coffee! Oh yeah – my non-vegan dad approved as well!

Chocolate Crinkles

Recipe: Everyday Vegan Cooking [LINK]

I wanted to round out my holiday baking with some chocolate cookies. My nephew loves chocolate crinkles, so I wanted to have some on hand for when he is visiting. This vegan version is a lot less intensive than traditional recipes, as there is no need to let the dough chill in the refrigerator. I also had a flashback to my childhood as soon as I bit into one of the cookies! They taste so yummy!

I hope you liked hearing about the three Christmas cookie varieties I made this year. I’m glad I was able to find vegan recipes for some of my favorite traditional cookies. It will be so nice to share these with my family this holiday season!

What is your favorite kind of Christmas cookie? Share with me in the comments! 

Dollar Shave Club Unboxing & Review | The Humble Twin

Happy Thursday! Today I’m excited to share an unboxing and review of Dollar Shave Club. I decided to sign up for this subscription service a few weeks ago after hearing great things from friends and family members. Not only was I on the hunt for vegan razors, but I was sick of paying big bucks for razors at the drugstore. I also discovered that many brands charge more for women’s razors even though they are exactly the same as men’s, just with a different packaging design (some info on that HERE). How outrageous is that?! It was time to dump my old blades and go for something new.

Dollar Shave Club Unboxing & Review | The Humble Twin

Dollar Shave Club is a monthly subscription service where you receive razors directly to your door for one low price. I’ve been interested in the service for a while, but decided to sign up once I saw that the brand is vegan with the exception of a few products disclosed on the brand’s website. In addition, you can try your first month for just $1.00, so now is a great time to try out the service! You can sign up using my referral link HERE.

Dollar Shave Club Unboxing & Review | The Humble TwinThe first item in my welcome box is a helpful brochure. One thing I really appreciate about Dollar Shave Club is how user friendly the service is. When you sign up to the subscription you choose from one of three blades: The Humble Twin, The 4X, and The Executive. Then you can decide to add on other products such as shave creams, shampoos, and more. This brochure explains the entire process and includes graphics to make it even easier to understand!

Dollar Shave Club Unboxing & Review | The Humble TwinRight beneath the brochure is my blade handle and the pack of blades. I’ll show you a closer look at each in turn, and share my thoughts on the razor so far.

Dollar Shave Club Unboxing & Review | The Humble TwinI decided to go with The Humble Twin, which is a basic razor with two stainless steel blades. I decided to start out with the cheapest and most basic razor to see how it works. I figured there was no reason to spend more money if this simple razor would work for me! The Humble Twin is $3.00 total per month ($1.00 + $2.00 shipping). Here is what the handle for The Humble Twin looks like. It is a simple blue with silver accents, and has a rubber grip.

Dollar Shave Club Unboxing & Review | The Humble Twin

The Humble Twin comes with five blade refills every month so you can get a fresh shave every week. I love how simple this twin blade is, and I’m very happy to report that it works very well. I was using a razor with three blades prior to this one, and I can safely say The Humble Twin is more effective. It glides over the skin easily and removes all the hair close to the root. I haven’t had any issues with cuts or razor burn since using this razor. The only downfall is that the blade definitely wears out after one week’s use. Thus, you must change the blade every week – don’t try to make the blade last longer.

Dollar Shave Club Unboxing & Review | The Humble TwinThe last item in my welcome box is a sample of the Shave Butter. I used this product and I have to say I’m very unhappy with it. Normally I shave in the shower using my shower gel or soap as a shaving cream alternative and I never have any problems. When I used the Shave Butter, my razor did not glide well over the skin and it felt quite abrasive. I definitely do not recommend this product.

That being said, I am extremely happy with Dollar Shave Club’s service and The Humble Twin razor. I think this is a great way to save on razors and get an excellent shave without having to hunt for bargains at the drugstore. While Dollar Shave Club is primarily marketed towards men, there is absolutely no reason women can’t use these products as well. I’m so happy I finally signed up, and I’ll be sure to share what future boxes from the club look like! Don’t forget you can get your first month for just $1.00 by using my referral link HERE.

Are you signed up to Dollar Shave Club? Let me know in the comments!

Book Review | The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

Published by Scholastic Press on September 13, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Format: ARC

Pages: 403

Source: #BooksforTrade

Goodreads★ 1/2

What isn’t written, isn’t remembered. Even your crimes.

Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person’s memories – of parents, children, love, life, and self – are lost. Unless they have been written.

In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn’t written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.

But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence – before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.

REVIEW

I knew I wanted to read The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron as soon as I heard initial buzz about the book. This young adult story takes place in Canaan, a city in which every twelve years all of the citizens lose their memories. In order to remember anything about themselves, including their names, their family members, and their jobs, people must write down their lives in books that are kept tied to them at all times. Citizens are supposed to write the truth, but more often than not that doesn’t happen. No one would know if it weren’t for Nadia – a teenage girl who has never forgot.

Not only is this concept of the Forgetting extremely fascinating, but the story captivated me from page one. I was extremely addicted to the book, and finished it in a few days because I couldn’t put it down. While I do have a few small criticisms of The Forgetting, my overall enjoyment of the novel greatly outweighs these minor issues. First, there are a lot of recycled concepts in this book that are found in other books within this genre. Luckily, these tropes are used in a new way. Similarly, some parts of the book felt a bit too contrived. There are sections with a lot of telling and not showing that could have used some strengthening.

Other than that, I absolutely loved The Forgetting. The story is one I will be thinking about for a long time. Can you imagine how frightening it would be to wake up one day with zero memories? Yet, at the same time, I can see how others would find this a refreshing new start. I am also very interested in the concept of truth. Even in our own world we have a lot of power in writing our own histories. How do we ever really know what is true?

Moreover, I also really liked how The Forgetting was completely unpredictable for me. The book starts out with a dystopian vibe, and the genre goes in a completely new direction midway through the story. While the book did not follow a trajectory I expected, I was impressed with the turn it took. It’s always great when a book can keep me on my toes right through to the ending.

In addition, we have a great cast of characters in The Forgetting. Our main character is Nadia, and I absolutely love seeing her grow as a person throughout the novel. I also adored the romance that develops between Nadia and Gray. I was never sure whether to trust Gray or not, and that added an element of mystery to the story.

Finally, I think the ending of The Forgetting is really well done. The story gets wrapped up, but there is still room for a sequel if the author gets the opportunity to write one. At this time, The Forgetting is a stand alone book, but I would love to see what happens next in this world. I highly recommend picking up this book. It is extremely fast-paced, quite thought-provoking, and a fantastic adventure.

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