book · review

Shifting Sands: Tradecraft: Phase One

Shifting Sands: Tradecraft series


Shifting Sands: Tradecraft: Phase One
Author: Michael Shusko
Series: Tradecraft #2
Genre: Military, action, espionage

In every book about military, there is the bad guys who are aiming for world destruction, and there will be the good guys who usually go: why me? Sure, they take the orders, but a recon mission quickly escalates into a fight of survival situation. Sometimes, if you are (un)lucky enough, rescue a damsel in distress.

Unlike Matthew Reilly’s books, Michael Shusko delivers a more down to earth story. Don’t get me wrong, both feature military men, in different ways. These heroes never thought themselves to be heroes, just a man trying to do his best to protect people he loves. I am using he because both books features a man, though the female counterpart is equally impressive in a lot of ways.

There is no comparison, it will be like comparing apples and oranges. I like Shifting Sands because it is more realistic and is more into current events. Plus the action part is breath- holding suspense. The characters have a certain charm to them, flaws and all. Mainly, this one has a family theme to it, as it features a family of marines (if I remember correctly of course).

Trying to get into a restricted country is easy enough, getting out is the problem. As brother love compels Nick’s brother to come save him, Nick has to save himself and the beautiful Sara. She holds the key to salvation, literally, as the information she holds might stop nuclear World War III from happening.

If you are looking for sexual tension, you might be disappointed, the people in this book are far too busy trying to stay alive than to find a spot for some love. The stakes are high, but the rewards higher still. I have not read the first book Vector, so I cannot say if it would have been better to read this chronologically. If there is any consolation, it felt like a standalone.

Verdict

Shifting Sands is the second book for Tradecraft, there is something big coming up, pretty sure I want to be a bystander rather than a part of it. The story is in third person POV, which works well as it offers a clear picture of who goes where. Definitely a book for the military buffs, or someone looking for some dangerous adventure.

beauty · review

Goodness Chia Grab & Go Try Me Kit Review

Goodness Certified Chia Seed Grab & Go Review

IMG_20170503_124305032

What is inside the box:
Certified Organic Chia Seed Oil (5ml)
Evening Cream (20mL)
Morning Moisturiser (20mL)
Cream Cleanser (20mL)
Face Scrub (10mL).

Where to find this box: some Woolworths stores, Priceline, Chemist Warehouse, and Big W

Although some reason, CW only has Goodness Certified Organic Chia Seed Oil 20ml on eBay, a little disappointed that I cannot show you the link to this. I did bring this to Malaysia and Taiwan, it lasts more than 2 weeks. I should finish them back home.

The box is big and clunky for so many tiny things, for ease of packing the box had to go. But look at these tiny bottles, they are cute and easily fit into my makeup bag. Plus these are less than 100mL so you can actually take them on-board, but don’t quote me. At least take the oil with you, I am sure you can take that in your hand-carry.

A Little Bit About Goodness

The key ingredient for Goodness Chia Seed kit is chia seed oil, avocado and coconut oil, all of which nourish, hydrate and plump skin. The packaging is recyclable, the product is biodegradable to ensure clean waterways, and the products are not tested on animals.

They’re also free from parabens, petrochemicals, PEGs, sulphates, silicones, and harsh surfactants.

Goodness comes from New Zealand

Thoughts

I do not mind them, for one thing they are free from fragrance as well. They smell whatever is most: oil. You know that smell of nutty slightly flowery note of pure plant oil. Even in Malaysia, I enjoyed the benefits of the oil as serum, you will be surprised that how using oil stops your skin from secreting more oil. I use a drop or two, pat on for good measure.

I like that the box has the essentials and nothing more, although I would have liked for the creams to be more dual than separate. But since they are small, it is not an issue.  A little bummed that this is not anti- aging, this kit is more into hydrating, because flying can be so dehydrating.

If you are travelling, look for this kit.

book · interview

Interview with: Alretha Thomas (Author)

Interview with Author of Rachel Storme Series: Alretha Thomas

but first….reading should run in the family. If you noticed, the book title is Funky Facts

this is how princess reads

Was writing the book a fun experience for you?

