One of Us Is Next: Bayview High Book II

Books, Entertainment

How’s that new blog schedule going? Terrible 😛 I have just been incredibly lazy lately, I literally cannot sleep enough even though I’m in bed by 8 most nights. Well, aside from one night where I decided that I would check out the Star Wars saga and stayed up until 3 AM. I can now say that I have watched these movies at the ripe old age of 33. You heard me, I had never seen a single one but they were OK if a little light on plot. Anyway, this post was supposed to be my January To Be Read but it’s already mid-January and I’ve read most of my picks. Instead, I will share my thoughts on the wildly anticipated sequel to the YA novel One of Us Is Lying which I really enjoyed. Now, I’m almost middle-aged and don’t dabble too much into this genre because of the corny high school scenarios but the plot of both books is pretty shocking and twisted for a YA novel which I appreciate.

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This book picks up where the first left off, there’s drama at Bayview High again and this time, the stakes are deadly. The main characters from the first installment have gone off to college, started lives of their own but still share an unbreakable bond after the death of one of their schoolmates, Simon. He ran a gossip app that tormented and entertained the population of Bayview, in his absence some have tried to rekindle the popular gossip forum without much success. That is until an anonymous schemer kicks off a game of Truth or Dare exposing the darkest secrets of the students.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the author brought back some of the main characters from the first one but also fleshed out a few of the supporting characters that we didn’t know a lot about. The story is told from different points of view, the main characters this time are Phoebe, Maeve and Knox whose lives are somewhat already intertwined before they become the focus of the Truth or Dare game in one way or another. I like this narration style but it can be hard to follow each story line which is why I will most likely give this one a second read. As the story picks up towards the end, I found myself losing track of small details. The game kicks off with the anonymous texter exposing Phoebe for sleeping with her sister’s boyfriend which starts a rift between the sisters who are already under strain after the death of their father. Then Knox is exposed for an unfortunate performance during what was supposed to be he and Maeve’s first time. The game turns deadly though when a fellow classmate Brandon falls to his death after deciding to take the seemingly lesser high risk dare option. You’d think that everyone would tell their parents what was going on at this point but in true teenage fashion, they don’t. Problems only escalate when the anonymous texter tries to bomb a rehearsal dinner. Yeah, apparently high school students know how to build bombs and aren’t afraid to use them. Knox and Maeve save the day and we find out that the most unlikely student was involved with the anonymous bomb maker and Brandon’s death.

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It’s really a sad story all around, all of the kids involved have had their lives ruined by some family tragedy. There’s a weird feeling of revenge not being the answer but also thinking that some people deserved what they got. Then, when you find out who was really behind the whole ordeal, it just gets even sadder. After I read these types of books, it always makes me wonder if these things are really happening in schools or if it’s just the author embellishing the sometimes irrational actions of the American teenager. Not to get real dark here but in light of some of the violence that has happened in our schools, some of these events really wouldn’t even shock me. I enjoyed the pace of the writing, the characters are fun if a little moony at times and apparently none of these kids had any homework…or parents around to pay attention to what they are doing. Even if you aren’t into the whole YA genre (which I’m not) I would still recommend both Bayview books as pretty decent thrillers. I also like the writing style of the Author, Karen M. McManus and plan to check out her recent standalone novel.

Have you read either of these, let me know what you thought!

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Blogmas Day 17: Winter To Do List

Blogmas - 2019

So, I’m cruising into work this morning and there’s a Catholic church right before my turn, they have one of those enormous marquee signs out front. Usually it just has some corny Christian humor on it but today it said, Have you been to confession lately? Which made me feel immediately guilty because I haven’t been in quite awhile. Also though, I’ve been living the life of a saint for well over a year now. Alcohol – who is she? Physical relations – I don’t know her. The closest I’ve been to a man in the last year is at work and let me tell you, it’s slim pickings and they might all be married but I digress. That’s the Catholic in me though, even when you aren’t doing anything sinful, you still have to go tell a priest about it because it’s a sin not to. Needless to say, I’m going to mass tomorrow night.

