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Beau Gâchis Paris : Luxurious Beauty Tools that Won’t Break Your Budget

Beau Gâchis Cosmetics just might be my new favorite beauty obsession.

“Beau gâchis” is French and translates to Beautiful Mess”. Anyone who knows me knows that I love anything and everything French – and anything related to beauty. Sure enough, this brand delivers high-quality, professional makeup brushes, beauty sponges and other beauty tools and accessories have become an essential part of my every-day beauty routine.

These products are super affordable already, but with my coupon code LISA, you can save an additional 20% off of your purchase!

Of course, I would not recommend these products to my readers without testing these products and sharing my full, honest opinion first. Here are the various products i received, along with my review of each.

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  1. Limited Edition Highlight & Contour Set 

There is nothing cuter than this little clutch that opens up to reveal some of the softest, most high-precision brushes I have ever used. These include the Flat Contour brush, Contour brush, Tapered Highlighter brush, and a Fan Highlighter brush.

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Each is equally amazing,and I love using the flat contour brush to evenly contour my nose. If II had to pick a favorite out of all of these brushes, I would choose the fan brush – it s perfect for applying highlighter to your nose, cheekbones, and eyebrow bone area.

Keep in mind that each brush in this kit can be purchased individually if desired.

  1. 7 Piece Makeup Brush Set with Leather Storage Case

How you choose to store your makeup brushes matters. If you leave your brushes out in the open on your vanity or bathroom mirror,  they can collect dust, dirt, and other bacteria that will transfer to your skin – yuck!

This storage case is perfect for keeping your makeup brushes clean and dust-free at all times. This little set comes with two eye-shadow brushes – one for applying shadow and the other for blending. It also comes with an eyebrow brush, an eyebrow brush and comb, foundation brush, contour brush, and powder brush.

 

I found that the powder brush was great for applying my RCMA Makeup No Color Powder when setting my makeup. I also loved the eyebrow brush, which I used to fill in my eyebrows with Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in Taupe.

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  1. 5 Piece Eye Essentials Brush Set

This set includes a cute cloth cosmetics bag with the brands logo on one side and the words “Beautiful Mess” on the other, as well as an eyeliner brush, eye shader brush, definer brush, tapered blending brush, and sponge shader brush. The sponge shader brush is essentially a tiny beauty blender – and I loved using it to blend not only my eyeshadow, but my under-eye concealer. For this look, I used Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid in Pink.

The eyeliner brush was perfect for adding eyeshadow to my lower lash line. I wet the brush just a tiny bit and applied my Mac Pigment in Blue-Brown.

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  1. PRO Series Applicator Sponge Duo

I am super picky about my blending sponges, which is why, for years, I swore I would never use anything other than the Original BeautyBlender that sells at Sephora for $20. because cheaper sponges just could not compare.

But I LOVE these sponges . One is a tear drop shape similar to the Original Beauty Blender and the other is a pear shape. Much to my surprise, however,  these sponges blend my makeup much more smoothly, thoroughly and efficiently than the Original BeautyBlender. They use less product and retain more water which helps you attain the most even coverage possible. These sponges are also incredibly easy to wash with just soap and water. For this look, I used the pear shaped beauty blender to apply my Lock-It Foundation in Light 44. 

  1. Concealer Brush

Like all of the other brushes I received, this one is soft and durable. You will not find any uneven bristles or fall-out. This brush is perfect for applying and blending makeup on small imperfections. I used my concealer brush to apply my Lock-It Concealer Cream in Cool.

The Final Verdict:

I spend a lot of time researching before purchasing my beauty tools and investing a lot of money into these products. I find that cheap makeup brushes aren’t very durable, feel rough against my skin, and do not distribute product evenly enough.

These brushes, however, are the best of both worlds. Each brush is high-quality, easy to use, and easy to wash. Best of all, they are extremely affordable.

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While i genuinely loved all of these products, my favorite has to be the Limited Edition Highlight and Contour Set. These brushes look and feel especially luxurious and high-end.

If you have thought about purchasing a new beauty sponge, I can honestly say that these ones are even better than the Original BeautyBlender – and much more affordable!

If you are in need of some new beauty tools – or just feel like treating yourself! – head on over to beaugachiscosmetics.com. You won’t regret it!

