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.


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


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


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 · 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.


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


bloghop · book · review

Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts Hop : Samantha Watkins #1 Review

(un)Conventional Bookviews hosts this weekly meme

Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts

This time I found an interesting book that has food in it. It is

Samantha Watkins: Chronicles of an Extraordinary Ordinary Life
Author: Aurélie Venem with translator S.E. Battis
Series: Samantha Watkins Series Book 1
Genre: paranormal, mystery, vampire

A little blurry, so I had to write it down

Everything was delicious. The meat melted in my mouth, the vegetables were perfectly seasoned, the bread was crusty, the cheese soft, and the tart… to die for. I was so absorbed by my meal that I didn’t realize until my second slice of strawberry tart that Velvet Voice was staring at me

For a Thirsty Thursday, I hope that is enough?


I like the premise of the story, a good blend of real life and paranormal. It is as if vampire is real in this world, and Samantha is just caught up in it. The characters are solid, even though some are cliche. The story started like most vampire/ human combo stories, a girl who narrowly escapes death, ends up under the care of a vampire.

Thankfully, nothing romantic in this book yet. Samantha is a character who is apparently socially awkward, while Phoenix the Velvet Voice Vampire is too detached to have a normal relationship. It is interesting to note, that there is an underlying current with Phoenix, I think he has a secret but not really sure. Samantha is like an open book, and a lot of fun to read.

The mystery part is slightly lacking, if you are going after that plot you would be disappointed. Samantha Watkins is more a character based book. This book is perfect for Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts, because it would be fun to show a passage that tells how Phoenix choked on human food. I settled for this one, so it does not giveaway too much.


Samantha Watkins 1 is a thrilling vampire/ human combo story that you will love to sink your teeth into. Click To Tweet

It is well translated, since I read it in English. But if you find it in its original, please tell me if it is any good?

Samantha Watkins: Chronicles of an Extraordinary Ordinary Life is interesting, however the second book has not been translated yet. I hope it does, because Samantha’s life is not going to be ordinary any longer.