As mentioned in an earlier post, we’ve had about 20 inches of snow and temperatures well below zero over the last couple of months. It feels like winter but it doesn’t even start until December 21st so I have plenty of time to get some things checked off my list.

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Most of these things, I do every year but some of them are new things that I would like to try. I love doing things around the apartment during the winter; tidying, cleaning, organizing and just enjoying my home. I have never been to a full day spa treatment but I think that’s what I am treating myself to for my birthday and my snowboarding trip. Let me know what’s on your to do list this winter, thanks for reading!

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Another Fall Tag P. II

Blogoween

Are ya’ll ready for Christmas yet? I think Mall of America decorates the first week of November and I am really looking forward to it this year. There is a local restaurant that I am dying to check out, they have decorated the entire establishment in 50’s holiday kitsch and changed their menu with all kinds of retro recipes. Now, the 50’s weren’t good to the vegans but I still want to check out the decorations. I feel as though, November is really just pre-December, aren’t we all skipping past Thanksgiving and getting ready for Christmas? Maybe that’s why I feel that fall goes so fast, I skip right over November anyway 😛 This will be my last tag post for the season and then I’ll do some favorites or recipes or something.

Shelldon Regular

Turtlenecks and the corduroy this year are blowing my mind! I saw the chicest pair of corduroy culottes at Zara recently and wanted them desperately but since I am 5 foot nothing, they just looked like really wide-legged pants on me.

Shelldon Regular

The same music I listen to year round, I don’t really have seasonal playlists.

Shelldon Regular

Neither, I have these headband/ear warmer things that I wear. Yes, I know that all of the heat is leaving off the top of my head up I can’t stand hats.

Shelldon Regular

Relief, in the boujee suburb that I work, the residents are waging a war on geese. I won’t get into it but the methods to control the population are cruel. Then, what’s even more hilarious is that the same people complaining about the geese want the coyotes removed. Not realizing the if nature was allowed to take its course, the coyotes would pick the geese off, naturally controlling the population and wouldn’t be wandering the neighborhoods looking for food. When I see the geese leaving, I feel tremendous relief that they will survive another season without Yoga Pants Betty and Patagonia Vest Steve murdering them.

Shelldon Regular

Usually but I also have to clean my oven and there is nothing I detest more than having to clean the oven. I hate the smell of oven cleaner and I’ve used various other cleaning solutions on it but they don’t work as well. It’s a disgusting job, I hate it and so I have not baked anything yet this year. Plus, the first batch of anything after you clean the oven tastes like poison.

Shelldon Regular

Soups of any kinds, roasted brussel sprouts, mac & cheese.

Shelldon Regular

Yes, any time of year. I’m reading a really good book right now about the most haunted city in the South – it’s so good.

Shelldon Regular

Probably candles but closer to Christmas, I will have both out.

Shelldon Regular

Nope, Halloween then straight to Christmas.

Shelldon Regular

So, here’s the deal – do you recall things tasting more intense when you were a child or at least up to like you turned 25? My favorite tea used to be cinnamon and cardamom, like the most intense, spicy flavor – I had a cup a couple of weeks ago and it was so weak! It was a new bag too, I’m so disappointed. Anyway, the store where I purchase my loose teas had some other fall’ish flavors and I will give them a whirl but I’m disappointed. Is this aging? Everything tastes bland so you just stop eating.

Shelldon Regular

Yes, but not the fun, plaid-wearing version. I’ve had to harvest pumpkins before and it’s a nightmare. You feel like you got hit by a truck the next day and for many days after. I prefer strolling into the grocery store and purchasing pumpkins that someone else harvested. It’s all fun and games until you have to pick 500 pumpkins.

Shelldon Regular

Pumpkin chili or pumpkin breads are my favourite.

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Karma Kream.

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Whichever one most hides the fact that my lips are chapped.

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Apple, pumpkin pie always reminds me of baby food in a crust. Gag.

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And all at once, summer collapsed into fall. – Oscar Wilde

For me, fall has always happened in an instant when you step outside and the air isn’t thick and stagnant anymore, the birds are quiet, you feel a collective urgency as all the creatures start preparing for winter – it’s like someone snapped a finger and it’s finally fall.

