Review: Saturday Skin Rise + Shine Gentle Cleanser

What It Is: A soft whipped cleanser that combines a hydrating gel with a creamy texture for soft and refreshed skin

What It Does: Removes impurities without stripping the skin of moisture

Verdict: From the moment I tried this brand’s Waterfall Glacier Water Cream, I fell in love. This cleanser, much like that product does NOT disappoint. I’m very picky when it comes to cleansers, as having oily skin I wish for the cleanser to get rid of oil and gunk that has accumulated during the day or during the night when sleeping, without necessarily leaving my skin feeling stripped of hydration and tight. Fortunately, this cleanser doesn’t do this. This cleanser takes off all the debris and oil but leaves your skin feeling incredibly soft. Plus, the cleanser smells incredible, and I’m usually very picky when it comes to the texture, and the texture is soft, like a balm. I recommend this cleanser if you’re looking for a gentle cleanser that will leave your skin hydrated but clean.

Price: $26

Where To Buy It: Nordstrom or https://saturdayskin.com/

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3 QUEER HORRORS TO CELEBRATE PRIDE MONTH

OUR WIVES UNDER THE SEA BY JULIA ARMFIELD

Leah is changed. A marine biologist, she left for a routine expedition months earlier, only this time her submarine sank to the sea floor. When she finally surfaces and returns home, her wife Miri knows that something is wrong. Barely eating and lost in her thoughts, Leah rotates between rooms in their apartment, running the taps morning and night. Whatever happened in that vessel, whatever it was they were supposed to be studying before they were stranded, Leah has carried part of it with her, onto dry land and into their home. As Miri searches for answers, desperate to understand what happened below the water, she must face the possibility that the woman she loves is slipping from her grasp.

THE MONSTER OF ELENDHAVEN BY JENNIFER GIESBRECHT

The city of Elendhaven sulks on the edge of the ocean. Wracked by plague, abandoned by the South, stripped of industry and left to die. But not everything dies so easily. A thing without a name stalks the city, a thing shaped like a man, with a dark heart and long pale fingers yearning to wrap around throats. A monster who cannot die. His frail master sends him out on errands, twisting him with magic, crafting a plan too cruel to name, while the monster’s heart grows fonder and colder and more cunning.

These monsters of Elendhaven will have their revenge on everyone who wronged the city, even if they have to burn the world to do it.

MANHUNT BY GRETCHEN FELKER-MARTIN

Beth and Fran spend their days traveling the ravaged New England coast, hunting feral men and harvesting their organs in a gruesome effort to ensure they’ll never face the same fate.

Robbie lives by his gun and one hard-learned motto: other people aren’t safe.

After a brutal accident entwines the three of them, this found family of survivors must navigate murderous TERFs, a sociopathic billionaire bunker brat, and awkward relationship dynamics—all while outrunning packs of feral men, and their own demons.

HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS? WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE QUEER HORRORS?


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Book Review: Suburban Hell by Maureen Kilmer

A Chicago cul-de-sac is about to get a new neighbor…of the demonic kind.

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Release Date: August 30, 2022

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Price: $17 (paperback)

PLOT SUMMARY

   Amy Foster considers herself lucky. After she left the city and moved to the suburbs, she found her place quickly with neighbors Liz, Jess, and Melissa, snarking together from the outskirts of the PTA crowd. One night during their monthly wine get-together, the crew concoct a plan for a clubhouse She Shed in Liz’s backyard—a space for just them, no spouses or kids allowed.
 
    But the night after they christen the She Shed, things start to feel . . . off. They didn’t expect Liz’s little home-improvement project to release a demonic force that turns their quiet enclave into something out of a nightmare. And that’s before the homeowners’ association gets wind of it.
 
    Even the calmest moms can’t justify the strange burn marks, self-moving dolls, and horrible smells surrounding their possessed friend, Liz. Together, Amy, Jess, and Melissa must fight the evil spirit to save Liz and the neighborhood . . . before the suburbs go completely to hell.

GRADE: A

REVIEW

If you love your horror with a pinch of comedy, then Suburban Hell is the book for you. Written in a manner that’s evocative of Grady Hendrix, the pace is fast and hella funny. Amy is convinced her good friend Liz is possessed after a hole in the other woman’s yard unleashes a foul odor and brings about unexplained incidents. The possession is slow, and at times one can’t tell whether it’s true or if Amy is overreacting, as she herself questions if she’s jumping the ship like in the 80’s Satanic Panic. But after a pivotal incident, Amy now knows that something sinister and supernatural has overtaken their suburban lives and she is dead set on proving her suspicions to her friends Melissa and Jess. Often while reading the book I wasn’t sure what was more hellish, having a possessed friend living next door to you or dealing with the ridiculous suburban wives that Amy had to deal with on a daily basis. The writing flows well and is pressed on a fast tempo, only slightly slowing down for a few moments to only pick up right away. The winning point of this novel is that sure, it’s a fun read, but when the horror sets in, it doesn’t disappoint, as it is dark and extremely creepy!

