Book · review

The Reawakened Series Book Review

Reawakened Series Review

Reawakened

Reawakened
Author: Colleen Houck
Genre: fantasy, YA, romance

I will never get sick of these cheesy, teenage “defeat all odds” romance. I did Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts with this book. If you want a sneak read be sure to go look at the screenshot. This series has an Egyptian myth as the main theme, so the whole series focus on legends and gods. Though it is not always accurate, learning about it is always fun.

The story starts with the meeting of Liliana Young and a mummy, Amon. No prizes guessing the whole story line with this. A lot of eye rolling and sighing on my part, but I read on. My mother loves this book, which is why I bought it, and “borrowed” it to her via Kindle. Love that function, kudos to Amazon.

A little bit about the book that might interest you

Liliana Young saw a mummy, who later turned into a guy who appeared to be a few years older than she is. Turns out that the mummy/ guy’s name is Amon, and he has a job to do. Because he is low in energy, he makes a pact with her. Through out the first book, they have to find his brothers before he fails his task.

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Verdict

I like the characters, despite the fact that Lily can be a whinging New Yorker, she was a good host. More importantly, she has some good friends, as proven by her sidekicks. The first book successfully catches my curiosity, so I moved onto book 2. Book one ends well without any cliffhangers, but I knew that this is a series.

Recreated : Book 2 of Reawakened

Recreated

This one happens a few weeks after book 1, where Liliana finally gets to have some rest after her adventures. But unfortunately, she was summoned back into the scene/ story. Lily was staying with her Nana, away from New York. She knows that her love with Amon should have ended, but hey…

This is a teenage love story right? Recreated moves to the next part of the story, where Lily becomes a reluctant heroine. Her journey was fraught with dangers, and no guarantees that she would be successful after all that hard work. It was frustratingly long.

This is a spoiler

Liliana had to do a few things before going to the Netherworld, to rescue her boyfriend Amon. He had decided to run there after Ma’at demanded to weigh his heart. In book 2, she had to become a sphinx in order to gain access to Egyptian hell safely.

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And the story quickly goes from normal teen to strange in half way through.

Verdict

I knew it was coming, but I was still taken slightly aback by the turn of events. Her previous book/ series: Tiger’s Curse was the same in theme and execution. So it was not a complete surprise, but still raised my eyebrows. Not my favorite book in the series.

Reunited : Reawakened Book 3

Reunited

Reunited is also a few days after the events of Recreated. Back at Nana’s farm, Liliana struggles with memory loss, but she does not get much rest. Apparently, the evil one has managed to escape, and is trying to bring down Egyptian Heaven. Back to Heliopolis, Lily has issues with the changes in her body.

The stakes are higher this time, and she has to stop the evil one before it is too late. In this book, the romances take a seat behind saving the world. It is a little annoying when the author throws around hints and then does not follow up.

Verdict

Is it a satisfying end? It is if you are teen, one moment you are crying that the Universe is not far, by the end you are nodding in excitement. Everyone gets a happy ending, yay!

The boss fight was not really a boss fight, the ending fell short of my expectations. Trust the author to throw in a cheat code that automatically wins the fight. Although the characters have matured, and everything is back in place, does not mean that you can skip the ultimate battle..

Bah.

Should you read it? Of course, it is quite entertaining, just don’t be so serious about it.

Beauty · review · Writing Samples

Dry Brushing : My Own Experience

Dry Brushing

It does not need much explanation, dry brushing is simply brushing your skin with a brush when it is dry. This practice traces its origins back to Indian Ayurveda, where people use it as a lymphatic drainage option. Though today people seem to find more benefits to keep this ancient knowledge alive.

How To Do It?

First, invest in a good quality brush. Focus on the bristles, the handles and everything in between..

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My cheap crappy brush

I got this from a pharmacy, because it has massage beads as well as the bristles. In my opinion, the bristles are quite sharp, not as good as Sukin one that I have. Unfortunately Sukin brush does not have the beads, so I use this one at the gym after my workout.

You can buy one from Amazon here.

Then, before your bath/ shower every day, gently brush from feet towards the heart; and when you do the hands, you brush them towards your chest. I do mine in a circular motion, but still swirling towards the trunk, When doing my stomach I would do a few more circles, as I really want my stubborn stomach fat to go away.

What Does Dry Brushing Do?

Aside from improving your lymphatic drainage, dry brushing is lauded to have other benefits. but the reasons why I started doing is not trying to improve the system. My lymph nodes are fine, because I am constantly moving around with a baby, and daily gym work.

