Monthly Archives

October 2013

Book Reviews, Books, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Arbitrate – Megan Thomason | Review*

October 24, 2013

Arbitrate - Megan Thomason

arbitrate is the third in the daynight series and picks up where daynight ended. (To clear up the confusion, there is a short book called Clean Slate Complex which came second and doesn’t need to be read before you read arbitrate.)

Description from GoodReads:

‘Remember The Second Chance Institute (SCI). Earth’s benevolent non-profit by day, Thera’s totalitarian regime by night. They’ve stepped up their game on Earth and on Thera—infiltrating political parties, preying on the downtrodden, and planning offensive maneuvers. And they’re handing out more “second chances” than ever before. The SCI’s abuse of their charter leads to Arbiter oversight and bitter consequences.

Remember Kira Donovan. Broken, burdened, and evading those who wish her harm, Kira enlists the Arbiters’ help when forced to return to the clutches of the SCI and her angry, estranged love.

Remember Blake Sundry. Exiled, determined, and packing an agenda, Blake seeks assistance on Earth and Thera to use his newfound knowledge to bring down the SCI.

Remember Ethan Darcton. Overworked, emotional, and holding a grudge, Ethan hunts down his stolen property, but finds himself in awkward territory, stuck between the Arbiters and the SCI.’

Like daynight, arbitrate is told from the point of view of three characters; Kira, Blake and Ethan. As I said in my review of daynight, Megan Thomason pulls off multiple perspectives perfectly and it isn’t confusing as you switch character.

As well as being told from different perspectives, Thomason has also introduced past and present points of view from each character which really help develop the characters and fill us in on what’s going on in Thera and Earth. Again, this is easily sign posted so there’s no confusion.

I feel like I’ve been put through the wringer reading arbitrate, I feel emotionally all over the place and I mean that in a good way.

If you’ve read any of my reviews you’ll know that I love it when an author makes me feel the characters feelings and I really did reading this book. Not only did I feel one characters feelings, I felt three! Three! My poor emotions.

Something else I’m a big fan of is unpredictability and this had heaps of that. arbitrate is full of twists and turns and there was no point where I thought I knew what was going to happen and I was right.

The characters were well developed in daynight but they get even better in arbitrate as we learn more about them, especially Jax who isn’t in the first book a huge amount. I really like the way his character developed and I think I love Jax! (Someone get me a Team Jax t-shirt pronto.)

As I turned the last page I was sad that I’d reached the end and excited at the prospect of a another book as the ending threw up a whole load of questions that need answering. As I read through the end notes I was very excited to read that the next book, called generate, will be out in 2014. (I’m waiting very impatiently for this already.)

In my review of daynight I said I’d love to see it be turned into a film and after finishing arbitrate I really, really want it to be turned into a film. (Not just for Jax, honest.)

The idea behind daynight and arbitrate is so refreshing. There are a lot of young adult books out there that use the same kinds of concepts and ideas, so it is so nice to read something completely different.

I really think (and I truly mean this) that arbitrate is the best book I’ve read this year. If you’re a fan of young adult / science fiction / romance novels you need (yes need) to read this book.

arbitrate comes out on the 29th October. 

* – I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Beauty, Book Reviews

The Science Bit – Hayley Carr / London Beauty Queen | Review

October 16, 2013

The Science Bit; London Beauty Queen | Review

Ever wanted to know more about skincare? I do and I think more and more people want to know what they’re putting on their face, rather than just believing what they’re told in adverts. 

A few weeks ago I found London Beauty Queen‘s blog and decided to give her 61 page eBook The Science Bit: Delving beneath the surface of skincare and beauty, a go.

There’s no fluff or waffle; it’s to the point and contains practical advice such as; dealing with adult acne, the truth about ‘anti ageing’ products, why face wipes are ‘the worst invention ever’, and more.

If you don’t know a lot about skincare (like me) then this is perfect for you. If you already know a bit about skincare then there probably isn’t much you could learn.

For the sake of the review I’m going to be very picky and say it would have been nice to see a summary at the end of each chapter.

Although the chapters are short, having a short summary containing the key points such as ‘What ingredients to look for in a moisturiser’ ‘What ingredients to avoid in a moisturiser’ would have helped me take it in and remember it a little easier.

