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Recently Read: May-June

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Time for another reading roundup! I didn't even realize that I read six books in just over a month, but I was pleasantly surprised when I went to do this post.  There were some hits, some misses, and some forgettable books. Keep reading to hear my (apparently very lengthy) thoughts and recommendations! 

reading, book roundup, reading roundup, recently read, before I fall, thirteen reasons why, the girls in the garden, Anna and the French kiss, in the unlikely event, the perfect stranger, book review

reading, book roundup, reading roundup, recently read, before I fall, thirteen reasons why, the girls in the garden, Anna and the French kiss, in the unlikely event, the perfect stranger, book review

reading, book roundup, reading roundup, recently read, before I fall, thirteen reasons why, the girls in the garden, Anna and the French kiss, in the unlikely event, the perfect stranger, book review

reading, book roundup, reading roundup, recently read, before I fall, thirteen reasons why, the girls in the garden, Anna and the French kiss, in the unlikely event, the perfect stranger, book review

reading, book roundup, reading roundup, recently read, before I fall, thirteen reasons why, the girls in the garden, Anna and the French kiss, in the unlikely event, the perfect stranger, book review


The story centers around Samantha Kingston who dies in a car accident at the beginning of the story, but keeps reliving the same day over and over (very Groundhog Day, style). She goes through different stages of acceptance and denial while realizing her actions can affect the outcome of each day. It focuses on the relationships we have, what we value most in life, and how small, seemingly inconsequential actions can have tremendous results. 

I was pleasantly surprised with this book! I very rarely read YA, but happened to win this book in a contest from Harper Collins on Facebook! I read it in about a day, and found myself anxious to see what happened next. Like I said, it's super quick to get through, and it really makes you question your own decisions. 


Clay Jensen discovers a package of cassette tapes on his front porch, only weeks after a girl at his school committed suicide. As he listens to the tapes, and starts uncovering the reason for them, he begins seeing people around him in a new light, while questioning his own involvement in Hannah's death. As he ventures through his town following Hannah's instructions, he discovers how people’s actions, however small they may appear, can accumulate into something unbearable. 

I've heard so much hype surrounding the Netflix series, so I thought I would pick up the book (because I'm that kind of person). Similar to Before I Fall, it was a super quick read, but I didn't feel nearly as satisfied at the end. It was one of the few books where I really felt that it needed more. It was far too short, and you didn't get the character development that I think was needed to really explain all of the circumstance. But at the same time, the abruptness of the novel could have been intentional from the author. Since it centers around a girl who committed suicide, but is told from Clay's perspective, we really would not know the full reasons behind her choices; we would only get what she provided. 

I think if you liked the Netflix series, the book would be a great accompaniment  You can get through it in a day or two. While I didn't feel like I could relate to many of the characters in this book, I do still think it is a good read, and addresses mental illness in a thought-provoking way. 


Set in Elizabeth, New Jersey this book details the true events of three planes that crashed in a span of 52 days in the 1950's. It follows three generations of families and the impact the crashes had on their lives. 

I really, really struggled getting through this book. I've never read a Judy Blume book before, and I don't think I'll be picking up another one anytime soon. I think it was a combination of her writing style and the storyline, but nothing appealed to me. I didn't relate to any of the characters, and actually found myself getting angry a lot of the time. While I understand the storyline was meant to be upsetting, I didn't find myself liking enough of the characters to get upset at each subsequent plane crash. 

Overall, unless you are a fan of historical fiction or Judy Blume, I would give this story a hard pass. 


Sent to a boarding school in Paris, France in her senior year of high school, Anna must find a way to establish herself in a strange land. As she learns the language and culture, she also finds herself falling for a classmate, who is perfect and caring at times, but evasive at others. Anna needs to find a balance between her previous life and the one she has established in Paris. 

Vlogger Read by Zoe has raved about this book so many times, I finally found a copy online and was so excited to read it, but I was really disappointed in this book. It could have been because it was overhyped, or because I'm not a fan of YA books, but I found myself hating the main character. I have a problem with books that have the protagonist fall head over heels for someone and completely loose themselves in the process, who disregard their friends and family, and who let other aspects of their lives suffer so they can pursue a love affair. Call me a pessimist, but I like strong, independent heroines. 

If you're in the mood for a sappy, young chick-lit novel, then this would be the book for you. But if you're not interested in reading about rich kids living abroad and the problems they face, then I'd skip this book. 


After a disturbing event, 13-year-old twins Grace and Pip move to a picturesque area in London with their mother. As the family tries to move on, they discover that the communal garden their home backs onto is full of strange characters and secrets. While the girls get wrapped up with local home-schooled kids, the family must also decide how much they are willing to reveal from their past. When tragedy strikes again, everyone becomes a suspect. 

