Falling in Love With English Boys



Falling In Love With English Boys by Melissa Jensen



When sixteen year old Catherine “Cat” Vernon’s mother informs her that Cat will be packing up her bags and spending the summer in London, Cat isn’t exactly happy. She knows what her (s)mother considers a good time: researching. Researching what? An unknown Regency-era author by the name of Mary Percival.

Away from her friends, Cats new life in London consists of daily trips to the corner store for her regular chocolate break and blogging about how miserable her life is right now.

Sensing her daughter’s sheer and utter boredom, Cat’s mother sends William Percival, a descendent of the Percival family (obviously judging by his last name) to hand-deliver a diary that belonged to sixteen year old Katherine Percival.  Cat really isn’t interested in the diary, but she is interested in Will.

While trying to figure out the best way to catch Will’s eye, Cat passes time reading the other Katherine’s diary. Through it she learns about life and love in Regency-era London. But beyond that, Cat learns that both life and love aren’t always fair.

Will Cat get what, or rather who, she wants? Will she fall in love and live a life true to her own dreams? Or will her destiny be mapped out for her much like Katherine’s was over two hundred years ago?

Falling in Love With English Boys, written by author Melissa Jensen, is a contemporary read with a heavy romance angle that will make readers have all the feels.

The writing that fills Falling In Love With English Boys is simply delightful. From the moment the book opens until its final page, readers know that, yes it’s a light romance, but it isn’t so light it’s fluffy. This book has substance. It’s smart, it’s honest, and most of all, because of the writing it is engaging. Readers will feel as if they know Cat from the inside out. They will feel as if they are a part of the story.

There is a lot to love about Jensen’s book – from the setting to Will. But admittedly , at first, main character Cat isn’t so lovable. Honestly, she wasn’t so likable at the very beginning. When we first meet Cat she comes off as whiney, self-absorbed, and quite boring, what with her wallowing in her own unhappiness, unable to see the bright side of London – the new-found friends, the clothes and the chocolate, and of course the boy. But by the end of the book, I couldn’t help but really like her and the person she turned into.

Falling in Love With English Boys was a real surprise. I don’t know what I expected of it. After all I really only picked it up because it was set in London, the place I was preparing to travel to myself. But I know I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did.  And any book that is that full of surprises really is a great book in my opinion.

Holiday Color Swap

Food For Thought, Random

Hello Readers!


A few weeks ago my real life BFF and fellow blogger Miss Print told me about this great swap going on. The Holiday Color Swap hosted by Mrs. AOK, What’s Up With The Wilhelms, The Real Housewife of Caroline County, and Buckiddo.

The swap couldn’t be easier, nor could it have been more fun. Participants wouldn’t be swapping books – the kind of swap I normally participate it – but rather nail polish. Even though I already own a ton of nail polish, I’m of the mind that a girl could never have enough nail polish. Who’s with me there!?

Anywho, I signed up, waiting patiently for who I’d be swapping with, and once that information was received, hit the store to pick up some nail polish.

I was paired with Mrs. AOK (yes, one of the hosts of this awesome giveaway). Mrs. AOK runs a blog called Mrs. AOK, A Work in Progress and on it she blogs about life, family, being a mommy and much more. And this is what I received from her:



A beautiful, silver sparkly card.

Not one, but two nail polishes: Sally Hanson’s Extreme Wear in Disco Ball which is all sparkles. And we all know I love me some sparkly nail polish. And Sally Hansen Instradri in Red-io Active which is a gorgeous shade of red, perfect for the upcoming holiday season!

And as if this wasn’t enough, a warm pair of blue and grey striped gloves.

I want to say Thank You to Mrs. AOK for being so generous and for giving me such beautiful nail polish. Also, another Thank You to all the blogs who hosted this giveaway: Mrs. AOK, What’s Up With The Wilhelms, The Real Housewife of Caroline County, and Buckiddo

Top Ten Tuesday: What I’m Thankful For

Food For Thought, Random

securedownload(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. The above photo was taken and was altered by me.*)

Hello Readers!

I’m going at this Top Ten Tuesday post differently. Even though these posts normally focus on all things books, I wanted to mix things up a little bit. Today, no only will I be posting about the books that I am thankful for, but I will also be posting about things in my life that I am also thankful for.

Top Five Books I’m Thankful For:

5. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray – Beauty Queens hands down is one of my most favorite books. Why? Because it is laugh at loud funny, but it makes you question the things around you, and view the world differently.

4. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – I recently read Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. This book was unlike any other book I’ve ever read. And for that, I am Thankful.

3. Lola & The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins – Not only is Lola & The Boy Next Door an awesome book, but it’s filled with awesome characters. I really related to Lola, especially when it comes to the whole Marie Antoinette thing.

2. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – I have never read a book as moving as Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park. It’s the kind of book that will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and make you experience every single emotion you’ve ever had.

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – Any book that I read in a day is a book I am thankful for. Yes, I read John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars in a day. I’m thankful for beautiful writing, and a gut-wrenchingly beautiful story.

Top Five Non-Bookish Things I’m Thankful For

5. My Blog Readers – you guys are what really make this blog. It’s not the reviews, or the giveaways, it’s the readers. Thank You for sticking with me and this blog for so long, and for actually reading it!

4. Boots Lip Salve – this stuff is better than any chapstick I have ever used. Thank You for never leaving my lips feeling oily, and for being the best cure for chapped lips, especially during these cold winter months!

3. Libraries – Where else could you go to pick up free books! I’m thankful for free books, and for the libraries that provide them!

2. My Friends – you guys know who you are. I’m thankful to all the people in my life I consider to be my true friends, the people who genuinely are the best at being my friends. Thank You for, not only your treasured friendship, but for all the good times we’ve had and the good time we will have!

1. My Family – means the world to me. I’m thankful to them, because not only are they my support system, they are the people who’ve influenced me most, the people I look up to. They truly are the best.

(*The above photo was taken and was altered by me. Please do not take or “borrow” it without my permission.)

Book of the Week: Tea Party Rules

Book of the Week, Children's

(For the past few weeks I haven’t posted a Book of the Week post. I want to give a very brief explanation of why. I’ve been reading a ton of picture books for work related reasons. But the picture books I’ve been reading I haven’t been absolutely loving. And I really don’t want to spotlight books I’m not 100% passionate about for these Book of the Week posts.)

Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman Illustrated by K.G. Campbell

Published: 2013 by Viking Juvenile

Reasons Why I liked this book, and chose it as Book of the Week:

I’m going on record and saying this: AME DYCKMAN is awesome! And if you don’t believe me, you should follow her on twitter, read her books, and find out for yourself. I’m sure you’ll agree.

I own my own copy of Tea Party Rules. And as if that wasn’t enough, it’s signed to me from Ame! It says that I’m always invited to her tea parties!

I bet she throws some festive tea parties.

From the moment we meet Cub we know that he’s a great character! I love the cool expression he walks around the forest with.

It seems that leaves just cling to Cub.

Playing is always better when there are cookies involved.

Cub thinks that, besides his mother and his sleeping sibling, that he’s the only bear playing in the forest. Well, imagine his surprise when he stumbles upon, not only the cookies, but another bear sitting where he should be sitting.

Cub doesn’t realize that the other bear isn’t real, but rather a stuffed animal.

He tries to talk to it, but it doesn’t respond. He tries to nudge him but ends up knocking him off the chair.

Now, Cub must impersonate the stuffed bear if he wants some cookies.

Cub doesn’t realizing that impersonating this stuffed bear means he’ll have to play tea party. And playing tea party always involves rules. Cub won’t necessarily like these rules.

Tea Party Rule #1: “You must be clean.”

Bear isn’t clean, he’s grubby. He likes being grubby, and to be honest, I like him grubby too!

Tea Party Rule #2: “You must be neat.”

It isn’t enough to just be clean.

But Cub is willing to be clean and neat if it means he’ll get to enjoy those cookies.

It’s always all about the cookies!

Tea Party Rule #3: “You must be fancy.”

Fancy? Bear is a bit scared to be fancy. But rules are rules, and cookies are cookies.

Being fancy means wearing perfume, getting your hair (or fur) done, and wearing a pink ruffly dress.

Fancy isn’t fun in Cub’s opinion.

But it’s worth it.

Tea Party Rule #4: “You must eat daintily.”

This is just too much for him to handle. First he had a bath, than his hair was done, after all that he was stuffed into an uncomfortable dress. Now he’s expected to eat daintily?!? Bears do NOT eat daintily, and he shows his tea party host just how real bears eat.

Cub devours the cookies.

But then realizes how sad his host is. She too was looking forward to those cookies.

As a peace-offering, Cub offers her the very last cookie. Even though, I’m sure, he really wants it for himself.

But friends share, and do things for each other.