That’s it – I hope you enjoyed, what fall things have you been up to recently? And be honest, are you already preparing for Christmas 😛

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31 Nights of Halloween: The Shining (1980)

31 Nights of Halloween

Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of King’s The Shining is pretty good if you haven’t read the book but also totally sucks if you have. He left out the most hair raising parts and instead went for shock value. It leaves out my absolute favorite part of the book where the giant topiary animals start to surround Jack outside of the weird maze on the property. But of course kept in the decayed, old lady corpse. Anyway…

Jack Torrance, a failing writer, his wife Wendy and son Danny are headed to a secluded inn that’s closing for the off-season. They will be looking after the property with no access to the outside world. Of course, the inn is haunted and weird things start happening. Unfortunately for Danny, he possesses the shining which allows him to see into the inn’s tragic past. Jack’s sanity and sobriety quickly deteriorate putting his family in danger.

I just don’t love this adaptation, the only element that somewhat redeems it is the atmosphere of the hotel Kubrick used. Which, is not the Stanley Hotel that the book used but still plenty creepy. I think it’s more accurate to say that the movie is influenced by the book but if you haven’t read it, you probably wouldn’t know the difference and it’s a decent movie otherwise.

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October To be Read!

Blogoween

Admittedly, this list may be a little ambitious but this is the time of year that I love getting into bed and cracking into a new (e)book. I have to say that using the Kindle doesn’t feel nearly as cozy as an actual book but it sure is easier on the eyes. I don’t know if having millions of books right at my finger tips is a good or bad thing though 🙂

We Should All be Mirandas by Chelsea Fairless and Lauren Garroni:

Little known fact, I am a huge Sex & the City fan, Carrie was my least favorite and in my opinion, pathetic character throughout the entire series. Miranda was hands down my favorite character and not just because she’s a fellow ginger. She was independent, successful, didn’t need a man but still chic, classy, feminine – I just adored her. I am excited to see her star in a book all of her own and can’t wait to read it.

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I Love the Bones of You by Christopher Eccleston:

The most underrated and overlooked Doctor, in my opinion. A fantastic actor all-around and looking forward to learning more about him.

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The Nanny by Gilly Macmillan:

Did the nanny just up and leave or did she get murdered?

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Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne

This could be cheating, I’m already half-way through this book and it is pretty brutal. I don’t read a lot of Native American History books written by Caucasians, I find them less interesting but Sam Gwynne is a fantastic journalist and author who really does his research.  This book chronicles the decades long war between the Comanche Tribe and settlers.

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Inside Out: A Memoir by Demi Moore:

Who doesn’t want to read this one?! Again, not a celebrity that I know a lot about but have always watched and enjoyed in films and interested to know more about!

Inside Out

So, I mean, that’s only one book each weekend 😛 Have you read any of these, what’s on your list?

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Best of May

Monthly Favorites

I can’t believe it’s June, spring sprung seemingly overnight after weeks of cool, rainy weather. I love the rainy weather but it’s nice to see the sun shining and we’re well on our way to Halloween 👻 My deck is almost summer ready, I spent too much time and money in IKEA last weekend. I had this fantastic idea to change my master bathroom from beige to white because I love hotel bathrooms. Clean ones, that is with white towels and that subtle bleach scent. What I didn’t realize is that they get cleaned everyday, I’m pretty clean but it’s misery so far 😂 I’ll post about my deck decor sooner than later. Anyway, here are some items that I was loving in May.

For the last year I’ve been trying to switch to natural deodorant, most of them have given me a rash. I picked this up recently and love it so far. It has a light, floral scent – not too rosy but just pleasant enough. The consistency is on the wet side but very moisturizing and dries down to nothing. It’s made my armpits so soft and cleared up the rash in no time. It’s on the expensive side but all of these natural deodorants are.

My skin tends to get congested as soon as the weather starts to heat up, this is a seasonal favorite since it dries my skin out too much during the winter. It’s a mild acid that keeps my back and chest clear. It smells funky like fermented fruit but it works and it’s pretty affordable.

