Wednesday, June 29, 2016

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven - Book Review

Hello friends! As I think I mentioned (maybe not) this summer I'm trying to get through a lot of books. I set a goal on Goodreads to get through 40 books this year and I've only finished 9! I'm so behind! But this summer I'm working on catching up.

Today I have another book review for you and if I could give this review a sub-title it would by "The Right Book at the Wrong Time." You'll learn more about why in my review. Heads up, this review gets personal, but I'll try to keep it spoiler free.

Photo Credits: 

SYNOPSIS (from Amazon):

"Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him. 
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink."

This book is so difficult for me to review so I'll start with a checklist then explain why this was one of the hardest books for me to read (which may hint at spoilers so if you don't want anything given away then you can stop reading after the "Anyways..." below).

Good writing? Check.
Relate-able characters? Double check.
Well thought out plot? Check.
Researched material? Check.
Tugs at the heart? Major check. 
So yes, this is an amazing book. Initially after reading it, here is the review I posted on Goodreads (Can I advertise this app enough? My goodness!):

Five star book. I stand by that. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone and not just a soft recommendation, I believe that as time goes on I will shove this book into the hands of everyone I meet. I will read this book time and time again because it is worth it. This is one of the most important books I have ever read and I will force it on all my friends and family. Read it. Just stop reading my blog and read this book now. 

This book can easily be compared to The Fault in Our Stars as far as themes go. I loved TFIOS (the book, never saw the movie) but this one blew it all away. While very similar, Finch and Violet are much more relate-able than Hazel and Augustus Waters (how can you not say his full name, it's awesome). Not just in their situation but they were written as actual teenagers. 

Violet and Finch are very realistic teenagers and are written as teenagers, not overly intellectual showing it was clearly written by an adult, but also not incredibly dumb-ed down showing it was clearly written by an adult... one who seems has a low opinion of teenagers (I'm looking at you, book I'm reading right now). 

I'm such a fan of young adult fiction but get a bit annoyed when it's so clearly written by an adult. All The Bright Places is a smart book with smart characters, but they are a realistic teenage smart, which is something I really appreciated in this book. 

All The Bright Places also has a realistic and easy-to-follow plot. It tells a story in a very clean and concise way. While this is the first book I've read by Jennifer Niven, I believe that this is one of her talents, simply based on her "Twelve Writing Tips" on her website, which I highly recommend reading if you're an aspiring author like I am

There is sometimes a struggle with books like this where there isn't a clear ending you're working towards. Take something like Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, you know where it's headed the entire time and so each new chapter you know it will lead you closer to the ending. A book like All The Bright Places doesn't have an obvious ending it's headed towards. Yes there are hints, but for the most part you're just going along for the ride not knowing what's ahead. 

In many books with this structure, where it's just a story of people's lives rather than a specific "quest", I tend to get bored. A lot of books like this often through in random fluff to help with the word count and it gets monotonous to read. I did not feel this way with All The Bright Places and this book kept me reading. I read this book fairly quickly because I could not put it down. I basically did not sleep while reading this book. Just worked and read. What a life.

I very much enjoyed this book and highly recommend it, BUT it was incredibly difficult for me to read and while I suggest you continue reading the rest of my review, if you want to avoid any and all hints at a spoiler, maybe you should stop now. 


As I mentioned this was also the hardest book I've ever read. The reason for that is that it touches heavily on the topic of teenage suicide and mental health, both of which are things I have personal experience with. 

At the age of 17 I attempted suicide and I can tell you right now that the emotions someone feels during something like that are portrayed incredibly accurately in this book. Suicidal tendencies and mental health is a serious topic and as someone with a personal knowledge of it, this book handled it very well and accurately. 

The problem was not the book. The problem was me. With my depression I have the annoying ability to "absorb" the emotions of people around me. If I'm in an upbeat environment I feel happy and when I'm around people who are sad, I get sad. Basically if anyone cries around me, I'll be crying too. Not to mention already dealing with my own depression, which makes feeling other people's sadness only harder on me. 

