April 26, 2010

"Finding Paradise" by Michele Ashman Bell

Title: Finding Paradise
Author: Michele Ashman Bell
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Year: 2004
Pages: 249
Plot (from cover):
"Welcome to sunny Cancun. The only problem is that Morgan Rose would rather be sitting at home than hanging out with her best friend's parents in an exotic vacation resort full of couples on romantic getaways. She's decided to perform her Maid-of-Honor duties at Samantha's wedding and catch the next flight back to her predictable life.
Then she meets Justin, the groom's best man. At first she finds him annoying - cute, but annoying. But soon she realizes that there is much more to this good-looking man than his fun-loving exterior suggests. When their brief time together ends, they promise to keep in touch and, more importantly, to meet again six months later to see if their attraction has any lasting possibilities, But time has  away of complicating even the most beautiful beginnings, and Morgan will son be forced to make a difficult decision that could change the course of her life."

When I first started reading this book, the main character, Morgan, really bothered me. I honestly didn't think I could make it through the book. She was completely close-minding, rude, boring, and a total pessimist... she was basically my worst enemy, I can't STAND people like that. Plus, it was your typical cheesy Mormon story line. Maybe it's the fact that I am Mormon so it just sounded cheesy to me, but it really was. 
In the story, Morgan's best friend Samantha, who used to be Mormon but stopped going to church once she met her fiance, Trevor, is getting married on the beach in Cancun. Morgan would rather be at work than on a vacation, she "just didn't agree with their marriage". So she decides to relax a little bit and then head home to San Fransico right after the wedding. Then she meets Justin, Trevor's best man. He's handsome, charming, interesting, but apparently not Mormon. She hardly gives him the time of day because of it (BIGGEST PET PEEVE!). But then they end up spending the day together and things start to change. Morgan is basically the biggest pansy in the entire world and is dead set on never trying new things. But Justin is adventurous and fun and his thrill of life intrigues her, so he talks her into swimming in a cave and hiking up ancient ruins; things she would never do. Spending time with him makes her realize how much she had been missing out in life and something inside her starts to change. 
On the bus ride back to the hotel from all their adventures, Morgan finds out that Justin is indeed Mormon, she had just assumed he wasn't since all of his friends weren't. After that day they end up spending everyday together, she even stays the whole week instead of going home early. He is sweet, and kind, and charming, and best of all adventurous. You honestly can't help falling in love with him when reading, he is pretty much the perfect guy. This was my favorite part of the book, their week spent together in Cancun.
But then the romantic week ends and they go their separate ways; Morgan home to California where she is a librarian, and Justin to Brazil where he is building a new business with the people he spent a lot of time with on his LDS mission. They promise to meet six months later at a restaurant in San Fransico and also to meet as often as possible in between. 
Morgan lives for his emails, and they come everyday if not more. But then several hurricanes and storms blow through Brazil, knocking out power, internet towers, and cell phone service. Justin stays in Brazil to help his friend rebuild their village and get back on their feet. Just when he thinks he can go home to the States, another storm hits, causing him to stay for several more months. All the while, Morgan waits and waits for him to get in touch with her. Then her old boyfriend, Manny, enters the picture. He is a cute guy, very smart and kind and loving. They end up going on a few dates and spending more time with each other, but Justin is always in the back of her mind. She can't figure out why he hasn't gotten a hold of her and she starts to doubt his feelings for her, pushing her closer to Manny.
She has a huge decision to make and really struggles making up her mind. It seemed like everything in her life was pulling her one way, while her heart was taking her in the complete opposite direction. 

This book was all about finding who you are and living life to the fullest. It was also about following your heart and facing tough decisions head on. 

In all honestly, I actually liked this book. It gave me hope that someday I'll find someone like Justin, because he was basically everything I have ever wanted in a guy. I have to admit, Morgan really bugged me a lot of the times. I know that if she were a real person we would not get along at all, but it was really neat to see her character grow from the boring, predictable, stubborn pushover into an independent, fun, daring, take charge kind of person.

My Grade: A-


Next time!

