The Azrael Initiative was sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

A book review of The Azrael Initiative by K Hanson.

The Azrael Initiative by K Hanson

Pages: 308
Genre(s): Thriller, Action & Adventure
Rating: 4/5

Best friends Kayla Falk, an engineering student, and Olivia Bellamy, who is studying nursing, are nearing the end of their college career when terrorists attack their university. Through a combination of cleverness, bravery, and luck, the two manage to foil the deadly plot. A mysterious man from the United States government, Mr. Hightower, sees their potential and attempts to recruit Kayla and Olivia for a program to take on ISIS. They initially refuse, but another terrorist attack that strikes close to home pushes them to change their minds and join the Azrael Initiative.

After several months of hard training, the two women are dropped into Al-Raqqah, the capital of ISIS, in Syria. Once there, they must blend in with the locals as they strike from the shadows to kill ISIS leaders, destroy their facilities, and free captives. As Americans deep within enemy territory, they know that they will be killed if discovered. As women, they also know that they would suffer before death. Walking the line between vengeance and justice strains their relationship. As they work to resolve their differences, the symphony of brutality around them ultimately pushes them closer together and forges them into the warriors that they were meant to become.

The Azrael Initiative

This isn’t the type of book that I would normally pick up but when author approached me about reviewing an advanced copy, I couldn’t say no. The premise is great – two badass females who take on ISIS after an attack on their college. I devoured it and I can honestly say that I can’t wait for the sequel… and this book isn’t even released yet.

However, that being said, there a couple of small things that prevented me from giving this book 5/5 stars:

  • The dialogue between the characters was a little too formal and struggled to flow naturally.
  • I don’t think it’s very realistic that the main characters could become fluent in Arabic / become highly skilled operatives over the course of just a few months.

Besides those two things, I found the book super addicting. I wanted to know what happens and struggled to put it down. Though I predicted the plot twist, I was so happy it ended up like that because it makes a great segue into the sequel. Also, I loved the powerful and refreshing friendship between the two main characters. It was a really fun read and I’m very excited to see what else the authors comes up with.

I think my favorite line from the book sums it up quite nicely:

“we are not some wilting flowers”

Overall, I highly recommend you pick this book up. Especially if you like thrillers and non-stop adventures. And badass female characters.

The Azrael Initiative is released on March 3 of this year.

Thanks again to the author for gifting me this copy. Visit the authors’ website here.

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Hey friends! I hate this time of the year – specifically January / February / March. There’s nothing to look forward to and it’s cold and miserable. And while I really don’t like “New Year Resolutions”, I decided it’d be fun to go along with the bandwagon and share my “resolutions.” Heck, maybe I’ll even stick to most of them. Keep reading to discover some of my 2017 resolutions!

My 2017 resolutions!

My 2017 Resolutions

Read More

In 2017, I want to read more in generally. In 2016, I only read 13 books. That’s the least amount of books I have read in a year since I could read. In 2015, I read over 100 books! I had a year long book slump and it was quite depressing. Reading has always been a very important part of my life so I am determined to read more.
This year will probably be a bit busier than usual – I am planning my wedding after all! Plus, in August, we’ll be going on a two week backpacking trip across Europe. So I won’t have as much time as I did this last year. But I’ll make it work somehow.

Read More Classics

This one ties in with my first resolution – I want to read more classics. I read a fair few in high school and while I enjoyed some, I was really put off by them. Now, I’m older and more mature (sometimes), I think it’s time I give them all a second chance. I think I’m going to start off with The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas since I’ve heard of amazing things about it and it’s been on my shelf for a few years now. I want to read Jane Eyre, The Great Gatsby, The Crucible, Pride and Prejudice, Animal Farm.. you get the idea. So for one of my many 2017 resolutions, I want to become even more well read.

Blog More

This blog kind of took the back burner this last year. It was unintentional but nonetheless, there was no good reason for it. So I’m making it as much as a priority I can. Again, I am planning my wedding and going backpacking around Europe for 2 weeks (which will make some great blog posts though!) so I won’t have as much time as I did last year but again, I will make it work!

Explore More

I’m going to be exploring a shit ton (pardon my French) more this year then ever. With a two week backpacking trip around Europe (have I mentioned that before? I don’t think I have..) coming up in August, I’m going to be exploring places I’ve only ever dreamed of. I’m SO EXCITED.

Paint More

I love painting. And I think I’m pretty good at it. In 2015, I decorated mine and my fiance’s home wall to wall with paintings. In 2016, I painted nothing. Well, this year I’m going to paint more. It’s a great creative outlet – and I know I’ll need one this year.

Stop Biting My Nails

I’m putting this one in here in hopes that I will actually stick to it. I actually did stop biting my nails for a good month this past summer, but obviously, I didn’t stick through it. So maybe this year I will. Who knows.

What are some of your 2017 resolutions?

