Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Julep Nail Polish - Dahlia

Julep listed this nail color as a "Goldenrod Micro Glitter", I called it liquid gold. The nail polish provided full coverage after one coat, but it could be a bit streaky. With two coats, it took a bit too dry and it still smudged easily after 30 minutes of dry time. A bit different from usual colors, but not my favorite.

Book Review - The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin

Photo Credit - Amazon
When a blizzards strands travelers in Salt Lake City, two strangers decide to charter a plane together hoping to return home to their loved ones. Ashley Knox is a magazine writer who is en route to her wedding. Ben Payne is a talented surgeon on his way home from a conference. Unfortunately, life doesn't always go as we planned and the duo find themselves badly injured and stranded miles away from civilization. With their chances of survival looking dim, the two will have to rely on each other more than they have relied on anyone else. As resources wear thin, the duo find that they have a connection that might be able to evolve into something more. Will Ben and Ashley  be able to survive? Will Ashley and Ben try to explore their bond if they make it out alive?

A gripping and suspenseful tale of two people who looking for happiness while being stranded. Throw away all preconceptions about this book. It's not your normal run of the mill "survival" novel or "two strangers fall in love while clinging to life". This novel will melt your soul and make you want the love that Ben has and Ashley craves.  There were times, I did get annoyed at the book though. The author went into minute details and I felt like it detracted from the story. However, I am sure there will be other readers who think it adds to the story as it makes the reader feel like they were actually there. Overall, a beautifully done novel and I can't wait to see the film!

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

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Diptyque Liquidambar Candle

I recently started dropping a pretty penny on fancy candles usually around the holidays when I feel stressed out or want to treat myself. The candle has scents of liquid amber, nutmeg, cinnamon and sugar. It has a slightly sweet and spicy scent without being overwhelming. The beautiful glass container is decorated with abstract colors of red, gold and green which represents the embrace of a "large autumnal tree". Not my favorite scent from them, but a favorite of my SO and guests.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Book Review - The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

Photo Credit - Amazon
Noa was sixteen years old when she cast out in disgrace from her family's home after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier. With nowhere to go and barely any possessions, she heads to the city to a shelter where her baby will be given to a family in need. After delivering her child, she has to leave the shelter to locate a job to support herself. She finds employment at a small rail station where she cleans and lives in a small utility closet. However, one faithful night, Noa stumbles upon a boxcar containing several Jewish infants who are bound for a concentration camp. She is unsure what to do, but one infant catches her attention, he reminds me her of her own beloved child she had to give up. She steals the child and seeks refugee, but fears the German soldiers would locate her and the child. Noa escapes into the forest under the protection of the snowy night, but with her meager clothing and provisions; her journey ends abruptly. When she recovers, she finds a safe haven among a traveling German circus, where she must learn the flying trapeze act to blend in and to earn her keep.

Astrid is the lead aerialist of the German circus and she doesn't believe Noa has the skills necessary to learn the act. Whether it is because of jealousy or Astrid's past, she has a hard time warming up to Noa even though she is Noa's only lifeline and flying trapeze instructor. However, slowly Astrid warms up to Noa but is unable to trust Noa. Will Noa's secret destroy their friendship? Will their friendship be able to help them survive?

When I first picked up this book, I thought it was going to be about an abandoned child who conquers the world against all odds. Then I read the summary, it seemed interesting as a beach read or maybe something to read while commuting. However, I am ashamed of myself for putting down one of the most heart warming and interesting books I read this season. The dual narrated novel captivated my heart and I couldn't help rooting for Noa's and Astrid's friendship. I wish every single human on this planet had a person like Astrid and Noa in their lives.They truly define what it means for someone to be a friend. There were times, that the two characters did act a bit petty and I found Noa's secret to be an "insignificant" (for a lack of better words), compared to Astrid's own life, but I can't judge because I don't know what it feels like to live during that horrendous time. Perhaps, if I was in Astrid's shoes and I found someone I liked during a time of uncertainty, but I felt they weren't being completely honest, but I would also behave like a "high school" girl. I think one of the reasons why, some readers might think it felt like a "high school" cliche is because maybe Noa and Astrid never really had strong female friendships. Noa seemed to be secluded in her small village and Astrid focused mostly on her career and none of the other performers in the circus seem to like her much either.  Speaking from my own high school female friendship, I also had petty moments and moments of fiercely protecting my friend. Personally speaking apart from minor "She hates me!" moments, I found the book very enjoyable and I look forward to reading other works by the author.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Book Review - The Pretender: A Blackguard in Disguise (The Caselli Family #1) byTa`Mara Hanscom

Photo Credit - Amazon
On a snow day in 1975, Tillie Caselli was given the opportunity to show her artwork in a Junior Artist Competition. While visiting a new city, her fellow students sneak out to a bar. Worried that something happened to them, Tille and her friend, Ginger venture into the bar to bring them back to the hotel. Tillie crosses path with bad boy biker, Noah Hansen and  their lives will never be the same. Is Noah the perfect knight for Tille or is he a blackguard in disguise?