April 25, 2010


My deepest hopes are that I will live happy, and die happy.
That I'll never stay the same, 
because we were never meant to belong to one place for long.
To take risks because they make for great stories.
To learn things I'll end up forgetting anyways.
To always be associated with something that makes people laugh.
To travel to far off places and see life through different eyes.
To love, forgive, and love some more.
To learn something new about myself everyday.
To accept things I can't control.

What are your deepest hopes?

April 20, 2010


... make the most of it.

April 18, 2010

'L.A. Candy' & 'Sweet Little Lies' by Lauren Conrad

Title: L.A. Candy
Author: Lauren Conrad
Publisher: HarperCollins
Year: 2009
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Pages: 336
Plot via

"Los Angeles is all about the sweet life: hot clubs, cute guys, designer . . .everything. Nineteen-year-old Jane Roberts can't wait to start living it up. She may be in L.A. for an internship, but Jane plans to play as hard as she works, and has enlisted her BFF Scarlett to join in the fun.
When Jane and Scarlett are approached by a producer who wants them to be on his new series, a "reality version of Sex and the City," they can hardly believe their luck. Their own show? Yes, please!
Soon Jane is TV's hottest star. Fame brings more than she ever imagined possible for a girl from Santa Barbara—free designer clothes, the choicest tables at the most exclusive clubs, invites to Hollywood premieres—and she's lapping up the VIP treatment with her eclectic entourage of new pals. But those same friends who are always up for a wild night are also out for a piece of Jane's spotlight.
In a city filled with people chasing after their dreams, it's not long before Jane wakes up to the reality that everyone wants something from her, and nothing is what it seems to be.
L.A. Candy is a deliciously entertaining novel about what it's like to come of age in Hollywood while starring in a reality TV show, written by a girl who has experienced it all firsthand: Lauren Conrad."

I read this book when it first came out last summer and I absolutely loved it! The Hills was one of my favorite shows at the time and Lauren was my favorite person on it. Sure, a lot of it may have been staged, yada yada yada! But I thought it was so interesting being able to look into someone else's life, especially when they lived such a different life then the one I live.
Although I loved the show and really liked Lauren, when I found out she was writing a book, I was a little apprehensive about reading it. It really bothers me when people use their fame to get famous in other areas, like how every Disney Channel star has to have an album. I was afraid that if I read her book I would be really disappointed. But despite my fears, I read it anyways. It completely surpassed my expectations.
The plot was very well thought out and none of the characters were under-developed. Sure, it was very, very similar to some of the things that happened on The Hills, but Lauren found a way to make it a little different and threw her own spin on things. A lot of people gave her crap for writing something so close to her own life, but hey, some of the best stories come from what you know, right?
This book was about two best friends, Jane and Scarlett, who move to LA after high school. One night they decide to go to a club to experience typical LA life. After waiting in line for what seemed like forever they finally got in and ended up being spotted by a TV producer who asked them if they would want to audition for a reality show. Jane was all for it, Scarlett, not so much, but they went to the auditions anyways and ended up being chosen along with two other girls (Madison and Gabi) to be on the show. They were suddenly in the spotlight with all of the glitz and glamour that fame provides.
Life was amazing for the girls, but being famous has it's downsides. They soon realize that being famous allows no privacy and trusting the people around you becomes all the more difficult. When Jane gets in over her head with her new boyfriend Jesse (and his best friend Braden), things get really messy fast. 

I honestly couldn't put this book down, it was that good. 

L.A. Candy ended with quite the cliffhanger and I knew that there had to be another book coming soon. I couldn't wait to get my hands on it.

Title: Sweet Little Lies
Author: Lauren Conrad
Publisher: HarperCollins
Year: 2010
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Pages: 309
Plot (from cover):

"Jane Roberts was the average girl next door until she and her best friend, Scarlett Harp, landed their own reality show, L.A. Candy. Now the girls have an all-access pass to Hollywood's hottest everything. But their's more to life on camera than just parties and shopping...

When racy photos of Jane are leaked to the press, she finds herself at the center of a tabloid scandal. She turns to her costar Madison Parker for help, unaware that Madison is scheming behind the scenes. She might be Jane's shoulder to cry on, but does Madison really have Jane's back?

