Addictive Reads to Add to Your List: The Wife Between Us

By now, you probably know,  I’m a sucker for a good thriller. Especially one with unexpected twists. The Wife Between Us is a fun, fast-paced read. It was exactly what I needed to help get me through the dreary, cold weather. I didn’t mind staying inside curled up in bed with a cup of tea, my dog by my side, and this book in my lap.

Not only is this book highly addictive, but it somehow always keeps you on your toes. Just when you think you’ve got the story – and its characters – all figured out, think again. Authors Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen have an uncanny ability to always keep their readers guessing.

“It sometimes seemed as if it – he – were a bit scripted. But it didn’t matter. Richard was caring, charismatic, and accomplished. I fell in love with him almost immediately. And I never doubted that he loved me, too.”

At the center of the plot exists kind, successful, and loving Richard. He wants nothing but the best for his soon-to-be wife and the future they are going to create. But just like the other characters, there is more to him than meets the eye. 

Then there’s Nellie – a smart, hard-working college graduate. She works two jobs and shares an apartment with her best friend in the city. When Richard promises to give Nellie everything she could ever want and more, she chooses to place her trust in him and never look back. However, Nellie has a secret to her past – one that just might shake up her future.

Vanessa, on the other hand, is the woman that Richard divorced. With her failed marriage looming behind her, she has nothing to call her own besides a few pieces of outdated designer clothing. Moving in with her aunt, Vanessa spends most of her days wallowing in liquor and regrets – all the while envisioning her ex-husband with his new fiance, or her “replacement”, and of course – plotting ways to stop Richard’s marriage.

The Wife Between Us is more than a story about a jealous ex-wife or a marriage gone wrong. Just as the synopsis says, Assume nothing. I will say, however, that this is a story about fear, manipulation, and most of all, truth.

Countless twists and turns left me breathless – and with an insatiable desire to see what would happen next. Beautifully written with an intricate plot that is often times misleading but all the while thrilling, The Wife Between Us is one of those books you should be excited to read – and even more excited to share.

FYI: DreamWorks will be making the book into a major motion picture. And I know it’s going to be fantastic – it will be made by the team that produced Girl on the Train!

Greer Hendricks spent over two decades as an editor. Her writing has been published in The New York Times and Publishers WeeklyThe Wife Between Us is her first novel.

Sarah Pekkanen is the internationally-bestselling author of the novels The Perfect Neighbors, Things You Won’t Say, Catching Air, The Best of Us, These Girls, Skipping a Beat, and The Opposite of Me.

Check out this video of Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen discussing their new novel.

Thank you to the St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for providing me with an Advanced Readers’ Copy and giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts with others!

Meet the CoverGirl Peacock Flare Mascara

Hi everyone!

My recent blog post, Top Beauty Brands to be Thankful For, really allowed me to reflect on what brands and products I love most and why.  But it also made me intrigued to try out some new beauty goodies.

That’s why I was super excited to find this box of new CoverGirl products on my doorstep. I received these items complimentary from Influenster  for product testing and review purposes.

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The first item is the Peacock Flare Mascara , which retails for $8.99. The packaging is super cute – something that I think many drugstore brand products lack. But more importantly, the mascara works well. Before applying, I did two things. I curled my lashes using the Tarte Picture-Perfect Eyelash Curler and then applied one coat of Subversion Lash Primer.

For the price, it’s not bad! It certainly helps your lashes to appear longer without applying more than just a few coats AND it doesn’t clump.

I was also sent CoverGirl’s Melting Pout Gel Liquid Lipstick in shade 105, Gel-Ful. The first thing that I noticed is the product design, packaging, the applicator, and even the name are quite similar to one of Too Faced Cosmetics products, their Melted Lipstick.

While I wish the brand had been a little more original, I actually really love the color – it definitely works as a great every-day shade. However, as a gel lipstick, there is basically no staying power to this product. It slides, it sticks, and it just gets in the way. Matte lipstick for life.

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Wearing both the mascara and the lipstick for a simple, everyday look.

Although I had some mixed opinions, I am glad I tested out these products. I really haven’t used anything from CoverGirl recently, and I would definitely be willing to try more of their mascaras in the future! What are some of your fave picks from CoverGirl?

