Sunday, November 30, 2014

Old Factory Candle Gift Set Review + Giveaway

I received this item in exchange for an honest review. Sponsored giveaway.

I have one more review for you today, and I'm very excited about this one. Today is my first candle review! I really love candles, so much so that I used to make them for myself and my family... so I think I'm a pretty good judge of what makes a good candle.

I was provided with a set of 3 two ounce soy candles to review. I got to pick the set, and since it's so close to Christmas I decided to go with the Happy Holidays set.

This set comes in 3 Christmasy themed scents:

Christmas Tree
Candy Cane

These scents are wonderful and not overpowering. As a migraine sufferer, I can say these candles have not bothered me so that's always a good thing. My boyfriend hasn't said anything about the scents so I'm assuming they haven't bothered him either. I expected more of a pine scent from Christmas Tree. It smells nice, but I can't quite place what it smells like exactly. Gingerbread is nice and has more of a gingerbread scent the longer I burnt it so maybe Christmas Tree will as well. Candy Cane is definitely my favorite among the three with it's perfect peppermint scent I feel it is perfect for this time of year.

These candle gift sets each contain 3 different scented candles. Each candle burns clean and even for 20 hours. Hand-poured in the USA with natural soy wax, self-trimming wicks, and premium fragrance oils. Each gift set is themed around a group of related fragrances. So everyone is sure to find something perfect for every occasion, every room in the house, and all the special someones in your life. (source:

(image source:

As I already mentioned, I love these scents. I've burnt Gingerbread the longest so far (about 10 hours) and it has burnt clean. It is no where near being done, so I do believe the claim it will burn for another 10 hours evenly. I haven't had any issues with these. Some of the other sets sound amazing, and I'd really like to try some of them myself! Romance and 50 Shades especially strike out at me, though I'm not sure about leather as a scent. That one seems kind of odd, but it would be interesting to try. Of course I LOVE that these are US made, and I do feel there are enough variance in scents that everyone could find a scent they love. These would definitely be perfect for gifts. These sets are normally $30 but right now they're on sale for $25.

You read that right, today you'll have a chance to win your own set of these candles! Please read the rules before entering, because they are quite important:

Sorry, but this is open to United States only.

Contest participants need to have an Amazon account and a PayPal account in order to participate in this campaign. The winner will receive a special code for a free item to use on Amazon. The Amazon shipping is free for orders over $35, but you must have a PayPal account in case your order is under $35 so that you can be reimbursed for shipping.

The giveaway will begin today and run through December 7, 2014 at midnight Central time. A winner will be selected on December 6 and the prize will be shipped on December 8 so you could either keep this set for yourself or give it to a friend or family member for the holidays.

(edit: is forcing me to end this a day early, sorry about that! I thought I had more time than what I did.)

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Majestic Bombay beauty tools reviews

I received these items in exchange for an honest review. 

 I have a two for one review for you today. Majestic Bombay recently provided me with two beauty tools to try out: a stainless steel cuticle pusher and nail cleaner tool and also an acne extractor.

This stainless steel manicure and pedicure tool combines our famous Pushy cuticle pusher at one end and with a convenient nail cleaner at the other end. Edges are buffed smooth to prevent catching the nail. Its textured body provides a secure grip.

No-Slip Skin Care Tool This angle loop to roll out mature white-heads and a flat side to press out black-heads. Stainless Steel. (Both taken from


I really like this cuticle pusher/nail cleaner. I've been using the same plastic cuticle pusher since I was a teenager, and needless to say it's pretty chewed up by now. Because this one is stainless steel, I know it will probably last me the rest of my life. The textured grip is a nice feature, which of course my plastic one does not have. The cleaner works perfectly, and the tips are fairly sharp so you can really get in there and dig out stubborn dirt. If, like me, you tend to use polish remover with your nail cleaner at times, this is the perfect tool. My old one is worn away slightly where the acetone ate at the plastic. Since this is stainless steel, I won't have to worry about that.

The cuticle pusher itself did take a little bit of getting used to since I've been using a rubber one for so long. The shape is quite different from what I'm used to as well, but it works well so it did the job. I will say that the first time I used this it did actually hurt a little bit. Either I wasn't used to the metal or my cuticles may have been a bit swollen at the time. Regardless I haven't had any further issues with it and it has worked perfectly.