I intend on making sure this is downloaded on a device when I go searching for new products so I can double check what I should be looking for and what to avoid, so having it summed up would just make it easier.

At £2.05 (price correct as of posting) it isn’t going to break the bank and will be a handy resource for you when it comes to understanding what’s what, keeping your skin looking lovely and healthy and what you need to look for when you buy your next skincare product.

4.5 out of 5

Know of any other great beauty books? Let me know in the comments. 

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Book Reviews, Books, Romance, Young Adult

The Mind Readers – Lori Brighton | Review

October 15, 2013
The Minder Readers - Lori Brighton

No spoilers!

It’s been a while since I had time to read a book and a bit of scouring on Amazon led me to The Mind Readers, the first in The Mind Readers Trilogy. 

As you may have guessed from the title it’s about people who can read minds, but instead of me waffling on, here’s the description from Amazon:

‘Cameron Winters is a freak. Fortunately, no one but her family knows the truth …that Cameron can read minds. For years Cameron has hidden behind a facade of normalcy, warned that there are those who would do her harm. When gorgeous and mysterious Lewis Douglas arrives he destroys everything Cameron has ever believed and tempts her with possibilities of freedom. Determined to embrace her hidden talents, Cameron heads to a secret haven with Lewis; a place where she meets others like her, Mind Readers.

But as Cameron soon finds out some things are too good to be true. When the Mind Readers realize the extent of Cameron’s abilities, they want to use her powers for their own needs. Cameron suddenly finds herself involved in a war in which her idea of what is right and wrong is greatly tested. In the end she’ll be forced to make a choice that will not only threaten her relationship with Lewis, but her very life.’

I really enjoyed the concept behind this book, I don’t think I’ve actually read a book about mind reading before and this book did not let me down.

The Mind Readers had me hooked from the first page and I didn’t want to put it down at night. The pacing was perfect, I don’t feel any part of it was dragged out or was over too quickly.

As I always do after finishing a book, I like to read Goodreads reviews to see if there’s any criticism or praise which stands out that I can address and give my opinion on.

One of the criticisms was that it was predictable; it certainly didn’t feel that way to me, it was full of twists and turns and I was being pulled in all kinds of directions unsure of who Cameron should trust.

The cliffhanger was a real surprise and it disappointed me a little because the story hadn’t gone the way I hoped it had. (Not predictable, see)

I really enjoyed the snippets of other peoples thoughts, especially at the start of the book when Cameron was in school. I’ve also decided now that perhaps it wouldn’t be all that fun to read minds, especially if people try to kill you for it.

A good book should make me feel for the character, experience their emotions and keep me thinking about it after I’ve put it down, and The Mind Reader ticked all three boxes.

My favourite character wasn’t the main character, it was her love interest Lewis. Lori Brighton made me fall in love with his character faster than Cameron did. (Props to you for that Lori!)

The next two books, The Mind Thieves and The Mind Games, have definitely made it on to my ‘to read list’.

I don’t give out many five star reviews as it means the book is perfect and that there’s nothing I would change, but I’ve spent hours trying to pick a fault with this book and I can’t. I was drawn in from the first word and didn’t want to put it down all night, it genuinely is one of the best books I’ve read all year.

If you’re looking for an interesting young adult book that has you hooked from the word go, I highly recommend The Mind Readers.

The Mind Readers is currently free on the Amazon UK and US Kindle stores at the moment, so if you’re interested go and get it now! Price correct as of posting. 

5 out of 5

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Life

OCD Awareness Week: OCD isn’t a ‘quirk’ or a good thing

October 15, 2013

I'm Supporting OCD Awareness Week

This is a very personal post for me. It’s something I considered posting about before but felt very nervous about it, however as this week is OCD Awareness Week I’m going to go for it. 

I’ve suffered with OCD since I was about seven years old and for the most part now it’s very mild and under control. It makes me feel like a bit of a fraud for writing about it now, but there have been times where it’s been terrible and taken over my life.

If I could tell you what changed and why my OCD is mild now, I would.  I’d bottle it and give it away, but unfortunately I can’t. All I can tell you is that if you’re a sufferer, I understand.

According to OCD-UK, OCD may affect as many as 12 people in every 1000. That’s nearly 1.2% of the population.

What I wanted to address is what I consider to be the biggest myth or misconception about OCD, and that is that OCD is seen and portrayed as a character quirk or a positive trait.

