Monday, February 29, 2016

Book Review - Freedom's Child: A Novel by Jax Miller

Photo Source - Amazon

**May Contain Spoilers**

Freedom Oliver lives in a small town, keeps to herself, works at the local biker bar, and is known to get arrested for public drunkenness on a daily basis. However, what her friends don't know is Freedom is on the run from her secrets which is finally catching up to her. She was arrested for killing her NYPD husband, putting her two kids up for adoption, served time in prison, she is in Witness Protection, and has her husband's family is out for revenge against her. While keeping tabs on her family from afar, she learns her daughter has gone missing. Determined to rescue the daughter she never knew, she risks everything to find Rebekah. On her mission to save her daughter, she comes to realize she isn't the only one with dangerous secrets.

The fast pace novel is written from multiple point of views. It has a lot of twists and turns but towards the end it becomes unmemorable.  It went from being unpredictable and having the reader at the edge of their seats to saying "Oh, I saw that coming". It might seem like a book about revenge but it is actually a book about forgiveness and making amends.  Just because you made a mistake many years ago and it still haunts you, doesn't mean you can't try to right a wrong.

**Disclosure : I received a free copy of this book for my honest opinion**

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Premium Barbary Soap - Badlands

The organic soap is composed of certified organic oils of sunflower, safflower, coconut and palm. It is scented with essential oils of sage, lavadin, lemongrass, spearmint with calendula petals and rosemary extracts (these were not certified organic). The soap arrived in a plastic baggie with a heavy duty cardboard box covering a portion of it. Personally, I would have prefer my soap to be shrink wrapped for hygiene reasons. The bar is a decent size, a bit smaller than a L'Occitane size bar and a Irish Spring bar. A tad thicker in width but smaller in length than Jergen's soap. The soap is fragrant and somewhat appealing. I can't figure out why I am not exactly in love with the scent . My first using of the bar, I found it hard to rub against my skin and felt a bit waxy. The second use and afterwards, the soap glided against my skin more easily without a waxy feeling. The soap didn't offer much of a lather nor left my skin moisturized. With a $15 price tag, I at least expected it to scent my skin a bit. Sadly, I didn't smell any of the essential oils on me. It's an okay soap but I don't think the price tag is justified.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Book Review - The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum by Kirsten Weiss

Photo Source -  Amazon

**May Contain Spoilers**

Maddie Kosloski had a promising career as an international executive but when she loses her job she decides to return home to figure out  her next steps. Adele, Mad's good friend, "tricks" her into managing the town's paranormal museum whose own future and past are mysterious. Local town rumors say the museum is haunted and now even more so when a dead body is found in it. The detective on the case is Maddie's own high school bully who seems more concerned about getting even with Maddie than with finding the real killer.  When her friend is arrested, she must manage through a wide cast of eccentric characters to prove Adele's  innocence.

The book was a quick and easy read. I found the book to be a bit boring at times and not enough "excitement".  It is billed as thriller but I found it to be more of an easy going book to read at the beach or as I did on the train.

**Disclosure - I received a copy of an uncorrected ebook for my honest opinion --- this had no impact on my review and feedback**

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Pop Beauty Bright Up Your Life Eye Shadow Trio - Sugar Plum

The three color combination palette is perfect for creating  a smoky eye. The eyeshadow promises to be long lasting and long wearing but I notice my eyes creasing and the color fading after an hour or two of use (even with a primer). The color itself came off as soft wash color instead of being strong and bold like many other makeup brands like Nars, Urban Decay, etc. The palette is more affordable, of course, but the color payout wasn't there for me.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Book Review - The Vegetarian by Han Kang

Photo Source - Amazon
** May Contain Spoilers **

After a terrifying nightmare, ordinary Yeong-hye and her husband's life get turned upside down. Yeong-hye decides to become a vegetarian against her family's wishes. Her marriage and family life becomes unstable after her act of independence. Her husband, her brother-in-law, and her sister each try to control her life  while Yeong-hye tries defend her choice in life. Will she be able to continue being a vegetarian or will she lose her mind, body and soul in the process?

