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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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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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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Book Review: Jagged Little Pill by Eric Smith, Diablo Cody, and Glen Ballard

Swallow it down, what a jagged little pill….

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Release Date: April 26, 2022

Publisher: Amulet Books

Price: $19.99 (hardcover)

PLOT SUMMARY:

Adopted Frankie struggles to see eye-to-eye with her mother—who would rather ignore a problem and preserve their “perfect” life than stand up for what’s right. Jo just wants her mom to accept her queer identity—and is totally crushed when Frankie, the only person who really gets her, finds herself infatuated with someone new. Phoenix tries to find his place at the new school and balance wanting to spend time with Frankie but knowing he also has to help out with his sick sister at home. Bella wants to enjoy the end of high school and just head off to college without a hitch. Everyone expects Frankie’s brother Nick to be the golden boy, but even though he just got into his dream school, he’s not even sure he’s a good person. Each of their stories intersects when Bella is sexually assaulted at a party, and it looks like the perpetrator might get away with it.

Moving, heartfelt, and raw, Jagged Little Pill: The Novel draws on the musical’s story and gives readers deeper glimpses of the characters. It’s a story about the power of voicing your pain, standing up for what’s right, and finding healing and connection.

GRADE: B

REVIEW:

If you grew up in the 90’s then you can’t help but have listened to Alanis Morrissette’s breakthrough album Jagged Little Pill. It recently became a musical too, and now there’s a book based on the musical. I wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to a book based off of a musical written around a 90’s album. Let’s just say that the story takes place in contemporary times and NOT the 90’s and it’s very woke riding high on the #METOO movement.

I enjoyed the various POV’s in the novel, as it gave a better sense of what happened when Bella, gets raped during a party. The book focuses on the downfall of trying to keep up appearances and how that often leads one to bury secrets about themselves that should’ve been dealt with instead.

As much as I enjoyed the overall story, I was also expecting a little bit more. I can’t quite explain. I liked the characters but they kinda felt forced at times.

I recommend this novel if you’re a fan of the musical or just want to check out what a novel based on such an iconic album could be like.

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

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Book Review: I’m the Girl by Courtney Summers

Come to Aspera, when you’re old enough….

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Release Date: September 13, 2022

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (Wednesday Books)

Price: $18.99 (hardcover)

PLOT SUMMARY:

When sixteen-year-old Georgia Avis discovers the dead body of thirteen-year-old Ashley James, she teams up with Ashley’s older sister, Nora, to find and bring the killer to justice before he strikes again. But their investigation throws Georgia into a world of unimaginable privilege and wealth, without conscience or consequence, and as Ashley’s killer closes in, Georgia will discover when money, power and beauty rule, it might not be a matter of who is guilty―but who is guiltiest.

A spiritual successor to the breakout hit SadieI’m the Girl is a masterfully written, bold, and unflinching account of how one young woman feels in her body as she struggles to navigate a deadly and predatory power structure while asking readers one question: if this is the way the world is, do you accept it?

GRADE: A

REVIEW:

As a reader, I always know that going into a Courtney Summers book means that there will be no happy ending, in fact, you will be utterly devastated by the end of the journey. Now, does this make me back away from reading them? No. Maybe I’m a masochist or maybe I prefer unhappy endings in art (what can I say? Watching Romeo & Juliet at 4 has fucked up my expectations).

Georgia Avis has grand expectations for herself and she’s convinced that working at the exclusive resort Aspera will bring her in close contact with people who matter and will help her kickstart her dreams. Although life for her takes a dark turn when she stumbles upon the dead body of 13-years old Ashley James and the killer is still on the loose and has stolen Georgia’s modeling photos. In order to repay her brother back of the $4k she stole to pay for her modeling photos, Georgia gets a job at Aspera, but is sad when she’s not offered to become an “Apera girl” but rather is left to work in an office alone.

Georgia yearns for the life of the rich and famous, thinking that it will save her from her boring existence, but she doesn’t know the price one truly has to pay to sometimes get the things they want. There’s a particular scene in the book that is equal parts disturbing and horrifying as you see how a man in power manages to expertly manipulate Georgia into thinking that she actually has the power, while in reality she never did.

The thriller/murder mystery aspect of the novel was expertly executed and I loved how everything fell into place without feeling like it came out of the left field for the sake of a twist.

