Penpal by Dathan Auerbach

Publication Date: June 2012
Publisher: 1000Vultures
Rating: ★★

Penpal began as a series of short and interconnected stories posted on an online horror forum. Before long, it was adapted into illustrations, audio recordings, and short films; and that was before it was revised and expanded into a novel!

How much do you remember about your childhood?

In Penpal, a man investigates the seemingly unrelated bizarre, tragic, and horrific occurrences of his childhood in an attempt to finally understand them. Beginning with only fragments of his earliest years, you’ll follow the narrator as he discovers that these strange and horrible events are actually part of a single terrifying story that has shaped the entirety of his life and the lives of those around him. If you’ve ever stayed in the woods just a little too long after dark, if you’ve ever had the feeling that someone or something was trying to hurt you, if you remember the first friend you ever made and how strong that bond was, then Penpal is a story that you won’t soon forget, despite how you might try.”

Review:

This one for sure had a creepy, creepy vibe. There were times where I would get goosebumps when reading the words Dathan Auerbach had written on these pages. However, there were somethings in this book I just couldn’t get into. And that hindered my ability to give it a higher rating.

This book was recommended to me, and I wasn’t disappointed. There were absolutely freaky moments and times where I had to stop and go“oh my god” or “woah, that’s weird”. On the other hand, there were times where I had to stop and reread a paragraph because it just wasn’t making sense to me. This was the most unfortunate part about the book, I think some things ended a little abruptly.

Penpal has potential and was a pretty decent read. If you are looking for a quick mystery, this might be a good choice for you. I’m giving it 3.5/5 starts because of some of the confusion and the ending wasn’t really good for my taste. Overall, it was okay and I’d recommend it to someone that is looking for a super quick read with a love of the mystery genre.

A Guide to Buying & Reselling Online

Hi there! If you would like to the best ways to buy & resell online, than this is the post for you! Here’s some background on me first:

  • I’ve been selling on EBay since 2013. (fashionfromnj)
  • I’ve been selling on an app called Vinted for over a year. (lalalacey721)
  • I’ve been selling on Facebook Yard Sale sites for almost two years.
    • If you didn’t know that there were Facebook yard sale sites, look up your town name or county that you live in, and yard sale site after and it should pop up! I’ll explain a little more about this in a little bit!

First, how to pick out the right things to sell. I’ll tell you right now that you probably have over $200 sitting in your closet. There are things that you definitely do not use anymore that are just collecting dust when you could be getting cash for them! Here’s my biggest sellers:

Sellable Items

  1. Women’s clothing/shoes/purses with good brands (Forever 21, H&M, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, etc.)
  2. Men’s shoes
  3. Kid’s Clothes/Shoes
  4. Refurbished furniture
  5. Jewelry
  6. DVDs/CDs/Video Games

If you do not have these items in your home and you want to start your own business by buying and reselling, here are some ideas of where you find those kind of things:

Goodwill

  • Goodwill is good for women’s clothing and refurbished furniture. There are some great finds. I’ll let you in on a secret. Every day of the week, there are colors listed where if the tag is that color, the item is half off. However, the most exciting day is Sunday. When you go to Goodwill on a Sunday, the colors that are listed means that items with that color tag are ONLY ONE DOLLAR. Buying at only a dollar and then selling it on one of the sites will absolutely let you flip!

Yard Sales

  • Yard sales are an awesome way to find stuff for cheap. I found this amazing website (https://www.yardsalesearch.com) where you can type in your zip code and it will pull up all  local yard sales that are registered to that site. Yard sales provide furniture and cute little knick knacks that you can redo and flip for a good amount of cash.