When reading this book the same thing happened. I very easily felt the emotions being described in this book. I literally had to stop reading in the middle of the night, pull my husband off the couch where he had fallen asleep, and have him hold me until I could regain control over my emotions. It wasn't about being sad because of what was happening in the book, it was literally feeling what the characters were. And it was terrifying. 

Now I feel so strongly about the importance of this book and if I had read it at a better time in my life I would not have reacted so negatively. But (in case you're new to my blog) I had a miscarriage last November and since then my depression has been at it's absolute worst. Even when I was seventeen and wanting to kill myself I did not feel emotional pain like I have this year. 


This book is perfect. I want to buy it, I want it to be mine, I want to frame it in my home, I want to buy hundreds of copies and send one to each and every one of you, but I should not have read it at this time in my life. 

I finished it about a week ago and I have been recovering since. Part of me wanted to write up this review right away but I was too emotional. And then people spoiled Me Before You to me and I was also angry. Just a mess of emotions really. Still am a bit. Story of 2016 for me. 

Overall I recommend this book so much. I realize that's a weird sentence, but it's 100% true. 

UPDATE: Jennifer Niven replied to my Tweet about this post, so she's basically my new favorite author. Yep.

What were your thoughts on All The Bright Places? Let me know in the comments below! 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Eleanor Washington - Heroes & Villains [B.0.1]

One year ago... 

“Hello Ms. Washington, my name is Albert. I’m an HR rep and I’ll be interviewing you today. So, Ms. Washington, why Bakersfield?”
“Well first, you can just call me Ellie. Second, Bakersfield is a great company. I grew up in this town and I’m proud to have Bakersfield be the center of this city’s economy, as well as the greatest technological production company in the country.”
“You attended Apple Creek University and were at the top of your class in both mechanical and electrical engineering.”
“That’s correct.”
“In your freshmen year you invented a chip insert for keys which linked up to an app to help people find their lost keys. It was a brilliant feat for someone with little experience in the technology field.”
“Thank you.”
“So tell me, Ellie, why would you ever apply for a low level data entry position at our company when you are qualified to enter straight into the technology department?”
“I believe I still have more to learn.”
“How? You have more experience building technology than a few of our top engineers!”
“Maybe I don’t think technological engineering is something that I want to do with my life.”
“Your grades say otherwise.”
“Can I be frank? I have wanted to work at Bakersfield my entire life. I worked hard in college to achieve that. But I’m at a point in my life where I don’t know what I want to do. I want to help people, I want to change the world, but I don’t believe that being in the spotlight as one of Bakersfield’s engineers is something that I want with my life or will help me achieve my life goals. I’ve worked hard for everything I’ve done and it wouldn’t feel right to jump ahead without starting at the bottom. I’m only looking for a job.”
“Ms. Washington, you have incredible references, experience beyond your years, and everything that we look for in our top engineers. Building tech for Bakersfield can help you to change the world.”
“I’m not someone who likes to be in the spotlight.”
“If I’m being frank, I think Brandon Baker would have my head if I sent someone with your background to work in data analysis.”
“Data entry. I applied for data entry.”
“That’s lower than data analysis!”
“Sir, I know it seems a bit unusual, but I’m only looking for a job. Something simple.”
“I can’t in good conscience let you take this job.”
“Albert, it was Albert, right? Look I’ve always been the kind of person to speak my mind. In fact, I came in here prepared to behave, to not ramble the way I normally do. It takes all my willpower to not blurt out the random insane ideas that pop into my head. And yes, sometimes those ideas are productive and create interesting technological things that can help society, but for the most part I’m a mess. I’m unpredictable. Like a bomb with no idea of when it’ll go off. Trust me when I say you don’t want someone like me working high up in this company.”
“But Brandon Baker…”
“Brandon Baker is the CEO of a multi-million dollar company. I don’t think he’ll be concerned with a single employee staying at an entry-level position.”
“Ms. Washington…”
“Ellie. Is there anything I can do to convince you to take a higher position.”
“Entry-level then. Data entry. All it is is typing in numbers. We give this job to some of our own children when they are too lazy to go to college.”
“I’m okay with that.”
“What’s going to happen in a year when you get bored of this job?”
“Well maybe by then I’ll have figured out how I want to help people.”
“I wish you the best of luck Ellie. You deserve more than this.”
“Thank you.”
“One last question. You are aware that Bakersfield has a strict anti-supers policy? Despite being the cause of superpowered human beings in this city, we do not allow anyone with powers to be employed here, as one of our priorities is finding a way to rid the city of these superpowered beings. So, before I can hire you I need you to be completely honest with me. Do you have any superpowers?”
“And you’re not lying?”
“Ms. Washington…”
“Ellie. Welcome to Bakersfield.”