Use my code LISA for $$$ off your purchase – Shop now!

 

 

Lang Leav’s Debut Novel Shines with Breathtaking Detail and Poetic Brilliance

 

Lang Leav is the author of several bestselling books of prose and poetry – Love & Misadventures, Lullabies, Memories, and The Universe of Us. The literary world fell for her beautiful words – as did the hearts of millions of readers worldwide. Leav has announced the publication of her very first debut novel, Sad Girls, which will be released on May 30th online and in bookstores. (You can pre-order it now on Amazon).

Lang Leav’s poetry is insightful, beautiful, and distinct. I was extremely eager to find out how her detailed usage of language and sentimental style of prose would translate into a novel. I also wondered if her words – when written in a novel – would resonate with me the same way her poetry did. I wasn’t sure quite what to expect, but I knew I had to find out.

“Ana was the original sad girl. She held the unofficial title long before her death. We all
became sad girls after that.”sad girls

When high-school senior Ana commits suicide, her death leaves an impact on the entire community, particularly one group of her classmates – Audrey, Lucy and Candela. Because Audrey had spread a terrible rumor about Ana, Audrey feels guilty, and ultimately, responsible for Ana’s death.

Stricken with feelings of grief and severe panic, Audrey experiences anxiety-driven symptoms and behavior. Nobody knows her secret, and she knows she must never make it known – not to her family, not to her best friends, and not to her sweet but terribly boring boyfriend, Duck.

When Audrey begins spending time with Ana’s ex boyfriend, Rad, everyone in town has something to say. As their friendship grows, Audrey latches on to the strong connection and the ease it brings to her seemingly out-of-control life. While Ana’s death always lingers in the back of Audrey’s mind, her worries are easily forgotten when she’s with Rad. They spend hours simply engaging in conversation, and Audrey is inspired by him, his mysteriousness, his passion for writing, and his way of seeing the world.

Despite these feelings, Audrey cannot bear the thought of being responsible for hurting her boyfriend. After they have both graduated high school, she cuts ties with Rad and they agree to never speak to one another again. Audrey finishes school and begins working for a magazine, and soon crosses path with Rad, who has become a bestselling author. To Audrey, their encounter doesn’t feel coincidental – it feels like fate.

Sad Girls is a beautiful and heartbreaking coming-of-age story about experiencing love.

“Your first love isn’t the first person you give your heart to – it’s the person that breaks it,” Leav writes. Audrey’s love for Rad is strong, but she deals with many conflicting emotions, including her desire to explore and live life on her own.

Beneath the surface, the novel has a deeper message. Audrey soon realizes that she isn’t the only one hiding a dark secret, and that nothing is what it seems. Everyone has a different way of coping with life in light of Ana’s death – some characters in the novel struggling with drug and alcohol abuse.

Sad Girls was everything I had hoped it would be – and so much more. Lang’s writing shines in a way that is beautifully vivid and poetic without being overly descriptive. The plot is fast-paced and engaging. At the end of the novel, Leav presents one extremely shocking twist that left me speechless.

I found Audrey’s character likable, and her struggles very relatable. Each of the characters are anything but perfect, and that’s what made this novel so real to me. Dealing with topics such as anxiety, depression, and suicide, the novel is especially relevant in this day and age.

For years, I have enjoyed her poetry, and I am pleased that she has taken her writing one step further with the publication of her first novel.  I cannot wait to see what she releases next!
langLang Leav
is an international best-selling author and social media sensation. She is the winner of a Qantas Spirit of Youth Award and coveted Churchill Fellowship. Her books continue to top bestseller charts in bookstores worldwide and Lullabies, was the 2014 winner of the Goodreads Choice award for poetry.

Lang has been featured in various publications including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Straits Times, The Guardian and The New York Times. She currently resides in New Zealand with her partner and fellow author Michael Faudet.

 

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Beauty that Gives Back : GLOW for a Cause

Being able to make conscious decisions about the products you buy is important. I continuously seek out brands that have a positive social impact on communities around the world.

Brand integrity matters – especially in industries such as fashion and beauty, where even some of the most successful companies partake in unethical business practices . GLOW for a Cause, however, is a beauty brand that everyone should be proud to support. 