I was actually really excited to get the pimple extractor to try out and review, mostly because I've had one zit for about a month or so and it refuses to go away. Unfortunately it's still there, no such luck with this. I had never used an acne extractor until now - had never even heard of such a thing until a few years ago when I was shopping for nail polish and my boyfriend pointed one out to me, suggesting to buy it. No, sorry, I was spending what little money I had on nail polish at the time. (A girl has to have her priorities straight, right?)


This extractor does have two ends. One for white heads, the other for black. I didn't have much luck with the white head extractor. I did get it to work twice on one zit on my nose, and it did work well on that. It seems this tool works best on zits which are just about ready to come out so it didn't work at all for those deep in my skin. I just ended up bruising myself trying to get the things out. So that's disappointing. I was hoping this would work well on those bothersome zits which are really deep and painful but no good.

I had much more success with the blackhead end of this tool. It worked perfectly on my nose - those zits which were already about ready to come out. It did work really well on blackheads in general. To use this tool, you just kind of press down on your skin and roll it over or move it back and forth. If you can figure out the best angle, that helps but it can be tricky to determine.

I was less than impressed with this tool, and I'm glad I didn't spend my money on one during that shopping trip years ago. In all honesty, I found it easier just to use my fingers to get out most of my zits. I might only use this if I do have a troublesome zit and I don't want to tear up my face. Even then, it seems likely I might bruise my face since I do bruise easily due to my medication. Also, I should mention this works best if used after a hot shower.

The cuticle pusher is $6.99 on Amazon - and I do feel it's worth that price since it will last a very long time.

The acne extractor is $8.99 on Amazon.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Undead: Ten Tales of Zombies

I received this item in exchange for an honest review. Image source

Yes, it is almost a month since Halloween and I am posting a review of a book about zombies... but how is it almost Thanksgiving already? I have no idea where the past month has gone. At any rate, I have another Rayne Hall edited e-book to review for you today... with the announcement that I was approved for 2 more of her collections for review. Am I excited? Definitely! I really enjoy Hall's anthologies so far. Undead: Ten Tales of Zombies was probably among my favorites of her anthologies so far. I'm not really much into zombies, but this one was quite good.

Blurb: (Taken from

Welcome to the world of the not-quite-living.

While zombies still have physical bodies, their minds are irrevocably changed. No longer governed by a conscience, incapable of reason, unrestrained by values of right and wrong, they often follow primitive instincts. If their new focus is overwhelming hunger, they let nothing get in the way of their urge to feed.
Confronted by a zombie, how would you defend yourself and those you love? What if it was your friend, relative or spouse, with remnants of their old personality - would you protect them or kill them? Is a zombie an individual with human feelings and rights, or is it a menace to be destroyed?

In this story collection, ten authors share their visions of the undead, each with their own style of storytelling and their own imagination of how ghouls may impact our lives.

Some of these zombies have been infected by virus-spreading bites, some were raised from their graves, and some have chosen the undead state for reasons of their own. Most have their wits about them, but their priorities have changed. They are single-minded in pursuit of what they need... which may or may not be living human flesh.

The authors come from around the globe. They write variously in British or American English, with different word choices, grammar, spelling and punctuation. Their tales range from short flashes to long yarns, from fantasy to science fiction, from funny to macabre and from thought-provoking to scary.

See which story of these ten appeals most to your taste. But beware: Some of these ghouls are deceptive, and by the time you realise the danger, it may be too late.

Story List:

1. IMMUNITY by Jeff Strand
What if the body’s immune system can shake off the infection?

2. GREYWALKER by Rayne Hall
A dying man will pay any price to gain time.

3. LAST CHANCE TO SEE by Tracie McBride
You have twenty-four hours before death becomes permanent.

4. FURZBY HOLT by Jonathan Broughton
Collecting census information in this English village should be an easy job.

Retirement home resident Margaret is hearing music that no one else can hear.

Mama lives in the basement.

7. I’LL LOVE YA, FOREVER, BUT… by April Grey
Faithful to a fault, that’s my Fred.

The year is 2225. Is it safe to reanimate a person from the barbarous past?