This is one of those blue light therapy devices. It’s supposed to help kill bacteria and I could be nuts but I think it’s working. I had to stop taking oral contraceptive due to starting another medication so I’m getting some hormonal spots but I swear this is knocking them out. My skin is almost back to where it was before my change in meds. I use it for about 15 minutes each night, focusing on different quadrants. I like it because I’m not adding another chemical to my routine. I purchased this from my dermatologist but Amazon sells the exact same one.

Nature’s Bounty recently released a line of skin vitamins, I picked up this one and the moisture one. I really think that my overall skin feels firmer and smoother. I’m also trying the moisture one but can’t say that my skin feels any less dry than usual.

One day, whilst feeling sorry for myself, I ordered a bunch of Charlotte Tilbury because no brand makes me feel prettier 😝 These are the daily go-tos so far. The Peachgasm is this glowy, liquid blush that’s perfect for making pasty skin look flushed and glowy. The cream shadows in Rose Gold and Star Gold are easy to smudge on and go. Her entire summer collection is stunning.

And because I’m a total blush whore, this peachy Burt’s Bees blush has been my ‘bronzer’ of late. I like a bronzer that’s on the redder side because it looks more natural for me to be a bit burnt than actually tanned 😂 I love this formula, not terribly pigmented but easy to build and blend.

I cannot get enough true crime as of late! Yes, I purchased some books but I’m on the hunt for an e-reader. I’m also hooked on the My Favorite Murder podcast and Buzzeed Unsolved: True Crime series on YouTube. I thought the Netflix Ted Bundy movie was pleasantly tame while still being super creepy. Finally, I cannot wait for Stranger Things season three and recently binged the first two seasons. What have you been loving recently?

These goslings were also a fave this month, look at how fat they are! There are spring babies all over the place, it’s lovely. Let me know what you’ve been up to!

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A Week’s Review

Random

What an odd week, I thought Wednesday was Monday which should have been a pleasant surprise when I was actually two days ahead but it pretty much set the tone for the rest of the week. Let’s get to the shit part, I missed Elton John – the fact that I had two tickets to a once in a lifetime show totally slipped my mind because I was helping someone else deal with life bullshit. I cannot express how sick and tired I am of putting someone else’s needs and wants before my own and getting burned. I feel like every friendship or relationship that I find myself in, I’m giving and giving and getting nothing. Is it really anyone’s fault? No, I should have written it down but one would think they’d remember that they had tickets to fucking Elton John. I’m still so bummed.

I started doing pilates on Monday, I’ve taken the same yoga class for years and was feeling a bit bored so I swapped my classes. I don’t know if I love it, the yoga class had a more chill vibe and the pilates group makes me feel a little old and off trend. I’ll give it a couple more weeks, I like that I am sore in new places, I think I was getting a little complacent with yoga.

I found a new favorite recipe that is super easy for week nights and makes a ton of food so that I can take it for lunch too. It’s just an enchilada type bake, I botched the first batch because I only had red quinoa on-hand and there’s definitely a distinct difference in flavor. I found it surprisingly hard to find a vegan enchilada sauce but ended up really loving the brand that I found. I’ve been reading a lot about intuitive eating, it’s all about rejecting diet culture and it’s supposed to be a good approach for dealing with eating disorders. Even though I don’t actively have an eating disorder, food is always on my mind and I find myself dieting or restricting my diet out of habit. This approach is all about eating when you’re hungry, eating what you want and stopping when you’re full – which seems so simple but also feels like I am relinquishing control.

We have so much snow! I love snow, everyone seems to be a bit done with it and even I am going to punch the next person who tells me that March is the snowiest month right in the face but it really is lovely. A co-worker got to yakking about Arizona being the best place to live and I was reminded of how much I love the southwest and got a little home sick. I love Minnesota winters and loathe the summers here, I prefer a dry heat – is there a perfect climate, honestly.

Now I am going to take a 27-hour nap, listen to some Agatha Christie and not leave my apartment until Monday 😛 What’s new in your world?

QuiteSimplyStella(1)