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The brand sells U.S. made vegan and cruelty-free lotions, perfumes,  face masks and skincare products.

Artist, teacher, and skincare productista, Johanna Querry Smith founded GLOW for a Cause as a passion project. A portion of the sales from each product is given to a partner non-profit. These non-profits include :

  • PRANA Run animal protection nonprofit aims to advocate and protect all animal life through awareness, promotion, and outreach as well as endorsing and encouraging pet adoptions for companion animals.  http://pranarun.org
  • Love, Vincent is a nonprofit organization that supplies care packages for dogs and cats who have been faced with a cancer diagnosis. Their mission is to provide love, support, and comfort to these animals and their families during this difficult time in their lives.  http://lovevincent.org
  • MaxFund Animal Adoption Center is a true no kill animal shelter in Colorado, giving animals, including the injured, abandoned and abused, a second chance at life.  http://maxfund.org
  • Berni’s Journey is a cinematic quest that serves as a mirror for us to reflect on universal themes of happiness, hope, and living authentically.  Answer the call of adventure and become the hero of your own story.  http://www.bernisjourney.com

I was sent a solid perfume in the scent “Wish” in exchange for an honest review. On the website, the perfume scent is described as  “a magical blend of sparkling light florals, white tea, and bergamot grounded by light musks. “

INGREDIENTS : coconut oil, beeswax, organic shea butter, organic cocoa butter, vitamin E and GLOW’s signature perfume blends

( There is also a vegan blend option available !)

I own a collection of spray and rollerball perfumes, but none of them are solids. So I was very excited to try this out.  Like any perfume, you can apply it to your wrists and behind the ears, but you apply the perfume using your finger. Pretty simple.

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Pros :

I love the scent of the perfume and I was surprised at how long it lasted throughout the day. There have been many times where I found that scented lotions were more long-lasting than my favorite perfumes. The long-wear of this product reminded me of these scented lotions. 

I really enjoyed the convenience of this product – it’s SOO much easier to put in your purse than a clunky, breakable bottle of perfume. I have extremely sensitive skin and did not experience any skin reaction after using this product several times.

Cons: The only mild issue I had with this product is the size of the packaging container, which isn’t very wide. It’s harder to pick up the product if you have long nails.

Final Verdict: If you are looking for a new signature perfume, I highly recommend Wish. This scent is perfect – and it’s definitely going to become one of my summertime travel must-haves! 

GLOW for a Cause ‘s products are made of natural, high-quality ingredients and are very affordable. You can purchase a solid perfume and a rollerball scent of Wish for only $16. Click here to browse through all of their products. 

 

Exit West Imparts a Beautiful Truth : “We Are All Migrants Through Time”

“In a city swollen by refugees but still mostly at peace, or at least not openly at war, a young man met a young woman in a classroom and did not speak to her. For many days.”

Exit West explores the difficulties a country and its inhabitants face when confronted with conflict. The novel takes place in present day in an unidentified city – its name is never revealed to the reader. What the reader does know is that this city  has been taken over by anti-government militants, and acts of violence are being committed each and every day. At the beginning of the story, residents are, for the most part, still able to go about their day. And that’s exactly how Nadia meets Saaed – while attending an evening class for business school.

9780735212176Nadia is bold and independent which contrasts Saeed’s subdued demeanor. Despite their differences, the two are inexplicably drawn to one another. 

“Saaed was certain he was in love. Nadia was not certain what exactly she was feeling, but she knew it had force.” The two spend more time together even as the city around them falls apart – food is rationed, neighborhoods are bombed, and airstrikes are launched. Curfews are enforced and phone service and internet connection are suspended. These circumstances place significant barriers on Nadia and Saaed’s relationship, but they continue to see each other as much as they can. 

As conditions worsen, Saeed and Nadia search for ways to flee their city. Rumors circulate about mysterious doors that are able to transport people to faraway places where they can seek safety, shelter, and new lives. It soon becomes clear that these doors do exist, and Saeed and Nadia make arrangements prepare for their departure. 

Nadia and Saeed exit their city through one of the doors, leaving everything that they know behind and looking forward to new opportunity, frightened but hopeful. They find themselves on a Greek island with many other refugees. In time, they grow restless and seek a new location.  They go door-to-door throughout Europe and North America until they have found the place they can finally call home. Throughout this journey, Nadia and Saeed learn more about each other, but mainly make discoveries about themselves.

