I read so many great books in 2016, but unfortunately they weren't all 5 stars. Today I thought I'd share a few books that I had such high hopes for but just didn't work for me. 

The Siren by Kiera Cass
The Selection series by Kiera Cass will forever be one of my all time favorite series. The first three, anyways. When I found out that she had written a stand alone that was released in January, I quickly preordered it. Let me tell you, this was NOT the Selection series! I couldn't believe how disappointed I was in this one. The cover is gorgeous, but it sadly doesn't match the storyline. It's about mermaids who can't talk to humans, but the main character falls in love with a human.  I got to p. 178 and DNF this one!

Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty
This was my biggest disappointment of 2016. I LOVE Liane Moriarity's books. Big Little Lies and The Husband's Secret were both on my favorites of 2015 list last year, so I was eagerly awaiting her new release. I kept waiting and waiting for the plot to pick up with this one and it just dragged. It's about 6 adults who have a BBQ where something goes horribly wrong and you're trying to find out what happened throughout the book. I just never connected with any of the characters and when we finally found out what happened at the BBQ, I didn't think it was that big of a twist or shock. This one just wasn't for me.
If this is your first LM book and you feel the same way I do, don't let that stop you from reading her other books. She is one of my favorite authors! 

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
I was so excited about this one when I saw it on GoodReads. It's about a school shooting in Alabama. I live in Alabama and I always like to read books set in my state because it doesn't happen all that often. I read Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult years ago when I was in college and that book has stuck with me for the longest time. I thought this book would be the same way but I was completely wrong. I didn't like this one at all. It was told from WAY TOO MANY POVs and I didn't feel like the characters and school matched the setting. It felt a lot more urban that rural Alabama. I hated this one. I've had friends who have read it and loved it, so I must just be missing something. 

Paper Princess by Erin Watt
I picked up this new series because I was trying to find something like The Selection series. This one is a Cinderella retelling, which I like. And the plot wasn't all bad in this one. It's about a girl (Ella) whose mom dies and her dad's friend comes to get her and take her to live at his house with his 5 sons. I had MAJOR issues with the language in this one. Oh my goodness. The language was awful. I don't consider myself a prude when it comes to reading, but the way the sons talked to Ella in this one was just nasty and awful. I decided to try the second book in the series when it came out in October and I couldn't even finish it. If you can get past the language in this one, it might be a good book but I just couldn't. 

The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
This one is the sequel to The Rose and the Dagger. I LOVED this first one so much! It's about a king who takes a new wife every night and kills her the next morning. When he kills a girl's best friend, she decided to come up with a plan to outsmart the king. I loved the romance in the first one and I couldn't wait for the second to be released, but it was completely different than the first for me. The two main characters were separated for the entire first half of the book and it lacked the romance that I loved so much in the first. I was sadly disappointed in this one. 

I read The Fill In Boyfriend by the same author earlier this year and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it! I thought KW was going to become my new Lauren Barnholdt, but then I tried P.S. I Like You and was kinda disappointed. It wasn't all bad, but didn't leave me with a smile either. I can't even remember much about it. That's how forgettable it was. I've heard people say they like this one better than The Fill In Boyfriend, but I didn't think that at all. She has a new one coming out in January or February called By Your Side and it sounds much better!

I don't think I've EVER read a Jane Green book. She's written many, but I can't remember ever reading one. My library has tons of her early 2000 books, but this one was the first I've read. It was released during the summer, when I have the most time to read. I picked this one up expecting a light hearted summer beach read. That is NOT what this book is. Despite the awful ending, I never really felt connected with the characters, which after reading this one, I think that's a good thing. If I had loved the characters, the ending would have been that much worse.

I was so sad to not like a book that Reese Witherspoon posted on Instagram, but I just couldn't get into this one. I read until I was about 80% done with it and just had to give up. The two main characters go searching for a girl who has gone missing. She's texting them to come get her, but they encountered many obstacles along the way. This book was just so far fetched! I found myself rolling my eyes more often than not. I think this one has a sequel coming out soon, but I will not be picking that one up!

What Light by Jay Asher
And finally, I was so disappointed in Jay Asher's new book. I LOVED this other two books The Future of Us and especially Thirteen Reasons Why. I felt like those two books had a purpose and underlying themes. This one just read like a fluffy teen book. I found the main characters so immature and annoying. I couldn't even finish it.

So there are my biggest disappointments in reading for 2016. Please realize this is just my opinion. These aren't bad books at all! They just didn't connect with me.

