Biore Baking Soda Cleanser/Scrub

Hey guys!

I know it’s been a while, but I’m here to tell you about some products I received in the mail. And they are… dun dunna dun! From the Biore line!

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I’ve been using the charcoal wash that they have, and I enjoy it quite a lot, so when I got these for review, I was quite excited. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the best of results… but I wanted to be able to use it for a while before I wrote a review.

  • The scent in both products seemed slightly overwhelming. It wasn’t a bad scent, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t enjoy it raping my nose holes as I was trying to wash my face.
  • The scrub was better than the cleanser. It foamed fantastically (seriously, I felt like a kid doing a science experiment), it felt nice (at first), and it didn’t hurt my extremely sensitive skin… until it started breaking me out with a bunch of lovely pimples. The cleanser was bad right off the bat for me. It made my skin feel tight and uncomfortable, and the product was extremely gritty, yet didn’t exfoliate as one would expect.
  • The scrub’s packaging was great. It has a little button that pops open for you to use, and manages to deter moisture from getting inside, which is exactly what you want.

Normally, I’d rave about Biore products, but they just weren’t the best for me, sadly. I was hoping they would be though!

Over all, they’re okay products, that won’t break the bank. If you don’t have sensitive skin like I do (yay dermatitis!), I’d say to give it a go – you just might like it.

 

*I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes

Review: The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend

The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

Pages: 280

Genre: New Adult, Chick-lit

My Rating: 3/5

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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“Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.”

* * *

So I admit, I started reading this because I was always the “ugly, fat friend”, at least in my eyes, but this book actually has a great message. You never know what someone else is going through, so try not to judge them.

DUFF reminded me a lot of my own life. Perhaps not in high school, or all of the experiences, but the confusion and problems that kept arising made me take a look at my own life and consider what I was doing. It might have even made me question my actions a bit – am I doing things right?

I gave this a 3/5 stars purely because it was a little “young” for me. I feel as though a lot of books I read get lower ratings purely based on my age. I still read books I loved as a kid, so sometimes ratings suffer a bit. If I were around 14 again, I would have given this a 4-4.5/5 for sure.

Even with my age, I found this an enjoyable, short little read.

If you feel like reading something short, that also has quite a good message, I’d suggest reading it. But don’t be too weirded out if you feel a little too old to “get it”.

Enjoy, and happy reading!

Review: A Storm of Swords

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

Series: A Song of Ice and Fire

Pages: 1177

Genre: Epic Fantasy, Adventure

My Rating: 5/5

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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“Here is the third volume in George R.R. Martin’s magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings. Together, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.

Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, victim of the sorceress who holds him in her thrall. Young Robb still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. And as opposing forces maneuver for the final showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost limits of civilization, accompanied by a horde of mythical Others—a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords…”

* * *

Another book in which Martin did not let me down. I admit, I read this book in parts because I ended up going through a reading slump, but it was fantastic!

A Storm of Swords made me smile, gasp, and even throw my book (I’m sorry, book). Without giving too much away, a lot of moments I had hoped for happened, and a lot of experiences I didn’t expect happened.

I found a new appreciation for Jaime and The Hound, and if you’ve read or are going to read this, you will too.

There isn’t much I can say without giving things away, and I know there are people who still haven’t read the books, BUT, we know there’s always deaths, right?

CAN YOU BELIEVE THOSE WEDDINGS?

Holy crap. There was some epic foreshadowing in there, but reading about these events took it to a whole new level. And I love the subtlety of the magic in this series. It exists, but in such a real way, anything is possible.

Like I said though, I can’t say much without giving anything away, so please, READ THE BOOK!

Enjoy, and happy reading!

imPress Manicure VoxBox Review

Recently, I received a VoxBox in the mail.Image

Inside, was a bunch of manicure stuff from imPress Nails.Image

I’ve never been one to use fake nails, and I’ve never gotten a manicure either, so I thought that applying these was going to be a nightmare. It was really easy, so easy that I could do it myself. You know how with fake nails, you have to use glue, wait for it to dry, and so on? With these, you peel and stick.

Now, for whatever reason, I don’t have a picture of the after product, but I do have a video, so I’ll attach that at the end.

Peeling the “sticker” off of the back of the nail was a bit tricky, but I think that’s because it said to be gentle… I wasn’t gentle. I just pulled from the tab instead of the side, because it was easier for me.