Through his beautifully crafted words, Hamid makes a relevant statement about our current world,  reflecting the harsh realities of a country in conflict and inhabitants that are desperate to escape. As Donald Trump reveals his plan to ban refugee admission into the U.S., this novel emulates the struggles people face when they make the decision to leave their home country. Last year, 10,000 Syrians fled to the US in order to escape the civil war in their country. These refugees are human beings with hopes, fears, dreams, and potential. Exit West challenges the way many people think regarding immigration policies and emphasizes the value of human life.

Hamid’s decision to leave Nadia and Saeed’s home country unnamed makes the story even more powerful and shows that any town, city, or country can be suddenly disrupted and torn apart by war.

The magical realism of the doors was not overbearing so the story still felt mostly real, but it was an important part of the story that was so vaguely described. Many aspects of the story lacked substance and could have benefited from greater lengths of detail, characterization and dialogue. 

Hamid’s style of writing is vague in detail at times but remains extremely poetic and symbolic. As he writes about the changes in the world around them, he also displays the changes in Nadia and Saeed’s relationship. “All over the world people were slipping away from where they had been, from once fertile plains cracking with dryness, from seaside villages gasping beneath tidal surges, from overcrowded cities and murderous battlefields, and slipping away from other people too, people they had in some cases loved, as Nadia was slipping away from Saeed, and Saeed from Nadia.”

Exit West wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but it was something more. Hamid’s novel is sad, honest, hopeful, but most of all, relevant to our time. This book is extremely powerful, forcing readers to reexamine the state of the world we live in and the  issues that impact us the most, while reminding us that we are all connected as members of the human race.

mohsin-hamid-c-jillian-edelstein-jpg-20170227Mohsin Hamid is the author of four novels, Moth Smoke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, and Exit West, and a book of essays, Discontent and Its Civilizations.His writing has been featured on bestseller lists, adapted for the cinema, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, selected as winner or finalist of twenty awards, and translated into thirty-five languages.Born in Lahore, he has spent about half his life there and much of the rest in London, New York, and California.

 

Benjamin Ludwig’s Debut Novel Stuns with Authenticity and Purpose

On May 2nd, New Hampshire author Benjamin Ludwig will be releasing his very first novel, Ginny Moon. Selected as a B&N Summer 2017 Discover Great New Writers book, this highly anticipated read is about to take the literary world by storm in more ways than one.

51bTa3TDoFL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_The story is told from the entertaining and captivating perspective of an autistic teenage girl. Taken away from her abusive and drug-addicted mother at the age of nine, Ginny is now a foster child. She has finally found her “forever home” – a place where she is safe and taken care of properly by Brian and Maura, her “forever mom and dad.”

Much to this dismay of her foster parents, Ginny makes continuous efforts to contact her birth mother. She is concerned about “Baby Doll”, her baby sister that she left behind. Because if she isn’t, then who is taking care of her baby doll? In order to save her baby doll, Ginny devises a heroic plan of escape. She will do whatever it takes to see to the well-being of her sister, even if it means leaving her forever family behind.

“It’s like I left the original me behind when I came to live with my new Forever Parents. With Brian and Maura Moon. My name is Ginny Moon now but there are still parts of the original me left.” Ginny’s adjustment to her new life reflects her struggle for acceptance and understanding ; a battle that readers can truly resonate and emphasize with.

In Ginny Moon, Ludwig makes a statement about the longevity of family and the power of love. The novel carefully portrays some of the challenges involved with raising an autistic child. In this experience, Brian and Maura certainly made some mistakes. But they were able to grow from these mistakes, taking the time to better understand Ginny’s world and the heartbreaking childhood that shaped her.

The protagonist’s literal mindset as well as the motivations behind her actions are often difficult for her parents, teachers, and peers to decipher and can lead to moments of frustration. However, it is clear that Ginny has nothing but pure intentions in her heart. As the novel progressed, I was able to better understand her character and what caused her to think and act in certain ways. It was an incredibly eye-opening experience.

