Reviews

It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell

By on May 3, 2017
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I received this book for free from SheSpeaks.  It is my choice to write a blog post about it.  All opinions are my own.  For more information, check out my disclosure.

Ever since I started reading chapter books, I enjoyed reading mystery books.  I like to play the part of detective and try to solve the mystery before reaching the end of the book.  It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell is a mystery book that involves a trio of unlikely friends and a sudden death twenty years into their friendship.  When I finished the book, I was reeling from how the mystery all unfolded.  Now, I won’t divulge any spoilers while reviewing this book, so feel free to continue reading and decide if you’d like to add this to your must-read list.

The Story

Michele Cambell takes an interesting approach in her storytelling.  There’s no one main protagonist and one point of view.  Rather, the story unfolds using the point of view of each friend and later on, adds additional point of view storytelling from the cop and the husband of the deceased.  While this is unique, it’s hard to discover any facts when everything you’re reading is tainted with personal opinions.  It does, however, allow you to uncover potential motives behind each character you meet.

I did not like how Cambell kept adding more characters into the mix of potential suspects.  She added way too many red herrings that felt forced.  For example, you read that one minor character developed anger management issues after an accident and the timing where you find out this new piece of information was far from natural.  An experienced mystery writer would not have ended up throwing in these details haphazardly.  However, for a debut novel, Cambell did well in keeping the reader hooked into turning page after page.

What had me hooked were the scenes describing a life of opulence and the authenticity of university life.  I do not envy the privileged life, but find it intriguing to read about as fiction.  Because this follows friends from university and on, there are some romance aspects written in that I enjoyed, as well.  My favorite genre is romance mystery and since this touched on it a little, I found myself liking this book despite its flaws.

The Delivery

My version of It’s Always the Husband is a little over 300 pages long and I must say that it’s an easy read.  There aren’t many difficult vocabulary words and the flow of the story with the dialogue goes quite smoothly.  I finished reading this in a couple of days.  The mystery gets solved with a twist and it was not what I was expecting.  I loved it!  The only issue is that the story remains incomplete.

There are a lot of questions leftover about what happened with all the other characters and the cop.  I do not like unresolved endings and would have preferred a concrete version of “this is how the other cops resolved this matter” and “this is what happened to the other prime suspect”.  There’s none of that in this book.  I also didn’t like the cop character because he was completely inappropriate.  He wasn’t objective and didn’t handle the case as a cop should have.  The story explains why, but I did not like having that classic detective character absent from the mystery.

Despite these faults, I could not put this book down until I reached the end.  This is a wonderful concept for a mystery story, but I felt the execution could have been better.  I do recommend giving It’s Always the Husband a try.  For a debut novel, it is done well and it’s exciting to see the mystery unfold.  It goes on sale May 16 and you can pre-order your copy here.  If you enjoyed this review, check out my latest review on Influenster’s Poppy Voxbox and my recommendations for 8 books that a one year old must read.

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What other good mystery books do you recommend?  Comment and let me know!  Please share this post if this book sounds like a fun read!

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Reviews

Influenster’s Poppy Voxbox

By on April 30, 2017

I received Influenster’s Poppy Voxbox for free.  It is my choice to write this blog post about it.  All opinions are my own.  Find out more in my disclaimer.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed some of my posts were encouraged by Influenster, a platform for reviewing products, asking questions about products, and answering questions others have about products.  Influenster also sends out free samples of products in a collection called a Voxbox where you can try new products and give your thoughts and opinions about it through Influenster and relevant social media accounts.

While Influenster was US based, they are now available in the UK, too!  If you are interested in signing up to try and receive a Voxbox, please sign up here.  That’s my referral link.  All it does is give me the benefit of adding 5 points to my impact score if you sign up and connect your Facebook account, valid for the first 20 people only.  Having a high impact score helps your chances of receiving a Voxbox in the future.

Influenster’s Poppy Voxbox

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I’ve been a member of Influenster for two months now and recently received my very first Voxbox.  It held a wide assortment of stuff to try.  There was an eyeliner, lip gloss, foot peel socks, face polish, in-shower lotion, laundry pod, and dry shampoo (not pictured).

While my policy for Her Life Is Love is to only post about complimentary products if I truly loved it, for the sake of writing a thorough review on my experience with Influenster and my first Poppy Voxbox, I have tried to accomplish all the activities required to obtain badges in the Influenster app.  These activities include posting on Instagram or tweeting about it, but I was honest about what I didn’t like about a product, if applicable.  Check my Instagram for my opinions on every single Poppy Voxbox product I received.

Poppy Voxbox Products I Loved

Rimmel London Cosmetics sent me a black eyeliner and a lip gloss in the color Smart Pink.  The eyeliner has a ultra fine tip so I found it a little tricky to draw close to my lash line and although it says it’s waterproof, it smudged very easily.  I don’t use liquid eyeliners much, but this would come in handy for drawing the wing tips of cat eyes.

The lip gloss they sent me, however, quickly became a new favorite.  I loved how it applied without leaving a sticky, overly done feeling on my lips.  The hint of color was just the right amount to complement with the shine from the gloss.  I enjoyed using this during my quick trips out of the house.  You can find this at Walmart.  I’m wearing both products in my Instagram post.

