Room by Emma Donoghue


Room by Emma Donoghu
401 pages
Rating: 4/5 Stars

Description: Jack is five. He lives in a single, locked room with his Ma.

It has been awhile since I have read a book that I could feel my heart sinking while I read it. This book is about a woman that was kidnapped in her teens and forced to live in a 11×11 foot shed. Her kidnapper routinely rapes her and keeps her locked away secretly from society. As a result, she finds that she has a son that she must parent on her own. All he knows is that locked shed, the place they call Room.

The story is told from the boy’s perspective while he is four and five years old. This gives an unique perspective onto the situation, one that is of interest to those that like psychology, child development, and a sense of self within a designated space (me vs the world). Room contains the boy’s entire life and everything he knows about the world to be true. There is a single plant, a single bed, a single rug, etc. There is no space in his mind for multiples, wasted objects, or other people. For this reason, he calls the single plant, “Plant,” and the single bed, “Bed.” He grows up learning everything from his mother. He lacks common sense, but excels in reading and writing. He has no friends – his friendships are one-way relationships with him and the objects around him.

Try to imagine yourself locked in a shed for years and years with a five year old son. There is nowhere to hide. The questions that he asks his mother cannot be avoided. She must answer everything the best she can. From the child’s perspective, the world doesn’t seem limiting because he doesn’t understand there is more to the world than just Room. For the mother’s perspective, she is juggling from knowledge of the world that she left with the events and routines in Room.

Even though the perspective is told from the son, the mother’s perspective starts to be exposed during the second half of the book. The mother really hates Room, yet her son loves it because it is his entire world. Obviously his mother would prefer to have not been kidnapped, but her son doesn’t understand her thinking. There is a huge separation in each of their concepts of reality. They are in it together, experiencing the same stimuli, but they react to it completely differently.

It’s a book that some would feel uncomfortable reading, due to the subject matter it is based on. However, it is also a book about hope, consequences, and reality vs imaginary. The tone is similar to “The Lovely Bones” in that it is somber and melancholic, with a hint of possible justice down the road. It was emotional for me, but it is not something I regret reading. It allowed me to really identify the psychological issues that these two characters experienced and reflect upon my own issues I discovered in them.

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Mary Kay Introduction


I have recently fallen in love with Mary Kay products. I do not sell them, but I do enjoy them. I will share my first haul with reviews on each product.






First on the list are Mary Kay’s Suncare After-Sun Replenishing Gel (192 mL $16)and Lotus and Bamboo Nourishing Body Lotion(236 mL $26, limited edition).

Normally I use aloe vera after being in the sun, but it is very sticky and not all that comfortable. This Suncare is made of a cooling blue gel that works just as well as aloe vera, but I like it better. After 10 minutes or so, my face is very soft and the redness from the sun has diminished.

The Lotus and Bamboo Nourishing Body Lotion is very fresh smelling. I use it all over my body after a bath and it absorbs quicky, is non-greasy, and makes me smell very clean. It is expensive, but most face creams are smaller and cost about the same. Most body lotions are very greasy and you usually have to use a lot to notice any difference. I noticed a difference on the first application of this lotion. So to me, it seems like it is worth the money.



IMG_20150530_204912Next on the list are Mary Kay’s SatinHands Peach Hand Cream (freebie, 85g $13)  and Timewise Firming Eye Cream (14g $40).


I recieved the hand cream as a freebie from my Mary Kay rep. It has a strong, natural peach scent and it absorbs into my skin quite quickly. You don’t need to use that much for it to cover the majority of your hands.


The TimeWise firming eye cream is very thick and has an airless pump, so you will be able to use all of the product. I use a drop for each eye and pat it in before bedtime. It is thick, but once you wake up, it has absorbed and done it’s duty. I have a couple of wrinkles under my eyes so that is why I have started using anti-aging products. Of course, there is no real way to tell if this type of product works or not (no control group of myself!), but it will last me forever and it makes me feel like I’m doing something right.




These next products are for the lips. We have the limited edition “Beauty that Counts” Nourishine Plus Lip Gloss “in harmony” (3.5mL $18) and Satin Sheen True Dimensions Lipstick “natural beauty” (3.3g $19)

I’m usually not a lipgloss person because I find most of them to be sticky and they only last 5 minutes. I decided to give this one a try because honestly, the packaging looks cool and once it was on my lips, all I could smell was vanilla (like most products, I was able to sample them before purchasing). $1 from each sale goes towards a charity, so I felt good about buying it. It is sticky, but not as bad as I had expected. I think I will really enjoy this one while lounging at the lake. I sampled the new Jammin’ Berry lip gloss from the At Play series, and that was way too sticky for me, so I chose this one instead.