I recommend this book if you love your horror to have a dash of comedy to it. This book is a mashup of The Exorcist and Desperate Housewives.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and G.P. Putnam’s Sons for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Book Review: Mean Baby: A Memoir of Growing Up by Selma Blair

Selma Blair writes her way through her pain.

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Release Date: May 17,2022

Publisher: Knopf

Price: $19.85 (hardcover)

PLOT SUMMARY:

The first story Selma Blair Beitner ever heard about herself is that she was a mean, mean baby. With her mouth pulled in a perpetual snarl and a head so furry it had to be rubbed to make way for her forehead, Selma spent years living up to her terrible reputation: biting her sisters, lying spontaneously, getting drunk from Passover wine at the age of seven, and behaving dramatically so that she would be the center of attention.
 
Although Selma went on to become a celebrated Hollywood actress and model, she could never quite shake the periods of darkness that overtook her, the certainty that there was a great mystery at the heart of her life. She often felt like her arms might be on fire, a sensation not unlike electric shocks, and she secretly drank to escape.
 
Over the course of this beautiful and, at times, devastating memoir, Selma lays bare her addiction to alcohol, her devotion to her brilliant and complicated mother, and the moments she flirted with death. There is brutal violence, passionate love, true friendship, the gift of motherhood, and, finally, the surprising salvation of a multiple sclerosis diagnosis.
 
In a voice that is powerfully original, fiercely intelligent, and full of hard-won wisdom, Selma Blair’s Mean Baby is a deeply human memoir and a true literary achievement. 

GRADE: A

REVIEW:

Memoirs are a tricky thing, they can either be fascinating or they can fall short. I’ve watched several movies that Blair has been in, and just as though she felt like an outsider looking in when it came to Hollywood, the same can be said of the characters she has portrayed. Initially, I bought this memoir as an attempt to better understand the illness (MS) that has afflicted both a friend of mine and Blair. But as I tried to relate with my friend, I discovered that there was so much that I could relate with Blair. There are dark moments in Blair’s life that one wouldn’t readily imagine considering the positive image I personally had of her and wasn’t aware of the amount of darkness she actually had for many years.

She talks about heavy topics like alcoholism, suicide, and sexual assault. Her writing is honest, raw, and never tries to sugar coat even the worst moments. But the memoir isn’t only about darkness, but rather finding the light in the dark, and there are a lot of fun 90’s anecdotes. Blair talks about the time she convinced Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon that she was indeed friends with Puff Daddy as a way to impress them, or how she used to greet people with a bite until Kate Moss bit her back and made her lose the quirky habit.

There’s a lot to unpack in this memoir, and I recommend it, especially if you like reading about a time in Hollywood when actors still had an air of mystery to them prior to social media and the internet. Blair is an inspiring role model of fortitude and persistence, and I look forward to reading any of her future books.

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Review: Dew of the Gods Claydate Healing Face Mask

What It Is: Mineral-rich clay mask

Active Ingredients: Rosehip Oil, Aloe, Coconut Oil, and Hyaluronic Acid.

Verdict: Madelaine Petsch is the queen of selfcare and when I heard that she’d be curating Ipsy’s May glam bag, I knew that I had to nab one for myself. First things first, this clay mask smells phenomenal – and by that I mean, it has a very clean and relaxing scent that prepares you for the indulgent journey you’re about to experience. Having oily skin I love clay masks as they help zap up any extra oil, but what I loved about this clay mask, in particular, is that it leaves your skin feeling hydrated. The directions called for leaving the mask on for ten minutes, however, I was caught watching the finale of Big Little Lies so I kept it on for an hour, and my skin never felt tight or taunt once washed off, but actually very nourished and soft. I recommend this mask if you’re looking for a purifying mask that will help restore radiance and suppleness to your skin.

Price: $42

Where To Buy It: https://dew.co/

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Book Review: This Is Not The Real World by Anna Carey

The nineties have never been so dark…..

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Release Date: May 24, 2022

Publisher: Quirkbooks

Price: $18.99 (hardcover)

PLOT SUMMARY:

Months after Jess escaped from the set of Stuck in the ’90s, the nostalgic reality show she believed was her real life, the teen star is getting to know the outside world for the first time. But she can’t outrun her fictional life forever—or the media empire that owns it.

After Like-Life Productions tracks her down and forces her boyfriend to return to the show, Jess teams up with an underground network fighting to uncover Like-Life’s schemes. To expose the truth, Jess must go back to the set and take Like-Life down from the inside . . . but getting revenge might just cost her everything.

GRADE: B

REVIEW:

This is book two of a duology, the first being This Is Not The Jess Show, which was a mix of The Truman Show but with a 90’s spin on it. Our protagonist, Jess Flynn finds out that her whole life was recorded for entertainment purposes and while she was living on a set thinking it was 1998, it was actually 2035 in the real world.

Book two sees Jess return to the set she had escaped from as a means to oust the producers of doing nefarious things for the world to see. While this book was packed with action, and perhaps had more of a thriller slant to it, it somehow lacked in what made book one memorable. I loved book one because it was steeped in 90’s nostalgia, and while this book had some of it, the focus was more on trying to destroy the fictional town of Swinkley and bring down the organization behind it.