The best places to sell for me are below:

Vinted

  • Vinted has been my best seller for women’s fashion. From my closet alone, I made over $100. After I started shopping at Goodwill on Dollar Days, that $100 jumped to almost $300 profit. Vinted users are known as “Vinties” and they are notorious for sending offers for less. Sometimes, it’s better to send it off for a lower price because they come back in the future to buy again. Also, Vinted has a bundle option. For example, on my page, I offer a 20% off discount if you buy 2 or more items and 30% off if you buy 5 or more items. My favorite thing about Vinted is that the buyer always pay shipping. You can select 3 different weights. 0.5 lbs (Small) is best for small things like a single shirt or jewelry. There’s 2.0 lbs (Medium) which is good for jeans, or a bundle of a few things. Finally, there’s 5.0 lbs (Large) which is perfect for a big purse or a bundle of 5 or more items. When you sell your item(s), Vinted sends you a shipping label via email. You post that on your envelope/box, and send it on it’s way. The absolute best thing about Vinted is that there is NO PERCENTAGE TAKEN. Whatever you sell your item for is what you’re getting! You can link up your bank or your PayPal account to receive your earnings. You get the money sent when the buyer receives their package.

EBay

  • I have been selling on EBay for the last six years as I said above. The most successful things to sell on EBay are name brand purses (Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Coach) and DVDs/CDs/Video Games. They sell at a pretty cheap price, but a profit is a profit. To sell, go to the sell tab and write a title of what you will be selling. The best idea is to use a lot of different adjectives when describing your product because people usually look up specific keywords. Post as many pictures of your item (you’re allowed up to twelve). Be as descriptive as possible. If it’s a fashion item (purse, shirts), take the measurements. By that, I mean shoulder-to-shoulder for shirts or for a purse, shoulder strap length. Add a bio about what kind of condition the item is in. You can add an auction price, which is what people will often choose to do because it’s priced less. Also, you can add a “Buy It Now” option for a price of your choice. When choosing the shipping, you should weigh it on a scale in a box or envelope so that way it won’t be not enough when you get to the post office. You pay for shipping out of pocket first. When the item is paid for through PayPal, you get the amount of shipping back. On the other hand, there is an option for free shipping. If you do this, there is no reimbursement for the shipping. When you list, there is no listing fee up to fifty items. You can put up fifty of your items for free. For the fifty-first, there is a small fee that is taken. You can list your item on EBay for up to a month. Most people pick a 7-day duration. If your item doesn’t sell, nothing is taken from you. If your item does sell, 10% is taken from your final sale price. You print out the shipping label from EBay, put it on the package, and send it on it’s way.

Facebook Yard Sale Sites

  • Facebook yard sale sites are perfect way to get some cold, hard cash in your hands in a quick manner. Have some piece of furniture that you don’t need anymore? Facebook yard sale site. Have kid’s clothes that your child has grown out of? Facebook yard sale site. Have cute purses that you just don’t use anymore? Facebook yard sale site. Take some pictures of your items and post them on this site. Be descriptive, but also to the point. They’re not looking to read paragraphs long of information. There is a lingo to go along with the Facebook sites. When posting to multiple sites, make sure you put “cross posted or xposted” to let the buyer know that there could be someone else interested on a different site. When a buyer is interested, they will comment “interested” or something along those lines. This is when you will direct message that individual and figure out a time to meet or to do a porch pick-up (ppu: you will see this quite a bit). If you’re comfortable enough to have someone coming to your house, the better option is a porch pick-up and they can leave the money in your mailbox. If not, pick a local public place like a mall or grocery store, for example. Some people pick places with a lot of people if they’re uncomfortable. Therefore, meeting is also great because there’s a lot of people around to see if anything wrong happens. Facebook yard sale sites are easy because that’s all it takes. After that, you get the cash and have it in hand.

I hope that this guide has helped you figure out what to sell if you’re not using it anymore, and what to buy and resell if you’re looking to start your own business! The money will start rolling in when you follow these steps! This is great because you can eliminate debt like I’m trying to with college loans. It’s quite a process and you won’t see money right away, but more over a long-run when you save all the money you’re making! So be patient, and make your money!

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Oven Roasted Potatoes

This is my favorite dinner to cook, period! The taste is always delicious, so for you chicken and potato lovers, this is for you!

There’s a funny story about how I found this recipe for the Parmesan crusted chicken. I was at my grandmother’s house a few years ago and I went to get a bottle of water from her refrigerator. That’s when I saw a mayonnaise jar on the door. I looked at the words Parmesan crusted chicken a few times before I took my cell phone out and took a picture of it. A few nights later, I tried this recipe and fell in love. I have it at least twice a month.