Weekend OOTD: Comfort & Style

I have a knack for buying clothes based on texture – especially during the winter time, when I crave extra softness and warmth.

As much as I love comfort, I feel like most of these clothes just aren’t cute or stylish enough to wear out and about. Like a pair of old sweatpants, they just look sloppy.

This is why I love Loft’s Lounge  collection! Cute and cozy is seriously the best of both worlds.

And no, these clothes aren’t just for lounging – with just the right accessories, they can be dressed up perfectly.

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My dress is a super soft material – and for added warmth I paired it with a long open cardigan – also from the Loft Lounge Collection available at Loft Outlet stores. I paired the combo with black tights and my black booties from Urban Outfitters.

For accessories, I love this long silver necklace – it adds just the right touch of sparkle. Grab your favorite pair of sunnies – mine are from Anthropologie – and you’re good to go!

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I wore this outfit this past weekend. The weather was comfortably cool and slightly breezy. My boyfriend and I had a coffee date at the Coffee Exchange, followed by some browsing Nostalgia, the eclectic thrift store across the street.

Afterwards, we got some delicious sushi at Sakura. Finally, we went to Symposium Books where I was able to turn in some of my books I no longer read – and I found a new book – The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur.

What are some of  your favorite weekend activities?

November Ipsy Glam Bag Reveal: Lancôme, Tarte & MAC

Happy November!

I’ve decided that posting my Ipsy Reveal posts later towards the end of the month works better – it gives me more time to truly test each of the products.

That being said, I would like to emphasize that all opinions are my own, period. I will not recommend anything that I don’t love.

Let’s get started!

Bang Beauty Lip Gloss in Spice

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I have to be honest — I wasn’t super excited to get my hands on another lip gloss – when I think of lip gloss, I just think sticky mess.

This is a really good, universally flattering shade, but I’m not too keen on the formula – lip gloss just isn’t my thing. I may use it every now and then to give my lips a break from my usual matte lipstick.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Feisty

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I was thrilled to receive yet another Tarte product in my Ipsy bag this month. I have a few of these blushes – and I just love each and every shade. This helps give your skin a natural-looking boost of color – its not too pink. I like that it can also be used as an eyeshadow.

Lancôme Hypnose Drama Instant Volume Mascara

Every month, you have the option to redeem your points for a product of your choice. I redeemed a fair amount of my Ipsy reward points for this mascara, but I wish I hadn’t. For a product that got a LOT of hype – and has the word ‘drama’ in its name – it’s just OK. It’s your average mascara – lengthening-wise, it isn’t anything to write home about.

Skin Iceland Berry Lip Fix

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In this cold weather, you really can never have too many lip care products. This item isn’t your typical lip balm – I love how the formula is almost like a gloss without being sticky. It’s super hydrating and smells amazing – what’s not to love?!

Doucce Freematic Highlighter

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I am a fan of the Doucce brand – I discovered their MaxLash Volumizer Mascara through Ipsy and it has become one of my favorites.  This highlighter has a beautiful gold sheen, and adds a subtle but buildable glow to your complexion.

My only issue is with the packaging. It’s just a pan – no palette hold it together. Of course, you could put it in a z-palette but you shouldn’t have to.

Brands like Tarte produce miniature versions of their products – for example the blush – while still putting it in a travel-friendly, cute compact. I wish this product had been packaged like that.

MAC Prep +Prime Natural Radiance in Yellow

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Yaaas, MAC. I absolutely love how this feels on my skin and its easy, lightweight feel. It’s also super moisturising! I will definitely be running to my nearest Sephora and purchasing a full-size item of this product as soon as I run out.

Overall, I am satisfied with this month’s Ipsy bag – I was able to discover some great new products AND discover some new awesome brands. What’s in your Ipsy bag?

Holiday Party Fashion Essentials

From Christmas to New Years – and all the fun parties in-between – ’tis the season to make a fashion statement!