Writing “A Penny For Her Heart,” the third book in the Detective Rachel Storme series, was immensely enjoyable. After I had completed book two, and several months had passed, I began missing Rachel, Herb and the gang, and I was chomping at the bit to get started with the third book. Just the thought of coming up with a new mind-numbing case for Rachel to solve was exciting. I also enjoyed creating the latest protagonist that would share in telling the story—Vanessa Johnson Rossi. Additionally, I always get a kick out of coming up with plot twists and red herrings that keep the readers on the edge of their seats.

After writing so many series, which is your favorite?

I have written two series. The first one is the Cass & Nick series, which could be classified as romantic suspense. This series was picked up and published by Soul Mate Publishing in 2014. There are four books in that series. “Married in the Nick of Nine,” “A Baby in the Window,” “One Harte, Two Loves,” and “Renee’s Return.” My second series is the Detective Rachel Storme series. There are three books in that series so far. “Justice for Jessica,” “Losing Lauren,” and “A Penny For Her Heart.” My books are my babies, so it would be very difficult to pick one over the other. LOL!

Do you have a day job aside from writing?

I was blessed to retire from my day job in February 2016. I can’t begin to tell you how amazing it is to be able to do what I love full-time.

Me: Oh. this is my dream.. see it can come true~

What inspired Rachel Storme to be a detective?

When Rachel was a child, her father abandoned her and her mother. Rachel longed to know her father and to grow up with the feeling of security and protection that a father offers. As a result, she had to fend for herself and her mother. This led to her developing a keen sense of awareness and grit. Although, enamored with plants and flowers, Rachel felt compelled to purse law enforcement, a desire borne out of her need to feel safe.

She had wanted to quit once, why did she remain on the force?

Solving the Jessica James case was so fulfilling for Rachel, she decided to postpone her retirement. And before she had a chance to move forward with retiring, she was presented with another challenging case. She did, however, start her floral business.

Can you see yourself in the characters that you created, who would you want to be?

Yes, I can see myself in my characters. I can really relate to Rachel. We’re around the same age, and at one point I grappled with the idea of leaving my full-time job to pursue writing full-time just like Rachel is struggling with leaving the force to immerse herself in her floral business. Rachel also has a big heart and a love for people despite being in a profession that can turn a person cynical and apathetic.

How did you celebrate the release of your first book?

My first book, “Daughter Denied,” is loosely based on my childhood. It was launched in 2008. However, I wrote it in 1999. I unsuccessfully tried to get an agent and a publishing deal for this book. Finally, in 2008, inspired by Barack announcing he would run for president, I decided to self-publish. The rest as they say is history. I had a huge party to launch the book. It was amazing.

Will there be a “deleted scenes” book one day?

I like the idea of that. Perhaps there will be.

What’s the deal with Rachel and Herb?

It’s funny you ask that. I’ve been invited to be the guest author at numerous book club meeting and people always ask will Rachel and Herb end up becoming a couple. Invariably, when asked, I fall into a fit of laughter. It’s a titillating thought, but at present, they’re just friends. Herb has been happily married to Clarice for over thirty years, and Storme is divorced from Pete who’s in the penitentiary. Herb and Clarice love and respect each other and neither of them ever cross the line. Herb isn’t blind. He acknowledges that Storme is an attractive woman and he’s even told Storme that she’s a pretty woman, and Storme has acknowledged Herb’s attributes. Do they flirt on rare occasions? “Yes.” I like the idea of their closeness and the possibility of something one day happening. Who knows, maybe in book four. Lol!

What do you most enjoy about being an author? The books, the fans or just writing?

I love it all.  I enjoy creating. I wasn’t able to have children, so writing books makes up for that. I love creating stories, characters and worlds. I get a thrill out of the readers and reading their reviews. I love when people are moved and inspired by my stories. It’s an amazing thing. I feel humbled and honored to be a storyteller.

What do you hate most when writing a book?

I hate incorporating edits. It’s very tedious and a necessary evil.

Me: looks like the devil is in the details (haha)

Do you use a special writing program, or are you a handwriter?

I used Microsoft Word. Thank God for word processing. I don’t know how any author wrote a book before the invention of word processing. I love being able to make global changes. I love gliding through my book, moving things around with just the tap of key!

Do you think people should join authors group, are you in one?

I think author groups are great. You can learn a great deal from other writers and yes, I am in a group. It’s called the Prize Writers.