Here is the original recipe if you want!

Here is how I make my Parmesan crusted chicken and oven roasted potatoes!

First you will need (you can find these in any local grocery store):

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  •  A jar of mayonnaise (any kind)
  • Parmesan cheese (I prefer Kraft, but you can use any kind)
  • Italian breadcrumbs
  • Potatoes (I use 6)
  • Onion Soup Mix
  • Olive Oil
  • Freezer Bag

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F. 

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  2. Take your potatoes and cut them up into eighths. The smaller the cuts are, the easier the potatoes will cook in the oven.
  3. Get a freezer bag, the onion soup mix, and the olive oil. Drop your cut up potatoes in the freezer bag. Open and pour in the onion mix. Lastly, put just a little of the olive oil in there. Shake it up! Below is what your bag should look like:

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  4. Pour your potatoes into an oven safe container (I used glass, but feel free to use a baking sheet, etc.). After this, your potatoes are oven ready!

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  5. Take your chicken out of the packaging and set it in an oven safe container (I used glass again, but use whatever you prefer). Get a measuring cup out for the next part! Take your mayo and use 1/2 cup. After that, take your parmesan cheese and mix in 1/4 cup into the mayo. Stir it and make sure there aren’t any big clumps of cheese in the mayo!

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  6. When you’re finished with the mixture, take a spoon and scoop out what you have onto your chicken breasts. After you spread the mixture evenly, put your breadcrumbs on top. They should cover the mayo (it really helps the taste in my opinion).
  7. You’re oven ready! Put the chicken and potatoes in! The oven should be preheated at 425°F. My times always range between 25-35 minutes. Make sure that your chicken is not overcooking. The potatoes are fine as long as you need the chicken in there! 28000820_10212568603862704_1275168846_n

Enjoy your meal!!

An Update on Lacey’s Library

Hello everyone!! I just wanted to give an honest update about my life. I am absolutely swamped and haven’t had the time to get any books read. I am a college student, so I am currently taking five classes as well as a part-time job, and an internship! So I promise I really am busy!

Since I’m not getting a lot of reading done, I figured I would take Lacey’s Library and transform it into an everything blog. I will continue to read and write book reviews when available, but I’m going to write different things in hopes of maintaining this blog!

I’m going to make this a lifestyle/book review/everything review blog. I liked the name Lacey’s Library because I was writing book reviews. However, not everything in libraries are books anymore. There’s magazines, newspapers, computers, ebooks, tablets, etc. Therefore, I feel like the name would still be alright! Do you think I should change the name? Comment below!

Thanks everyone! Hope everyone has been doing well in 2018! I know I have so far!

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Publication Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Find this book here:

Rating: ★★★

“Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.”

Review:

John Green hasn’t failed me yet. I didn’t want to say that this one disappointed me, but it wasn’t as great as I thought it was going to be. John Green has given me this high standard throughout the years, and this one didn’t quite live up to it.

The beginning of Turtles All the Way Down did grab me pretty quickly. I thought the characters were interesting, and I thought that I would find more out about their characters. However, as the book went on, I couldn’t connect to the characters in a way that I thought I would. I really liked Aza’s character, she probably is the reason I gave this a higher a rating. It just was hard to see these characters the way they were written.

Second, the story line was a little weird. I feel like the missing father didn’t really have a lot to do with the book. Of course this plays a big part of the story, but I couldn’t really connect them and Aza. I feel like there were a lot of missed connections.

I have read countless young adult books with mental illness and mental health as their genres and I feel like John Green did a great job inserting his own OCD into Aza’s character. However, I still couldn’t get a direct feel from her character. There was something about her that was just so tough to read, I couldn’t figure it out. The ending was a little spark of something to get something else going for this book, but unfortunately, it was the end and I wish there was something else to add to it.

For the next John Green book I read, I want to not have my expectations so high. Every book is a new book. I took my previous ratings from his other books and I automatically set this book to a really high standard. I think a lot of people did the same thing I did, and I feel like that probably hurt this book more in the long run.