The tea party host decides it’s not tea party time. It’s playing like a bear time! ROAR!!!

Cub likes playing bear. He already knows the rules.

The writing is simply great! Author Dyckman tells a great story, with strong yet whimsical writing.

The illustrations are equally as great. The are the perfect complement to author Dyckman’s story.

I absolutely loved this book. And I’m so happy to own this book!


BookBandit Beauty Basics: Product Review: Redken Color Extend Shampoo/Condition

Beauty Basics, Product Reviews

A month or two ago I dyed my hair. This isn’t the first time I’ve dyed my hair, but it is the first time that I’ve decided I was really going to take care and nurture the color. By that, I mean I would use shampoo and/or conditioner that would extend the life of the color.

So when my hair dresser suggested Redken’s Color Extend shampoo and conditioner, I listened. I bought a small bottle of both the shampoo and the conditioner. And as luck would have it, it was buy one get one half off, so I couldn’t quite possibly walk away from a deal like that. Could I?!


I started using Redken’s Color Extend shampoo and conditioner right away. And almost immediately I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the way it made my hair look after washing. I didn’t like how my hair felt both during and after washing. I didn’t even like the smell of it.

I was told that a little of Redken’s Color Extend shampoo/conditioner would go a long way. Not true. At least not for my hair.

When I used a nickel sized amount of shampoo it just would not lather. It coated my hair, but just barely. No matter how much I rubbed the shampoo into my hair and scalp it simply wouldn’t lather. I was convinced that it couldn’t lather.  Because of this it made my hair feel, not only heavy, but also straw-like.  As if this wasn’t bad enough I found that if I didn’t condition my hair after shampooing, then my hair ended up a tangled mess of knots.

The conditioner wasn’t much better. Texture wise, Redken’s Color Extend conditioner doesn’t feel as rich or as thick as other conditioners I’ve used and loved in the past. It felt thin and unfortunately oily. Because of this, admittedly I was a bit scared as to how this product would leave my hair.

With a small amount of shampoo and an equally small amount of conditioner I washed my hair daily with Redken’s Color Extend. And each and every time I used this product, or rather the amount of the product I was using, my hair turned out limp and often oily. Yes, oily, even after washing my hair.

As if all of this wasn’t bad enough I do not like the smell of both the shampoo and the conditioner. In all honesty I cannot describe the smell, but it smells like hair dye itself. Which, if you’ve ever dyed your hair, than you know isn’t the best smell in the world.

But because I spend money on these products, and because I do not like to waste money I am still using both the shampoo and the conditioner. As of recently I started using more – more shampoo and more conditioner simply to use the products up and be done with them. However, I found out that the more shampoo used, the better my hair looks and feels. With more product it seemed as if my hair responded well to it. It didn’t look or feel like oily straw. But not matter how much product I used my hair still need up a knotty mess.

I don’t love Redken’s Color Extend, and I don’t think it likes my hair. I will continue to use it until it is all used up. But I most likely will not buy another Redken product after this experience.  With that being said, I am looking for a decently priced color extending shampoo and conditioner. Any suggestions, feel free to comment!

The Best Part of Being a Book Lover

Food For Thought, Random

Once again BuzzFeed has created a list detailing the 23 Best Parts of Being a Book Lover. I know that I personally can easily relate to several (cough cough all of them) points the article details.

Beloved children’s author Barbara Park passed away earlier this week. It’s a sad loss, to not only us book lovers, but also to the literature world. I think to honor her and all the great books she blessed us readers with we should go and read a Junie B. Jones book!

Anyone who knows me know that I’m a HUGE Hunger Games fan (really though, who isn’t?! Even my mother who does read, loved the HG Trilogy and even the first movie!). But I’m not so sure about this Hunger Games Theme Park.  How do all of you HG fans feel about this?

While we’re on the topic of The Hunger Games, have you seen any HG tattoos?

The final round of the Good Reads Best Books 2013 Choice Awards is going on now! Have you voted yet?

I was there!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’d Recommend to My Teen Self

Booklists, Food For Thought, Random


(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. The above photo was taken and altered by me*)

Looking back there are a lot of classic books that I wished I had the chance to read, books that I probably should have read while I was a true high school student. Looking back, my high school Lit classes seemed to focus a lot on Shakespeare, and quite honestly not enough on the classics.

So for today’s Top Ten Tuesday post I am recommending books not to my mother (who doesn’t read even though I know there are books out there that she would really enjoy), not to reluctant readers, but to my former teenage self.  (And yes, this list is all the classics that I feel I should have read while in high school!)