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Book review on Wildflower by Drew BarrymoreWildflower by Drew Barrymore

Published By: Dutton
Pages: 288
Genre(s): Auto-Biography, Memoir, Non-fiction
Rating: 5/5
Purchase it here for free shipping!

Wildflower is a portrait of Drew’s life in stories as she looks back on the adventures, challenges, and incredible experiences of her earlier years. It includes tales of living on her own at 14 (and how laundry may have saved her life), getting stuck in a gas station overhang on a cross country road trip, saying goodbye to her father in a way only he could have understood, and many more adventures and lessons that have led her to the successful, happy, and healthy place she is today. It is the first book Drew has written about her life since the age of 14.

I think I fell in love.

I was first captivated by that beautiful cover (I mean, look at it!) and immediately put it on my wishlist. As luck would have it, I received it for Christmas and immediately spent two days devouring it – the first book that kept my attention that long all year.. stupid reading slump. But this was exactly what I needed to get over that slump!

It was funny and sad and positive and somehow so relatable.

The stories jump around and are randomly arranged, which is a bit confusing, but it also fits with Drew’s free-spirited style. It felt personal – like she had told you this story in person.

If you haven’t read this, you really should. This is the first book review I’ve properly posted in over a year! If that doesn’t tell you anything, I don’t know what will.


This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase an item through this link, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. Thanks!

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Hey friends! I’ve been wanting to write this for a long time. I used to loooove flying but for the last couple years, I’ve started having anxiety attacks before and during a flight. Almost every flight I’ve been on lately, I’ve been in tears because I’m so scared. And there’s been no particular incident that has caused me to be scared of flying so it’s very strange to me. Anyways, I decided it’s about time to write a post on how to fly despite being scared of flying. Because no matter how scared I am, I still manage to get on the plane and get to my destination. Keep reading!


I have nightmares about flying starting about a week before my flight.. I am a classic case of being scared to fly. Here's my tips on how to fly despite being scared of flying. These are things that help me over and over again.

How To Fly Despite Being Scared Of Flying

Book The Best Seat

Turbulence is what scares me the most. The second the plane starts to shake a little, I instantly have visions of the plane falling out of the sky and crashing to Earth and blowing up. It’s not pleasant. And while I know that turbulence is nothing to be scared of and it doesn’t mean the airplane will fall out of the sky, that logic goes out on the window when I am 35,000 feet above the ground.

But believe it or not, where you seat on a plane actually has a lot to do about how much turbulence you feel. I always always always try to book our seats right on the wings. When I sit over the wings, I can barely feel the turbulence and my flight is exponentially better. The worst place to sit is at the back of the plane and 11/10 times I’m in tears during a flight if I sit in the back because the turbulence feels like 1000x worse in the back.

So, moral of the story: Book a seat over the wings and avoid the back of the plane.

Listen To Music / Read A Book

The second I get settled into my seat, I put on my noise reducing headphones and open up Spotify and play either Aurora’s album or whatever else I happen to be the mood for. I turn up the volume loud enough that it drowns out the sounds of the plane (I tend to over-focus on every sound the plane makes because I think it means it’s gonna fall from the sky) and quiet enough to not give me a headache. Also, I tend to bring a couple books with me (yes, I’m one of those people) and will crack one open to keep me occupied for the flight. I’ll also play games on my phone if I can’t focus on the book. By doing these things, time goes by way faster and I’m less focused on my surroundings – which normally isn’t a good thing, but in this case……..

Take A Sleeping Pill

Not the best advice but hear me out. If I’m on a longer flight, I will take a sleeping pill about 30 minutes before boarding and I will sleep (9/10 times) the whole flight. It’s my own personal miracle worker. I put in my headphones, slip on an eye-mask (I have this blackout one I purchased from Amazon, I couldn’t live without. You can find it here), and the next thing I know – I’m at my destination!

I wish I had done this on my flight from Minneapolis to Los Angeles (the flight was too short to take a sleeping pill) because that was some of the worst turbulence I’ve ever experienced – we flew straight into a storm somewhere over Nebraska… I’ll write a separate blog post on that story though..

We Recommend Reading: Los Angeles Travel Guide

Hold Someone’s Hand

This is a tip for if you’re traveling with someone. I’ve never flown alone before so I apologize if this tip isn’t as helpful. During takeoff, bouts of turbulence, and landing – I have a death grip on my fiance’s hand. He hates it and I don’t blame him, but there’s something so calming about it. I’m still freaking out, yes, but I would freak out even more if I wasn’t holding his hand. Silly logic but it works for me.

Well, there’s some of my tips for how to fly despite being scared of flying! If you have any tips, please let me know down below!! I will be forever grateful. Happy holidays!

Read Next: Coming Soon!

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Hey friends! My trip to Europe is coming closer and closer so I’m starting to think about all the stuff I gotta do before we leave. And I thought, why not write a blog post about it? There’s a ton of stuff besides just packing that you need / should do before you leave. So, keep reading to find out what to do before your next vacation!