The lipstick is a very neutral colour that enhances my lips. I chose a shade that wasn’t bold, as I wanted something appropriate for work. It is a very light soft pink that looks natural from a distance. It just makes my face look more feminine without being obnoxious.






Ok, these are my absolute favourites! They are the cream eyeshadows in “Iced Cocoa” and “Beach Blonde” (4.3g $16). I use Beach Blonde as an all over base with Iced Cocoa in my crease. I highlight with a Pacifica eyeshadow and throw on some eyeliner and mascara. The cream eyeshadows last all day. I’m not exaggerating. I put them on my face at 9am before work, and when I walk home  at 7:30pm they look the same as when I first put them on. I’ve used them for days already before snapping a picture. You don’t need to use that much, so these are going to last me a long time, even with daily use. Out of all the products I have tried, these are my favourites.







Do you love Mary Kay? Let me know what products are your favourites in the comments!

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Book Chat: Book Spines

This month’s Book Chat is about book spines and which ones we find pretty. It is hosted by Misty at and so, here are my answers!

For those that like video, here you go:

And for those that would rather read, here you go:

Books I chose:

  • Tiger’s Curse series by Colleen Houck
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
  • Purity by Jackson Pearce
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  • Godmother by Carolyn Turgeon
  • Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

I realized that I enjoy books that have only a few colours, and one of those colours really has to pop. Robin’s egg blue seems to be the winner of the books I chose. Take a look for yourself:


What draws you to book spines? What do you like or dislike on a book spine? Comment below or if you do your own post/video, make sure to link back to Misty so she can see! :)

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Possess by Gretchen McNeil

Possess by Gretchen McNeil
378 pages
2011, Balzer + Bray
My Rating: 4/5

Click the Cover Below to Purchase on Amazon!

Description(From – shortened):

Rule #1: Do not show fear.
Rule #2: Do not show pity.
Rule #3: Do not engage.
Rule #4: Do not let your guard down.
Rule #5: They lie.

Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her mom, by the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Unfortunately for Bridget, it turns out the voices are demons – and Bridget has the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from.

My Review:

I really enjoyed this book. I was a bit hesitant at first because of the major Catholic themes in the book, but it all worked out. I am an atheist so I tend to roll my eyes over religious talk and I was worried that there would be a lot in this book that I didn’t care about. I was very pleased to see that there wasn’t much of a religious agenda at all and that the plot was great!

Bridget is our protagonist. She is half Chinese, which is something I haven’t seen in a protagonist before (in books, obviously), and her personality is quite spunky. She has a gay friend so I enjoyed that there were pro LGBTQ themes. The other characters were realistic and likable. I liked the variety of characters.

I was worried about romance, but I liked the direction this book took it. In particular, Bridget’s mom is involved in a love triangle that involves Bridget’s best friend’s dad. I thought that was an interesting touch because it isn’t often that we see a love triangle that involves the parents!

The plot was really well done and I think this was my favourite aspect of the book. Some bits were predictable, but there were so many layers to the story that I couldn’t help but try to anticipate what was going to happen next. The book read like a creepy mystery, and I found I especially loved the creepy scenes. There were several instances where I was creeped out and I really enjoyed that. Alongside the creepy scenes, there was a phrase that jumped out at me a few times for comic relief: “Sweet cartwheeling Jesus!”

This was a really nice read to have right before Halloween. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to read a YA horror/paranormal story. Plus, look at that cover! It is so beautiful. :)

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2013 Challenges & Goals (Brainstorming)

Is it too early to be thinking about 2013? Possibly, but with my success this year in terms of reading I am excited for what next year brings. There are so many authors and books that I want to check out, so I thought I would use this space tonight to brainstorm. There are definitely some general goals that I would like to accomplish, as well as reading more from a single author. Some of them include:

  • Reading more chic-lit
  • Nicholas Sparks – he is a popular author and I have read one of his books. I want to see what the others are like.
  • Haruki Murakami – I love his books
  • Stephen King (entire collection, will take several years)
  • Terry Pratchett
  • Dean Koontz
  • 100 Books
  • 12 Classics
  • More Horror

I also want to add more structure to my reviews and YouTube videos. I admire what Priscilla does with her monthly themes, and I think that would help keep it interesting for me.

