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Book Review: Persuasion by Jane Austen

Persuasion by Jane Austen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars 

“I am half agony half hope… I have loved none but you.”

“Her affection would be his for ever.”

I haven’t read Jane Austen in a while. I’m glad I read this one as a means to get back into her works. 

Persuasion tells the story of Anne Elliot. When she was nineteen she was persuaded to reject the proposal of the man that she loved because he had no net worth. Eight years later he reappears in her social circle as a rich captain. He treats her as if they’re strangers and seems to be interested in someone else. When someone else shows an interest in Anne will his true feelings come out? This book deals with love, loss, self-worth and jealousy.

I think that Anne Elliot is the most mature Austen heroine. She has become one of my favourite literary characters ever written. She’s an over thinker. She needs time alone to get her thoughts in order. She like spending time with people but she also needs to spend some time alone. When she was young she let the influence of others, particularly Lady Russell determine her decision to reject the man that she loved, but as she matured she didn’t blame anyone but herself for it. She accepted the fact that it was her decision and didn’t regret it even though it brought her great suffering. There were parts of the book where she thought about how her life would have been different if she would have accepted the proposal. She never stopped loving him. Anne spent most of the book watching the love her life interacting with someone else not knowing that he was still in love with her. She would have married him the second he popped back into her life.

I strongly disliked Anne’s family. Her father doesn’t see much worth in her as she didn’t marry when she was young. I felt indifferent towards her sister Elizabeth. Her sister Mary is selfish and acts as if she's the centre of everything that goes on. At the start of the novel I completely disliked Lady Russell, but I grew to tolerate her.

While I do think Captain Wentworth should have been clear about his feelings from the beginning but, I think that he’s a good person. He understood why Anne rejected his proposal when she was young. It’s understandable that he was angry at first. Even in the times that he’s ignoring her he still speaks highly of her. He spent eight years away from her but his love for her remained constant in all that time. He was ready to accept rejection a second time, but he just had to let his feelings be heard.  He gave her the choice of whether or not she wanted to be with him.

If I would have read this when I was younger I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate it as much as I do now. I’m pleased with the ending. This was Austen’s last novel and it’s her most mature.

Who's your favourite Austen heroine?

Sincerely, JoJo.♥

Book Review: Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë

Agnes GreyAgnes Grey by Anne Brontë
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"Reading is my favourite occupation when I have the leisure for it, and books to read."

Agnes Grey tells the story of Miss Agnes Grey who becomes a governess to help with her family's finances when her father loses their money. It gives you the impression that it was written as a journal about her time as a governess for two families: the Bloomfields and the Murrays. She often addresses the reader which makes it feel like she's writing to you. You get the impression that she wrote it knowing that she would have an audience. I don't particularly like it when the author addresses the reader; but, in this case it works because she's telling exactly what she wants us to know.

I believe this is a semi-autobiographical account taken from Anne Brontë's experience as a governess. It's exquisitely written. Anne Brontë doesn't romanticize life in the 19th century. She depicts a realistic picture of the difficulties that come with this occupation. You really understand how Agnes feels. Agnes was treated horribly by the children yet her faith never wavered and she persevered. The portrayal of love is realistic. The love interest is not romanticized. I would say it'a slow-burn romance because you're not sure if anything is going to happen and when it does it leaves you extremely pleased. If I had to make any criticisms to the book it would be that the love story is too short. There's not enough of Agnes' love story in the book; however; the main point of this book is not the love story, it's about life and the treatment of women in the Victorian era.

I think that Anne Brontë was ahead of her time as her writing focuses on women, and the reality and difficulties that came with being a women during that time period. She also explores themes that were taboo in the 19th century. She hints at the reality of marriage in the 19th century. You also clearly understand that you're reading the work of a religious person as religion is a main part of Agnes' life, which reflects that Anne was a religious person. Her works are underrated but I think they need to be read. If you've never read her before I urge you to give her a chance because her views on life surpasses those of her sisters.