It’s still a fun read, and you definitely have to read book one in order to read this book. I recommend this book if you love the 90’s, the concept of The Truman Show and if you like unapologetic badass female protagonist because Jess gets even grittier than she did in the first book and I loved to see her take control of her life and narrative.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Quirkbooks for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Review: Fenty Beauty Full Frontal Volume, Lift, and Curl Mascara

What It Is: Volumizing and Lengthening Mascara

Verdict: Let me say first off that I LOVE the actual mascara. It doesn’t flake, it lasts all day and it’s smudge-proof. So for that alone, this mascara is awesome. Now, to talk about the mascara wand. The wand is particular, as it’s not your usual wand, it’s flat on one side and when turned it looks very small. Maybe I still need to get a hang of this wand, but for now the application feels a little awkward, but that’s due to me and I don’t fault the mascara. But if you’re looking for a mascara that lifts and creates volume, this one is a very close competitor to Two Faced Better Than Sex Mascara.

Price: $24

Where To Buy It: https://fentybeauty.com/

Close-up of my lashes wearing the Fenty Beauty Mascara
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Review: Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner

What It Is: Toner for Dry and Combination Skin

Verdict: Skincare is my jam and nothing gets me more excited than to try out new skincare products. This toner is a staple in K-Beauty. I’m really picky when it comes to toners because I want them to be both gentle and yet feel like they’re cleansing and leaving my skin feeling thoroughly free of any leftover gunk or oil. I’m happy to state that this toner does precisely that. Plus, it smells softly flowery (I despise toners that have a rubbing alcohol scent that makes one feel like your face would be highly flammable if you got too close to a match). I really recommend this toner if you have dry, combination skin, or acne prone skin.

Price: $19 (for 200-ml)

Where To Buy It: https://pyunkangyul.us/

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My Current Nighttime Skincare Routine

As a skincare fanatic, I absolutely LOVE partaking in my nighttime skincare routine. It doesn’t matter how tired or how late sometimes it gets, I absolutely never skip this step before I hit the sack. I’m often swapping out products because I love trying out new skincare products. This is my current skincare routine right now:

CLEANSER

Glossier Milk Jelly – When it comes to cleansers, I’m extremely picky because I love a cleanser to be both gentle and actually strong enough to wash off the day. This is both and I absolutely love it.

TONER

Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner – I’ll be having a review of this product later on in the week so keep your eyes peeled. It’s a very gentle and refreshing toner, and if you have dry, combination, or acne prone skin.

FACE CREAMS

Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Spot Gel – This is pretty much a staple in my skincare routine. Right after toner, I always apply a thin layer of this all over my face (targeting my forehead, cheeks, and chin) since my skin still thinks it’s a teen.

Avant Collagen Intense Radiance Activator Serum – I’ll be posting a review of this product sometime soon on the blog, so keep an eye for it. I mostly use this serum on my neck and forehead, since my cheeks tend to breakout easier if I use any cream on them.

EYE CREAM

Sunday Riley 5 Stars Eye Serum – This has become my holy grail of eye serums. I love thick serums and this one seriously hits the spot, plus it has retinol so it absolutely works on keeping any fine lines at bay! Read my review of this product here.

Beyou Caffeine Eye Cream – Because using the Sunday Riley Eye Serum alone can cause my eye area to feel dry because of the retinol in it, I tend to layer a generous amount of this eye cream to stop that from happening. This is an efficient eye cream that can be used both day and night. You can read a review of this product here.

LIP BALM

Apto Skincare Orange Blossom Lip Balm – I always finish off my nighttime routine with layers upon layers of lip balm so that I can wake up to soft, pillowy lips. This one is thoroughly hydrating and skin-nourishing, plus it has a nice citrus scent to it.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR SKINCARE FAVORITES?

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Book Review: We Can Never Leave This Place by Eric LaRocca

When you’re given a gift, something else gets taken away.

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Release Date: June 24, 2022

Publisher: Trepidatio Publishing

Price: $12.95 (paperback)

PLOT SUMMARY:

A precocious young girl with an unusual imagination is sent on an odyssey into the depths of depravity. After her father dies violently, young Mara is surprised to find her mother welcoming a new guest into their home, claiming that he will protect them from the world of devastation and destruction outside their door.

A grotesque and thrilling dark fantasy, We Can Never Leave This Place is a harrowing portrait of inherited grief and familial trauma.

GRADE: A-

REVIEW:

I’m still trying to make sense of this fever dream that reads like a horror induced Alice in Wonderland tale. Mara has just lost her father, and she lives with her abusive mother who’s expecting a baby, while an unexpected visitor shows up and wreaks havoc in their lives. We’re frequently told that Mara is an expert storyteller throughout the novella (or liar as her mother likes to chide), so take what happens within the pages of this novella with a grain of salt. What is real and what is fantasy? And ultimately, does it really matter to know the difference? LaRocca weaves a dreadful tale soaked in trauma and grief that is easily gulped in one sitting, but that leaves the reader feeling a bit disorientated. If you’re a fan of Kafka, I think you might enjoy this horror novella very much.

*Thank you so much to Nightworms & the author for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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