10. War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

9. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

8. The Call of the Wild by Jack London

7. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

5.  Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

4. Little  Women by Louisa May Alcott

3. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

2. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

1. Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger

(*The above photo was taken and was altered by myself. Please do not steal or “borrow” the photo! It’s just wrong, and mean)

BookBandit’s Beauty Basics: Steals & Deals (1)

Beauty Basics


Hello Readers!

I’m really into drug store cosmetics. Within the walls of the local drug store, there literally is something for every single beauty out there.

I’m a firm believer that drug store cosmetics are just as good, if not better (sometimes), than department/cosmetic store products. I believe this because some of my favorite products have come from my local drug store – which by the way is Walgreens.

While I was at a not so local Walgreens (I just so happened to be in Charleston South Carolina – but I know for fact that it was also available in my local NJ Walgreens.) I stumbled upon these baked eyeshadow palette put out by Profusion. The palette comes in two sets – one is sparkly silver packaging and another in sparkly gold packaging.

I checked the two out but decided to only get one instead of the two of them. Why? It wasn’t because it was the price wasn’t right, it most definitely was. But because I knew I had recently purchased another baked eyeshadow palette, and didn’t want to go overboard.

So I bought the baked eyeshadow palette in the sparkly silver packaging!


Within this sparkly package there are a total of ten shades, ranging from light to dark.  Each shadow contains two complemtary shades that mix to make one vivid color. Besides the eyeshadow the palette also contains a sponge eyeshadow applicator. The sponge applicator wasn’t the selling point, but it was definitely an added bonus, since I kind of/sort of love these kinds of eyeshadow applicators.

The shades are simply awesome! And what’s even more awesome is the price: $5.00 (as you can tell from the sticker on bottom right side of the palette)!

What a steal! And a deal!

If you’d like a review of this product/palette please let me know in the comments!

This has nothing to do with this post, but I figured it would be something fun to share: How Do You Know You’re A Makeup Addict.

Shorty Review: Boy Meets Boy



Title: Boy Meets Boy

Author(s): David Levithan

Why Did I Read This Book: I read it for two very specific reasons. One, I’m a David Levithan fan (even though I’ve only read one other books written by him, and it doesn’t fully count since it was co-authored). And second, because I read it as a part of my self-imposed reading challenge this past August.

Thoughts, Likes, Dislikes: Besides the super sweet plot line, what I liked most were all the characters that filled the pages of Levithan’s Boy Meet Boy.  This colorful cast of characters are well crafted, realistic, and easy to relate to. Besides the characters I really love Levithan’s ease with words. Boy Meets Boy is a story that flows seamlessly without hitch.  It often felt, for me as a reader anyway, that instead of a fictional character conveying his story, a friend was conveying it. I felt like I was a part of the story, was one of the many colorful characters. And still, I really liked it because even though it was a quick read, it wasn’t a fluff one. Boy Meets Boy is full of substance.

Recommend It: Yes, most definitely. Why because it’s a great book written by an equally great author! But then again, I’m a fan so I’m just a bit bias.

BookBandit Beauty Basics: Lipstick Haul (#1)

Beauty Basics, Beauty Hauls


So yeah … I went a bit overboard. I bought one too many lipsticks. Granted I didn’t buy all of these at one time, I purchased a few here and a few there. But still, there’s quite a few.

In total, I’m going to be talking about the five lipsticks I purchased over the past few weeks, and the three lip glosses I bought alongside those lipsticks.

Okay, sooo…

For the past few weeks or so I’ve been eying Rimmel London’s Lasting Finish Lipstick, the Kate Moss edition. I’ve been eying the Lasting Finish Lipsticks for several reasons. One, I like Rimmel products. I use their BB cream, their eyeshadow primer, and even their Apocalips lip glosses. Two, because I like their products that I’ve already been using I wanted to try a Rimmel London product that I have yet to try. And three, the shades in which these lipsticks come in are simply beautiful. From bold reds to subdued pinks there really seems to be a color for every girl out there.

Beyond these reasons I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about the Kate Moss line. One of my favorite YouTubers has raved about them, and even a close personal friend of mine has told me how awesome they are. So I knew I just had to try Rimmel’s Lasting Finish lipstick out for myself.

