book · review

The Fairy Boy of Calton Hill Review

Fairy Boy of Calton Hill
Author: Sean- Paul Thomas
Series: The Fairy Boy Chronicles Book 1
Genre: Fairy, Fantasy, adventure, YA

The Fairy Boy of Calton Hill has fairies!

I have read Sean- Paul Thomas before, he is the author of Old Man and The Princess. When I was asked to review this new book, I did not hesitate. Sean- Paul does have a skill of twisting stories and moving out of the box when he tells a story. The Fairy Boy is first of its series, with a semi- cliffhanging end.

First I got to meet Liam, the hero of the story. He has his troubles, he just lost his father, and his mother has trouble coping with the loss. The story sets in Scotland’s Edinburgh, near Calton Hill. The story has two point of views, the other belongs to G the fairy. This allows the reader to understand both worlds, and when the characters converge, there is a clearer picture.

G the fairy is an annoying creature (well, she’s annoying me). But I consider her the heroine of the story at this point, because she is incredibly brave and- or stupid. Of course it was her who broke the rule, or else this story will be boring.

The characters are convincing, though I hope as the series goes there will be some growth. Liam is a guy who does not rush head long into trouble, but he is far from being a coward, while G is an impulsive fairy with a big heart. Together, things will be fun and dangerous

Verdict

The Fairy Boy from Calton is a great start to a series, where Liam finds out about fairies and magic! Click To Tweet

This book is easy to read, being a young adult genre. I think tweens might like this book, because kids can relate to big bullies and wishing to be a hero. The Fairy Boy of Calton Hill is a book that inspires people to be brave and open- minded, and I cannot wait to see what happens in the second book.

beauty · review

My Scheming Peel & NuDerma Eye Mask review

IMG_20170521_151217541_HDR
Gel with Monkey fan

My Scheming Facial Peel Review

I got this in Taiwan for 119 NTD, like AUD5.85. It is quite cheap, when you can get the same item from ebay (link: 

My Scheming Apple Extract Hydrating Peeling Gel 120ml via eBay ) at AUD16 but free postage. My Scheming Peel is made by the famous My Scheming brand, which is a local Taiwanese brand and is a big name there and in Asia. Previously I have reviewed its double mask, but the brand also makes makeup items like mascara and eye liners.

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My Scheming Peel has apple and cucumber extracts, and boasts to hydrate while removing your dead skin cells. Among the ingredients are apple and cucumber beads which dissolves when you crush them, a light apple fragrance and things that make up the gel.

A quick look at the gel2017-06-07_08-19-31How to use it: apply the gel onto dry hands and face, avoid the eye and mouth areas. While the label says leave it on for 1 minute before lightly massage your face to remove dead skin, I already have a lot of dead skin coming up. I was expecting this to happen, because I have skip this step for a week to see how it goes.

The result it pretty yucky. After a rinse, my skin feels softer and definitely a lot cleaner.

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Can you see the bits of dead skin? I am happy that I got this… until I found out that Taiwan still does animal testing Q.Q at the moment. There are rumors that it will end soon, but currently, there is nothing on the label that says this is cruelty free.

So if you are a cruelty free product user, Taiwanese and Chinese brand are a no- go. If it does not bother you, go ahead. As for me, it was a momentarily lapse of judgement, shopping always makes me happy. Funny how my morals go out the window when I am overseas.

Thankfully, Japan and Korea do have cruelty brands.

Nu derma 明眸撫紋水嫩眼膜 Reactivation Eye Cure Lifting Hydra Mask
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This is from Nu derma, a more upmarket brand in Taiwan. This I got as a sample after buying two sunscreens from them at the price of AUD75 in total (that’s 1500 NTD). I am crazy to spend that much money on beauty products, but I so love how it absorbs quickly and leaves a clean feel on my skin.

The eye mask has hyaluronic spheres, and things that helps reduce dark circles and erase that fine lines. I got three but I have given one to my mom, and this is my last one. While I do regret not buying it, but spending NTD 5000, which is AUD 200 on 8 pieces of eye mask might be a little crazy.