Sincerely, JoJo. ♥

Book Review: Three Souls by Janie Chang

Three SoulsThree Souls by Janie Chang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Genre: historical fiction, fantasy

This book recounts the life of Song Leiyin. We meet her watching her own funeral and where she first encounters her three souls (in Taoism it is believed that a person has three souls: yin, yang and hun) as we take a journey to the day she finished high school and the choices she made that changed her life forever. We see the consequences of her choices, how they affected everyone around her and how she must make amends before moving onto the afterlife. We also uncover the mystery of how she died. Now that Leiyin is essentially a ghost she begins to see her life and the people around her in a different way. She understands why her father made certain choices and wishes to see him again. As a ghost she is given a second chance to help the people she cared about. This book is set in 1935 China with flashbacks to the late 1920's. You get a sense of the social and political changes that were occurring that the time.

This is an intriguing tale that keeps you wanting more till the last page. It's lyrically written. I liked that the story stresses the importance of education and family. It shows us how one choice can dramatically change every part of your life. The novel ended up being darker than I initially thought and some parts felt uncomfortable for me to read. The beautifully crafted narrative is what prompted me to finish the book.

What books have you been reading?

Sincerely, JoJo. ♥

Top 5 Beauty Discoveries of 2016

My favorite makeup products rarely change. This year instead of doing a yearly favorites by choosing my favorite product from each category I decide to pick five products that were game changers for me in 2016. When I was gathering my products to take photos I noticed that three of them are from Too Faced. 2016 started my love affair with Too Faced makeup.

Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer
This face primer is what started my love for Too Faced products. I'm already on my second tube of it. What made me pick it up is the fact that it's silicone free. I love that it's formulated with coconut water. It does a great job at adding some hydration to my skin and leaves a smooth base for my foundation. It smells like coconut. It feels like applying a moisturizer. It's the only face primer that doesn't break me out. I like that it comes in a tube with a pump. I love everything about this primer. I'm glad that I finally found a primer that works well with my skin.

Too Faced Love Flush Blush in Baby Love
I bought this blush in September and I haven't used any of my other blushes since then. If you love Tarte Exposed you need this one in your life. It's a nude shade with gold shimmer. It looks really natural on your cheeks. It gives you a healthy glow. I find it to be quite pigmented. A little goes a long way and it lasts all day. You can't go wrong with this blush. It goes with any makeup look.

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette
I love this eyeshadow palette because it's really easy to create looks with it. It's a neutral palette with some colourful shades. You can create a subtle everyday look, a smoky look and even add a pop of colour. The shades blend smoothly and have great pigmentation. It smells like chocolate, which is really cool. My favorite shade is Marzipan, which reminds me of MAC All That Glitters.

Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder Compact in 01
This is the perfect subtle highlighter for fair skin. It kind of melts into your skin and give you a natural glow. When you wear it people won't be able to tell that you're wearing highlighter. It's been my most worn highlighter since I purchased it. It may be pricy but it's worth the investment because you only need a tiny amount and the product will last you forever. I've used it so much and it still looks brand new.

Physician's Formula Butter Bronzer
If you have pale skin you need this bronzer in your life. I didn't like bronzer until I tried this one. It's the perfect shade for me. You can never go overboard with this product. It blends effortlessly and never looks muddy. It's heavily scented with a coconut scent, so if you're sensitive to scent you might not like it. My skin doesn't usually agree with scented products but this one doesn't break me out. (If your sensitive to scents try the Body Shop's Honey Bronzer instead.)

What makeup products are game changers for you?

Sincerely, JoJo.♥

November/December Loves List

Since my favorite beauty products don't change very often I've decided that my monthly favorites will now be renamed a loves list. I just got tired of calling everything my favorite. This post is to give a shout out to all the things I've been loving lately. (It's the same as a favorites post but I'm going to only talk about things I really love.)

