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ChibiNeko "Sooo many books, so little time!" RSS Feed (Whereever I go, here I am.)
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   

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Ocean Potion Suncare Instant Burn Relief Ice 20.5 fl oz (605 ml)
Ocean Potion Suncare Instant Burn Relief Ice 20.5 fl oz (605 ml)
Offered by International Coffee & Books
Price: $10.00
13 used & new from $6.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Works OK, bottle design could be better, July 10, 2014
I recently suffered some fairly bad sunburn and wanted to get some aloe that had a little bit of lidocaine in it to help with the burn pain, especially at night. This fit the bill for the most part.

I liked that this smelled nice because hey- I'll be using it a LOT. It's just not fun to have your skin smelling awful on top of everything else that sunburns do to you. Pain-wise, this worked fairly well. It's not as strong as it could be, but I understand that this is mostly so people like me that love to slather on aloe won't inadvertently poison ourselves. It works well enough that I can feel the relief, but I do find that I need to re-apply every two hours before the burning sensation (and now itching- thanks sun!) becomes too much. The bottle says to only apply this 3-4 times a day, but you can do more if you really need to- although if you have to do it constantly, you would probably benefit greatly from also taking cool oatmeal baths and adding a little ibuprofen to the process. (Or seeing your doctor, if you have one.)

Where this fails somewhat is in the bottle's design. It really, REALLY would have been nice if the bottle had a pump or some sort of squeeze top as opposed to just a plain cap. It's not so bad at first, but after a while it gets to be a bit of a pain to get the product out and sometimes I can get more than I actually wanted because I have to really squeeze. It also makes it fairly messy at times when you're trying to spread the product out over a larger area (back and/or shoulders or more) and you need to get more product after you already have some on your hands. It's not going to stop me from using it and I'd buy this again in the future, although I'll admit that I'd probably buy another company's product if I knew it worked and they had a better bottle design.


Wonka Randoms Gummy Stand Up Bag, 10 Ounce
Wonka Randoms Gummy Stand Up Bag, 10 Ounce
Price: $7.08
3 used & new from $7.06

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too soft for me, July 3, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I generally like gummies, as they're usually pretty entertaining in some form or fashion. There's just something about pulling out a bag of gummies shaped like random objects and animals that just seems to make the people around me smile a little. The joy in seeing my nieces and nephews gleefully biting the heads off of gummy sea creatures never really gets old. (Although the sugar rush is something to be contended with.) However this bag just didn't really live up to expectations for me.

I liked that everything was shaped differently, as I enjoy a little variety in my gummy shapes. In that aspect, this was pretty fun. The shapes here are just as the name says: random. There's no true rhyme or reason to what type of things they put in here and I've seen bells, something that looks like a chess piece, and some critters in the bag. Some of them were a little squished looking, but that didn't really bother me.

What got me in the end was how soft these gummies were. The flavor here is pretty nice and as far as the shapes and flavors go, I have no complaints. It's just that the texture here is so soft that it just felt a little off to me. This is something that is solely down to personal preferences, so I know that others won't have a problem with this- especially when it comes to people who can't chew the stiffer gummy products out there like Haribo. These gummies are soft and chew up pretty easily, so it'd be safe for most children or people who need softer treats. For me though, I just like something a bit more solid.


Nescafe with Coffee Mate, French Vanilla Powder, 12 Ounce
Nescafe with Coffee Mate, French Vanilla Powder, 12 Ounce
Price: $7.74
2 used & new from $7.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent enough instant, June 30, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
For anyone curious, this is your typical instant coffee experience. It's a little better than some of the other stuff I've had, but I'll be very honest and say that I would be unlikely to purchase this flavor with my own money in the future.

The good thing about this is that the flavor is fairly mellow. It isn't exceedingly bitter and most people won't need to add any sugar or creamer to it. It comes out with a nice standard cup. You can, of course, make it either creamier or more watered down depending on how much water you add. I recommend that you add a little more powder to this, as it makes it have more of a regular coffee consistency.