Even though it has this cute butterfly shape, and covers a large area of my eyes. Normal eye masks are a lot smaller and does not work as well as this brand. This is a classic you get what you pay for scenario.

Verdict

You get a perfectly cheap yet good quality exfoliate, and pair it with a free sample of an expensive product. The result is good, except for the animals that were tested on. I do apologize for not checking prior to buying, but I had always assumed that most developed countries do not do animal testing, except for China.

I guess I am wrong =(

Back to Aussie products <3

book · review

Graceling Realm Series Review

Graceling Realm Series (3 volume set) 
Author: Kristin Cashore
Genre: Fantasy, Young readers

Instead of a book by book review, I am doing a whole series review as I have finished reading the series.

Whole Series Review

A quick glance at Amazon’s reviews and you will notice that it has varied ratings. My rating for this book is low, and here is 5 reasons why:

  • Weird Heroines

Truth is, I have issues with Katsa, or with the author’s portrayal of Katsa. She is this heroine, said on the book’s synopsis to be Graced with Killing. Which is to say that she can kill things/ people really well, since she is Graced, she is the property of the King. Katsa has issues with hurting or taking a life, so she tries hard to avoid it, it would have been admirable, if the author hadn’t did the twist and ruin everything.

I would like to tell the author, or to remind her who the target audience is: young readers, Grade 8 and up. As a writer, everyone has the responsibility to educate young minds. So it is not acceptable, to justify killing people, and not feel much remorse. Telling people that as long as you have a reason, you can kill is plain wrong.

Not only Katsa, but Lady Fire in Fire, and Queen Bitterblue of Monsea in Bitterblue as well. All three heroines seem to take on a much older reader’s persona, but the content and writing aiming at young readers. Even then, the girl’s past and tragedy is only understood or shared by those who are traumatized by ones closest to them. Hence I am not sure that this is series should be in the genre.

 

    • Messy Plot

Half the time I wonder where the story is going to go, because it seems that random people are popping up at times of need. People wandering around with blank, foggy minds is a norm in the series. Not to mention really odd pieces of story turning up randomly, as though the author had them in post it notes and placed them in the wrong order.

Messy plot equals confused reader, so I spent pages wondering why I was reading a story that wasn’t going anywhere fun. Though I will admit the author had done a splendid job with the action/ suspense part, but the in between needs more work.

    • Rushed Ending

My pet hate, but in this case it was a terrible case of bad planning. It felt like the author had ran out of places to take the readers to, and promptly dump them in the ending. All three books in the series suffer the same fate, and this ruined the series even more for me.

How does it feel like? It felt like I was pushed off the cliff, wham! The End.

    • Support Characters

All the characters in the book has a role to play, including support characters who shows that everyone needs friends or enemies. It gives the story a dimension, as well as creates a world where readers can dwell in and enjoy the close relationships. In the series, you can clearly see the difference between heroes and support characters. The lack of personality and interest to describe supportive characters, clearly shows in all the book.

While I admit that you cannot actually make everyone believable, but to make all your support people sound the same is going to a new low.

    • The Villain

The villain in all three books is this guy: King Leck. Throughout the book, he is the one that readers continuously read about. He would appear in the end for first two books, but continues to haunt in the third. The author meant to paint him as an abuser, King Leck might be the only character in the book that is well fleshed out. Because I understand him, and his role in the book.

Even though King Leck is like a real person, not much is known about him as a person. Sure, you know that he is the evil mastermind with scary powers. I cannot hate someone I barely know. Main thing is, this villain is evil and does a lot of bad things. However, he does not actually appear to antagonize the heroines as a normal enemy does.

Think Lord Voldemort with less screen time, but his infamy is the source of fear. If the heroines are not battling against him, what are they fighting against? The memory and his ability, which is a lot harder to fight against. A little too deep for a young reader genre I think.

