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

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Georgie Beauty The Ultimate Lash Curler
Georgie Beauty The Ultimate Lash Curler
Price: $18.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Works nice, not sure about the chamomile conditioning claims, May 17, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I haven't used one of these in years but lately I've found myself in the market for a lash curler. I've taken to wearing night masks since I sleep in the day, but unfortunately not all of them have a space allowance for eyelashes, which leads to unruly lashes. This doesn't sound awful until one such unruly lash decides that it wants to take up residence in your eyelid. Not fun.

As far as the basic design goes, this is a pretty good curler. It's easy to use and while I do wish that it was wrapped with plastic (as opposed to rattling around inside the box), I have no complaints about the design or its use. If you've used one of these before then you'll know how to use this. The pads are nice and soft and despite accidentally yanking on my eyelashes at one point (in an attempt to get it properly positioned), it's slightly difficult to really do any damage with this. As promised, I didn't feel any pinching or crimping while using this.

My only hesitancy would be with the chamomile pads. I don't know if this would take a long time to see the conditioning claims, but I haven't seen any difference yet.

So is this better than some of the cheaper alternatives out there? To be honest, I don't know. I haven't used any other curlers in years and the ones that I'd used prior to that were on the cheaper side. I don't see where this has any new bells and whistles but I also have to admit that I had a nicer experience with this than I did in the past.

Let Me Die in His Footsteps: A Novel
Let Me Die in His Footsteps: A Novel
by Lori Roy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.86

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my thing, but very well written and crafted, May 17, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I feel somewhat obligated to start this review out with a disclaimer: this just wasn't my type of book. As a result I really didn't enjoy this book personally, which makes me feel a little guilty about leaving any sort of star rating. I didn't really get four stars worth of enjoyment out of this work but I can clearly see where others will.

Roy is clearly a talented writer and at times I can see what all of the fuss is about: her character are beautifully flawed, which made this one of the strongest, most appealing parts of the work for me. I do prefer books where the characters are neither perfect nor completely awful. There are some great interactions and character descriptions, along with some very well done world building.

Unfortunately what turned me off of this book somewhat was the jumping between time periods and the fact that this ultimately wasn't the type of book I'm really into, at least not at this point in time. No matter how hard I tried to get into this I just kept finding my attention wandering. I know that this may make some feel that the book isn't any good but that's really not the case here: this is something that you'll either like or dislike.

So... would I recommend this book? Ultimately, yes. This would appeal most to fans of slow, gothic "hidden family secrets" type of mysteries and to fans of books like Gone Girl. (Which I didn't like despite liking the author's other work.) It's definitely something that I can see becoming a popular summer read and one that will likely become the focus of several book groups. I'd just recommend that if you're somewhat on the fence about this, check it out at the library first. If you're a fan of Roy's work or you're pretty sure that you'd like this book, feel free to add 1-2 stars to my rating. However as much as part of me really feels like I should add an extra star on just by default, I didn't really get four stars worth of enjoyment out of this- and it's absolutely not the fault of either Roy or this work.

Alive: Book One of the Generations Trilogy
Alive: Book One of the Generations Trilogy
by Scott Sigler
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A nice read from the FDO (some slight spoilers), May 6, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If you're a Sigler fan, odds are that you'll like this. My review is mostly aimed at the fans of YA fiction, which this book technically falls into. Technically. Our protagonist is an older teenager but it's not really new adult territory since Savage is mentally younger than her body looks, so there's not really any of the hubba hubba romance that you'd see in a new adult book. I also need to note that this is the first time that Sigler has written something like this. He does have the teen version of the Galactic Football League, but it's not really in the same (foot)ballpark as this read is and this is also the first book he's written that is entirely from a female teen's perspective. (Pandemic was partially told from the viewpoint of an adult woman, but not exactly the same thing.)

The purpose of that long preamble/disclaimer is to let you know that this is brand spanking new territory for the FDO (Future Dark Overlord as we fans call him), so while he does a fairly good job of trying out something new there are a few stumbles here and there. None of them are major enough to where they'd ruin the read for anyone but I know that a lot of YA readers will probably notice these more or at least a lot faster than people who aren't big readers of the genre.

Anywho, on with the review. There will be some very minor spoilers but they are not the major spoilers, which Sigler has asked that we not share. That's fair enough since I didn't have any issues with the twists. They're not entirely new to this type of read but they're novel enough that I didn't really see everything coming from 10 miles away like you get with some YA books. I chalk this up to the fact that the FDO has so far pretty much written for adults and as such isn't really into some of the pandering that you can get with YA books where they dumb everything down in favor of focusing on the romance.