Review For: A Penny for Her Heart

book · review

A Penny For Her Heart : Rachel Storme 3 Review

A Penny For Her Heart
Author: Alretha Thomas
Genre: murder mystery
Series: Rachel Storme 3

A Penny For Her Heart : Review

Rachel Storme is back in book 3, with a more complicated story and more exciting stage. When Vanessa Rossi found her best friend, Penelope “Penny” Newhouse dead at their work place. Worse of all, it is near the election time, and their boss the Mayor wanted to get everything solved before polls plummet.

Like the previous books, Rachel is a meticulous detective that inspects all leads. In Penny For Her Heart, there was one crucial clue that stopped Rachel from wrapping up the case when her boss said so. With the backing for her partner Herb, she digs deeper to find the real killer.

The author, Alretha throws in a lot of convincing red herrings. The skeletons that turned up from the investigation could have convinced a lot of people who were murderer was. If it were not for Rachel’s attention to detail, the real killer might have walked away free. Of course, in politics, things get murky. The setting was perfect, the mystery is a puzzle waiting to be solved.

Aside from the murder, Rachel has to deal with her family issues. Vanessa, the girl who found the body had to get on with life. But as clues keep popping up, Vanessa had to wonder if she is safe at all. With the killer at large, without a real motive, anyone could be next. That alone was enough to keep me reading until the end, because not only there were a lot of suspects, everyone seemed to have an alibi.

Verdict

A Penny For Her Heart has what a murder mystery needs : no suspects! keep digging, Rachel... Click To Tweet

I like Rachel Storme series because the whole story just twists into something else by the end. Ever lousy at reading clues, this proves to me that I am a lousy detective, I got everything wrong.

Too bad there’s not butler in this one.

 

beauty · review

Review of 3 Lotions : Found in My Stash

Review 1: Avène’s Tolérance Extrême Cleansing Lotion

cleaning lotion

I never had a cleansing lotion before, I have tried cleansing milk once, from Clarins and Ella Bache a long time ago. I am not a fan, mainly because I don’t have the clean feel later. This one however, belongs in my never again list. A little bit did not feel clean enough, while too much made me feel that there was a layer of plastic on my face.

Yes, it is Avene and it has their famous thermal water. Priced at AUD40, it is kind of pricey for a small bottle of cleansing lotion. The thing I hate most is the dispenser! You have to squeeze it hard enough so that the lotion squirts out from its stopper. Hard to control, either too much or too little, and I cannot even unscrew the cap to avoid that stopper thing.

Cleansing wise, no comment. I just don’t have that clean skin feel like I have with cream cleansers. But since I do double cleansing *at times I stole my husband’s Benzac gel* I have no issues.

Review 2: L’ Occitane Shea Soothing Fluid

IMG_20170702_160901280This one I bought on a whim, when the pharmacy I went had a 30% off everything. The L’Occitane Shea Face Soothing Fluid, I got for a mere AUD33. Soothing Fluid has 5% shea in the lotion, and boast to be hydrating and soothing at the same time.

For me, the normal faced person, it is acceptable. But for Princess Brat who was suffering from itchy skin, Soothing Fluid was not soothing at all. I was hoping that the shea would provide some relief for her eczema, because this product is free of nasties. Unfortunately her skin did not respond at all.

Having said that, I am loving this lotion. It absorbs quickly, and has no residue. Even in dry winter, my skin feels fresh and moisturized. Definitely recommending it.

Review 3: Carol’s Daughter Hydrating Acai Face LotionIMG_20170702_160910693

I have no idea where this one came from, but I am using it. The lotion smells funny so maybe it is already bad. I read the back, and it does not have any perfume. If you know how Acai should smell like let me know, but now I am saying that it stinks. Other than that, the lotion seems to be working.

Since I use it with the soothing fluid, I use this randomly. Presently I am not using any creams or anti- aging stuff. Just a short break from heavy stuff to see how my skin is. If I see any wrinkles, I know that those creams work. Carol’s Daughter had actually discontinued this product, a little bummed. I have no idea how long I have had this in my stash *embarrassed*

Just a Note

I am not affiliated with any charity, but I feel compelled to mention this. I am thinking of donating some of my stuffs to The Beauty Bank. I have gotten a lot of gifts from birthdays and such, and they remain unopened. For Australia, there’s this place you can donate to, brand new unopened things to those who need them.

After all, we women should support each other right?

Not sure about other countries though, if you know of one please comment and let others know

Peace.