9. THE REASON FOR ZOMBIES by Douglas Kolacki
My limbs are not as cooperative as they used to be.

10. FEEDING FRENZY by Matt Hults
These zombies are hungry.


I would recommend this book to any fans of comic fantasy and zombie lovers. If you're familiar with Terry Pratchett's work, I feel a few of these stories will be right up your alley. They certainly were mine. I found nearly all of these stories amusing, with only Decision of the Council being the only story I did not enjoy.

Immunity was short but sweet. Greywalker I found quite good, although the ending was a bit predictable. This one had me pondering the question - is it really suicide if you're already dead? Good question, and one I shall continue to ponder for some time... Last Chance to See I found disturbing, only because I realize this is the ideal of some disturbed individuals, and I felt the characters were jerks. Still, I found it mildly amusing.

Furzby Holt, Another Oldie But Goodie, Zombie Mother-In-Law, I'll Love Ya, Forever, But... and Feeding Frenzy were probably my favorites and I really can't pick just one I enjoyed the most.  Feeding Frenzy I felt was a bit long, at least in comparison to some of the other stories, but the ending seemed to come on suddenly. Regardless, I really enjoyed that one.

It is a rare occasion that I cannot find any flaws in a product, and I really don't have anything bad to say about this book. The promotional material is a bit long, but that didn't bother me.

Undead: Ten Tales of Zombies can be purchased on for .99 cents or for free with Kindle Unlimited.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Eek! It's a spider! nail art review

 I was provided with this item in exchange for an honest review.

Yesterday I showed you one of the manicures I did two days ago. Today I'm going to show you the other one. This manicure once again, was inspired by my own writing. Unfortunately it didn't turn out exactly how I wanted but I was still pretty happy with it.

I got these really cool spider rhinestones from Born Pretty Store, and I thought it would be neat to do a marble spiderweb design. It turned out perfectly on my wheel practice swatch. Not so much on my real nails. C'est la vie.

(If you're not familiar with Born Pretty Store, they have a whole mess of fun nail art supplies, and other items as well. Best of all, their shipping is free and they do ship worldwide.)

For this manicure I used Zoya Yuna (which, I might add, I am greatly disappointed in. It is MUCH darker in real life than the pictures I had seen,) Avon Inspired Iris and Chrome Girl Pillow Talk.

These rhinestones are much bigger than I thought they would be, but that's actually a good thing. They fit very nicely on my nail so for me they're just the right size. Unfortunately I realized too late that I had run out of nail glue so I tried holding these on with just top coat and that didn't work at all. So I definitely recommend using nail glue with these.

This is a 2 piece set for $2.16, and there are three color options: pink as seen here, red and blue. They can be purchased on Born Pretty's Web site.

Don't forget, you can use my coupon code to get 10% off your orders at Born Pretty Store! Just use the coupon code QTX31 at checkout, and of course you'll also get free shipping worldwide! Be sure to check out their new arrivals as well, they have tons of great looking new products.
Thanks to Born Pretty Store for providing me with this sample.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like... Autumn!

I received this item in exchange for an honest review.

 Time for some more nail art! I did two manicures yesterday, and today I'm going to share the first one with you.

I got these really cute autumn leaves water decals from Born Pretty Store and they're just so perfect for this time of year. If you're not familiar with Born Pretty Store, they have a whole mess of fun nail art supplies, and other items as well. Best of all, their shipping is free and they do ship worldwide.

I think the first thing I love about these decals should be pretty obvious just from the picture: you get a ton of decals all on one sheet. I only did one hand, but I still have enough decals that I could do almost 10 full manicures if I put these on every single nail. That's pretty awesome!

For this manicure I used 1 coat - YES! 1 coat! - of Sation Blue Sky's the Limit, and 2 coats of Avon Garden Green on my accent nail. Then I used Shany nail art polish #16 to draw in some tree branches. Last step I just added the decals and then applied top coat.

I am so happy with this manicure - it's definitely my favorite that I've done in quite awhile. This one was inspired by another of my characters so it just has a lot of meaning for me which might be why I love it so much. But regardless, I think it turned out really well.

These are by far the best water decals I have worked with to date. They only took a little bit of time in the water and then they were ready to be applied. Much faster than other decals I've worked with. They do have a tendency to stick to your nail once you've placed them, so you have to be careful of where you put them down because once they're in place it's not easy to move them.  What I loved best about these decals is that I had almost no top coat problems. I just had a little bit of a melting issue on the accent nail and that was my fault because I just used a wee bit too much top coat.