The ending will leave you feeling both frustrated and helpless, but knowing that in the circumstances Georgia was in, it was going to be a given that she’d never had the upper hand.

Another deliciously binge-worthy read that will have you flipping the pages as you get immersed in the decadent world of Aspera while leaving you with a serious case of FOMO like Georgia as she wonders what is going on the executive floor.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press & Wednesday Books for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Book Review: Just Like Mother by Anne Heltzel

A girl would be such a blessing….

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Publisher: Tor Nightfire

Price: $26.99 (hardcover)

Release Date: May 22, 2022

PLOT SUMMARY:

The last time Maeve saw her cousin was the night she escaped the cult they were raised in. For the past two decades, Maeve has worked hard to build a normal life in New York City, where she keeps everything—and everyone—at a safe distance.

When Andrea suddenly reappears, Maeve regains the only true friend she’s ever had. Soon she’s spending more time at Andrea’s remote Catskills estate than in her own cramped apartment. Maeve doesn’t even mind that her cousin’s wealthy work friends clearly disapprove of her single lifestyle. After all, Andrea has made her fortune in the fertility industry—baby fever comes with the territory.

The more Maeve immerses herself in Andrea’s world, the more disconnected she feels from her life back in the city; and the cousins’ increasing attachment triggers memories Maeve has fought hard to bury. But confronting the terrors of her childhood may be the only way for Maeve to transcend the nightmare still to come…

GRADE: A

REVIEW:

I knew that I had to read this book the moment I saw the creepy doll on the cover. This book definitely delivers on all things creepy. Crazy cult. Check. Creepy dolls. Check. Psychobitches. Check.

Maeve hasn’t seen her cousin Andrea since the night she escaped the all-female cult The Mother Collective. Whilst Maeve is still dealing with the aftermath of the cult, Andrea seems to be doing amazing and has a multi-million dollar home and enterprise.

Throughout the book, you can’t help but feel this increasing sense of dread and you begin to notice that the book is a cross between Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives. Personally, this book is one wild ride and I enjoyed every crazy second of it.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves twisty cult stories that don’t focus on a cult led by a man and if motherhood has ever terrified you. You will find this read absolutely unsettling!

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

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Book Review: The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

Something strange is happening on the last house on Needless Street and Dee is going to find out….

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Publisher: Tor Nightfire

Price: $13.99 (hardback)

Release Date: September 28, 2021

PLOT SUMMARY:

In a boarded-up house on a dead-end street at the edge of the wild Washington woods lives a family of three.

A teenage girl who isn’t allowed outside, not after last time.
A man who drinks alone in front of his TV, trying to ignore the gaps in his memory.
And a house cat who loves napping and reading the Bible.

An unspeakable secret binds them together, but when a new neighbor moves in next door, what is buried out among the birch trees may come back to haunt them all.

GRADE: A

REVIEW:

This is one of those rare books that came with a TON OF HYPE and actually LIVED UP to the hype and then some! I really loved that this book started out in one direction and completely reeled you in another by the end!

Right from the very beginning, the reader knows there’s something very wrong the moment we dive into the story. This novel excels in creating this crescendo of dread and unease that by the time you’re hit with the climax, you’re questioning your own sanity.

Ted lives alone in a run-down home with his beautiful kitty Olivia while his daughter Lauren comes to visit him from time to time. When Dee moves next door to him, convinced that he had something to do with her little sister’s disappearance things really start to escalate into chaos for everyone involved. This thriller is a wild ride and one you won’t easily forget once you’re through with the final page.

I can’t recommend this book enough. Believe the hype, it’s worth reading!

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

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Review: Glossier Monochromes in Bluff

What It Is: Essential Eyeshadow Trio

Why It’s Special: Three buildable finishes – Matte, Satin, and Metallic.

Verdict: Now I know that Glossier prides itself in being makeup that enhances your natural beauty and that their products are very sheer, however, I was expecting more oomph from this eyeshadow palette and I fear it never delivered how I hoped it would. Is the application easy and silky? Yes. Are the colours vibrant or pop? No. I’m on the constant look out for the perfect matte peach shade and I’m sad to say, this palette doesn’t deliver in that regard. The matte shade in this palette is so sheer that it doesn’t even look like you’re wearing eyeshadow (and it’s not even the variety of “your eyelid only better” either). The frosty shades deliver better in color and pigment, but honestly not enough for me to recommend it as an absolute purchase. Maybe the other palette shades are more pigmented but as far as this one goes, I wasn’t too impressed by the shades, although the quality is excellent as you’d expect from Glossier.*

*I used primer when applying eyeshadows so w/out primer I imagine the colours would be even less noticeable.