Ludwig has crafted a truly authentic voice that demands to be heard. Despite the saddening circumstances, Ginny’s perspective is not at all despairing or overly emotional but uplifting, humorous, and beautiful. I found myself completely engaged throughout the novel and pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed the experience. There’s no doubt about it ; Ginny Moon will become your favorite literary character.

Ginny Moon is a novel that I continue to reflect upon. Extraordinarily unforgettable, you will remember Ginny’s story long after you have finished reading.

BEN-photoA life-long teacher of English and writing, Benjamin Ludwig lives in New Hampshire with his family. He holds an MAT in English Education and an MFA in Writing.  Shortly after he and his wife married they became foster parents and adopted a teenager with autism. Ginny Moon is his first novel, which was inspired in part by his conversations with other parents at Special Olympics basketball practices. Please visit Benjamin Ludwig’s website for more information.

 

 

 

Orphan Train Reveals a Relevant Story about Love and Loss

Christina Baker Kline is the author of five novels, and has received praise and acknowledgment for her newest release, Orphan Train. Chosen as “One Book, One Read” by over fifty communities and campuses and published in 35 countries, Kline delivers a work of fiction that is rich in history, emotion, and truth. By shedding a light on an often-overlooked period of US history, Orphan Train pays homage to the 200,000 children who were shipped on trains in the Midwest between the years 1854 and 1929.

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The Children’s Society was the so-called “perfect solution” to children who, from one way or another, had become abandoned and homeless. Children were transported on trains from major cities such as Boston and New York to Midwestern states, where they were placed into new homes. With a possibility of being brought into the hands a loving family, there lied a greater possibility of being taken as a form of cheap labor, and in the worst cases, ruthless abuse.

Like many children during the time, the protagonist of the novel, Niamh is an Irish Catholic immigrant who is brought to America with its promise of endearing hope and abundant opportunity. The Lower East Side of New York City sharply contrasts with her homeland, the small Irish village of Kinvara, but she is optimistic and willing to adapt to her new surroundings. Two years later, however, she loses her family in a house fire. With everything she has grown to know and love now gone, she is sent on a train to Minnesota, her fate bleak and unknown.

Niamh’s journey is a remarkable one, and it is one she reflects upon later in life as Vivian Daley, now 90 years old and residing in an old house in Spruce Harbor, Maine. Vivian shares her story with seventeen-year old Molly Ayer, a troubled teenager who has spent most of her years in foster care. For a community service requirement, Molly helps Vivian clean her attic. As they uncover the various memorabilia that Vivian has accumulated throughout her lifetime, the two build an unlikely and worthy friendship. Molly relishes in Vivian’s experiences, as Vivian is living proof that hope exists even for an orphan such as herself.

Kline succeeds in beautifully connecting the lives of seventeen-year-old Molly and ninety-year old Vivian. Vivian confides in Molly and reveals a tale of everything she has endured -loss, suffering, heartache, and a quest for a sense of belonging. While she doesn’t find it at every doorstep, she finds it in a few of the lives she encounters along the way, and finally, she is brought back to one particular person who had been waiting for her all along. “My entire life has felt like chance. Random moments of loss and connection. This is the first one that feels, instead, like fate.”

Brimming with equal portions of fiction and history, Kline delivers a fantastic plot to her audience.  I found myself impelled to turn each page, transfixed by the characters embark from a black and white world of despair into a world saturated in hope. Each leg in her journey is accompanied by poetic, vivid descriptions of character and setting that exemplify the writing of Charlotte Brontë in Jane Eyre. “Mrs Scatcherd stands at the front of the car, holding on to two leather seat backs, the arms of her cape draping like the wings of a crow.”

While Vivian’s story pushes the reader forward, I found myself losing interest in the subplot. Undoubtedly, Molly’s only purpose in the novel is to uncover the compelling past of Vivian Daley. And, towards the end of the novel, her role shifts into helping Vivian piece together the remaining mysteries of her past and find closure. Alas, the story of an angsty, troubled teenager who wears a lot of black is not at all interesting in comparison to Vivian, a character who is chock-full of amazing life experiences.

“I believe in ghosts. They’re the ones who haunt us, the ones who have left behind.” Orphan Train reflects not only the human desire, but the human need for love.  Vivian’s story will haunt you long after you have finished reading. Kline’s beautifully crafted language will enchant you, its dialogue will entice you, but its relevance will captivate you.