This book was slow, but I enjoyed a lot of aspects of it. I'm not going to lie--I was mostly interested in this book because of the beautiful cover. With a lot of thrillers, I find that there are fundamental flaws when it comes to suspects. The beginning of this novel focuses on one character as being the likely suspect, but once the disturbing events unfolded, the focus was completely shifted, and said character was not mentioned once in regard to his possible relation to the crime (super vague but I don't want to give it away). The characters were very unique in the novel, and hard to relate to. The girl’s mother was the most relatable in my option, and her actions were understandable, although not necessarily what I would have done. The ending was a bit of a letdown for me, but I still think it was a good book if you are looking to get into thrillers. 


A career-destroying event causes Leah Stevens to change career paths, and forces her to move from Boston to a newly established small town with her long-lost friend and former roommate, Emmy Grey. While the women had not seen each other in eight years, they quickly fall back into routine. But after Emmy goes missing, Leah must decide if she wants to immerse herself in the investigation and risk having police dig up her own past. She soon realizes that Emmy is not who she thought she was, and as she begins her own investigation, she realizes just how little she knows about the girl she has shared so much of her life with, and how far she is willing to go to expose her secrets. 

This was by far my favourite book that I read. While it took me a while to get through it (chalk it up to the stress of finding a new job, and summer-time events), I really loved it. It was full of twists and turns, and kept me guessing right until the end. I'm a huge fan of thrillers anyway, and I find a lot of them too predictable, but the series of events unfolded in such a way that challenged and surprised the reader. I'm really looking forward to reading more of her books this summer, and I would highly recommend you pick up this book if you are a fan of thrillers! 

What have you been reading lately? I'm always up for recommendations! 

xoxo K

Patio Season

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I'm not a fan of summer. There. I said it. I really, really dislike it. I hate feeling sweaty and sticky within five minutes of leaving my house. I hate all the insects getting in my house, on my patio and just generally annoying me. And I hate places (and uber drivers) that don't crank up the air conditioning. 

Negatives aside, I absolutely love the colours in summer. Whether it's adding flower pots to spruce up your patio, or tending to the perennials in your established garden, I love sitting on the patio and admiring my handiwork. We have never had a set of outdoor dishes that matched--we've just picked up bits and pieces over the years, and while everything worked, it wasn't aesthetically pleasing (can you even use it if it isn't Instagrammable?) So a few days ago I hit up Home Sense to find some new items to spruce up the patio! 

Home Sense, patio season, pineapples, succulents, wine, rose, ribs, dinner, bbq, patio

Home Sense, patio season, pineapples, succulents, wine, rose, ribs, dinner, bbq, patio

Home Sense, patio season, pineapples, succulents, wine, rose, ribs, dinner, bbq, patio

I went in thinking that I wanted some pineapple and palm leaf items, but I fell in love with these succulent plates! I think the patterns and colours of the plates pair perfectly with the pineapples on the glasses. While they didn't have any palm printed items, they had a ton of succulent accessories, and a lot more pineapples, watermelons and flamingo printed things. I wanted everything! I need to hit another location soon though, because they only had the one pillow, and I really want at least one more (it's so padded and comfortable).

Home Sense, patio season, pineapples, succulents, wine, rose, ribs, dinner, bbq, patio

Home Sense, patio season, pineapples, succulents, wine, rose, ribs, dinner, bbq, patio

Home Sense, patio season, pineapples, succulents, wine, rose, ribs, dinner, bbq, patio

Home Sense, patio season, pineapples, succulents, wine, rose, ribs, dinner, bbq, patio

I'm definitely not finished with the patio. I think a nice rug would be a great addition to the patio, especially because the stones can get so hot to walk across in the summer. I'm loving the simplicity of this Wayfair one, and the neutral colours would be a great starting point if I wanted to change up the plates in a few years. These pillows would also go so well with the rug, but the palm print ones are right up my alley! I'm also loving these palm printed ones from Sears and this one from H&M Home!



Do you have a patio? What are you most excited about this summer? 

xoxo K

Conair Infiniti Pro Ionic Steam Flat Iron

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I've been straightening my hair virtually everyday since I was about 16 years old. And because my hair is naturally a wavy-curly-frizzy mess, I'm always on the hunt to find tools and products that cut down my styling time, and keep my hair looking straight and fresh for as long as possible. I was sent the Conair Infiniti Pro Ionic Steam Flat Iron a few weeks ago, and I've been putting it to the test. Keep reading to hear my thoughts on it. 