Price: $22

Where To Buy It: https://www.glossier.com/

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Review: Hero Cosmetics Lightning Wand

What It Is: Brightening Serum

What It Does: Helps even out skin tone in areas of hyperpigmentation.

Active Ingredients: Tranexamic Acid, Vitamin C, and Licorice root.

Verdict: This dark spot serum hits just the spot (pun intended)! I love that the packaging is a rollerball, so that you can target specific areas of your face (say where you have acne scars or dark spots) to lighten them up. I’ll admit that I don’t have dark spots from the sun, so I’ve used this serum primarily for the acne dark spots that tend to be left behind after having a very painful hormonal zit (sometimes the marks can last up to a week or longer). So this serum really helps speed things up, so instead of having to deal with a dark spot for a week, it’s only 2-3 days before it’s completely gone. I really do think that the packaging makes this ideal for target areas and hand enough for you to slip in your purse and dab it on the go!

Price: $19.99

Where To Buy It: https://www.herocosmetics.us/

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Book Review: Road of Bones by Christopher Golden

Some ghosts don’t live only in your head….

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Release Date: January 25, 2022

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Price: $27.99 (hardcover)

PLOT SUMMARY:

Surrounded by barren trees in a snow-covered wilderness with a dim, dusky sky forever overhead, Siberia’s Kolyma Highway is 1200 miles of gravel packed permafrost within driving distance of the Arctic Circle. A narrow path where drivers face such challenging conditions as icy surfaces, limited visibility, and an average temperature of sixty degrees below zero, fatal car accidents are common.But motorists are not the only victims of the highway. Known as the Road of Bones, it is a massive graveyard for the former Soviet Union’s gulag prisoners. Hundreds of thousands of people worked to death and left where their bodies fell, consumed by the frozen elements and plowed beneath the permafrost road.Fascinated by the history, documentary producer Felix “Teig” Teigland is in Russia to drive the highway, envisioning a new series capturing Life and Death on the Road of Bones with a ride to the town of Akhust, “the coldest place on Earth”, collecting ghost stories and local legends along the way. Only, when Teig and his team reach their destination, they find an abandoned town, save one catatonic nine-year-old girl—and a pack of predatory wolves, faster and smarter than any wild animals should be. Pursued by the otherworldly beasts, Teig’s companions confront even more uncanny and inexplicable phenomena along the Road of Bones, as if the ghosts of Stalin’s victims were haunting them. It is a harrowing journey that will push Teig beyond endurance and force him to confront the sins of his past.

GRADE: A

REVIEW:

From the very first page, the reader is greeted with a bone-chilling cold that doesn’t let up for the entirety of the novel. The Road of Bones is the Kolyma Highway found in Russia where some of the coldest parts of the world outside of Antarctica exist. The road got its ominous name because prisoners forced to build the road under Stalin died during the construction, where an estimated 250,000-1,000,000 people lost their lives and were buried right into the road’s permafrost. If that doesn’t already make for a chilling horror, this novel also finds itself grappling with supernatural entities and the ghosts that haunt us even when they’re merely just a manifestation of our guilt.

The protagonist is Teig, a reality-show star that creates shows much like Ghost Adventures with his best friend Prentiss. The only issue is that his past few projects have bombed and he owes a lot of people money, including his best friend. Then he gets an idea, why not make a show about the Road of Bones? A place haunted by the past as well as the unflinching cold, where car trouble could have one dying within a matter of minutes from the extremely low temperatures.

I’m a total wimp when it comes to cold temperatures, so to have a supernatural thriller set in the cold, already has me both terrified and fascinated.

The mystery amps up when Teig, Prentiss, their Russian translator, and a hitchhiker they picked up on the way, finally arrive at their destination only to find every single home in that town empty. It looks as though the residents left their homes mid-dinner and disappeared. This is when things start getting weird and dangerous for the group.

This novel is very fast-paced and it mostly takes place in one night much like those survival horror movies do. This was a fun, freaky read and I really loved how well fleshed out the characters were. I recommend this novel for anyone who loves supernatural thrillers set in Siberia.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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