A Spin on the Classic LBD

“One is never underdressed or overdressed with a Little Black Dress.” – Coco Chanel

The Little Black Dress, or the LBD. does it all. It flatters your figure, it accentuates your natural beauty, and it can be used and re-worn on a variety of occasions. Need I say more? For my Friendsgiving event, I wore a cold-shoulder style dress purchased from Loft. It’s simple but chic.

A Statement Necklace

A statement necklace can be any piece that really brings your outfit together – this can take the form of a chunky necklace,  layered necklace – anything that suits your style! For this look, I opted for a longer necklace with alternating pearls, faceted glass beads and sparkling crystals.

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Strappy Heels

I love these heels I purchased from Target – these are cute but so comfortable.

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Leather Crossbody Bag 

Don’t let your purse weigh you down on a fun night out. I love cross-body bags for their functionality – you can hang this lightweight bag over your shoulder or across. I love a gold chain- link strap – its just sooo timeless. My quilted leather cross-body is a staple – and it has sentimental value to me because I purchased it while traveling in Italy.

What do you plan on wearing to your next holiday event?

Top Beauty Brands to be Thankful for

Thanksgiving is all about recognizing some of the things that matter most to you. This year, take a moment to give thanks to your family and your friends.

As a beauty addict, I will also be giving thanks to some of my favorite beauty brands! Many of these brands are well-known, but there might be a few you haven’t heard of – and I encourage you to check them out!

Tarte Cosmetics

When it comes to makeup, Tarte’s products are about as all-natural as you can get. Everything they sell is made without parabens, sulfate, mineral oil, and other harsh ingredients that aren’t too kind to sensitive skin. Best of all, their products are vegan and cruelty-free. Many of their products contain all-natural, special ingredients such as Amazonian Clay and Maracuja Oil that are nourishing and beneficial to enhancing the overall health of your skin.

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I am a huge fan of Tarte’s eyeshadow palettes, particularly the Tarteist Pro Palette. Their shades are buttery smooth, super pigmented, and have a light vanilla scent to all of them.

Kat Von D Beauty

The talented and beautiful tattoo artist, Kat Von D, collaborated with Sephora to create her own makeup line back in 2008. The makeup line has expanded from selling lipsticks to a full range of cosmetics including full coverage foundation, precision eyeliner, and gorgeous eyeshadow palettes. The packaging of each product is stunningly artistic and exclusively designed by Kat Von D herself.

The Kat Von D Tattoo Lock-It Foundation has been a long time favorite of mine – I love how it perfectly matches my skin tone and truly delivers full coverage exactly when I need it.

Beau Gâchis Cosmetics
For high quality, affordable beauty tools, this brand is my go-to. Beau Gâchis literally translates to ‘beautiful mess’ and this brand is all about curating every-day glamour. I blend my makeup with their precision beauty sponge, which is comparable to the high-end Beauty Blender sponge sold at Sephora. 

I also love their fan brush, which makes it so easy to apply the right amount of highlighter to my cheekbones. Using the right tools to apply your makeup truly makes all the difference in the outcome of the final product.

Too Faced Cosmetics

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Too Faced knows exactly how to make beauty fun! Their super adorable packaging and scented makeup products make them stand out amongst other beauty brands. I love their Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer as well as their Peanut Butter & Jelly Eyeshadow palette.

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Too Faced always comes out with more fun products around the holiday season and I can’t wait to see what they release this year! 

Anastasia Beverly Hills

Anastasia Beverly Hills not only started the contour trend – they revolutionized it and made it simple for everyone.Their collection of powder and cream contour kits, as well as their foundation sticks are super user-friendly, easy to blend, and flattering on a variety of skin tones.

But it doesn’t stop there for this beauty brand – check out some of their eyebrow products -including the Dip Brow and the Brow Whiz. From powders to creams to pencils and brushes, there are so many options available for filling, defining, or enhancing your brows!

Urban Decay Cosmetics

This brand is best known for their Naked palette, a 12-shadow collection of neutral matte and shimmer shades. Since then, they’ve released a variety of other palettes to their collection.

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Although they sell a variety of products, their eye shadow is a personal favorite of mine – particularly their newest addition to the Naked collection, the  Naked Heat palette. This one features a stunning array of warm toned terracotta, red, brown, and gold shades.