The story is split into three separate stories told by her husband, her brother-in-law, and her sister. The book is translated and it feels many of nuances were lost in translation causing parts of the story to be very confusing. On a side note, the book is filled with graphic sex scenes, martial rape, and a bit of violence. I wasn't quite fond of the story as the we never got to know Yeong-hye's motives or her side of the story. All the characters were a bit unlikeable and I found it hard to relate to any of the characters. The story left us with more questions than answers. The book is very small and can be read in 3 to 4 hours and definitely not worth the full retail price of $21.

** Disclosure - I received a free copy of this book for my honest review **

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Pre De Provence Lait Soap

The triple milled soap is free of parabens, ethyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol and dea. It is enriched with quad milled shea butter and essential oils to soften skin and enrich the sense. The soap provided a rich and creamy softly scented lather. The bar was big and lasted me well over two months with twice a week use. A bit on the expensive side but in like with L’Occitane Shea Butter Extra Gentle Soap – Milk  pricing and has a similar scent. While, the L’Occitance is more expensive and smaller, I feel it provided my skin with more moisture than this soap did. But, I am still interested in trying the other scents they have available. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Book Review - Death Comes to Happy Acres by J.T. Moss

Photo Source - Amazon
**May Contain Spoilers**

Wade Lovett, the 63 year old broke Casanova of a trailer park has found himself in the middle of a love triangle. When Wade becomes engaged to one of the women, he visits Peggy MacCallister, his other girlfriend to tell her the news. If Wade thought life was difficult by managing a love triangle, his life was about to get turned upside down when he finds Peggy dead on the floor.  Surprisingly, Wade was bequeath her prized cat, Prince Albert along with being the beneficiary of her life insurance. Peggy's son believes Wade has murdered his mother and demands an autopsy on his mother. The ruling of a natural death seems less and less likely with each passing day.  Everyone in Happy Acres could be the killer. Can one of them be the murderer or be the next victim?

The book is billed as a thriller but it was more a "mild" thriller (I would consider it a light reading). I wouldn't say this book kept me on the edge of my seat anticipating the killer but it was a fun and interesting read.  A definite fun read for a rainy day and you will keep rooting (hoping!) for the down-on-his-luck Wade not to be the killer!

**Disclosure - I received a copy of an uncorrected ebook for my honest opinion --- this had no impact on my review and feedback**

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Book Review - Insight: Immortal Soul Mates (Insight series Book 1) by Jamie Magee

Photo Credit - Amazon

** May Contain Spoilers **

Willow has been haunted by her dreams for as long as she can remember.  With every harrowing nightmare, she is also shares her dreams with a blue-eye boy. In their dreams together, Willow and her dream boy is always surrounded by complete silence.  Unfortunately, there is a dark shadow lurking in Willow's dreams.Willow has the power to feel and sense emotions of both the living and the dead. Her family believes the dark figure is after Willow's power.

The book was a bit underwhelming. The story has potential but it is sadly never realized. There is a lot of times when main characters face the evil characters but instead of action; the story kind of fizzles. It was littered with spelling and grammar issues which took away from setting the mood. On a side note, this is the first book in a part of a series but it could be read separately. However, after this disappointing first novel, I am not sure I will continue reading the rest of the series.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Book Review - The Mapmaker's Children by Sarah McCoy

Photo Source -
** May Contain Spoilers **

A brilliant tale woven with historical themes gives readers a glimpse into the mysterious life of Sarah Brown. Sarah Brown, the daughter of abolitionist John Brown, hopes to have a purpose in her life. After fighting dysentery, she is left barren. With no hopes of procreating, she decides to to continue in the steps of her father. She takes up the torch of her father to help end slavery. Utilizing her artistic talents she becomes one of the Underground Railroad's lead mapmakers using slave code quilts  along with hiding maps in her paintings and dolls. The civil war threatens to rip the country into two and leaves Sarah scrambling to protect all she loves. Can she find a way to leave a mark in history?

A common thread beautifully links modern woman, Eden with Sarah. Eden is desperate to have children with her husband, Jack. Even with multiple rounds of IVF, she is unable to bare children and it strains her marriage. They decide to move into an old house to start fresh. Eden discovers a strange porcelain doll head hidden in a root cellar with a mysterious past. Can this discovery help bring Eden and Jack together?