While browsing the cosmetic isle of Walmart, I stumbled upon one shade that I’ve looked at several times before, but never actually purchased (#103), and another that I hadn’t seen because it seems to be sold out every store I go to. (#09)

Besides loving the colors of these two, which I obviously did end up buying for a mere five dollars each (what a steal! they are close to six or seven at my local Walgreens) I wanted these two specific shades because they were polar opposites, shade wise. Number 103 is a light mauve-ish pink, which number 09 is a deep wine/berry red color.

photo 2-2photo 1-1


photo 2-1photo 1


Now I haven’t actually used either of these lipsticks (yet) but I know I’m going to love them. For one thing they smell delicious. Normally, lipstick smells waxy to me. Almost like a crayon. But number 103 has a sweet watermelon scent, while number 09 has a deep raspberry or cherry scent (which normally I would detest! I don’t like cherry flavored/scented anything…with the exception of this because it smells like the fresh fruit as opposed to the artificial stuff).

As of lately I’ve been buying a lot of pinks and reds, which I like. But now that the summer months are fading into autumn I wanted some warmer shades to dress my lips with. Because I’m no beauty expert, and I’m not one hundred percent certain I can pull off more brown/neutral toned shades I decided to buy a few lipsticks for NYX.

I’ve heard a lot about NYX’s products, and I’ve heard mostly good things (again from YouTubers I follow like Samantha Schuerman, Melissa Raymond) about them. Because I heard such good things, and because I knew that NYX cosmetics are very reasonably priced, I decided to buy, not one, but two (and that doesn’t include the three lip glosses I purchased, which I’ll talk about later).

I purchased from Ulta NYX’s round case lipstick in #550 Indian Pink and NYX’s Glam Lipstick Aqua Luxe in #05 Enchanting. The round case lipstick in Indian Pink is almost a cross between a pink and a clay color, with subtle hints of an orange glow, making it appear as if it’s a shimmery coral color. The below photo of the Indian Pink swatched on my hand truly does not do this color any justice.


The Aqua Luxe lipstick  is super soft, and glides on seamlessly. Well, at least when I swatched it (I have yet to actually try it on my lips). Enchanting is simply dazzling. It’s a light copper color with a sheen of sparkles. For three dollsare I just had to have, not one, but both of these lipsticks! (I’m not actually going to show a swatch of this shade, because quite frankly the picture is awful, and you can’t really see the true shade. But you can get the idea from the below picture of the actual lipstick)


While I was in Ulta I came across the Essence display. I have never used Essence before. I haven’t heard a lot about it. But I picked up one of their lipsticks simply because … well I liked the color (first and foremost) and let’s be honest, it was cheap.  It was another three dollar steal. I bought it in the shade of Look At Me. Judging from the name you’d think that it’s a bold, statement shade of lipstick. But it is actually a soft neutral brown.

Onto the lip glosses (which is a term I’m using loosely here because they are all super pigmented, and feel more like a liquid lipstick if you know what I mean)

While in Ulta, while I was purchasing the two NYX lipsticks and the one Essence lipstick, I stumbled quite accidentally upon NYX’s butter gloss (there was a display steps away from the actual NYX case). There were a lot of pinks, and a few light red colors. But like I mentioned earlier I was looking for more brown/neutral colors, I found one number 07 Tiramisu, and it was a light beige color. It’s subtle, but quite beautiful.

photo 1-2

Moving on to Target, which I was only in to buy stocking for my Halloween costume (I was Coraline), I made a brief pit stop in their cosmetic section. There I found two more NYX glosses (I didn’t realize that Target even sells NYX, my local one does not which I’m disappointed by). I bought a soft matte lip cream in number 08 San Paolo which is appears to be a cross between a brick-red and a deep rose-pink. Which seems like an odd combination, but actually works.

photo 2-3

I also bought NYX’s Mega Shine Lip Gloss in Cosmo which is a true copper color with a bold shimmer.

Now both the butter gloss and the matte lip cream smell like frosting, but not the sickly sweet kind. I have a funny feeling it’s going to take some real self-control on my part to not lick this stuff off my lips ha ha. They smell just that good.

The Mega Gloss I purchased smells, once again, like cherry. But not the kind of cherry that I like, rather the artificial kind. But it’s not overpowering so it’s a smell that I could easily learn to live with.

To say the least, I’m super excited to try out these lipsticks. I may even write a review … or two about them!

Readers, what are some of your favorite lipsticks and/or glosses? Please share. Also if you want me to do a review on one of the lip products I talked about today, leave a comment or feel free to e-mail me at: BookBanditBeautyBasics@gmail.com