 Verdict

A promising series let down by the fact that it was meant for the wrong audience. If this is an adult or new adult, then the author would have more flexibility. There are dark elements in the story, which is quickly deflated as it does not fit for the young audiences.

Too bad.

 

beauty · review

Dual Mask Review : My Scheming & Silicone Mask

IMG_20170604_182004270My Scheming & Silicone Mask

Sorry Mates, Flickr’s editor is still down, it has been like more than a month already! Yet it is still being upgraded, a little bummer, but I am not famous for pretty photos. This is a dual mask review, because I wanted to watch Boss Baby (which is a funny family movie, by the way).  It is out in DVD, and we borrowed it from the library, as usual.

While I was watching the movie, I had decided to try both out.

You cannot buy My Scheming & Silicone Mask from Amazon, but ebay or Yesstyle has them. If there is a Daiso around your area, you could get the silicone mask there. Amazon has another type that I also happen to own, but this one on the photo is actually different.

My Scheming – Black and White Snail Essence Elasticity & Firming Mask

Features two separate masks:

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yup, complete with kitty ears

The top black and bottom white masks, they both contain snail essence. The bottom part contains a loop that functions to tighten your chin, to stop that saggy look. The top part is just a normal stretchy material that looks good on anyone.

Both holds the essence well, and the materials are thick and of good quality.

Here is a silly photo with the anti- evaporating mask

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It does not fit well, I will admit, because this is actually a 2- way mask. You can cut this silicone mask into two halves and use it separately or together.

Clearly, my ears are not meant to hold 3 loops, hence it was an epic fail. From the photo, it is obvious that this does not fit my face in one full piece. I should check out the other one later.

Verdict

While the silicone 2- way anti- evaporating mask was a fail, I am promoting the other mask: My Scheming is a Taiwanese brand, and it is of good quality. If you can find it on special (sale), you should definitely give it a go. My Scheming might sound funny as a brand name, but it offers good quality beauty products.

Amazon has other products by the brand, and they are worth a go if you are keen about Taiwanese products.

book · review

Dead ‘Til Dawn Book Review


Dead ‘Til Dawn
Author: Gerald Dean Rice
Genre: action, paranormal, zombie

Dead ‘Til Dawn was an interesting story to start

I admit that I got this book/ voted for it because it has a very interesting hook. 2 guys: Jim and Gary, were in a laboratory, being shown a special pill that makes you dead for a while. Much like trying to imitate resurrection of Jesus Christ, except somehow the two were obsessed with “2” or “3” days… that is among the small details that makes this book slightly annoying.

Well, who would invent such a thing? Someone did, due to a request from a group of people who called themselves Adjacent. Stranger still, they somehow believe some interesting stuff about God and religion. Of course when two random guys swallowed their sacred pill, things turned sour.

The Characters

Jim and Gary might be good friends, but it was obvious that they were drifting apart, and somehow were trying to bond in the laboratory. I tried to like them, but they are not exactly likable with their attitude and somehow lack of a solid background.

Not much is known about the two heroes, except Jim is engaged and Gary is trying to un-engage him. The villain is a mess of personality, most of the time I have no idea why is he there, or why is he the villain except because someone took his things.

The support characters are also an oddity in the story. Assassins and drug dealers, somehow the book is full of people dying and taking drugs. I suppose you need a source of guns and dead people.

Purpose of the Story

That is another issue I had with the book in general. Reading the book makes me realize that this is just some bonding journey between two men. Worse of all, the story slowly loses its plot by spiraling off tangent. The theory of the book is far from logical, not to mention half the things that happen in the book makes little sense.

Somehow, Jim and Gary did a lot of things in 48 hours (I am still confused about the time limit), but the story does not feel fast paced. It’s like a video game that you have no urgency in completing.

Verdict

While Dead ‘Til Dawn can be entertaining if you like that kind of story, there are many gaps in the story. The characters are lacking in some sort of personality, making it had to relate to. I hardly know the two guys, and half the time I lost the plot.

Overall, it is an interesting enough premise, but fails to deliver in many ways. I am a little disappointed, but good effort I guess.