The main reasons for me were exfoliating and getting rid of dirt from the pores, and hopefully scrub off enough layers of skin to fade some scars. Of course I could do wet brushing, which is brushing my skin under the shower or in the bath. But it’s Australia and it’s dry as a nun’s nasty here (yeah it’s a legit Aussie slang) so dry brushing saves water. After gym, while I am still hot and my pores are still open, that’s when I do mine.

Some would tell you that it is good to get rid of cellulite, the dimply appearance normally around the bums and thighs. Cellulite is a problem when you are sedentary and have a poor blood circulation, because the connective tissues between fat cells breakdown, then you will have that dimply look. It ain’t pretty, and you can’t treat it with diet and exercise.

Does it Work?

Not sure about the lymphatic drainage part, but I assume so because any form of movement will be good. Our lymph system has no pump, so it relies largely on muscle movement and external forces to push it to the liver. Hence all lymphatic massage is towards the liver/ body. Dry brushing is the same, but if you want to break up some extra fat stores, circular motion helps. No one said you cannot do it both ways, it does take time.

I will say that the pore cleaning definitely is true, I have seen icky stuff coming out of my skin. This was after few days of dry brushing after gym. That is probably a good thing, because I have been neglecting my skin for a tad too long. But exfoliation wise, there is some contention in that topic.

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If dry brushing is a great way to exfoliate, then I would not be suffering from ingrown hairs. Right now they are still as annoying as ever. Plus, that scar has not really faded. It is a scar, from scraping myself somewhere one day. This picture is taken three weeks after my almost daily routine of dry brushing. Cellulite wise, it did somewhat make my thighs smoother, though I cannot see my bum very well…

So far there is no improvement, or nothing that makes you think it is worth the effort for me. Having said that, a lot of people do have good results. It might be just me, though I am slightly disappointed. Overall, I think it is a good habit to have, it is just a few minutes a day.

Dry Brushing vs Body Scrub: which one is better?

Priori Advanced AHA Invigorating Face & Body Scrub

For me, dry brushing takes the cake. Main reason is because the brush would last you a lot longer than a body scrub. Another advantage is the brush is made usually from boar’s bristles, where as body scrubs come in all shape and formulation, a nightmare if you have sensitive skin. If you use it properly, and clean it often, I think you can use if indefinitely, at least more than six months right?

This AHA is a chemical body scrub, it has lactic acid that acts as exfoliate. For physical exfoliate, there is Body Shop’s sugar scrub, or Sukin’s purifying scrub. Okay maybe these scrubs have the extra moisturizing effect the brushes do not have *yet*…

The only problem with dry brushing is winter, it gets terribly cold and getting naked for five minutes can be a little hard. I do it at the gym, after a workout so my body remains a little warm while I quickly do a scrub. While that works for me, I know it is not for everyone. However, wet brushing will not give you that pore and skin cleansing benefits due to reduced friction. You will still get the cellulite and lymphatic advantage, that counts for something at least.

Of course, if you are not going for the brush and prefer scrubs, you can do a little massage as you go around your body. Lymphatic massage is a good companion to your body scrub routine, there are videos you can watch online. Whichever way you pick, it is the habit that promotes good health, because lymphatic system is tied closely to our health.

 

Book · review

The Red: An Erotic Fantasy Review


The Red: An Erotic Fantasy
Author: Tiffany Reisz
Genre: Fantasy, erotica, adult
Source: Netgalley

The Red : Story

The art gallery has the name, her books are in that color too. Mona Lisa St. James made the promise of never selling her mother’s pride and joy, but now she might have to, if she wants to stave of debtors. One night, as she was worrying over the state of things, she decides to close the art gallery. But suddenly a man appears with an offer.

Mona accepts, of course. The terms are simple, but the rewards are great. He even gave her a present, which temporarily stops her from closing her art gallery.

Keeping her promise to her mom seems very important, and is the premise of the story in the Red. Mona herself loves the art gallery, so I guess she selfishly wants to keep it alive as much as her mother did.

The Highs

The sex in The Red is something else, it is well written. This definitely belongs in the fantasy genre, because it just blows my mind how imagination can make everything erotic. Let’s not compare it with other works, as the author Tiffany sets herself apart well.

Not to mention, the story is unique, with a twist at the end. I do like unexpected story ending, but in The Red it is the sexual encounters that titillates rather than bore. Never an art fan, because I am more into music, The Red induces just enough curiosity in me to find out more about art.

The Lows

For me, it is the characters that fall slightly flat for me. Oh I know that Mona has been moaning about her art gallery since page one. Art is her obsession, soon it was sex. That is just about it for our unlikely heroine in the story. The other characters, however supportive they might be, lack a certain charm.

Plus, there is not much else aside from sex and The Red, with a few art lessons in between. The ending came a little rushed, I barely get to know the new guy.