As someone who suffers from OCD hearing people say ‘I’m a bit OCD about how my pens are lined up’ frustrates me. I know people don’t say it out of spite, they just don’t know what it’s really like to live with the condition.

For some reason the media love to portray OCD as a positive trait or a funny character quirk and this just isn’t the case.

It’s a condition, not someone being ‘quirky’, ‘uptight’ or ‘anal’.

It isn’t just about being neat, there’s so much more to it than that and I doubt people would view it as a positive trait if they understood it. You’d never hear someone say ‘I’m OCD about clicking the lights on and off four times, because if I don’t someone I love may get hurt and that will be MY fault’.

Being clean is a good trait sure, but scrubbing your hands until they’re red raw because you’re scared of germs or what might happen if you don’t, isn’t fun.

We aren’t all ‘obsessed with cleanliness’. There are four ‘main’ categories of OCD; ruminations and intrusive thoughts, hoarding, contamination and checking things.

The way people perceive and talk about OCD is just so bizarre to me. I’ve never heard people speak like that about any other mental illness. It makes it seem like a non-problem, a minor issue that isn’t really worth worrying about.

Hearing someone say that when you’re going through a dark time makes you feel ridiculous, like you’re blowing the whole thing out of proportion. The reality is that for some people OCD consumes their every waking minute and ruins their relationships with family and friends.

If you’ve ever said ‘I’m a bit OCD like that’, please visit the OCD-UK website and read up about it. Also, if you feel you need help, get in touch with them.

Beauty

Estee Lauder Raisins Duo Dupes

October 11, 2013

Estee Lauder Raisins Duo It appears that the Estee Lauder Raisins Duo eye shadow is a legend in the beauty world. Unfortunately it has been discountinued  but have no fear there are plenty of affordable (and not so affordable) dupes out there. 

I’ve done a bit of searching around and put together a list of dupes, some of these I have used myself , been recommended by other bloggers and some I’m basing on appearance alone.

To make it easier, ones I have used myself or been recommended I will mark with a *.

Estee Lauder Raisins Duo Dupes (in no particular order)

No7 Stay Perfect Eyeshadow Duo in Iridescent Purple* – £8 or 800 points

Helen E – Sunset (Gold)* – £8  &  Aubergine £8

Smashbox – Photo Op Eye Shadow Trio in Vignette – £21

M.A.C – Pink Freeze Eye Shadow Quad – £30

NARS – Kuala Lumpur* – £25

Sleek – Au Naturel Nude palette*, colours Taupe and Conker- £7.99

Prices correct as of posting

There are probably more Raisins Duo dupes out there if none of those take your fancy.

Have you used any of these? Or know of a dupe I’ve missed off? 
Beauty Reviews

Estee Lauder Pure Colour Raisins Duo | Review

October 10, 2013

Estee Lauder Pure Colour Raisins Duo Estee Lauder Pure Colour Duo in Raisins Estee Lauder Raisins Duo After giving up on getting my paws on the Estee Lauder Pure Colour Raisins Duo, I managed to get the very last one in the duty free shop at Manchester Airport. 

The palette is made up of two lovely colours which complement each other; a rose gold and a lovely purple which both give a lovely soft finish.

They’re both very pigmented so you don’t need to use much, especially the purple. I over estimated how much I’d need the first time I used it and ended up looking like I’d been punched. I’ve worn this pretty much every day since getting the palette (as you can probably tell from the state of the lighter colour) and I have to say it’s fantastic.

It lasts all day long and it even lasted perfectly in the heat in Italy. When I take it off at night, the colours are as vibrant as they were when I put them on in the morning.

This is the first high end eyeshadow I’ve ever owned and I’m really impressed and I believe it’s worth the money as I think it’s going to last me a long time.

The eyeshadows come in a really pretty and glamourous gold and clear case with a compact mirror on the lid. It also comes with it’s own brush, which I’ve only used a couple of times but it’s pretty good.

Unfortunately the colour has been discontinued however if you look hard there are a couple of places you can get it.

If you can get your hands on it and want to spend the money I’d recommend it. If not, keep an eye out for tomorrow’s post which will contain a list of Estee Lauders Pure Colour Raisins dupes!

Have you used Estee Lauders Raisins Palette

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