Conair, straightener, flat iron

Conair, straightener, flat iron

Conair, straightener, flat iron

Conair, straightener, flat iron

Conair, straightener, flat iron

Conair, straightener, flat iron

Conair, straightener, flat iron

Pros: Because it has such large panels, it makes straightening your hair a very quick task. I can straighten my entire head in about 10-15 minutes, which cuts off about 5 minutes in the morning. It only goes to 395 fahrenheit, so I don't feel like I'm going to burn my hair the same way I do with my BaByliss PRO straightener, which goes to 450.  The price is also a huge bonus! The straightener is only $79.96, which is an amazing price considering how well it works. 

Cons: The large panel makes it hard to get the fine pieces of hair around my face and ears. Those areas tend to curl the most on me, so they need some extra attention in the mornings. In addition, the steam function is supposed to make your hair look shinier and more refreshed than if you just used the straightener on its own. I personally didn't find it made any difference, and the function makes the straightener a bit too bulky, which would be annoying, especially if you were traveling with it. 

Neutral: There are adjustable combs built into the straightener that will help straighten thick or course hair. I generally keep it on the middle setting, but don't see much of a difference between when I have the combs out or not. But it does help brush through any knots that I may have to ensure my hair is very straight. 

I also find that while my hair stays relatively straight throughout the day, I'll wake up the next morning to find a lot of curls and frizz again. While the straighter does claim to keep your hair straight even in humid conditions, I found it worked nominally better than other straighteners I have used at keeping my frizz at bay. I think my hair is just too temperamental and will never stay pin straight throughout the day, especially in the warmer months. 

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with how well the straightener worked. I haven't used Conair products since I was a teenager, because I always associated the lower price with lower quality. But based on my experience with the  Conair Infiniti Pro Ionic Steam Flat Iron, I would definitely try some more products from the line. 

Have you used Conair before? What's your favourite product? 

xoxo K

Recently Read: April

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Now that I'm finished school, I have more time to read, which is so nice. Although, with my internship, there are still a lot of long hours and times when I just crash when I get home. But I generally give myself at least an hour to read every night, plus my commuting time (although you always get that one asshole who decides to sit right beside you and talk for the phone for 40 minutes).

I really want to start a Recently Read segment here on my blog. I always start by reading super easy, chic-lit style books when I first get back into reading. My brain is so overly worked after a semester at school, and I just want something to distract me and can read in a few sittings.

The books I first read when I finished school were by Hester Browne. I first discovered her after I found Honeymoon Hotel in clearance at Chapters for $2! I absolutely loved this book, and quickly went onto Chapters and Bookoutlet (my favourite place to buy books, since they are so cheap!) to grab as many of her novels as I could. Unfortunately, a lot of her books are out of print in Canada now, so I wasn't able to find all the ones I wanted. I even ended up buying an e-book version (which I really hate reading) because I bought the second books in the series without realizing I couldn't find the first anywhere.




Honeymoon Hotel was a super cute story, and I really related to the main character. She's an event planner at an upscale hotel in London that has a glamorous history (think A-list celebs in the 1920-50's). She struggles to come to terms with her work-life balance, her failing relationship, and working with some unique co-workers, all while trying to find her place. 

I think it was a sweet, albeit predictable story. If you like Sophie Kinsella's stories, I really think you will enjoy this book. 

Rating: 4/5 

The Little Agency Agency was about an overlooked, organizational freak (Melissa) who was made redundant at office after office. She eventually found a job at an escort agency, something she didn't realize at the time. She went on to start her own job, where she helped men who needed fake girlfriends, socializing, relationship advice, and anything else they weren't capable of doing for themselves. She developed an alter-ego named Honey, someone she could transform into when she put on the blonde wig. The book followed her life, her best friends (Gabby and Nelson), and her struggling clients (Jonathan, primarily). 

I found this book just ok. It was her first book, and you could really tell from her writing style that there was a lot of room for improvement. I swear, if she wrote "made my heart melt" one more time, I was going to throw the book out of the window. It was very predictable, and the main character was very frustrating and naive. She was hard to relate to, and I kind of wanted to smack her. 

Rating: 3/5

The Little Agency in the Big Apple was the follow up to the aforementioned book. It followed Melissa and Jonathan (spoiler, although I wouldn't recommend the first anyway) in their journey to New York. Jonathan essentially wanted Melissa to give up to job, be an event planner for his rich NYC friends, and stop doing what she did best--rescuing people. 

I wanted to murder Jonathan, had be been a real person. He was so demanding and controlling, and Melissa always justified his actions. I could never imagine myself allowing a guy to walk all over me the way Jonathan did, or give up something I loved just to make a guy happy. 

Rating: 1.5/5

I've read a few other books that I've much preferred, so that will be in my May book wrap up. What have you been reading lately? 

xoxo K