What to do before your next vacation? Keep reading for some helpful tips and tricks to help you feel less stressed before you jet off!

What To Do Before Your Next Vacation

Clean Your Home

For me personally, cleaning my house before we leave for a trip is the most important thing I can do. I’m a neat freak and I love coming home after a trip to a clean house. It’s one of my top ten favorite feelings. Before we leave, I will make sure all the laundry is washed / put away; the dishes are cleaned or in the dishwasher ; the bed is made ; and all the miscellaneous messes are picked up. I enjoy myself so much more while on vacation if I know that I’m coming home to a clean house.

Make Copies of Your Documents – Both Electronically and On Paper

This one is very important!! I always make sure I have an electronic and 2 paper copies of the following documents: passport, driver license, insurance cards, and itinerary. The electronic copies I keep in my Google Docs folder for easy access from any computer or device. As for the paper copies – I keep one set of copies with a family member or friend and the extra set of copies with me while I’m traveling. It’s important to have these copies in case you lose any important documents while abroad so make sure you always do this!

Let Your Bank Know When and Where You’ll Be Traveling

This one is kind of a “duh”. The reason being is you don’t want your bank to suspect fraud on your account and freeze your credit or debit card! I personally don’t have a credit or debit card so I don’t need to do this but while we’re traveling, my fiance and I rely on his credit card quite often so he always alerts our bank when and where we’ll be. Better safe than sorry.

Find A Pet Sitter

While this step is only applicable if you have pets, it’s an important one. My fiance and I have a dog and a cat so we always try to find or book arrangements for them at least a few weeks in advance. If we’re only gone for a weekend, we just book our dog in a pet hotel and leave our cat at home (with plenty of food and water, and a clean liter-box). If we’re gone for a longer period of time, we’ll usually put both of them in a pet hotel for the time we’ll be gone.

There you have it! I don’t know about you, but I could really use a vacation right now. It’s about -25 degrees outside with wind chill and it’s just miserable. South Dakota winters are not my friend. Hope you guys are staying warm and enjoying yourselves!

PS. Happy Holidays! What are your guys holiday plans? Let me know!

Read Next: Coming Soon!

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Hey friends! In less than a year, I will be traveling across Europe with my fiance and his family!!!!! This is a dream come true and I AM SO EXCITED. Our first stop will be London and because Christopher’s family knows what a big Potterhead I am, they’re allowing Chris and I to go off on our own to explore while we’re there. So, I’ve come up with a Harry Potter inspired London itinerary!

Also, it’s snowing pretty hard out right now and talking about anything related to Harry Potter instantaneously makes it feel Christmas-y and cozy and I am so happy. Also, I’m drinking the greatest cup of salted caramel hot cocoa I have ever tasted. And Christopher bought me the illustrated versions of Harry Potter and The Sorcerers Stone and The Chamber of Secrets for Christmas, so I’m rereading the series.. again.. for the third time this year.  Okay, moving on..

With less than one year to go until our trip around Europe, I'm planning ALL THE HARRY POTTER things to do while we're in London so here's my Harry Potter inspired London Itinerary!

Harry Potter Inspired London Itinerary! 

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter

This might be what I’m most looking forward to the most. I’ll probably repeat that a few more times as I’m most excited about, well, everything on this list. The Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour is exactly what it says – a studio tour. I’ve been on studio tours before while in Los Angeles and while they were fun, I have a feeling this one will be the most kickass one ever. At the time of writing this, the cost of a ticket is about $83 for an adult ticket. Spendy but it will be SO worth it.

We Recommend Reading: Los Angeles Travel Guide 

Visit Platform 9¾

I’m already planning on making the picture I take here my profile picture on just about every social media platform I have, just so you know in advanced. The best about visiting Platform 9¾, it’s free!! Which means more to spend on at the Harry Potter shop nearby. You best I’ll be picking up a Ravenclaw scarf – got to rep my school house you know.

We Recommend Reading: A Guide To Universal Studio's Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Visit the Reptile House at London Zoo

I’m pretty sure I speak Parseltongue but I won’t find out until I visit the Reptile House at London Zoo like Harry did, will I? Probably not. Tickets are about $26 US dollars, and obviously that includes more than just the Reptile House. After a quick trip there, I should expect my Hogwarts acceptance letter by owl post shortly after. Hopefully. I deserve it, I’ve been waiting for 11 years now.

Visit Tower Bridge

To be honest, I would visit the Tower Bridge even if it hadn’t made a cameo in Harry Potter and The Order of Phoenix. Plus all the other bridges in London because holy moly, what awesome architecture. You can’t find anything like that here at home.

What are some places that you recommend checking out while I’m in London? Harry Potter related or not, I’m all ears! Hope you guys are having a fantastic week!

Read Next: What To Do BEFORE You're Next Vacation

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