Scarlett's working on a scandal of her own. She's fallen for someone who's strictly off limits - which means Scarlett has a big secret to keep... from the L.A. Candy cameras, the paparazzi staking out her apartment, even from her best friend.
Of course, nothing stays secret for long for the stars of the newest hit TV series, and all this drama couldn't be better for ratings. But can Jane survive another season in the spotlight?"

The second book in Lauren Conrad's trilogy was just as good as the first. I loved this book just as much as L.A. Candy! Despite being about young Hollywood starlets, this book was very relatable. It was all about friendships, trust, relationships, learning to live with what's dished out to you, and making the most out of every situation despite the odds. 
The relationship between Jane and her best friend Scarlett takes a turn for the worst in this book, and amid all the chaos and confusion that fame brings, the girls take a journey that they never thought they would have to take.
It was really interesting to see how each character changed with the sudden stardom. It made me realize how hard it would be to hold on to who you are while the whole world is watching your every move. Especially when what's on camera can be so easily manipulated into what the TV producers want, making someone as brutally honest and hard as Scarlett look like the sweet and innocent, quiet type.
This book was all about focusing on what really matters, not worrying about what others think of you, and following your heart.

I would definitely recommend these books! Especially if you watched The Hills; I found it very entertaining to pick out which characters in the book were based off of other characters in the show. 

On a side note, L.A. Candy is going to be made into a movie and should be coming to theaters in 2012! (You know a books got to be good when they put it on the silver screen!) Also, her third and final book in the L.A. Candy series, Sugar and Spice, should be coming out this August!

My Grade: A


Next week!

April 15, 2010

Life Lesson #15

April 13, 2010

Beauty on the Cheapo

Being pretty can be expensive. I was at Rite Aid the other day, walking down the cosmetic aisle and stumbled upon a tube of mascara that was sixteen dollars! What? Definitely not cool. 

I'm all for the cheapo, so I thought I would share some inexpensive beauty tips I have learned and love. 

1. Egg White Mask
Simply crack open an egg (but leave out the yolk!) into a bowl, and then wipe it on your face. Simple as that. Don't put it on your lips or eyelids because when the egg white dries, it gets really hard and you won't be able to talk or open your eyes. Leave it on for 10-30 minutes (the longer the better!) and then wash off with cool water. Wala! You have super tight, flawless looking skin! It is also great for helping get rid of acne, redness and scarring. 
To make things more interesting, you can add a bit of honey, oats, lemon juice, or milk. Personally, I just like using the egg white. When you're done, cover up the bowl and put it in the fridge. You can use for 3-4 days after, but I would get rid of anything left over after that.

2. Redness Reducer!
I think this has happened to all of us... you wake up one morning to find an huge unsightly red blemish in the most obvious place it could possibly be on your face. And no matter how much foundation or concealer you use, you can't seem to cover it up. Solution? Eye drops for red eyes! Weird I know, but all you do is put a drop on your finger and then dab it on the blemish. Let it set for a few minutes and before you know it, the redness will go away and the pimple will be MUCH less noticeable. You can buy a little bottle at your local drug store for under $2! Just make sure you buy the kind for REDNESS, not allergies or dryness or anything else.

3. Shiny Hair is Sweet!
Warm up about 1/3 to 1/2 a cup (depending on hair length and thickness) of honey in the microwave until its runny and hot. Not too hot though, because you'll be putting it in your hair and you won't want to scald your scalp. Take it with you to the shower and just let it sit for a minute while you wash your hair with shampoo. Then towel dry your hair until its not dripping anymore and pour the honey over your hair, working it through the ends and making sure you cover every strand. Since this can get a bit sticky, I like to get a plastic grocery bag and wrap it around my hair (don't cover your face... obviously) and then use the handles to tie it. Then go do whatever for 10-15 minutes while the honey soaks your hair. When the time is up, get back in the shower and wash out the honey with lukewarm or cool water. Make sure you wash it all out or else it will dry in your hair and then it will be really hard to get out. You can follow with conditioner if your hair tends to be on the dryer side. It leaves your hair super soft and super shiny! 
 You can also do this on dry hair, I tried it once and it was a bit more difficult to work the honey through, but works just the same.