I also had one other complaint: they need bigger sizes! 

I don’t have very long nails; in fact, I bite them off, but some of the nails weren’t long enough to cover my whole fingernail. Most of them were, but I had trouble with my thumbs and pointer fingers.

Over all, the product is really cool, and means you don’t have to go get a manicure (I know I’ll be using my other one for graduation… I’ll post a photo then), it’s super easy to apply, and they’re really sturdy so they don’t feel like they’re going to rip or break off. Another plus is that they don’t hurt to remove. And yes, you might want to remove them – they last a really long time!

I peeled 8 of mine off because I couldn’t play guitar properly with them on. The two that are left still look fantastic.

I would buy this product myself if they could make some longer sizes.

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Review: Coraline

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Series: N/A
Pages: 162
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Horror, Childrens
My Rating: 4/5
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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“Coraline’s often wondered what’s behind the locked door in the drawing room. It reveals only a brick wall when she finally opens it, but when she tries again later, a passageway mysteriously appears. Coraline is surprised to find a flat decorated exactly like her own, but strangely different. And when she finds her “other” parents in this alternate world, they are much more interesting despite their creepy black button eyes. When they make it clear, however, that they want to make her theirs forever, Coraline begins a nightmarish game to rescue her real parents and three children imprisoned in a mirror. With only a bored-through stone and an aloof cat to help, Coraline confronts this harrowing task of escaping these monstrous creatures.”

* * *

Why did I not know about this book sooner? I’m one of those people that reads a book long before it ever becomes a movie; however, in this case it didn’t work out that way.

In 2009 when the film Coraline came out, you bet I was there to watch it. A Tim Burton-esque atmosphere is what I wanted, and that’s what I got. When I found out there was actually a book, I was ecstatic (yes, it took me a while to realize that)!

I started reading Coraline and in a short period of time, I was finished. All I can say is, “Wow!” What a great little read!  This is one of those books that you can enjoy regardless of your age, and there’s something special about that.

Basically, little Coraline and her family move to a big house that has been converted into different sections so many families can live in it at once. She feels lonely and ignored because her parents are always too busy for her, but have no fear! Coraline is an adventurer! She goes to meet all the people in the house that, quite unkindly, refer to her as Caroline. There’s two women who used to be actresses, and a crazy old man who lives upstairs with performing mice.

The house’s yard is huge and you can tell that it used to be well kept. There’s a large garden, a tennis court, and even an old well. Coraline spends her days exploring the place, seeing if she can find anything interesting. She finds a cat, but he seems utterly uninterested in her.

One day, she thinks she sees something, so she goes into an unused room in her part of the house thinking the thing darted into the door, but not only is it locked, but when it’s opened, all it is is a brick wall. Eventually, weird things start to happen and Coraline finds herself in a seemingly other world, where the people have button eyes.

Again I repeat, “wow.”

The movie was excellent, yes, but this book beats it by a lot (isn’t that usually the case?). I found myself fully immersed into the world, and at certain points, I felt like I was right beside Coraline as her friend, helping her explore and figure things out.  I’m all for going into alternate worlds; the mere thought is completely captivating, though I don’t know how I’d feel about people with button eyes!

My favourite character in this story was the cat. He has no name, he is just the cat, and he is wonderful. Aside from the cat being amazing, Coraline surprises everyone by being brave even when she’s afraid and convinced that home is no longer her own.

I think this would be a wonderful read no matter what age you are; however, I believe that kids in the 6-10 age range would probably enjoy it the most. I know I certainly would have!

Coraline just goes to show that when you care about something enough, the courage to persevere will come out, no matter how small.

Enjoy, and happy reading!

Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games
Pages: 374
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Fantasy, Sci-fi, Romance
My Rating: 2.5/5
★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆


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“Katniss, 16, takes her sister’s place in the televised annual Hunger Games, competing against Peeta, the boy who gave them bread to survive after their father died. The cruel Capitol forces each of 12 districts to submit a boy and girl 12-18, to fight to the death. Only one can survive and be rewarded. President Snow manipulates behind the scenes.”

* * *

Many people I know have been obsessed with The Hunger Games for a while now, and being me, I didn’t want to jump on the bandwagon… after reading it, I definitely won’t be.