Speaking of romance, that's kind of what I liked about this book. There are some twinges of romance here and there, but by large this was just our main character Savage reacting to all of the new hormones surging through her body. She reacts to all of this with a large dose of bewilderment since the last thing she knew, she was at an age where boys weren't objects of affections in that way. I kind of liked that since it was a nice touch and very, very refreshing from the usual insta-love you typically get in YA fiction.

The pacing in this is pretty well done and while it's not non-stop whizbang action, there's enough here to where it'll keep you occupied nicely. I absolutely loved the technology in this and how it's approached by Savage and the others, who are almost completely ignorant of how everything works. They figure some things out as the book progresses, but this ignorance helps fuel the suspense along so that the big reveal is a little more neat.

The only slight quibble- and it is slight- is that at times I got that "stranger in a strange land" feeling with Savage's character. Basically, it's just that at times Savage sort of put off the "this is a female character as seen by a male writer" vibe every once in a blue moon. It's nothing that ruined the character and honestly, I think that I'm so used to female YA characters being a certain way that it may just be that she doesn't fit into the genre stereotype.

Overall this is a great read and one that I finished in a day. Any rough spots are very minor and to be honest, it's exciting to see Sigler go into this field. YA fiction is dominated by authors who write books that are aimed at young females and this is a book that could easily appeal to younger male readers, who are woefully undertargeted in this genre. If this is him taking his baby steps, I can't wait until he starts sprinting in the next book. Well worth buying.

Weightless: A Novel
Weightless: A Novel
by Sarah Bannan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.10

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely wonderful (some slight spoilers), April 21, 2015
This review is from: Weightless: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Be prepared- this book will probably spark a lot of debate, which will likely place this book on hundreds of school reading lists. It'll be on this list for a good reason. While there are books out there that deal with the subjects of online bullying, school bullying, and peer pressure, I haven't really read many that approach it in the way that this has. This review will have some slight spoilers because in order to describe why I loved this so much I'll have to spoil one or two small things. Don't worry- none of the large plot points will be revealed.

What made this fairly unique for me is that this book wasn't narrated from the viewpoint of our lovely,doomed-to-be-bullied character of Carolyn. No, it's actually told from the viewpoint of an anonymous female narrator that's probably just as much to blame for Carolyn's woes as the bullies are and what makes it so horrifying is that you can see where things are going to go fairly early on in the book. People's reactions to the bullies and to what Carolyn is pretty much what is called the "boiling frog principle". If you put a frog in a boiling pot of water, the frog will hop out quickly. If you turn that heat up slowly, the frog will remain in the pot and be boiled to death.

That's pretty much what happens here. Carolyn's fall from grace and her descent into awful bullying happens so relatively slowly that people just see it as a matter of course. When her bullying does intense people just sort of shrug and don't do anything because that's it's just what happens. People think it's awful and there are concerns about stepping in and becoming a new target, but this book really explores the mentality of the people viewing the bullying- both students and adults. The latter is probably what made this a little hard to read at points because with books like this we expect the teens to be awful with one another, but we do expect the teachers to step in to some degree and Bannan does go out of her way to show how this can happen- how teachers can watch a teen girl go from a fairly lively person to a shell of her former self. Carolyn is a fragile character to begin with, something that many of the teachers (one of whom tries to put herself out as the "cool teacher that notices things") plain overlook.

I can't recommend this book enough. It doesn't really matter what your age or gender is- this has a wide appeal. There are some aspects to this that are sort of what you'd expect from this type of read, but Brennan tries really hard to put a fresh perspective on things and she succeeds.

Curel Itch Defense Lotion, 13 Ounce
Curel Itch Defense Lotion, 13 Ounce
Price: $5.79
21 used & new from $5.79

4.0 out of 5 stars Both good and bad elements., April 6, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This lotion has its good points and its bad points, some of which may be things that people will either like or dislike depending on why you are purchasing the lotion.

The good is that this works very well and moisturizes for a very long time. It's unscented, which is going to be a key attraction for many people that can't wear lotion that has any bit of scent added to the formula. However unlike some unscented lotions it doesn't get that funky-ish smell later on, so that's a bonus. (By funk I mean that some lotions have something where it's kind of like whatever they used in the formula is reacting to your body scent. It's not bad, but it is a little strange smelling.) I do have itchy skin on occasion, particularly on my legs. It's not eczema, but it's dry skin that's bad enough to where the itch can be unbearable and I'll have to use anti-itch lotion sometimes.