There really isn't anything overly bad about this and as far as powdered coffee drinks go, this is pretty good. It's just that it's not really anything to truly write home about at the end of the day. I can also see where some will likely be a bit turned off because it's such a mellow cup, as they might want something a little bit stronger. It is better than other instants such as Sanka, but I just wasn't impressed enough by this to where I'd purchase it on my own. I will say that I might keep my eyes open to see what other flavors are out there. I didn't really get bowled over by the vanilla, but I can see myself liking a seasonal flavor like peppermint or pumpkin spice. I waffled between 3 and 4 stars, as it's a little more than 3 stars but not really quite 4 stars, but I'll round it up because there was more here that I liked than I was ambivalent about and there really wasn't anything I hated about it. I finished the cup, which is saying something.

Final rating: 3.5


How to Run with a Naked Werewolf
How to Run with a Naked Werewolf
Offered by Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Price: $6.73

4.0 out of 5 stars Starts a little slow, but otherwise an excellent book, June 27, 2014
It took me a little while to get into this book, but once it grabbed me it had me by the throat and refused to let me go. It was pretty engrossing. The interesting thing I noticed though, is how similar the abuse (unsure of how else to phrase it) was in this book and in the recent "Better Homes and Hauntings" at times. Nina and Tina/Anna did not suffer the same abuse by a long shot, rather I'm referencing the way that their respective manipulators tried to get revenge against them for leaving. Both tried to get even by ruining their credit- a common tactic so it's reasonable that both would have this happen to them- but both men purchased the same items. I'm not entirely sure why I'm mentioning this since the books were otherwise very different, but I figured it'd be worth mentioning.

In any case, I did like the interactions between Tina/Anna and Caleb. I also liked that Tina/Anna was so skittish because that's fairly normal, and I like that Harper tried to explain why she stayed with Glenn. It's easy for people to ask why people stay in situations like that and one of the big reasons is that the abuse is very slow to form and many ignore the red flags because they don't seem so bad at first. Tina/Anna compares it to a frog in a boiling pot and that's a rather apt analogy. The situation in this book isn't the absolute norm, but hopefully it'll help illuminate what goes on in an abusive relationship a little for those who wouldn't normally read books featuring this subject. (Urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and romance books don't always cover topics like domestic abuse, although it's not unheard of.)

The only true downside is that this book took a little while to get started. Once it did, it really took off and I finished it within a day. Definitely worth checking out if you enjoy Harper's work overall.


Coffin Hill Vol. 1: Forest of the Night
Coffin Hill Vol. 1: Forest of the Night
by Caitlin Kittredge
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.99
66 used & new from $4.90

3.0 out of 5 stars An OK story, but lacks a lot of bite and originality, June 25, 2014
I kind of can't entirely make up my mind about this series. It has some great parts to it, but for everything I like there's something that seems a bit too overly done or familiar. I guess my review could probably be summed up thusly: this isn't a bad comic, but it's the type that would likely be better served as a miniseries rather than an ongoing one.

The setup here is one that you've seen before: a misfit wealthy teenager goes out into the woods to practice some dark magic and ends up getting more than she bargained for, as one friend goes missing and the other is forever mentally scarred. Years later she's in a steady job but is forced home to deal with her past mistakes.

Eve is your typical brassy, gritty heroine, which works both for and against her. It works for her because she needs to be able to be cold and calculated when it comes to some of the stuff she's dealing with. However it works against her at times because it makes her pretty unlikable to where I didn't entirely care if she overcame the Big Bad. This really, REALLY could have used more buildup and more character development. I can't help but think that this might have been better if the whole "forbidden fruit" love interest had been taken out of the first volume entirely, as we have more than a few pages with Eve messing around with the boyfriend of one of her friends. There isn't a huge amount of chemistry between them, so part of me just wished that it'd been removed or at least been left to develop over more issues.