If you've read and loved or hated any of these, please let me know! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Tis the season for going a little crazy in Sephora! I had a fabulous time stocking up on goodies Monday and I can't wait to try out some new products. Here's what I got.

Pretty blushes are my weakness. I had a $10 Sephora palette on my wish list for Christmas, but it sold out. I saw this one from NARS as soon as I walked into the store and fell in love. It was a splurge, but so worth it!

I had a ton of points saved up so I cashed them in for this sampler from Glam Glow. I LOVE their face masks so I can't wait to try these out tonight!

I am obsessed with Drybar products. I got a Drybar hairdryer two Christmases ago and I swear it dries my hair quicker than any other hair dryer I've ever had. I LOVE it! I've also tried their Sheriff hairspray and the Triple Sec texture spray. I just had to try out the Southern Belle mousse (such a cute name!) and the Blonde Ale brightening shampoo. 

I've been wanting to try out this charcoal face mask from Origins from the longest and I decided it was finally time to cave in. Have y'all tried it? I have high hopes for it! I usually LOVE Origins products, so I'm hoping this one is a winner. 

These Take the Day Off makeup remover wipes from Clinique are the BEST for removing makeup! Love, love, love!

Can you tell I'm a little face mask obsessed? This one got me as I was waiting in line...seriously, all those little sample sizes at the register get me every.single.time.

I've never heard of this brand, but as I talked with the girl that was working in the skin care section, she convinced me to try out this cleanser

This lip treatment (I just call it a chapstick) is life changing. I never use an entire thing of chapstick, but I've gone through 3 of these. Hands down the best thing for dry lips. I keep it on my nightstand and use it every single night before I go to bed. It is the best. 

A girl can never have too many lip liners. Santa brought me two new Mac lipsticks and I didn't have any liner to match the exact shade of pink. Urban Decay to the rescue! These and the Mac liners are my favorite! They will NOT rub off and last all day long!

Have you tried any of these beauty products? Beauty is my weakness, but we always need a little shopping spree every now and then, right? :)

It's no secret that I'm a big reader. To me, there's nothing better that curling up and getting lost in a good book that you just can't put down. I've read SO MANY good books this year and I'm sharing my top 10 favorites with y'all today! 

The first 7 books are in no particular order, but the final three are my actual 1st, 2nd, and 3rd favorites of the year. 

You can follow along on Instagram (@lalalifebookclub) to see what I'm reading in 2017 and follow me on Goodreads for mini book reviews. :)

In September I read Behind Closed Doors by B.A.Paris. I've really gotten into thrillers this year and this one does not disappoint. For this to be a debut novel, it is fabulous! It's about a seemingly perfect marriage that is anything but. I was fascinated to learn how the two main characters met and fell in love and then how their relationship changed once they were married. Oh my goodness! So good!
The author's next book, The Breakdown, comes out in June and I can't wait!


 In June, I tanned and enjoyed life outside the classroom while reading A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. I've discovered "Booktube" (people that have YouTube channels all about books) and everyone single person raves about Sarah J. Maas. Let me just say: I am not a lover of high fantasy. Even though Harry Potter is my all time favorite series ever, I don't tend to read books about magic and fairies and witches. For some reason, I decided to try out this series. I read the first one (A Court of Thorns and Roses), which is a retelling of beauty and the beast. I could not believe how wonderful it was. I was hesitant to pick up the second in the series because my favorite character in the first one is missing for 80% of this book. After reading A Court of Mist and Fury, I could care less about my former favorite character because this book convinced me to jump ships! If you're in the mood for this type of book, I highly recommend this one! 

 At the beginning of summer, I read November 9 by Colleen Hoover. Oh, Colleen Hoover.  CH is one of those authors who just doesn't have the ability to write anything bad. I've read almost everything she's written and November 9 is my favorite. Yes, I read It Ends With Us and yes, I loved it, but it doesn't hold a candle to this one. 
It's about a girl and a guy who meet on the same day each year. I normally don't like books that span over a lengthy period of time, but this one is great. There's always a twist or something you don't see coming in CH books and I was BLOWN AWAY with the twist in this one! 

In July I read Moonshot by Alessandra Torre. I discovered this writer in the Spring and fell in love with everything she writes. I've also read Hollywood Dirt and Love, Chloe (if I were blogging about my top 11 favorite books, Love, Chloe would be #11!) and loved both of them. Moonshot is my absolute favorite though! It's about a girl whose father works/plays for the Yankees. She travels with the team and falls in love with one of the players. He's traded to another team and then returns a few years later. It is fabulous!