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Juvia’s Place

Juvia’s Place is an online beauty brand that is most known for its beautiful eyeshadow palettes. Their range of color is extraordinary and one of a kind – and tested on every skin tone to be highly pigmented.

There are a variety of color palettes to choose from – some offer neutral shades, while others boost bold purple, reds, and even neon tones. The packaging is beautifully enticing – which makes these products even harder to resist!

Best of all, these palettes are incredibly affordable – all palettes are under $30.

Each of these brands have something different to offer – What’s your favorite beauty brand?

 

 

The Guide to Picture-Perfect Lashes

This blog post is one that I feel like is long overdue – because when it comes to makeup, eyelashes are one of my favorite things to enhance. Longer, fuller lashes really add a finishing touch to any day to night makeup look.

Whether you are trying to find ways to naturally promote longer lash growth, picking out the right pair of falsies, or the most effective mascara – this is your go-to guide! Here are some easy-to-follow tips.

Prime Your Lashes

Just like your skin, your eyelashes also need some primer!

Before applying your mascara, it really does help to use a lash primer. A lash primer will instantly boost the impact of your mascara – and ensuring that your mascara doesn’t flake off throughout the day.

A primer also helps to condition your lashes and help them grow longer, healthier, and fuller over time! So you may not notice a difference with one application, but if you continue to apply lash primer every day, you will notice a visible difference! My go-to lash primer is Subversion by Urban Decay. I swear by it.

Choose the right eyelash curler.

The next step before applying your mascara is to curl your eyelashes. I was shocked to find that so many of my own friends have NEVER used an eyelash curler. It really does boost, plump, and add shape to your lashes – and choosing the right one seriously makes all the difference – you do NOT want to pinch your lashes. I recommend the Tarte Picture Perfect Eyelash Curler and use it daily.

Get a mascara with all-natural ingredients.

My go-to mascara is the Tarte Lights Camera Lashes Mascara. It’s formulated without parabens and other chemicals that can irritate sensitive eyes. While boosting and adding volume to your lashes, it also helps condition them!

Last year, I learned the hard way that some mascaras just aren’t right for me. I really loved the popular Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara for its ability to add some serious volume to my lashes, but pieces of the mascara would flake off into my eyes – and made my eyes unbearably itchy and red.

Reading the ingredients of your products may help you make a better informed decision. If you notice some sensitivity to your eyes, it may very well be caused by a makeup product you are using. When in doubt, opt for a product with all-natural ingredients – don’t go based off of what everyone else is using!

Wear false lashes for the ultimate boost.

False lashes are fun – and once you get the hang of it, they are super easy to apply! Check out beauty brand Private Label Extensions blog post on How 3D Mink Eyelashes Changed My Life

Mink eyelashes look the most like natural hair – and the 3-D affect makes your lashes look AMAZING from every angle! This blog post will give you a better idea of just how easy these lashes are to apply – and why they may need to be a staple in your beauty bag.

Private Label Extensions sells a wide variety of high-quality mink lashes. They look and feel luxurious. Unlike many other eyelashes, they fit the shape of my eyes perfectly – and you won’t need to worry about applying eyeliner to fill the gaps.

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In this photo, I am wearing the Eyelure London Lengthening N. 155 – another favorite of mine. I like how lightweight they feel! I apply my lashes using the Ardell Duo Lash glue with a pair of clean tweezers.

While I don’t wear eyelashes every single day, I love wearing them to enhance my makeup look every now and then. I always take them off at the end of the day and take extra care in doing so and removing the rest of my makeup.

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DIY: Boost Your Lash Growth 

There are many natural ingredients that you can utilize to make your lashes grow faster. And many of these ingredients you can find at home.

Using the E.L.F. Eyelash and Brow Wand, I apply Vaseline petroleum jelly lightly to my lashes every night before bed. Target sells miniature versions of the full-size product that you can stick in your beauty bag!

Find what works best for you! Castor oil and coconut oil also are also said to boost lash growth.  Just be super careful when applying these products to your eyelashes so that you don’t get any of the oils in your eyes – ouch! Always use this stuff in moderation. Less is more.