Verdict

The Red by Tiffany Reisz is interesting and exciting adult erotica book. It will teach you more about… Click To Tweet

Not sure, I am 50/50 with this one. On one hand, I finished reading this book in one go. It is an easy read, the scenes make it easier to digest. On the other, the lack of a strong plot and character makes it a little disappointing. I feel like there is much that can be done with The Red. I did enjoy it nevertheless.

As for recommending it…. oh why not?

 

bloghop · Book · review

She Be Damned : Review & Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts Hop

She Be Damned
Author: M.J. Tjia
Series: A Heloise Chancey Mystery #1
Genre: mystery, thriller
Source: Netgalley
Buy from : Amazon

Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts Quote For She Be Damned

This meme is hosted by (un)Conventional Bookviews every Thursday. Today, I had just finish a book that has a quote for food, so here is the quote to start. This is part of a memory of one of the characters, although it does not affect the story, it does impart important information about the heroine, Heloise Chancey.

… I sat at the kitchen table and helped myself to a bowl of sweetened black rice, adding coconut milk for its saltiness. I had eaten most of it when my mother’s maid ran into the kitchen, fell to the floor, and wrapped her arms around my legs.

“She is dead. She is dead,” she wailed.

The Review

If the meme has peaked your interest, I hope to entice you more with a positive review. First of all, this is the cover that Netgalley had, but I do prefer the one Amazon has.netgalley

The Story

The setting: 1863’s London, where Heloise Chancey is enjoying life after suffering in poverty for a long time. Her good looks may have given her a chance, but it was her observation and acting skills that got her into a fairly comfortable life in Mayfair.

But, girls were turning up dead around Waterloo, with their feminine parts missing. Despite that, the police were not doing anything, as the victims were prostitutes and not worth the attention. Heloise was recruited by a private investigator to investigate the disappearance of a young girl, cast out by family yet love still remains.

The characters are very interesting. Written in first person point of view, She Be Damned actually has two stories running concurrently. One is Heloise’s investigation, while the other is more like a memory of someone, presumable her Amah. Then things got interesting, as Heloise digs deeper, the suspect list gets longer. Heloise also met a Sergeant, who was investigating the case.

The Verdict

This is not just a fascinating mystery, it is a foundation for Heloise to set her fame in the story. Her dalliance with the Sergeant, and her success in cracking the case may be the break she needed to be recruited in future mysteries. Heloise shows the world that she can be a good detective, with her acting skills and her connections with the shadier world.

She Be Damned is a murder mystery that grips and makes you question whodunit until the end. Can you… Click To Tweet

She Be Damned is definitely a strong start to hopefully an exciting life of an amateur sleuth. The way Heloise solved her case might not be the most original, but she does have a good background story. I hope to see her grow as a detective, and watch her relationship with other characters.

Beauty · review

Maybelline Facestudio Master Fix Review

Maybelline Facestudio Master Fix * Amazon link*

2017-03-27 10.12.11

I bought this from Priceline on a whim, because I really wanted it even though I haven’t been using makeup since I gave birth to Princess Brat. At least my impulse buy didn’t cost me a bomb, only $15.95 full price. At this moment when I’m writing this, Priceline has 50% sale on all Maybelline stuff, so impulse buy yeh.

What it does

Master Fix is a spray the last step of your makeup routine, it serves as a setting agent to stop make up from running away (my case) or fading. This is an oil free and translucent formulation that will keep your makeup looking fresh, like you have just put it on.

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Oh look it’s me! all freshly made up

I do like the fact that Master Fix does not actually have any sticky feeling, and is pretty easy to use. Just shake well and spray, I did not have any powder on my face. I did only the spray, to see if there is any difference between the two. The powder I usually go for matte finish, because my face gets oily after a while.

Surprisingly, this spray also keeps my face from becoming oily. The whole day and I do not have that feeling that my face is oily, so I am impressed at that. Plus I have to tell you that I only did 2 sprays, instead of the four to six sprays the website is recommending.

whoops! Must have missed that in the instructions.

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Me after work : 9 hours later


The brows are obviously faded back into my original shape. Although I look a little worse, I am surprised that there are still blush and BB cream left on my face. Yes I use a proper make up remover, Garnier actually. But no picture to show the dirty bits.

Am I disappointed? Not really, now that I know I have under spray it by more than half. I will say that despite that, my make up stayed on a lot longer than normal. Usually by the time I reach home, I know that there will be no BB cream left.  I know because it’s a routine that I cleanse my skin twice, once with a remover IF i do makeup.

Verdict

For that price, even at full price, I think I like it better than translucent powder like this one :

Strawberrynet : Young Blood translucent setting powder

I find that the Master Fix can keep my skin looking less oily than the powder, without me having to reapply it. This is not bad product, and I am sure there are better ones. For the price, I am happy.