New favorite finds for the month of April. #somethingyouwant #RimmelRebelUSA #gotitfree @Influenster @RimmelLondonUS

A post shared by Paula from Her Life Is Love (@jintoki) on

Another favorite is the Kenyan Coffee Face Polish from Nyakio Beauty.  The color is less than appealing, but I like this because it works!  I first cleansed my face with a cleanser before exfoliating with my sample.  I massaged the product lightly into my face for a few minutes before rinsing off.  It did leave my face red and hot for a little bit afterwards, but the smooth feeling of my face was amazing!  This is available at Ulta.

Using Influenster’s Site and App

I ran into a bunch of technical issues when using Influenster’s site and app.  These are annoying for user experience, but if you can look past it, Influenster is a fun platform to use.  I first started using Influesnter through the site.  In the beginning, you will have a bunch of Snaps that you can answer about various topics.  Think of these like survey questions so that Influenster can get to know your profile better.  Answering snaps often leads to suggested products you can review.

The first problem I ran into was reviewing products.  I would submit a review through a snap and go back to my snaps, only to find the same products pop up again, asking for a review.  My reviews seem to have gone through, but it wasn’t registering as a completed activity.  You will need to skip the snap to be able to answer the next one.

Occasionally, I get asked to reconnect some of my accounts, particularly with Google.  I never have this issue with other similar sites, but Influenster seems to lose connection with my Google account fairly often.  You want to keep your accounts connected so that you can maintain your impact score, which gives you a better chance of being selected for a Voxbox if the score is high.  My score was around 1500 when I got chosen to receive the Poppy Voxbox.

When completing the Poppy Voxbox activities, you will need to make use of the Influenster app, as some activities can only be completed through the app (Instagram activities).  I have run into some problems where completing the activity as directed led to an automatic rejection.  I would re-submit several times before it actually went through and gave me credit for the activity.

Luckily, the support team is pretty responsive to your inquiries.  I also like the variety of products you can search for.  You can find reviews for many different products.  It helps to review products and answer other user’s questions on products.  Being an active user seems to help your chances of getting a Voxbox.

Even with these little issues, Influenster is fun to use and it’s so rewarding to get selected to receive a Voxbox.  Influenster takes your support inquiries seriously and aims to improve user experience.  Influenster was US based, but is now available in the UK.  Join Influenster to try your hand at getting a Voxbox!

Have you tried Influenster or any of these Poppy Voxbox products?  Comment and let me know your opinions!  If you liked this post, please share!

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Otome | Reviews

Arabian Nights Love Story: Lamp of Destiny

By on March 17, 2017
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Here is the first in what will be a series of posts that goes into my love for otome games.  Yeah, I’m a grown woman.  I am married and I have a kid.  That’s not stopping the young girl at heart from enjoying made-up romances with two-dimensional characters.  I enjoy these games, but some are more annoying than others.  Depending on the game, the main character you play could be kind of stupid.  I’m not so fond of the ditzy and helpless types, but I will still play just the same.

What is an Otome Game?

This little wikipedia page will go into enough details about what an otome game is, but in brief, it’s a game designed mainly for females where you attempt to develop a relationship with a male character through your choices or whatever interactions the game in particular uses.  Typically, if your score is low, you get a bad ending.  If your score is good, you get a normal ending.  If your score is great (and some games require actual monetary purchases to help you achieve this), you get the best happy ending ever.

My first otome game ever is a game series called Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side and I have all three for Nintendo DS.  Did they ever make an English version?  I’m not sure, as all the ones I have are in Japanese.  I originally started as a fun way to practice reading Japanese.  I’ve had them for years, but I haven’t completed all of them yet.  For now, let me share with you one that you can easily play, too.

Arabian Nights Love Story: Lamp of Destiny

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I rate 3 out of 5 stars.

The first otome game I chose to write about is one that I’ve completed.  I say completed, as in I’ve played all three routes available, but the company stopped updating the game in 2015 and never added the fourth character, Kais.  The characters in this story are inspired from the famous story of Sinbad.  You get to meet Sinbad and Ali Baba.  There’s also a prince named Assad.  Is he a character from the original story?

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I finished Sinbad’s route first and without giving you spoilers, I found it interesting how playing both Ali Baba and Assad’s routes gave me additional insight into who Sinbad is.  There were certain parts where the reaction Sinbad gives is better understood because of having already finished Sinbad’s route.  This interconnection between all the routes were very well thought out and I appreciated that aspect of the story a lot.  I liked Ali Baba because he was the stoic character.  You couldn’t really tell what he was thinking, but you knew that he would open up to you when you play his route.  However, I really liked the plot twist with Sinbad a lot.

The translation and the way the text appears in the English version of the game could use some improvement though.  I found sometimes the game inserts the wrong character’s name and some of the grammar is incorrect, however it doesn’t seriously impede on understanding what the is going on in the game.

If you are interested, download the Android version here.

Which character do you like best?  Is this a story that interests you?

These images are my screenshots from the actual game.

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