When reading the description, the novel seemed very interesting. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get into the book. The conversations between the characters didn't feel real and the writing style was painful to read. The love story between Tille and Noah also felt unrealistic. They fell in love in two days and wanted to get married, but then when something happens, instead of trusting each other and their feelings, one of the characters just completely abandon the relationship. How can someone go from being head over heels in love and then completely ignore their love interest? There was also too many random events and characters which were very hard to keep track of along with the story just droning on and on. 

The author lost credibility in my opinion when she used one of the characters, Tara to call Tillie a "waif". Which means "neglected or abandoned child", and from reading the novel, we all know Tillie is anything but neglected. She has a family that loves and cares for her and she had several suitable prospects. I also didn't like how the family was quick to judge people and call them either blackguards or knights, when they themselves didn't act respectable at times. The Casellis knew their daughter wasn't interested in her prom date, but told her to go anyways, so she has someone to take her there and that Tillie can just be with her friends during the prom instead of her date. Well, the story finally picked up towards the end, I am very hesitant to pick up another book by the author because of the lack of story and poor editing.

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

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Botanic Farm Black Soybean Milk Pudding Sleeping Pack

The fermented soybean enriched sleeping mask promises to leave skin plump, hydrated and moisturizer in the morning. The sleeping mask had a slight bouncy texture almost like flan and while it absorbs quickly it left my hands a bit sticky. My skin felt and looked dewy and hydrated in the morning almost like I got a full 8 hours of sleep! While I did enjoy the mask, it isn’t my favorite and I would only re-purchase it again if it was on sale because I noticed if I used this mask two days in the row my face didn’t look as hydrated and dewy on the second day. I felt like this would be more special occasion mask.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Holika Holika Aloe 99% Soothing Gel

The soothing aloe gel is packed fermented aloe vera leaf juice promising hydration without the sticky feeling. The product is formulated without paraben, benzophenone, propylene glycol, BHT, artificial coloring or mineral oil. The gel was absorbed quickly and left my skin hydrated with a sticky feeling.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Sphatika Rose Cleansing Foam

The vegetable based foam is enriched with Bulgarian Rose oil, plant extracts and other rich emollients. The product provided a generous lather for the first few uses, but towards the halfway point, when I depressed the lever, it wouldn’t come back up naturally. The foam was thin and filled more with air bubbles. While, I enjoyed using the cleansing foam, I can’t in good conscience buy a product that when it hits its halfway point it needs to be trashed.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Book Review - Many Sparrows by Lori Benton

Photo Credit - Amazon
**May Contain Spoilers**

Tension and brutal conflicts plague the colonists of the Ohio-Kentucky in 1774, when they try to settle on land that belong to the Native Americans. The Inglesby family decides to make the journey west to search for a better life, when an accident causes Philip to venture ahead for help leaving his pregnant wife, Clare and their four-year old son Jacob alone. The mother and son, find cover for the night, but when Clare awakes she finds her eldest son missing and she is in labor. She finds that her son is being held captive by the Shawnee Indians and threaten his very safety. She enlists the help of Jeremiah Ring who is serving as a messenger between the Native Americans and the settlers. Jeremiah hesitantly agrees at first as he worries that she would be in more danger and he has to deliver an important letter to the council and delaying the message can cause more lives to be jeopardized. Will Clare be able to save her son? Why did the Native Americans capture her son?

The historical fiction novel had an interesting story blending aspects of true events into the story. However, I felt the writing fell flat and seemed tedious at some points. I also found the main character to be detestable and downright a shame to be called a mother. She worries about her lost son, but when she barely worried about the newborn child that she has. I also felt because she had a daughter, she didn't feel as invested in her as her son. She is also portrayed as the mother who would fight for her children, but why didn't she put her foot down before her husband drag their entire family into the wilderness? Why does she treat her newborn daughter as an obstacle and a burden between reuniting with her son? I tried really hard to get into this book, but I kept thinking Clare is nothing but a hypocrite and can't spend 5 minutes thinking of others before she claims injustice. She claims the Native Americans are barbaric for claiming white settler's children as their own, but the white settlers just murdered/attack the Native Americans sometimes without being provoked. At least the Native Americans didn't kill the children while the settlers murdered pregnant Native American women. Clare should open her eyes and feel compassion for others instead of being quick to judge.

**Disclosure - I received a free unedited advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest opinion**

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Half Moon Eyes Pink Fruity Wash Off Mask

I don’t know about anyone else but maybe I am overthinking things, but I found the name of the product a bit offensive. Putting that aside, I read many good things about this product and wanted to try it. The mask comes in single serve cups, which was only good for one use, unlike other single serve products I have used. The mask is composed of dragon fruit, snail slime, Jeju canola honey, carbonated mineral water and swiflet nest extracts. The mask promises to tighten pores, hydrate, nourish, calm and brighten skin while removing sebum. The mask went on smoothly, but it stung my face a bit. I toughed it out for a few minutes and wash it out. While, I wasn’t wowed by the result my face did look “cleaner” but it isn’t a mask I am like to try again especially at $3.50 per a use.