This sheet of water decals is currently $2.46 on Born Pretty Store's Web site.

Don't forget, you can use my coupon code to get 10% off your orders at Born Pretty Store! Just use the coupon code QTX31 at checkout, and of course you'll also get free shipping worldwide! Be sure to check out their new arrivals as well, they have tons of great looking new products.
Thanks to Born Pretty Store for providing me with this sample.

Monday, November 17, 2014

random thoughts of the moment: Germany

Warning: These are the ramblings of an insomniac :P

So yesterday I was reading an interview with Chris Pohl of BlutEngel, Terminal Choice (my personal likes among his bands) and I've been reflecting on this quote ever since:

"CP: I have alot of fans in Germany because that is where Blutengel is from… but when It comes to having fans in the United States, some of them aren’t okay with that because [of the war], so that is probably the only reason why my German fans do not like my fans in America, but I have many fans in America as well and they do not care that Blutengel is a German band which is great." - source:

While I understand and 100% appreciate why so many foreigners do not like Americans (I don't like the majority of what my government does either - but who does like their own government? I don't know) it still greatly bothers me to see differing politics overrules the common love of music.

This just really bothers me on a very personal level. I spend a lot of my time thinking about Germany, and appreciating it. In case you didn't know - my last name, Snyder, comes from the German name Schneider. I haven't been able to trace that particular line of my family tree all the way back to Germany (yet.) However, much of my mother's family (and more of my father's) came from Germany many years ago. I am Pennsylvanian Dutch on many branches of her tree. Yes, one of my ancestors was a Hessian. I have no control over what my ancestors did or did not do any more than the German today could control what his ancestors did or did not do.

I did not grow up with an overwhelming feel of being German. Not at all. I never really felt it was important in my upbringing in the least. I did however grow up with my great grandmother Slusser and her sister, Laurie Sluss, passing along many traditions from their Swiss parents. Their Germanic Swiss parents. Both my great grandmother and aunt married men of Germanic heritage. No surprise there. I will never forget those traditions they passed along, nor will I forget the 1/8th Germanic Swiss blood which courses through my veins.

I may have been born in America, but much of my blood is German.

The first man I ever loved was from Berlin, and because of him I took 3 years of German in high school. I don't remember it much (brain injuries and uncontrolled seizures, you know) but I'm working on relearning it. Sebastian broke my heart, and that alone would be enough for some women to hate all Germans. They say you never forget your first love, and I think that's true. I don't hate Germany, and I don't hate Germanic men. On the contrary, I think I will forever and always be painfully attracted to them. (Cue some pictures, me thinks ;)

Sven Friedrich

As testimony of this, nearly all of the men in the stories I'm writing have Germanic names (or at least the significant ones do.) There's just something about the German language I have always loved, and their names reflect this. I know some people think German sounds strange or ugly but to me it is beauty.

Chris Pohl - and I have to say, this picture creeps me out to no end. Chris has one of those weird faces where he looks quite different depending upon the angles. I just started listening to his music within the past month or so yet I've seen his face in my head for months. He looks so similar to how I imagine some of my characters, its freaky. Sven as well reminds me of a few of my characters, even before I saw his face. Freaky.

Chris Harms

Nearly all of the music I listen to these days comes out of Germany - Dreadful Shadows, Zeraphine, Solar Fake (anything by Sven Friedrich, seriously. Best musician ever, hands down), BlutEngel, Terminal Choice, Project Pitchfork, Lord of the Lost, Harms und Kapelle. Even IAMX, who is now based in Germany, and Peter Gabriel's version of Shock the Monkey I prefer the Deutsch version.

So I'm not sure where I'm going with any of this.. I think I mostly just wanted a good excuse to put some sexy men on my blog haha. But seriously, it is one of my goals to relearn German and learn it better, and thankfully I have the music mentioned above to help me with that.

I think I'm just going to end this with a select few of my favorite videos from these guys... and Chris P. I'm totally jealous of your nails! Seriously, look at those claws, and he says they're real! His nails are nicer than mine now :P

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Devil Eats Here: A Diabolic Anthology: E-book review

I received this item in exchange for an honest review

Today I have another of the Rayne Hall anthologies up for review. Today's e-book is titled The Devil Eats here: A Diabolic Anthology. (Yes I realize I'm posting this on a Sunday - God's day. That's the twisted irony which is me.)