3. Mayo Hair Mask
No, I'm not kidding. Mayonnaise is great for dry hair. Just take about 1 cup and work it into your dry hair and scalp. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes and then follow with shampoo and conditioner. This tends to be a bit smelly, so use a strong shampoo flavor after. The fat in the mayo restores moisture to your hair and makes it super soft as well.

What are some of your beauty secrets?

April 12, 2010

Fresh Air

April 11, 2010

'Princess of the Midnight Ball' by Jessica Day George

Book review number one! Wohoo!
Now that I work at a library, I am accosted by flashy book covers on a daily basis and tend to cave into their alluring ways. So I have decided to start sharing which books I like (or don't like, although I tend not to read the whole thing if I find it boring) and share what I thought about it with all of you. My goal is to read a book a week and make these posts every Sunday. Here we go!!
photo via
Title: Princess of the Midnight Ball
Author: Jessica Day George
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Year: 2009
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Pages: 272
Plot (from cover): 
"Princess Rose is the eldest of twelve sisters condemned to dance each night for the wicked King Under Stone in his palace deep within the earth. It is a curse that has haunted the girls since their birth - and only death will set them free.
Then Rose meets Galen, a young soldier-turned-gardener with an eye for adventure and a resolve that matches her own, and freedom suddenly begins to seem a little less impossible. To defeat the king and his dark court, they will need one invisibility cloak, a black wool chain knit with enchanted silver needles, and the most critical ingredient of all -true love."

I'm pretty much a sucker for any story containing princesses, magic, and handsome prince charmings, so I was excited to read this book. I had never heard of this particular fairy tale (The Twelve Dancing Princesses) so I was really interested in learning the story.

The concept of this novel was a really great idea, but I don't think the author quite got there. It lacked a lot of detail and often left me bored and confused at the same time.

When I find a book that I like, I tend to put everything down to finish it because I am so anxious to see what happens next. This book... not so much. It took me a little more than a week to get through this one (an eternity when I read considering it only took me a day to both the fourth and fifth Harry Potter in 24 hours.) I didn't become very attached to the characters and the plot just wasn't that exciting.

Jessica Day George really could have made this into a really great story, but the lack of details and explanations left me feeling so-so. It wasn't bad, just not the most interesting book I have ever read.
My Grade: C+

Next week I'm reviewing two books. I read the first one a while ago and thought it would be lame to review the sequel without the first one. They are by Lauren Conrad from MTV's The Hills.
photos via

April 8, 2010

Call me a 'Disney Freak'

Last night I stayed up until 3... why, you ask? Because I was downloading every Disney song you could possibly ever imagine, that's why. I was nearly at song 100 when I decided I should probably go to bed. Needless to say, me and RayCray blasted these songs in the car all the way to school. I have been nothing but smiles all day.

Adding to this tale: I got an email the other day from my good friend Catherine. She sent me the link to this blog and a post that had all of these totally amazing Disney pictures! I was floored. I decided to copy her idea and post them on here because I think they are A-MAZ-ING! Can I just say that I am majorly craving a trip to Disneyland right now?
Photos via.

You like?

April 6, 2010

This day...

Yesterday was one of those days that I was set to autopilot. I rolled out of bed, got ready for the day still half asleep, drove to school without thinking, didn't pay any attention in class, then went to work in a daze. Nothing special happened. Probably because I wasn't even aware of what was going on around me. 

Today I promise to open my eyes and see the beauty that is everyday life. I don't want to think back on what I accomplished each day and not remember anything... Just another day wasted.