What? What is this? If you're confused, let me explain. This September I will be releasing a series of short stories on my blog called Heroes & Villains. The above segment is an introduction to one of our main characters, Eleanor Washington.

If this story interests you be sure to follow me on all my social media sites so you can find out when new segments are added to the story. But keep in mind, the above segment is not an accurate portrayal of what will be coming. This one has only dialogue. That won't be happening in the future.

Don't forget to let me know what you thought of this story in the comment section below and share it with your friends using #SupersSaturday, yes, it's supers not super. Or #HVSeries. Either one. I'll be checking those two hashtags often so if you post anything with them I will probably like it or retweet it or comment on it and tell you how awesome you are.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Cinder by Marissa Meyer - Book Review

Hello friends! I am so excited to be doing a book review for you guys! I've been trying to get back into the habit of reading, which will hopefully lead into the habit of book club!! Remember my book club? I do, and if you want me to start up again I need your help! Unless I get at least 10 people to join the Dancing Cow Book Club on GoodReads then I will not take the time to do it. So if you want book club, log onto GoodReads and join the club! It'll be awesome and much more planned then previously so let me know if you want it to start up again!

Anyways, today's post is a review on the book Cinder by Marissa Meyer. It is the first book of the Lunar Chronicles and it's kind of awesome. So without anymore chatting, let's get into my review.

Photo Credits:

Don't want to read a review? You can watch a quick two minute review of Cinder on my YouTube channel by CLICKING HERE

Here's a quick synopsis before I get into my review:

Cinder tells the futuristic story of Cinderella. In New Beijing lives a world of androids, humans, and cyborgs. Our heroine, 17 year old Cinder, is one of these cyborgs. As the plague Letumosis moves through across the world, cyborgs are being drafted in to find the cure. And when Cinder is drafted in, they find that there's something special about her, something that could change everything.

I loved that this was a futuristic fairy-tale. Cinderella as a cyborg? Heck yes! That sounds awesome! And it is pretty awesome. Cinder is also a mechanic which I found to be a very unique trait. How many fairy-tale princesses are mechanics? Not any I can think of. The setting is very cool, I personally haven't read any books I can think of that include androids, cyborgs, and people living on the moon... oh yeah, there are people living on the moon. 

There's one particular scene between Prince Kai and Cinder in an elevator that I've honestly read three times now because, yeah, it's kind of hot and amazing. I love reading about budding relationships and page 225, it's a good page. It made me smile. But spoiler alert, they're teenagers, it's not going to be that hot. Get your mind out of the gutter.

I'd say my biggest problem with this book is that I never got fully invested in the characters. It could be a personal thing, but none of the characters really stood out to me and made me fall in love with them. There is also a disadvantage to writing a book based on a fairy-tale. I was just waiting for the announcement of a ball and was not moved in any way when it came. 