In April I read The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith. I've really gotten away from reading Young Adult this year, but this one stuck with me. This book covers the high school life of a young girl from her freshman to senior year. She is raped by her brother's best friend right before she enters 9th grade and the book deals with how she copes with this. It's a heavy, heart breaking read and I loved it. I do wish the author would have changed one thing (if you read my review for this one on Goodreads, you'll see what I'm talking about...I don't want to spoil it here) but I completely understand why she didn't do this. 
Sidenote: I read Exit, Pursued by Bear after this one. Both books deal with rape and it was fascinating to see how differently the two main characters dealt with the aftermath. 

In March I read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I feel like this year I branched out and tried new genres. This one is a historical fiction book and I've probably read 5 HF books ever in my lifetime. This one was recommended to me countless times, so I decided to try it out. It took FOREVER to read because it was such a serious book. I'm used to reading romance books that you can just fly through, but this one took some concentration. It was an absolute beautiful story about two sisters who lived in France during World War II. One sister is a feminist and is eager to help fight, while the other sister struggles to protect her home and son while her husband is off fighting. The ending of this one broke my heart. I can still remember little things about this book, which is always a good sign that you've read an amazing book. 

In March, I celebrated a snow day with The Big Band Theory and The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson. This was hands down my favorite thriller of the year. It starts out with a man talking to a woman on a plane. He tells her how he's just found out his wife is having an affair and he wants to kill her. The woman decides to help him and the story progresses from there. I don't want to say anything else because the less you know going into this one the better. The story is broken into 3 different sections and I was BLOWN AWAY with the twist in this one! SOOOO good! Peter Swanson also has a new book coming out in January called Her Every Fear!)

Now for my top 3 of the year!

In November I read an ARC of Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia. I started not to put an advanced reader copy on my list because the point of the list is for y'all to find books to read and you technically can't get this one until January 3, but it was just too good not to include. In fact, out of ALL the books I've read this year, this is my third favorite.

It's told from three different points of view: a high school senior who goes missing the night after she stars in her senior play, the detective who is in charge of finding her, and the high school English teacher.  The story pieces her entire senior year leading up to her murder. I could not believe the ending of this one! I did not see it coming and I was floored! On January 3, you need to run to your local bookstore to get your hands on this one. Even though I read an e-copy, I will probably go and buy a physical copy because I loved this one that much. 

In August, I fell in love with The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. I don't think I've ever smiled and laughed out loud as much as I did when I read this book. If a book can be swoon worthy, this one is it! I've loaned it to several people and they've all said the beginning was slow, but I loved every single page. 
It's about a girl and a guy who work side by side and hate each other...until they realize they don't. Oh my goodness, I'm smiling just remembering this one. I love, love, love it. 

And in August, I read my favorite book of the year: Cancel the Wedding by Carolyn T. Dingman. My favorite kind of book is a good Southern fiction, but not like Fried Green Tomatoes or something overly southern. This one had the perfect touch of a southern setting.

It's about a girl who returns to her mother's hometown after her mother passes away. Her mother never shared anything about her past, so when the main character arrives, she begins to learn about her mother's childhood and her first love. It is so good. It's one of those books where you finish a chapter and then you immediately say to yourself "I'll just read one more chapter". 

I would love to hear your thoughts on any of these books or if you read any fabulous books that you would love to share so I can pick them up in 2017! :)

Tis the season to watch cheesy Netflix movies! I've watched more of these types of movies this year than I ever have. I thought I'd share my favorites with y'all! Let me know if you've seen any of these or if you have any that I should watch. :)

One of my favorites has to be 12 Dates of Christmas. It originally came on ABC Family, but I watched it for the first time on Netflix. It's about a girl who keeps repeating Christmas Eve for 12 days until she uneventfully gets it right.  It has Zack Morris in it...need I say more?

I also LOVE Holiday Engagement. It's about a girl who breaks up with her boyfriend right before she has to go home. She doesn't want to go alone, so she asks a guy to pretend to be her fiance. The female lead is kinda annoying, but the male lead is cute!

I watched The Spirit of Christmas over the weekend and really liked it! It's about a guy who is kinda like a ghost, but he only returns to this inn for 2 weeks during Christmas. One of the real estate agents or lawyers (I can't remember) comes to the inn and meets the "ghost". 