It isn't that there aren't things here that aren't interesting. The artwork is nice and the basic idea of the story is good. It's just that things didn't unwind in as organic and natural of a fashion as I'd liked. Coffin Hill has the potential to be very, very good but it's just not there yet. I just can't help but get the feeling that this was supposed to have been much more, but was boiled down into a fairly average comic book where more emphasis is put on making everything *EDGY* and "Our _____ are different" than anything else. It's OK, but I recommend that you get this one from the library or borrow a friend's copy. I bought mine from the comic book store, but I don't know that I'll get volume two unless the story really improves in the next volume. It's OK, but a little too forgettable for my liking.


The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf
The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf
Offered by Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Price: $7.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A nice, light romance with a bit of a bite, June 25, 2014
I've finally gotten around to reading the Naked Werewolf series. I'd put it off because of my looming TBR pile, but I couldn't help snatching up a copy from my local library. After all, I'd have to return a library book so it wouldn't sit around... totally doesn't count, right? I was unaware that this was the second book in the series, though.

I have to admit that I did like this book, enough to where I outright purchased the third book in the series when I bought Harper's Better Homes & Hauntings. I didn't like it as much as I did the HMH and Nice Girls series, but this does have a lot going for it. One of the biggest perks was that I didn't have to have read the first book (which focused on Maggie's brother) to really understand what was going on here. I did get that feeling that I'd have enjoyed it a bit more if I had, for the typical reasons, but I appreciated that Harper tried as hard as possible to make new readers feel like they could just jump into the series.

The characters here are pretty interesting and I really did enjoy the interactions between Maggie and Nick. The chemistry was there, even if the romance and overall story was a little on the light side. Again, I didn't read the previous book and I have a very large suspicion that I wouldn't have felt this if I'd started properly with the first book.

Overall this was a pretty good book and I enjoyed it enough to want to read the other two books in the series, which is always a pretty good endorsement that you want to spend your time and/or money on reading the other books.


Better Homes and Hauntings
Better Homes and Hauntings
by Molly Harper
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $6.29
43 used & new from $2.25

4.0 out of 5 stars Very, very cute!, June 25, 2014
I'd been a little lax in keeping my eye out for new Molly Harper books, partially because I've been trying to whittle down my physical TBR pile in the corner of my room. (My e-book TBR pile is astronomically large, if you're curious.) I'd turned a friend on to Harper's work and I was pleased when she told me that there was a new book out. After stalking a Barnes & Nobles employee, I managed to get my mitts on a copy.

When you get down to it, this is standard Harper fare. By that I mean that if you've read and loved her other books then the odds are very, very high that you will absolutely adore BH&H. It's not as strong as her Nice Girls series, but then this is a standalone book and you don't have all of the slow character building that you can get with a longer series. The characters here are still pretty likable and I absolutely loved the Deacon/Nina pairing. That might be seen as a bit of a spoiler, but then Harper doesn't really try to hide or even really hold off pairing the two of them together- which was actually fairly nice. I admit that at times I wished there was a teensy bit more drama llama goodness, but part of what makes this book work is that most of the pairings in this book are pretty straight forward and honest about everything. I'll admit that I wouldn't be upset if Harper wrote a follow up book or short story somewhere along the lines (maybe have Nina design another garden in another haunted locale?), because I absolutely loved the nerdy-geek courtship between Nina and Deacon. He's pretty much ever nerd girl's fantasy, to put it bluntly, and Nina's a character that most of us will probably be able to relate to in one form or another.

Overall I really did like this book and odds are favorable that I'll read it again, which means that it won't be sent to my local book exchange unless I end up having to downsize my book collection to about 4-5 books. (Every bibliophile's nightmare.) I'll admit that the mystery/action here was fairly light for the most part, but that's partially because we had two major pairings in this book and Harper had to spend time on trying to give each one enough buildup to seem reasonable. It was still fun and I finished this pretty quickly, which is almost always a good sign with me. I can only hope that Harper decides to write some more haunted house-esque books, maybe even making a series about paranormal investigators?