I also thought it moved slowly. Marissa Meyer is a fantastic writer and was amazing at descriptions, but there's a point where I don't need play by plays of what hand gestures are being made, I need plot. It was a slow moving plot and I was a little disappointed by that. More importantly, when I finally got truly excited for the story and couldn't put the book down... it ended. There are more books in the series but I was very disappointed that I was only truly interested near the end and had to see it end abruptly. 

Despite my grievances, I highly recommend this book. While it may be able a 17 year old girl, it's not just another young adult novel. This book is so well written. I've been obsessed with YA novels but let's be honest, they aren't all written that well. Marissa Meyer did her research throughout this book and let me see a futuristic world that she created. I think that all ages and all genders can really get interested in this book. 

I recommend this book. It's definitely worth the read and I'm really anxious to read the rest of this series.

What did you think of Cinder? Let me know in the comment section below! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Summer Beauty Essentials!

Rimmel London Stay Matte Primer:
Maybelline New York Facestudio Master Fix Setting Spray:
Maybelline New York Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer:
Maybelline New York Volume Express Mega Plush Waterproof Mascara:
Bath & Body Works “Hello Beautiful” Travel Size Lotion:
Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer:
Batiste Dry Shampoo:
[My Review on Batiste:]
Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray:
My Favorite Sunscreen:
My Favorite Insect Repellent:
(Affiliate links)

What are some of your favorite beauty products for the summertime? Let me know in the comments below!! 

Friday, June 10, 2016

I'm A Trickster

Sometimes I like to trick my work into thinking I'm wearing nice clothes. All you need is to make your hair look nice and then a cardigan, loose comfy tee, stretchy skirt, and comfortable pair of heels looks like you're work appropriate... when really you feel like you're wearing sweats. It's a win-win in my opinion. 

Beneath these photos I'll have some other awesome clothing items that look nice, but secretly are just for comfort... all under $50. And I have nothing else to say, so have a lovely day!! 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Batiste Dry Shampoo - Two Minute Review

I'm obsessed with dry shampoo, especially this one. This past week I went four days without washing my hair and despite how oily my hair can get, it looked fabulous everyday simply because of this product. I'm such a fan. You can learn more and purchase your own Batiste Dry Shampoo HERE.

Remember I am posting a new video every week this summer! So leave your comments below on suggestions of what I should do... because I'm running out of ideas. 

Oh! Also this summer I'm working on reading more books so if you would like me to start up Book Club again you should let me know! Even if I don't, you can keep up with what books I'm reading on GoodReads and through my #bookselfie's on social media. 

Love you guys!! 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

100 Days

Hello my friends! Today I am sharing some exciting news with ya'll! As you probably know by now, I have always wanted to be an author. Since I was like 10 I started writing stories and it's always been my one true passion. But despite writing for so many, many years, I have basically never shared my stories with anyone. Ever. I get so incredibly nervous to share them because they are like a piece of my heart that I've put so much effort into and if I put it out there for the world to see and it gets bashed on and torn apart... well that's just a terrifying thought, which is why I've never done it.

But all of that is changing in 100 days.

I have been hinting at this a lot. (Especially if you follow me on Twitter.) Since the beginning of this year I have been working on a series of short stories for you! The difference between these and my books I write is that these were made specifically for my blog and with my blog readers in mind, which in my head makes them easier to share... though it's still a little terrifying.

Starting September 17th this series of stories will begin going up on my blog. For this first roll-out they will be posted every other Saturday, with a few exceptions. I will be going crazy on social media near release dates so you can know exactly when a new story will be posted, so don't forget to follow me on those to stay up to date with each new story.

These stories are all linked and will follow the same characters throughout. This first roll-out has a total of ten "episodes" but I have plans for future roll-outs that will be posted at an unknown time.

This summer to help hype up this "premier" I will be posting some sneak peeks and prequel type stories to help you get the general idea of what is to come.