I watched Dear Santa last year and I loved it! Extremely cheesy, but really cute!

Okay, this one is really good if you can get past the fact that the male lead isn't that cute. Maybe it's just me though. This one is about a girl who works for an awful boss. The girl kisses her boss's boyfriend in the elevator without knowing who he is. There's a sequel that is awful, but this one is kind of cute.

I'm not completely sure this one is on Netflix. I recorded it from some channel called Up!
There's a lot of bad acting, but the male lead is a cross between Wade from Hart of Dixie and the guy from Sweet Home Alabama. Basically all you need to know in order to go watch it LOL

I'd love to hear your recommendations! 

I love trying out new products, but sadly not all of them are winners. Today I'm sharing 8 different products that I regret purchasing. Read below to find out why they didn't work for me!

I tried this one out back during the summer and I hated it! I think I used it a total of 3 times before giving up on ever liking it. It's a very greasy lotion that takes forever to rub in. Once it gets rubbed into your skin, it never feels like your skin is soaking up the moisture...it continues to feel like it's sitting on top of your skin. Yuck! Next summer I'll definitely be trying a new after tanning lotion. 

I purchased this one the same time I bought the after tanning lotion. I mainly decided on these two products because of their smell and while they smell exactly like summer, I did not have luck with either of these products. This one in particular felt disgusting when I applied it to my lips. It had SPF 30 and I'm always looking for a high SPF for my lips while I tan because my lips are super sensitive to the sun. This chapstick felt like it got melted by the sun and became stickier and stickier. It was a definite fail. 

I purchased this small size at Sephora after hearing about it from a Youtuber. It's very expensive so I got the small travel size to test it out. I'm glad I did because I ended up not liking it. The Youtuber (I cannot remember which one it was) said it was exactly like putting water on your face, but it left behind a sticky, oily residue on mine. I tried the Gardiner Cleansing Water from the drugstore and liked it much more...and it's tons cheaper!

Now, I LOVE this gel collection from Essie. The slanted bottles are fabulous when paired with the top coat. I'm in search of the perfect mauve/nude color and this one looks perfect in the bottle. When I applied it to my nails, however, it looked more purple and violet. 

I could never figure out this product. I did learn that I much prefer a powder highlighter rather than a liquid one. This just always looked streaky on my face. The packaging is gorgeous though, isn't it? 

Granted I did buy a shade that was too dark, but regardless of the color, I did not like this foundation. It did not work for my oily skin and always appeared thick and greasy. It also felt very heavy on my skin. 

I love St. Tropez Self Tanner! I usually use the white, classic shade, but when I read that the dark shade doesn't streak as much, I decided to try it out. I never really had a problem with the classic shade streaking, but sometimes my feet look a little dirty if I'm not careful. I tried the dark shade once and it was AWFUL! It was WAY too dark for me and as a result, it just looked muddy and dirty on my skin. I quickly switched back to the classic shade!

I've been using Estee Lauder's Double Wear foundation and I LOVE it. I ran out one day and was in town near Ulta. I hated to go all the way across town to Belk just to buy foundation, so I decided to try out a new kind at Ulta. A friend said she had been loving the Born This Way foundation so I tried it. It felt really similar to Double Wear, but the longer I wore it, the more oily it got on my face. I tried applying a thinner layer and it looked like I wasn't wearing any makeup. It just wasn't the foundation for me. 

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think? Hopefully you had better luck than I did! :)

Hot Chocolate might just be my favorite thing ever in the winter and the Starbucks version is by far my favorite. I love how strong as opposed to sweet it is. Everything I've tried at home is just way too sweet (hello swiss miss! Yuck!) Even the Starbucks brand hot chocolate Kcups are don't taste the same. I've been searching high and low for the perfect dupe and I had to share with y'all!

Step One: Heat 6 oz of milk. I've been using whole milk, but I recently tried it with 2% for a less calorie version and couldn't taste the difference!

Add two tablespoons of the Ghirardelli Premium Hot Cocoa Double Chocolate mix. 
Note: You must use the Double Chocolate, not the milk chocolate to get the Starbucks version's taste

Constantly stir using a whisk. Take away from heat before the mixture begins to boil.

Pour into your cute mug! Now it's time for the fun toppings! If you ever watch the barista make your hot chocolate at Starbucks, they top it with whip cream and syrup.  

And we're done! I've been enjoying a cup every few nights while I'm reading. Love!

Happy weekend, y'all!


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