 

Right Behind You : A Stirring Psychological Thriller by Lisa Gardner

In the world of crime fiction, New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner is one of the most recognizable voices, and it’s no wonder why – her books are filled with psychological suspense, precise research, and most of all – unexpected twists and turns.

thumbnail_Lisa Gardner_Right Behind You_9780525954583.jpgRight Behind You is Lisa Gardner’s newest release and addition to her FBI Profiler Series, which follows the lives of crime-fighting partners/ husband and wife duo, Pierce Quincy and Loraine “Rainie”. Rainie is a homicide investigator and Quincy is a now-retired FBI Profiler residing in Bakersville, Oregon with their soon-to-be foster-daughter, Sharlah.

A child of trauma, thirteen-year old Sharlah has difficulty expressing her emotions. But there is one thing she is sure of – she is grateful for Rainie and Quincy and everything they have done for her. As she looks forward to starting a new life with her new family, however, she finds herself asking questions about the family she has left behind- her only living relative, her older brother, Telly.

Sharlah and Telly grew up in a troubled home characterized by addiction and rage. Sharlah’s happy recollections of those years were sparse, but they include all of the times that Telly spent taking care of her – feeding her Cheerio’s, taking her to the library, and reading her Clifford books. But on one particularly horrible night, Telly murdered his parents as an act of self-defense. With both parents’ dead and Sharlah left with a broken arm, the two are placed in separate foster homes.

Eight years later, Sharlah misses her brother dearly and can only hope that he, too, has found love and happiness with his foster parents. Then, Rainie and Quincy get a call about a double-shooting at a local gas station. Video surveillance shows a young man who is soon identified as Sharlah’s brother, Telly Ray Nash.

The investigative team is determined to find answers about Telly’s wherabouts. But when Telly’s adoptive parents, Frank and Sandra Duvall are found slain in their home, a new question arises : Who is Telly’s next target?

To Rainie and Quincy, the answer is frighteningly obvious. Sharlah. Telly’s cellphone is filled with recent photos of Sharlah, as if he has been stalking her. Is he looking for revenge ? Is he jealous? They do not know what his motive is, but they will do anything to ensure Sharlah’s safety.

Sharlah, however, thinks differently. She has trouble believing that Telly is the monster responsible for all of these murders. She remembers him as the brother who loved her, cared for her, and most importantly, saved her life. She feels guilty for not trying to reach out to him after all these years, and decides to start looking for answers herself.

As with any of Lisa Gardner’s books, readers must be prepared expect the unexpected. Right Behind You is an intricate mystery filled with twists that are both equally tense and thrilling.

Gardner successfully delivers a plot that is not only driven by suspense, but by heart.  She has crafted a set of characters whose stories are memorable and whose words come alive on each and every page. I couldn’t help but fall in love with Rainie, Quincy, Sharlah, and the family they have become. Emphasizing the power of forgiveness and the importance of family, the narrative is deeply captivating.

Right Behind You is not your average piece of crime fiction. There were so many aspects of this story that made it impossible to put down. Through varying perspectives of both Sharlah and Telly, Gardner provides readers with a valuable insight on the true aftermath of trauma, as well as the impacts that never truly disappear.

As an avid reader of  Lisa Gardner, her writing never fails to impress me. This book however, left me especially speechless. Powerful and thought-provoking, Right Behind You is well-worth the read.

thumbnail_lisa-gardner-author-photo_right-behind-youLisa Gardner, a #1 New York Times crime thriller novelist, began her career in food service, but after catching her hair on fire numerous times, she took the hint and focused on writing instead. A self-described research junkie, her work as a research analyst for an international consulting firm parlayed her interest in police procedure, cutting edge forensics and twisted plots into a streak of internationally bestselling suspense novels. With over 22 million books in print, Lisa is published in 30 countries. Her success crosses into the small screen with four of her novels becoming movies (At the Midnight Hour; The Perfect Husband; The Survivors Club; Hide) and personal appearances on television shows (TruTV; CNN).

For more information on Lisa and her books, please visit http://lisagardner.com/

Purchase Right Behind You on Amazon