Here are 17 ideas to to make today AWESOME!:
1. Have a deep conversation with a stranger.
2. Crack out a coloring book and crayons and have at it!
3. Go for a walk somewhere you've never been before.
4. Dress up in something crazy and have a dance party in your kitchen.
5. Send someone flowers anonymously.
6. Make little notes of encouragement and leave them places people will find them. (Library books, car wipers, restaurant menus, bathroom mirrors, etc.)
7. Take a Zumba class. 
8. Wake up at dawn and watch the sunrise.
9. Make smores over you toaster.
10. Watch your favorite movie in a different language.
11. Forget walking, skip!
12. Go to the nearest Hobby Lobby or any other craft store and spend no more than $10. Then make something to decorate a room in your house.
13. Make cookies and give them to your neighbor.
14. Buy a pet goldfish and give him the silliest name you can think of.
15. Paint or draw your self portrait.
16. Go out to eat and pick your meal by closing your eyes and pointing at the menu.
17. Volunteer for charity.

What are some things you do to make each day special? 

April 3, 2010

April Obsessions

I promised... here it is!

Forever 21


They have the CUTEST stuff and it's always super cheap... I'm a loyal customer. They sell everything you could ever need right in one spot. A HUGE store opened up at a mall in my city and walking in is extremely overwhelming, you could spend days there... not even kidding. Bet you can't guess the first place I go to when I get my paycheck? ;] Here's the link to their site! 

2. Books!
Working at a library may have some influence over this particular obsession, but I just love to read. When I'm shelving books I always spot books that look really interesting and I set them aside for myself to check out later. I have only worked at this library for two weeks, but so far I have read a few books. 
When you read, it's like going on vacation without ever really leaving. It doesn't cost anything, and you get to see the whole world! Of course, it's not exactly like the real thing, but it makes me want to see the world for myself. 
I'm going to start a new blog topic where I'll suggest books I read. I just barely finished this book, which honestly wasn't that great (It was like Twilight but with a genie.) Right now I am reading Forest Born by Shannon Hale, which is one of the books in her Goose Girl series, which is my third favorite series aside from Harry Potter (of course) and The Uglies Trilogy (Uglies, Pretties, Specials) by Scott Westerfield.  Some other good books definitely worth the read... The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Host by Stephanie Meyer, Notes From a Spinning Planet - Ireland by Melody Carlson, all of Dan Brown's books (DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons, The Lost Symbol)... etc. 

3. Pandora
Tired of your iTune's playlist? Go to Pandora and you will learn to love music all over again! Just type in your favorite band or song into the "Create a Station" box and it will instantly make a station that plays songs that are similar. It's awesome! I have found SO many new bands through this site. You can also shuffle together several playlists when you're feeling a little crazy. What's on my shuffle list? Jack's Mannequin, Spa Radio, Keith Urban, Lady GaGa, Elvis Presley, Muse, Anberlin, SafetySuit, Top 40, Imogen Heap, and these guys...

4. Carolina Liar
Their music is amazing... amazing doesn't even cover it really. I saw them last Spring in concert and fell in love. Even if I'm having the worst day ever, I just turn these guys on and it's like all my worries melt away. I tried to post a playlist with all my favorites but it wouldn't work :[ So I just picked my favorite out of all of them... enjoy!

I saved best for last...

5. Gerard Butler!!
Yup... this pretty much doesn't need explaining, but I'm going to anyways. Whew, I think I need to open a window in here cause it got really HOT all of a sudden. Dear Gerard tends to do that. I don't know if it's those piercing blue eyes of his or that Scottish accent! Oh man, I just don't even have words right now. Yeah, he may be like 41 but SO WHAT! I don't care!
I went and saw Bounty Hunter with this lovely girl last weekend which wasn't nearly enough Gerard to curb my craving. The movie was awesome, loved it! Then this weekend I watched P.S. I Love You with this other lovely girl... fell in love all over again! We were both crying our eyes out. Then I had a girls night tonight with my mom and sister and watched it again. My goodness I just love this guy.


My WiFi here at home has been down for a few days. Naturally, me being the internet addict that I am, have been checking every chance I get to see if it would kick back up again. And hurray! It finally works! I have been wanting to do my April Obsessions, but now that it's up I'm so excited that I completely forgot all of the things I was going to talk about! Woops! I'll start working on it now and hopefully get that up later tonight or tomorrow morning. Love you all! :] Happy Easter!