The novel alternates between Sarah and Eden narration along with including telegrams, love letters and newspaper clippings. Each chapter is filled with emotion and shows how each of the women struggle with love, finding a place where they belong and leaving their mark on the world. It was an enticing read and very hard to put down. Each of the characters are frail creatures who decide to rise above their "weakness" and thrive. 

** Disclosure - I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion** 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Ricky Home Banker Husband Soap on a Rope

The soap was released in 2013 as a part of Ricky’s Home collection for the holidays. The collection had 5 fragrances such as  Walk of Shame, Banker Husband, Taco Tuesday, Street Meat and Drunk Brunch to showcase the spirit of NYers.  I found this soap at the discount section at my local Ricky’s along with bottles of mist in the same scent. The soap has notes of Sparkling Lemon, Orange Crush, Watery Jasmine, Linden Blossom, Lily of the Valley, Sheer Musk, and White Woods and vegetable oil based. The soap is heavy weight bar and is hung with a white heavy cord. The soap provided a decent lather but the first couple of uses my skin felt waxy. The soap originally retail for $7 a bar which feels a bit overpriced.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Dr. Teals pure Epsom salt soothe and sleep with lavender

Ahhh, soaking in a bath is probably one of life’s purest joys. The epsom salt is scented with lavender essential oils; even without opening the bag one can get a good whiff of the lavender.  Lavender is known for it’s calming, soothing and aiding sleep benefits. Soaking 20 minutes in warm water with 2 cups of this salt solution will have your body at perfect ease. I took a bag of this salt on my recent trip and I was so relaxed and fell asleep almost instantly.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Book Review - The Secret of Hummingbird Cake By Celeste Fletcher McHale

Photo Credit - Amazon
**May Contain Spoilers**

A Southern tale about three friends' journey through life, love, happiness, and sadness. The lifelong trio have been friends since childhood.  In their small town, everyone knows everything. There is no secret that can go without someone knowing.  The three friends has been living in their "perfect" bubble until life gave them something more than they can handle. Will they be able to survive the event? Will it bring them together or pull them apart?

A sweet and endearing tale about the friendship between three friends. They are willing to do anything for each other -- even if it means putting the others before themselves. A beautiful tale intertwining elements of love, grief, betrayal, joy, and friendship. A refreshing tale of friendship and be warned, read with tissues nearby. The perfect treat for a rainy day because you never know when you might get into the mood for baking!

**Disclosure - I received a copy of  the book for my honest opinion --- this had no impact on my review and feedback**

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Book Review - Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Photo Source - Amazon

**May Contain Spoilers**

I have always been a fan of Shakespeare's "Taming of a Shrew", so when I was offered the chance to read the Advance Reader's Edition of this book, I couldn't bite quick enough. In Anne Tyler's modern retelling of the classic, independent Katherine finds herself in a quite the odd predicament. She feels stuck in her everyday life, from being the primary caretaker for her father and her sister along with constantly getting in trouble at work for her lack of social awareness. Her father, Dr. Battista has made a breakthrough in his research, but his beloved lab assistant, Pyotr is about to be deported. Together, Dr. Battista and Pyotr cook up a plan to keep him here but requires the help of Katherine. Will Katherine be able to let go of her stubborn ways to help?

Personally, I am a bit stuck in the middle on my opinion on this book. The book was a quick and easy read but it was quite boring at times. It was hard to love the characters in the book. Especially, the main character -- her personality was beyond unbearable. Instead of rooting for her, I found myself hoping she ended miserable for the rest of her life (yes, I can be a bit cruel - I had such high hopes for this book!) But, the end of the book -- it made me think of the underlying elements such as acceptance, forgiveness and putting others before yourself. The book had great elements but I wish the delivery was a bit better. A die hard fan of Shakespeare's "Taming of a Shrew", might love this book and appreciate the story but for everyone else I would recommend skipping it.

**Disclosure - I received a copy of an uncorrected book for my honest opinion --- this had no impact on my review and feedback**