If you are an artist and don't mind working for free, I am looking for illustrations to go along with each story. So if you're interested, and want a first look at what I've been working on, then email me at

I am insanely excited to share this with you guys!! I'm also quite scared considering six of the ten episodes are not completed yet. I have 100 days though, we should hope they are all finished and edited by then.

I hope these leads to great things in my writing career and that you all love these stories as much as I do! 100 days you guys!!! 

Follow me on social media:

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Random Thoughts From The Brain of Kaylee

Two nights ago I had a dream that I can't stop thinking about. So here it is.

In the dream we were riding in my sister's car. (Something that had actually happened right before I went to sleep!) But her car had some weird sensor that detected how many people were in the car. This sensor kept saying that there was one more person in the car than there really was.

Because of this, everyone in the car kept telling me, "Kaylee you're pregnant! That's what this means! It knows!" And they kept saying it over and over again. But I kept fighting it. I kept telling them that I cannot be told I'm pregnant, because I would end up not being pregnant and have to go through losing a baby again.

In the dream was so distraught, crying and screaming at them to stop telling me I was pregnant. My dream self was so upset that my real self woke up in the middle of the night. And then I laid there still feeling upset and anxious and unable to forget the dream.

I've known for a long time now that whenever I get pregnant again I'll have emotional issues. I feel like I cannot allow myself to love or even care about my next pregnancy because if I lose that one too I wouldn't be able to handle pain like that again.

It hurts that that's how I feel about pregnancy now. I just can't care like I did last time. I was so emotionally attached to that last one that when I lost my baby it was so jarring and heartbreaking.

Of course after waking up from that dream I began to question if I really was pregnant. I have a tendency of mentally exaggerating certain pains or feelings because I want to be pregnant so badly. My back slightly hurts? It must mean I'm pregnant! That's what my life is like right now and quite honestly it's exhausting.

But on a brighter note, I've hit the point where I know I want to be pregnant, I want this to happen, but I know it's not under my control. So I'm switching my focus over to things that I can control: my weight, my YouTube channel, and my stories. And it's honestly helping.

It sounds a little sad that I literally have to push away any thoughts of getting pregnant, but occupying my mind with other things has been the only thing that helps. Even if it's only for an hour or two.

I've had a rough week and my positivity is at an all-time low. I just keep waiting for this year to turn around and start being good. This has honestly been the worst year of my life, and we're halfway done. I'm praying the last half things will finally start going my way.

I am in a weird state of calm right now though. I think it's more of a numbness. Nothing can hurt me anymore, I'm numb to it all. And I'm just waiting for things to turn around, for me to stop worrying about getting pregnant, hating all those around me who are pregnant, and putting myself down for not being able to get pregnant again quick enough.

It's a hard time for me. But I just keep waiting. And waiting...

 And waiting.

Friday, June 3, 2016

It's Windy On Top Of Cache Valley

I have some terrible photos coming your way!!

So we took these photos at Morty's on their top balcony. Morty's is an amazing burger place. It's on campus and it's all unique and healthy so it's where all the hipster college students hang out, but luckily for us it's now summer, so Cache Valley's supply of hipster college students has depleted.

If you live near the USU campus I highly recommend checking out this place. This trip I had their Sunny Side burger which included a fried egg. It was delicious. They also have amazing French fries... and if you know me I can't resist French fries. But they also have scone fries, which are basically just scones in a dippable format, it's delicious. And another bonus, if you're a fan of the Dole Whips from Disneyland like my husband is, they have them there!! This restaurant is just a big win.

I am obsessed with my shirt in these pictures as well as this jacket. This jacket is old, I got it before I got married, but it's still great and I never want to let it go! The pictures aren't great though because it was cold and windy and we just wanted to go back inside, but the view was amazing!

Shirt: Down East
Jacket: Target
Pants: Walmart
Shoes: Ross

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


This summer I am posting a video every week! I will link them here on my blog so you can check them out, but I would love it if you would subscribe to my YouTube channel as well. That way you can be notified with each new video! 

Link Within

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...