Most Anticipated Books of 2018- Update

At the end of December, I wrote a post about the 8 books I was most excited about in 2018. I have managed to make my way through half of the books on that list, so I thought I’d do a little update on whether or not they lived up to my expectations.

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By The Book- This was the first book on this list that I read. I would say that it almost met my expectations. It wasn’t bad, but looking back, I feel like I wanted a little bit more from it. It didn’t end up being a largely memorable book for me. It was definitely enjoyable, and it wasn’t a bad book by any means. Just with having had high expectations, it wasn’t as good as I wanted.

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The Queen of Hearts- This for sure exceeded my expectations! This is one of my favorite books that I’ve read so far this year. It was different and a page turner and I would highly recommend checking it out.

The Wedding Date- This was the next one on my list, and I would say it met my expectations. Even though this was a highly anticipated novel, I didn’t have extremely high expectations for it. I expected it to be a cute modern romance novel, and that’s exactly what it was. It was an enjoyable read for sure.

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The Way You Make Me Feel- Again, I would say this one met my expectations. I think this was my second most anticipated book of 2018 and that gave it some pretty high expectations to meet, so I think that is still high praise for this book. I had read one of Goo’s other novels in February and enjoyed it immensely, so I think I was also comparing it to that one. Either way, it was a wonderful book.

All in all, the books I was looking forward to have been very solid. I have enjoyed each and every one of these books and have yet to be disappointed by any of them. Of the 4 remaining books I was looking forward to, 3 of them are highly anticipated. The Wedding Date is the number 1 book I am looking forward to and I cannot wait to read it.

Have you had books you read any books you were looking forward to? Have you read any of the books that were on my list?

Play! By Sephora- March 2018

Play! By Sephora is a monthly subscription box by Sephora. It costs $10 a month and you received 5 beauty and skincare samples plus a bouns sample each month. Previously, you needed to put yourself onto a wait-list and wait to receive an email before you could subscribe, as they were rolling it out to limited quantities.

In addition to the products, Sephora includes a booklet that includes information about the product, the brand, and then tips of how to use the products. Also at the back of the book is a Play! PASS. This Pass gives you a complimentary one-on-one session with a Sephora artist as well as an extra 50 Beauty Insider points when you scan the pass at the register with any purchase. If you have the Sephora app, you can also scan the images of the products to learn more about them.

Each month there are one or two products that everyone receives, and then the rest vary on the way you answer your survey. This month’s theme is Festival of Beauty.

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Bobbi Brown Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm (Full-size $68)

A moisturizer that has pearls and lychee extra to help illuminate your skin. It’s a thicker consistency and does have a nice sheen to it. I’m not crazy about the scent, it’s a little medical for me, but I’m excited to try it.

Korres Greek Yoghurt Foaming Cleanser (Full-size $26)

I love Korres so I was very excited to see this in my box. This is a cream to foam cleanser, which is my favorite type of cleanser, and it contains yogurt which is meant to help nurture the skin. It doesn’t have a strong scent which is nice. The ingredients also include honeysuckle which helps to reduce redness!

Supergoop Setting Mist with Rosemary with SPF 50 (Full-size $28)

I’m pretty sure I received this mist in a Birchbox a while back. I don’t typically use SPF 50 so I’m not crazy about that. I know it’s probably not a bad thing to use, I just typically use 30. It’s a decent product, but I will likely give it away.

Stila Stay All Day Eyeliner in Black (Full-size $22)

Another liquid eyeliner. I’m excited to try it because I’ve heard a lot of good things about the stila liner, but I have so many black liquid eyeliners now. Luckily I have a few weddings coming up, so it will be a good one to travel with for special occasions.

IGK Mistress Hydrating Hair Balm (Full-size $29)

I love leave-in conditioners. I am always looking for good ones and I love that this is travel size! The scent is a bit lemony, a bit vanilla cookie-y, which is probably the coconut oil that I’m smelling. It is mean to keep my hair frizz free, so I’m excited to give it a try.

Amika Soulfood Nourish Mask (Full-size $28)

This is the bonus sample this month. It’s the first month that they haven’t sent a perfume as the bonus, and I’m excited. I love the scent of the amika products, so I’m sure I will like this one too. I am not typically a hair mask person, but this one is only 5-7 minutes so I think that’s doable.

Overall, a good box. I’m excited about the hair products and the cleanser. The other three items I’m lukewarm on, but they’re not bad products and I will use them.

Uppercase Reading Challenge Update- Jan-March

Oh my goodness, I can’t believe it’s already the end of March! Where is this year going?

As I mentioned in January, I have decided to participate in the UpperCase Reading Challenge. I am going to complete updates at the end of every 3 months to track my progress. Here are the ones I have met so far.

A book completely out of your comfort zone

Stay With Me By: Ayobami Adebayo

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I picked this book for book club in February, specifically because it was out of my comfort zone. I will preface this by saying that the overall concept, based on the summary, seemed within my realm of comfort, but the cultural side of it was not. Once I started reading, it became more apparent that this book was out of my comfort zone. I did enjoy it, and I’m glad that I read it, but it was hard to enjoy it fully because it was so different from what I read.

A book with diverse characters

I Believe in a Thing Called Love- Maureen Goo

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I found this book because of the cover of Goo’s upcoming novel. I checked it our right before the Olympics, and since the Olympics took place in South Korea, I found it fitting to read a book with a Korean protagonist. I loved all of the characters in this book. I have been trying in general to read more books with diverse characters and this was a great start.

A standalone novel

How to Walk Away- Katherine Center

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I have actually read so many of these the past few months (the above books included), so I decided to pick my favorite of the standalones that I have read the past few months, which is How to Walk Away by Katherine Center.

I received a copy of this book for review and devoured it. It has some Me Before You vibes, but I liked it so much more. The characters were great and the story moved quickly from beginning to end. I highly recommend checking it out when it comes out May 15th.

A book you haven’t read any reviews for

 The Coincidence Makers By: Yoav Blum

Before talking about the book, I thought I’d give a brief explanation of times I read reviews for books. The first reason is that it’s on one of the blogs I read/being talked about on Twitter. These are the books that end up on my TBR as recommendations if the reviews are solid. The second reason is I was asked to review a book and am on the fence after reading the summary. I will check out a few reviews on Goodreads and if they are positive, I will typically accept the book. The third reason is I’m in the middle of reading a book and am not enjoying the story or am having issues with the story, so I read reviews to see if people are having the same issues or if gets any better. The Coincidence Makers was a book I read for review, but was so intrigued by the summary, I didn’t need to read reviews to convince me to accept it. Once I started reading, I was so drawn in that I never felt the need to check for reviews mid-read.

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Those are the four items on the challenge that I have completed in the first quarter of the year. I have 6 more items left in the challenge and will provide another update at the end of June. I have an idea in mind for one of them, but if you have any recommendations for books that could fill the remaining challenges, I would happily accept them!