This is kind of where the negative point may come in for some users: because it is oriented towards people with very dry skin or eczema, the lotion is incredibly thick. One time I put it on my arms and it kind of felt funny under my clothing since it took a very long time to absorb and my clothing stuck to my skin. Since my arms aren't very dry as far as skin goes, there's less need for them to absorb the lotion like say, the skin on my legs may absorb the lotion, so I noticed that they were sort of greasy feeling. However on my legs, no problem at all. This may be a deal breaker for people who don't need a lotion as strong as this one, especially since you will have to wash your hands off afterwards (or at least wipe them off somewhere) to get the remaining lotion off of them, even if it's just a tiny film. You can somewhat avoid this by only using the lotion sparingly or by only using as much as you need, but I know that this will annoy some. (I say "as you need" since many of us will just dispense lotion without really thinking of it, assuming that you can just rub it in to your skin until it's gone. You can't really do that with this lotion for the most part.)

Overall this was a pretty good lotion and if you have extremely dry skin then this is definitely a bonus. I didn't really notice any of the negatives when I only used the lotion on my legs and only used it in small amounts. One thing I can say that this will be excellent for will be cracked, dry feet and I'm planning on using the lotion one night with some socks for an overnight moisture treatment.

The Knockoff: A Novel
The Knockoff: A Novel
by Lucy Sykes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.74
40 used & new from $12.00

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully wicked fun, March 11, 2015
This review is from: The Knockoff: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If you're like me, then odds are you were lured into this book with promises of it being a slightly different take on the "Devil Wears Prada" book, where the protagonist is the one wearing Prada and the antagonist is the brash new young thing. After reading this I can say that this is probably the best comparison out there, as Sykes and Piazza write a book that's so similar in spirit that the book has to have been an inspiration. No worries about this being a "knockoff" read, as the two bring enough to the table to make the book new and fresh.

I think that part of what makes this work so well is that Imogene is so relatable. Even if you're a tech guru, odds are that you probably know someone like her and also know what the non-tech savvy go through on a daily basis. I must admit that at times I was surprised at how little she knew about technology, but it's not completely unreasonable so it pans out well enough in the book. The real star of the book, however, has to be Eve. She's the epitome of every single "bad boss" letter that has ever gone viral on the Internet. Eve is so incredibly wicked that at times she's unbelievable, which works in Sykes and Piazza's favor since you *want* Imogene to succeed (while also kind of rooting for Eve to be evil again just so you can see what she does next).

The book isn't perfect, since at times the book does tend to kind of spin its own wheels. Occasionally you'll have moments where you just want the book to go on to the next bit, but it's never bad enough that you actually want to put it down completely. It's also sometimes over the top, but The Knockoff is so deliciously trashy (in a very, very good way) that you really won't care. It's the type of thing that you just hope gets turned into a movie.

Head & Shoulders Green Apple Dandruff Shampoo, 23.7 Fl Oz
Head & Shoulders Green Apple Dandruff Shampoo, 23.7 Fl Oz
Price: $7.26

4.0 out of 5 stars Smells nice and works well with additional conditioner, March 10, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have to admit that I was pleased with this. Green apple scents tend to either be very good or very bad, so it was nice to open the bottle and have a nice scent that wasn't too overwhelming or fake smelling.

Scent-wise, this is nice. It's not too strong when I was using this in the shower and afterwards this was a light scent that you could pick up on, but wouldn't smell across the room. This is a plus for me since I like to be able to smell shampoo close up but not far away. The scent is nice in that while it is sort of a bubble gum type of green apple scent, it's not one that is so chemical-ish that I'd be put off by this.

Now as far as the dandruff properties go, it works relatively well. I still had some flakes on my head (not many, but a few), so those with more severe dandruff would probably want to use it twice. (If this doesn't do it then you will likely need something stronger.) However as far as the conditioning goes, I have to admit that I used my regular conditioner without thinking about it since it's turned into such a habit. The end result of that is that my hair was pretty soft afterwards, but not so soft that I'd end up wanting to avoid conditioner. My hair is pretty dry sometimes, so people with especially dry hair may want to use conditioner afterwards.

Overall this wasn't bad. It worked pretty well, smells nice, and worked well with my regular conditioner, so it's something that I'd likely purchase with my own money in the future.

The Royal We
The Royal We
by Heather Cocks
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.77
52 used & new from $12.49

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's OK, but a bit slow at points, March 8, 2015
This review is from: The Royal We (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have to say that I was disappointed with this for the most part. I'm not sure what I was expecting- I think I was hoping that this would be the "Prince & Me" meets "Devil Wears Prada" and Sophie Kinsella. It has touches of all three, but in the end it just fell short of my expectations.

I think that part of this is because of the pacing. Sometimes you get some really great scenes in here that work incredibly well, other times this just feels like it's treading far too much water and as such, is taking far too long to get where it's trying to go. I couldn't help but occasionally wish that it was maybe about 50 pages shorter since it just seemed to be a bit tedious at points.