I Found You by Lisa Jewell

Publication Date: April 25, 2017
Publisher: Atria Books

Find this book here:

Rating: ★★★

“A young bride, a lonely single mother, and an amnesiac man of dubious origin lie at the heart of New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell’s next suspenseful drama that will appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty and Paula Hawkins.

In a windswept British seaside town, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.

Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. Their annual trip to the quaint seaside town is passing by uneventfully, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable—and it’s not just that he’s playing the role of protective older brother.

Two decades of secrets, a missing husband, and a man with no memory are at the heart of this brilliant new novel, filled with the “beautiful writing, believable characters, pacey narrative, and dark secrets” (London Daily Mail) that make Lisa Jewell so beloved by audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Review:

I had a hard time with this one. This novel is classified as a mystery, thriller, and suspense. I couldn’t really get into the fact that it was classified that way because I personally didn’t feel like it was a mystery, thriller, or suspense.

This book was hard to get started. I read and read, but there just wasn’t that “oomph” to push it over the edge. Lisa Jewell wrote this book in hopes of holding the mystery until the end. I usually enjoy that, but I couldn’t really figure this one out. It had me kind of hating the fact that I had to wait until the end. I wanted some sort of clue of what was happening, but I got nothing.

I felt pretty disconnected from the story and from the characters. I found myself reading and not being able to associate myself with anyone or anything. I can usually connect with at least one element from a story, but unfortunately, with this one I didn’t.

Lastly, the ending is what did it for me to give this a 3-star rating. The ending gave me some answers to my questions. However, I found it to be extremely unrealistic. There was this desperation and need, I couldn’t get over it. I couldn’t understand the fact that there were times of “love” after 5 days.

This book wasn’t anything special for me. I would like to try Lisa Jewell’s other books to see if there were differences in the writing style. I think there were times in this book where I was confused and bored. However, there was a constant underlining of understanding.

Every Dog Has His Day by Jenn McKinlay

Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Publisher: Berkley Books

A stray kitten and a rambunctious poodle bring together a small-town bachelor and a single mother in the latest romance set in Bluff Point, Maine.

Bluff Point brewery owner Zachary Caine wants nothing to do with commitment. His wild bachelor lifestyle suits him perfectly—until a foster kitten named Chaos makes him a reluctant hero. Now he’s BFFs with the kitten’s two little girls and finds himself falling for their gorgeous mother, who couldn’t think less of him.

Divorced mother Jessie Connelly wants nothing to do with men like Zach. He’s sexy and charismatic and bad news, just like her ex. But her girls adore him, and he’s doing a good job filling in for their deadbeat dad. Then a snowstorm brings out the best in both neighbors, who, it turns out, have more in common than their mutual attraction…

So when Jessie’s past threatens her and her girls, Zach is determined to do whatever it takes to protect them—and live happily ever after with this family he has made his own.”

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Berkley Publishing, and Jenn McKinlay for allowing me to read a copy before the publication date in exchange for an honest review. 

This book is listed as #3 in the Bluff Point series, but I read it as a standalone and understood everything.

This was an adorable contemporary romance. If you are a lover of a cutesy romance and animals, I would absolutely recommend this book to you! The chemistry in this book was enough to make me swoon, so as an avid contemporary romance reader, read this book!!

The first thing that I really enjoyed about this book were the characters. I loved the two little girls in the beginning. They were so cute and innocent. When I got further into this book, I realized that I had fallen in love with Zach’s character. He was adorable and capturing from the beginning. There were a few times where his character pulled on my heart strings. His home life was interesting to learn about. I’ve rarely read a book with a foster child, so it was great to learn about the experience.

The chemistry between Zach and Jessie was very hard not to notice. Jenn McKinlay did a great job with showing just how well these two worked together. From the beginning, I was rooting for them. I liked how just like in every relationship, there were points of angst and it shows that even in romance novels, not every relationship is perfect.

Again, contemporary romance lovers,  read this!! I couldn’t say it enough that you will fall in love with this story. As an animal lover and romance reader, this was easily a great book. It’s short, sweet, and has a great narrative. I would love to give Jenn McKinlay’s other books in the Bluff Point series a read!