My go-to work makeup look consists of adding the following products to my daily makeup routine: Essense Make Me Brow, Makeup Geek and MAC eyeshadows, and the L'Oreal Infalliable Contour palette. I know that these products are fool proof and will always allow me to create a quick makeup look.

Essense Make Me Brow 
This product is a dupe for the Benefit Give Me Brow. I love this brow gel because it's tinted and has fibers in it. I can go in with this and my brows look full and stay in place for the whole day.

L'Oreal Infalliable Contour palette in Light 
I've said it before and I'll say it again: this is the fool proof contour palette. You can't go wrong when you use it. It has the right amount of pigment, which means you can never go overboard with the countour. It blends easily and it's very quick to use. It's perfect when you're in a hurry.

MAC and Makeup Geek Eyeshadows
For a quick and easy warm eye look I take MAC All That Glitters all over the lid for a soft wash of colour. Then I mix MUG Crème Brûlée and MUG Bake Sale in the crease for some extra dimension and then I add MAC Blanc Type on my brow bone and inner corner for a subtle highlight.

Barcelona: A Love Untold 
I'm such a fangirl when it comes to filipino love teams. Kathniel was the first love team that I was introduced to. I loved Kathniel before I loved Jadine. Over the years I've kept tabs on their projects, especially their movies. When I heard about the movie Barcelona I eagerly awaited the day that I could watch it. This turned out to be my favorite Kathniel film. She's Dating the Gangster was my favorite for a long time but Barcelona tops it. You'll love this film if you love Kathniel or filipino movies. These types of films always have a similar formula but they're enjoyable to watch because they touch your heart and make you believe in love. It's a beautiful love story.

When a Snail Falls in Love
I'm slowly getting into Mainland China dramas. This is the third one that I've watched so far. This drama mainly a crime drama with great friendships and a little romance. It's quite slow paced but I loved it. The main couple was extremely adorable. It's a slow burn romance but it's completely worth it; however, if you don't like crime dramas you won't like this. If you want to see an adorable Chinese romance watch Love O2O and Boss & Me instead.

This kdrama started this month but I have to include it because I'm loving it so much. It's the first drama that my friend and I are watching at the same time. (She's the person responsible for my obsession with kdramas. She introduced me to Secret Garden, which is also written by Kim Eun Sook, the writer of DOTS and Goblin.) This is a fantasy romantic comedy with some melodrama. The story is about a 939 year old goblin (Gong Yoo) and a girl who can see ghosts (Kim Go Eun). She's the Goblin's Bride and only she can help him rest in peace. There's also a bright woman named Sunny (the flawless Yoo In Na) and a socially awkward Grim Reaper (Lee Dong Wook). There's also a young chaebol who is the descendant of the Goblin's servant (Yook Sung Jae) and the goddess of birth ( Lee El)who seems to have a role in everyone's lives. The bromance between the Goblin and the Grim Reaper is the most entertaining part of the drama.

Part of the reason why I love this drama so much is that it was partially filmed in Quebec City. Quebec is my home province. It's so exciting to see a city that I've been to and landmarks that I've stood in front of in a Korean drama. They showcase the beauty of Quebec City. I love the entire main cast. I already ship the second couple so much. I have a feeling that Goblin is going to be the next DOTS for me.

KES dramas are always hit or miss. You either love her dramas or you hate them. I loved Secret Garden and DOTS but I hated Heirs. I thought On Air and City Hall were okay, and I actually didn't know that she wrote those two dramas until now.

Emmanuel - Hillsong (the meaning of Christmas in a song)
No One Else - Lee Sung Chul (a beautiful love song)
Love Story - Lyn (Legend of the Blue Sea OST)
Beautiful - Crush (Goblin OST)
Last Dance - BIGBANG (try not to cry)
Yes I Am - BTOB (I also love I'll Be Your Man)

Sincerely, JoJo. ♥