However that said, this isn't a bad novel in the slightest and for those with a bit more patience will probably find this more rewarding and for what's ultimately the two authors' first adult novel, it's a very good debut. (They have written some YA novels and a non-fiction book, but YA and adult fiction are two different writing spheres.) I also have to say that despite the occasional slow spots, the two authors have created some pretty good characters. I did feel like Bex was a sympathetic character and that's kind of what kept me going through the books- her interactions with her sister were especially the stronger parts of the novel.

Overall I think that I would recommend this, but as a library read. It's not bad and I have a feeling that this book is likely going to get a pretty big following, but I do think that this is going to be one of those "you like it or you don't" type of books like "Devil Wears Prada" or the Emily Giffin books. If you do want to buy this outright, read the sample first before deciding.

Sword Art Online 2:  Aincrad
Sword Art Online 2: Aincrad
by Reki Kawahara
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.06
62 used & new from $6.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll be coming back for more!, February 26, 2015
I have to admit that I'm still pleasantly surprised by this series, as I wasn't expecting to like the first volume and I was also somewhat unsure that I'd like the continuing volumes of the series since I don't always like ongoing series. However this really is a good follow-up to the first volume in that readers could still read this and not have to worry about continuing the series if they didn't want to (although odds are that you probably will).

Rather than have a volume with one story straight through, this is a collection of several shorter stories that center around Kirito's interactions with others during his time in SOA (so it's somewhat of a prequel instead of a sequel). I will admit that anyone familiar with the typical tropes of Japanese works of this nature (anime, manga, light novel) will be able to predict how many of these will end for the most part, but knowing the destination of the short stories doesn't ruin the enjoyment of them. They're just nice light stories that make for a pleasant read. I will say, however, that if you didn't like the first volume then odds are that you probably won't enjoy this one much more since it's the same type of dynamic here. Things will change up slightly in the next volume since the game field is also changing, but for now this volume's plot and motivations are the same as the ones in volume 1.

Now many may be tempted to skip this in order to start reading the second part of the SOA story that begins with volume 3, but I'd like to caution you against that since this volume does introduce a few characters that will show up in volume 3. (I peeked.) Odds are that the future volumes will include a slight back story about these characters since the light novel magazines are somewhat used to having people jump into a series mid-stride, but it's just better to read this and have the complete story as you go along. Plus the volume is just fun.

For parents: This volume is pretty low key when it comes to the topics of violence and sex. It's fairly chaste when it comes to sex, much like the first volume, but there are some extremely mild loli jokes in one of the stories that are played for laughs. (No sex is mentioned, mostly it's just laughing at the idea that people might mistake Kirito for an admirer.) Violence-wise there is your typical game-type violence, although there is a mention of death in the final story since they bring up Kirito's old guild, but it's nothing gratuitous.

Don't Stay Up Late: A Fear Street Novel
Don't Stay Up Late: A Fear Street Novel
by R. L. Stine
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.91
65 used & new from $5.50

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fun read (slight spoilers, but will not ruin the plot), February 26, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was a huge fan of the Fear Street series when it first came out and while I'm obviously no longer in Stine's key demographic, I can still appreciate the charm of a Fear Street book nowadays.

Stine does a pretty good job of trying to update his series for the modern day, although at times I have to admit that I occasionally wondered why some of the more modern inventions weren't brought up in the book. Specifically, Lisa begins having terrible visions that she swears are real but she never tries to use her phone to take pictures of these visions. This isn't a huge deal breaker since she is written as being terribly distraught and overwhelmed, but regaining her credibility is a huge issue for her and never once does she think about using her iPhone to take a picture of the monster - something that I'd imagine would be something most teens would try to do, given how much selfies and videos are a part in daily teen lives. But again, this isn't a deal breaker since it's somewhat understandable that Lisa would forget to do this.

The tension in the book isn't bad either and I have to say that I liked the ending, as it's slightly more of a Goosebumps-esque ending than a Fear Street type ending. (I may elaborate on this in the comments section since it is somewhat spoilerish to explain further.) I do wish that there was more buildup for some of the characters and plot reveals, as these rush by so quickly that they almost seem a little forced. YA fiction has become very sophisticated over the years so some further explanation on how certain things occurred or more character development would have been nice.

Still, this is a decent book for the most part and one that will have a great appeal for younger readers and people looking for a little nostalgia in their lives. Older teens may become a little bored with this given the plethora of other options, but this is pretty much the epitome of a beach read and while not the best book that Stine has written, it's still fun. It's also fairly squeaky clean since there's no sexual content beyond a few relatively chaste kisses and while there is violence and death, it's not so gratuitous that most children would have nightmares from reading it unless they're very sensitive.
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