So The Hunger Games is about a 16 year old girl named Katniss (or Catnip to her lovely friend, Gale) who decides she’s going to take her sister’s place in The Hunger Games. Every year, the Capitol forces each district to submit a boy and girl to fight to the death in a strange arena full of deadly traps. Only one can survive.

Katniss’s sister, Prim, is one of the chosen ones from District 12. Katniss, loving Prim too much, decided to take her place. Alongside Katniss, a boy named Peeta was chosen to go to the arena.

For me, the only thing that saved this book was the idea. I loved the idea of children going off to fight to the death. I know that sounds dreadful, but the premise for the book was great. The kids are going to die one way or another, so giving them a chance to bring honour and riches to their families is something at the very least. I hated the Capitol, I thought it was terrible. But it made me think, does such a place really exist?

My favourite character was the girl from District 11 – Rue. She seemed kind enough, small, her songs were wonderful, and it wasn’t fair that she was there… or that anyone was there, for that matter.

Again, the idea was neat.

So now that I’ve given it some good points, I think it’ll be alright to completely tear apart the rest of it.

WHAT IN THE SERIOUS HELL?!

I want to give this 2.5 stars, not 3, but the fact there’s no half star symbol makes it so I can’t or I will go nuts. What in the serious hell did I just read? The writing? What the hell was that? I could write better than that, at a much younger age. Everyone is entitled to their own writing style, I know I have one, but… here’s some tips.

Tip 1. GET AN EDITOR! If I can consistently point out spelling and grammatical errors, you’re doing something seriously wrong! I’m not perfect, nobody is, but I have the tendency to be a grammar Nazi, and reading it hurts my eyes. I had to read some sentences 5 times over because it made absolutely no sense at all.

Tip 2. Okay, so I don’t have a second tip, I just wanted to rant about that.

I watched the movie before I read the book, which didn’t matter much because neither were all that great. I thought to myself, “the book must be better than this.” Well… at least the movie had pictures… and no painful sentences. And that’s coming from someone that ALWAYS reads before watching.

It was a neat idea, don’t get me wrong, but unless you don’t care about terrible writing (or don’t know the difference between good and bad writing), or they re-release an edited version, please don’t bother. It was painful, but I wanted to see what all the hype was about. Do they get better as they go along?

Okay, if you can stand the terrible writing, read it, it was interesting… and at least then you can get it out of the way.

Enjoy, and happy reading!

Review: The Archived

The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Series: The Archived
Pages: 328
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery
My Rating: 3/5
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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“Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often—violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.”

* * *

I have to admit, I was drawn to this book because of the synopsis. “Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.” Okay, so the supernatural world kind of intrigues me, mostly due to personal experiences, but still…

The Archived was an interesting read and I am by no means going to berate it. It was fun, quick, and it kept my attention so I read it in one sitting. So why the 3/5 rating? Where to start, where to start…

I feel as if I would’ve enjoyed The Archived more had I read it at a younger age. This doesn’t usually bother me, considering I still sometimes pick up Dr. Suess books, but there was something about it that really made me feel out of place. Not only that, but I feel as if it wasn’t written as well as it could’ve been. I’m not the best writer in the world, but if we put ourselves out there, there’s always going to be criticism.

I really enjoyed the idea that Schwab allowed to unfold though. Mackenzie’s grandfather was apart of a secret organization that only certain people could ever be part of. He decided to choose Mackenzie. After Da (her grandfather) dies, all she has is herself, and she finds herself in the position of constantly lying to those she loves to protect them.

Every day is a bit of a struggle as she feels more alone than she ever did before. Da’s gone, her brother is gone, and her parents moved her away from her best friend! But maybe the new place will bring more adventure…?

Mackenzie meets some interesting people in this weird old building, and finds herself putting pieces of a puzzle together, all while finding love (it’s a YA, it’s not a spoiler, c’mon now). Will she ever come out on top? Read and find out.

Overall, The Archived was a good read. I’m not sure I’d ever read it again, but the idea was solid, it’s just a shame it wasn’t written better. This is probably best suited for someone in the 11-16 age range. But I promise, it really wasn’t bad! It just wasn’t as solid as I wanted it to be… nor as captivating.

Will I read the sequel? Probably. Just to see how it ends, and if the writing style improves at all.

Enjoy, and happy reading!