The Merciless
The Merciless
by Danielle Vega
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.14
48 used & new from $9.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice, creepy teen horror novel, June 14, 2014
This review is from: The Merciless (Hardcover)
It's been a while since I really enjoyed a YA book. Somewhere along the lines I just got incredibly burnt out on them and after a while they all seemed to be the same book, just with a few differences. Same insta-love, same "but I'm QUIRKY" type of characters, and so on. If you've read YA fiction, you'll know what I mean by all of that. This book is fairly surprising in that while Vega does go for some of the typical tropes, she uses them in a pretty effective manner.

What makes this book work and seem a little more spooky is how easily much of this work could actually happen at any given point in time. Sure, sure, this book is obviously a work of fiction, but a look at the news shows us how a group of girls can try to commit a murder to please Slender Man and how various different people have caused murder sprees because they believed that it was God's will. There are other elements to this work, but the creepiest parts of Merciless tend to center upon how awful group mentality can sometimes be. It all depends on who is sitting in the driver's seat.

There's a bit of a twist at the end and die-hard readers of horror will likely see it coming, but knowing what is likely to happen doesn't really take away from the fun of reading the scenarios as they happen. If anything, picking up on it earlier on in the book helps make the little hints and foreshadowing all that much more creepy.

I do have to warn parents: if you aren't comfortable with acts of violence, some of which was done by a dangerously zealous Christian, then you might want to skip this read. Sex is mentioned, but the main thrust here is violence. It's a good stepping off point for discussing how religion can be the impetus for incredibly wonderful acts, but also incredibly awful ones. (Granted there is the twist, but it would make for an excellent way to spark a conversation.)

Overall, this is pretty effective and I can see where this would make for an excellent horror movie. I'd watch it, in any case.


Always Watching
Always Watching
by Chevy Stevens
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.03
54 used & new from $6.03

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK, but not entirely my thing, June 6, 2014
This review is from: Always Watching (Paperback)
When I came across this at Sam's Club, I was fairly excited. This had been one of my options for Amazon Vine, but I'd chosen to go with something else instead, so I figured that it'd be a good chance to check the book out. It's my first brush with Chevy Stevens but I think that it'll likely be my only foray into her work. She's certainly talented, but I'm not entirely into this type of book- at least in this point in time.

To explain what I liked about the book, I kind of have to explain why I didn't like it so much: there's a lot here that's pretty familiar, so anyone that's read anything even close to this genre will be fairly aware of most of the book's big reveals before they actually come to them. As such, the big gasp moments weren't entirely shocking. However what helps the book immensely is that you definitely get immersed in the world and the characters. Sure, you can pretty much guess why Nadine's memory has huge gaps in it for the most part, but you'll still be interested in getting to that point in time.

I suppose I was expecting more of a creepy thriller than this, as Always Watching is more character driven and not really a thriller in the way I was hoping it'd be. It's nice and I can see why the author has a following, but I don't think I'll really check out any of her other works. This just isn't really the type of thriller I'm really into, I suppose.


Kernel Season's White Cheddar Seasoning, 2.85 Ounce Shakers (Pack of 3)
Kernel Season's White Cheddar Seasoning, 2.85 Ounce Shakers (Pack of 3)
Price: $9.88

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's OK, but not as good as other white cheddar seasonings, June 1, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I will admit that I have a specific idea of what I expect white cheddar to taste like. It has to have somewhat of a sharp tang to it that you can taste right from the get go. I didn't really get that here, as this was a more mellow and sweet taste. My mom said that she felt that it had a little fishiness to it, but not enough to where it'd really deter either of us.

I made my popcorn on the stove top with oil and I highly recommend doing this when it comes to using any of this brand's toppings. The oil makes it easier for the topping to stick, although it's better if you put the popcorn in a plastic baggie and shake it up before each time you ate it, just because it'll spread the topping around easier.

The flavor here isn't bad, but I don't know that I'll buy this with my own money in the future. I do like the other flavors from Kernel Season's, so I'd buy their other stuff. This just is too mellow and slightly sweet for my tastes.


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