What are some of your go-to beauty hacks?

Outfit of the Day : Casual & Chic

 

“I’ve always thought of accessories as the exclamation point of a women’s outfit.” – Michael Kors

Couldn’t of said it better myself. Seriously, I think ANY outfit can be dressed up with a cute statement necklace, layered bracelets, or the perfect handbag.

I’m also a firm believer that putting a little extra effort into your outfit each and every day can help you to have a better, and more enjoyable day! This is why I have decided to begin sharing my #OOTD, or Outfit of the Day.

The weather outside has begun to get colder and I’ve been looking for different ways to layer up without necessarily wearing a jacket.IMG_3048

On days like yesterday, when it was about 55 degrees outside and slightly sunny, I was able to wear a turtleneck shirt and a poncho. Both of these layers are lightweight but offered me just the right amount of warmth.

To accessorize, I chose a simple adjustable chain gold necklace. I think the gold in the necklace really compliments the gold on my bag, and is simple enough so that it doesn’t clash with the pattern of the poncho.

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Outfit details

Poncho : H&M

Turtleneck tee: H&M

Jeans: Super Hi-Rise Denim ,American Eagle Outfitters

Bag: Michael Kors

Necklace: Loft

This was the perfect outfit for a day spent walking around Providence and getting lunch with my boyfriend. We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and reading inside of the Athenaeum – a breathtakingly beautiful little library perfect for book nerds like me!

 

 

 

 

Simple Steps for Achieving Everyday Glamour

Do you think that achieving that effortless, glowy, bombshell look is close to impossible? Think again.

There are so many products out there that can work in your favor. At the same time, the selection may be a little overwhelming. But who said it had to be difficult? I have created a guide that incorporates methods and products from my every-day beauty routine.

Prep your skin

Before applying any kind of makeup to your skin, you need to prepare your skin with the right primer. This will help ensure the most smooth application and long-lasting impact possible. I use both the Urban Decay Hydra-Charge Complexion Prep Spray and the E.L.F. Hydrating Face Primer   This helps to moisturize my dry, sensitive skin.

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Awaken your skin 

Brighten up dull skin by using a strobe cream such as Mac Cosmetics Strobe Cream in Pinklite.  I use this as a second step to my primer and find that it really helps give my skin a healthy glow. This product is so versatile that I also use it as a highlighter or mix it with my foundation.

Eliminate dark circles 

The Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid in Pink is a lifesaver . Before applying foundation, I swipe this product under each of my eyes and blend with a concealer brush.

Seek out a full-coverage foundation

For full coverage and even application, there is no product I could rave about more than The Tattoo Lock-It Foundation by Kat Von D. I have fair skin and I use the shade Light 45 Warm.

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Maximize the power of your foundation

For an all-over illuminating affect, I mix my foundation with two drops of PrettyPretty Pearl Illuminating Drops – I actually purchased this in the makeup section at Burlington Coat Factory and unfortunately have not been able to find this product online to provide a link.

If your skin is dry, I also recommend mixing your foundation with two drops of Tarte Maracuja Oil. This can also help make your foundation less thick. This is yet another product that is so versatile it can be used alone to moisturize your skin and even replenish dry, damaged hair.

Invest in some decent brushes – and a blending sponge!

You really cannot achieve a flawless look without the right tools – quality matters! All of my brushes are from Beau Gâchis Cosmetics.  Blend your foundation over your skin with the Beau Gâchis Cosmetics Pro Series Applicator Sponge.

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For a great set of facial brushes, I also recommend the Highlight & Contour Set.  

For 20% off your purchase, use my code LISA at checkout!

Get a contour palette that does it all.

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My favorite contour palette is The Luminizers Palette by theBalm Cosmetics – there’s a shade for bronzing, one for highlighting, and one for adding a subtle rosy color to your cheeks. What more can you ask for?

Find a subtle lipstick that works for you.

Everyone has different skin tones – so a lipstick that might look great on one person may not look the same on someone else!

That’s why you have to test out products before you buy. If the product is only sold online, do as much research as you can – look to YouTube and Instagram for product swatches and reviews.