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The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
September, 2012
Little, Brown & Co. 
My Rating: 3/5


Description (from

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.
Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.
And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

My Review:

I should start this review off by saying my opinion on the book is heavily biased through my experiences. Pagford, the Fields, and the people involved all resonated with me. I could connect with almost all the characters in a way that so-and-so reminded me almost perfectly of someone I know personally and bits of myself were in some characters. However, all these connections are part of a time in my life that I really hated. I hated the people that I was reminded of, and all the bad situations I have either experienced or known someone close to me that had experienced them.

Themes/issues in the book include drugs, poverty, prostitution, LGBTQ issues, spousal abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, the different parenting types, self harm, achievement vs failure, power, revenge, love, racism, and many, many more.

So let’s talk about the characters. There are plenty (a whole town’s worth, really), and at times it was very difficult figuring out who was related to who and what shop they worked at and why did all of this matter anyways. That run-on sentence highlights my thinking process while reading this book. Gossip is what brings the characters together (or tears them apart).

Krystal Weedon stood out to me immediately because she has a rocky relationship with her mom, has to look out for her little brother, and shares the same name as me (Crystal). Not to mention, her best friend is Nikki, which is the same name as my childhood best friend. I would argue that Krystal is one of the main protagonists of the story. She really captured the phrase ‘your actions have consequences for others,’ both as the perpetrator and the victim. She was tough, swore constantly, always tried to find a solution, and always was looking out for her little brother. She reminded me of myself, 10 years ago. She built up this defensive wall to protect what was most important to her – her brother.

Parminder was another character that captured my attention. As a woman of colour and a doctor, she was an interesting character. Her husband was also a doctor (heart surgeon) so together one could argue they held a certain amount of power over the community. Despite that, Parminder was constantly criticized and these accusations were further propelled through small town gossip. I was happy to see a family that wasn’t white, but I wish there were more in the story. There were two black families in the small town I grew up in, so I understand there is an element of realism here. I liked her character because she was a very intelligent person that made rational decisions. As pure small town virtue, because she was so smart no one bothered to listen to her. I think we have all been in the same situation – trying to convince someone ignorant that they are wrong is next to impossible.

Moving on, the pacing was very slow. The book is 500 pages and it felt excruciatingly slow up until the last 150-200 pages. The rest of it was just build up, and frankly, I don’t think the end result was all that shocking. I could see the ending coming a mile away, but I don’t think I would have changed anything about it. It is realistic and ties everything together. Although it wasn’t a “wow” moment for the reader, it was in the book and that is all that matters… right?

The writing was not what I was expecting. JK Rowling must have had a thesaurus open next to her because so much of the writing had awkward words that the average person wouldn’t know, and the descriptions were tedious and long. I remember there was a thick paragraph devoted to stating that it was raining outside. Some could argue that this was a literary device used to set the mood of the chapter or whatever, but the same could have been said in much less – i.e. ‘It was raining.’ I have heard people complain that she made the book ‘too adult’ in that the writing contains vulgar language all over the place. I found it realistic from my experiences, so that didn’t bother me. I guess it depends on how you grew up.

I’ve been harsh on JK Rowling, but the truth is there are a lot of redeeming qualities about the book. She managed to create an entire community and its inhabitants. Not to mention, all of these inhabitants felt like real people with real problems. It is understandable that she needed the space to build it all up. The idea behind the book is one that I hadn’t come across before and it made it feel like the same could have happened in my own town. The intricate nature of the plot line must have been extremely difficult to flesh out, and I commend her on her efforts.

All in all, if a different author had written this book I would have probably stopped reading 50 pages in. I kept going until the end because it was JK Rowling and I wanted to believe the end would pay off. In a way, it was satisfying but overall my impressions are a bit bleak. I don’t loathe the book, but I definitely don’t love it. It brings back a lot of bad memories for me, and I suspect that is why I cannot find myself loving it.

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Crystal’s Classics

I started a new feature on YouTube called “Crystal’s Classics.” The idea is that I want to read more classics and since there are so many, why not let others point me in a direction? I have several on my shelf but no idea where to start. I have read some this year (mainly some Jane Austen works) but I’d like to read at least 2 more before the year is up. So I asked people on YouTube which of the following they would like me to read and review. I think I may add a discussion as well, because many of these are books that people study in school and  I want my videos to be helpful. :)

Here are the books I have been thinking about:

  • Mansfield Park – Jane Austen
  • Emma – Jane Austen
  • Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  • Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  • Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
  • David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

Feel free to vote on a book if you are interested! I’ll probably tally them up in about two weeks.

Are there any classics that you are wanting or needing to read soon?

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