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Right now, my favorite every-day color happens to be the Candy K lipkit by Kylie Cosmetics. It’s a good every-day shade, and for a matte lipstick, the formula is not excessively drying.

Note : In the featured photo of me, I am wearing Koko by Kylie Cosmetics in the shade Bunny.  

This is more of a mauve-toned matte lipstick.

Select eyeshadows that compliment your eyes, skintone, and personal style

There are so many eye shadow pigments and palettes to choose from.

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Some of my favorite eyeshadow palettes include:

BH Cosmetics Carli Bybel Eyeshadow Palette (pictured on left) If you like shimmery shades, this palette is for you. The bronze and copper shades work well with every eye color.

The Tarteist Pro Eyeshadow Palette (middle) This palette is ideal for someone who likes to use mainly matte-finish eye shadows. The selection of neutral and purple tones works especially well for green and brown eyes.

Naked Heat Palette (right) This one consists of warm, deep-toned reds, oranges, and browns. The terracotta tones really compliment blue eyes, and the product is pigmented enough to work well with just about any skin tone.

Set your makeup!

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The last and the most crucial step in any makeup routine – set your makeup to ensure it stays put all day long. I have found that using a combination of these two products – the Mario Badescu Facial Spray and NYX Matte Finish Setting Spray – really enhances the wear of my makeup.

What are some of your favorite beauty tips?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Books to Fall Into : Are You Sleeping By Kathleen Barber

Lately, I’ve fallen into the habit of picking up books, putting them down, and then returning to them days later only to rediscover that the book isn’t as interesting as I’d hoped. The truth is, there is nothing better than having a good book to look forward to reading every day and distract you from your daily mundane activities

In exchange for nothing but an honest review, Gallery Books sent me an E-reader edition of Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber. From the very first page, I was hooked. Finally, I had stumbled across a book that I could hardly put down.

Image result for kathleen barberJosie Buhrman has a haunting past. One that she has kept well hidden for the past thirteen years. Ten years prior, her father was murdered by the neighbor next door.  Afterwards, her mother ran away to join a cult. Josie and her twin sister, Lanie, are then taken in by their Aunt Amelia.

Josie and Lanie were once the best of friends. But after their father’s’ death, they begin to separate from one another .  And when Lanie severely betrays her sister, Josie makes the decision to cut all ties with her. As soon as she graduates high school, she changes her last name, moves to New York, and meets her boyfriend, Caleb.

Throughout their relationship, Josie has fed Caleb nothing but lies about herself, her family, and her past. She tells herself that one day, she will reveal the truth to him. But this day comes sooner than expected when the murder of Josie’s father, Chuck Buhrman, becomes the subject of a mega-hit podcast series called Reconsidered.

In Reconsidered , investigative journalist Poppy Parnell re-opens the Chuck Buhrman case, one that was ‘solved’ years ago. Is the man who was convicted for the murder actually innocent? If so, then who is responsible for the death of Josie’s father?

Highlighting just how quickly rumors can circulate and information can spread through online news and social media, Kathleen Barber puts an interesting spin on your average psychological thriller – incorporating podcasts, news articles, and tweets about the murder. Her novel takes readers on a fast-paced ride – and one that will always keep you guessing.

I will always enjoy a good thriller, but this book has stood out to me in more ways than one.  More than an addicting mystery, the novel is also a family drama – as details from their family’s past resurface, Josie is forced to reunite with the sister that she left behind. It’s interesting to see how their relationship progresses through time and how their interactions feed the subplot of the novel. The author incorporates lots of flashbacks and strong characterization that make it possible to truly explore the minds of each character.

Barber has all the makings of a successful author. Are You Sleeping happens to be her debut novel – and I am utterly impressed and highly anticipating her next release. If you’re looking for a great book to read this season, I couldn’t recommend this one more. 

kathleen-barber-2117221097Kathleen Barber was raised in Galesburg, Illinois. She graduated from the University of Illinois and Northwestern University School of Law, and previously practiced bankruptcy law at large firms in Chicago and New York. When she’s not writing, Kathleen enjoys traveling the world with her husband.  

For more information, please visit https://kathleenbarber.com/

 

 

 

 

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