 Each of the nine authors in this book presents a different approach to storytelling, a different writing style, and a different interpretation of the theme. Some of the stories are very short, others are long. In some tales, the devil is a literal figure, in others a metaphorical one, and in several he is something else altogether.

1. The Sacrifice by April Grey
Be careful what you pray for.

2. The Angel and the Jungle God by Siewleng Torossian
Ali's special day has arrived.

3. The Best of all Possible Worlds by Tara Maya
Personal Paradise Inc. caters for a special clientele.

4. Round and Round the Garden by Jonathan Broughton
Children will listen.

5. Mean Dick Skyler by John Blackport
Is this deal as sweet as it first appears?

6. The Devil, You Say by Alice Gaines
Was he the devil, or an angel in disguise?

7. Devil Take It by Douglas Kolacki
Being blind and getting jerked around by the bus lines was bad enough. But now...

8. Rejection Letter by John Hoddy
An editor gets some of his own.

9. The Devil Eats Here by Rayne Hall
Join the prince of hell for lunch at your local diner.

Most of these stories have been previously published in magazines, e-zines and anthologies.

I was really looking forward to reading this collection, I think just because it seemed like something different from my typical reads. I was not disappointed in the least, although honestly the Christian half of me is screaming out against some of these but I won't go into my ethical and religious issues.

It was quite interesting reading this anthology, because as an aspiring author myself, I found myself drawing ideas from the stories and right up to the point of reading The Devil, You Say by Alice Gaines I was forming a kind of love story with the devil in my mind. So ironically, I then actually read The Devil, You say and wow! I got to really enjoy a story somewhat along those lines. I think it's needless to say, this story was by far my favorite of the bunch. I really enjoyed every little turn of this story, and I found it quite different... I could certainly identify with the main character who is struggling with self image issues, and finds help in an unexpected way.

A few of the stories in this anthology I found somewhat funny - such as The Angel and the Rainforest God. The Sacrifice I found short, with a disturbing look at the dark side of humanity. The Best of All Possible Worlds I found amusing, interesting and it inspired a good retrospect. It reminded me of Terry Pratchett's Strata in some ways. I did find it very odd to read about ethnic cleansing in Acadia of all places. That story obviously did not take place in our own universe!

 I will note that up until this point, this collection proved to be quite different than what I had expected. In a good way. I'm not sure what I expected precisely, but I will say The Devil, You Say more than filled that gap of my expectations (can you tell how much I enjoyed that story?)

Round and Round the Garden I found to be twisted, yet good. I did find the character Anthony very obnoxious, but that ended well. Mean Dick Skyler I found a little long, kind of confusing at first yet interesting. I really liked the idea of the plodder. I found it good, funny, enjoyable and different - I just have one question: why would the devil keep his promise if Dick didn't uphold his end of the deal?

Devil Take It I enjoyed. Rejection Letter disturbed me greatly, and it made me cringe at the mere thought of some day publishing my stories and having to deal with all of the publishers and what not. Bleh. The Devil Eats Here (the story, not the book) was a short, good read.

Edit: I forgot to mention, this is definitely not a book for younger audiences. 

This e-book is available on Amazon for 99 cents. Another great buy!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Maple Leaf Glitter review

I was provided with this item in exchange for an honest review.

 Yes, I have another review for you today! I'm going to be super busy over the next month so I thought I'd go ahead and post this review while I can as I won't have much Internet access over the next 2 days.

So, this review I'm really excited about because the product itself is really pretty cool and I'm super happy with how my manicure came out. Born Pretty Store has a ton of fun shaped glitters available and I decided to pick out a fun one for Autumn to review. If you're not familiar with Born Pretty Store, they have a whole mess of fun nail art supplies, and other items as well. Best of all, their shipping is free and they do ship worldwide.

Anyway, I picked out a maple leaf glitter. It is 4 mm in size, which is pretty big on my small nails, yet small enough that I could place multiple glitters on one nail. These glitters come in 12 different colors, and I just happened to get the gold which worked out perfectly for me.

 For this manicure, I started with 2 coats of Kleancolor Neon Sapphire (yes, that's blue!) Then I tipped it with 2 thin coats of Kleancolor Chunky Holo Black, and finally 1 coat of Shany nail art #12 which is a gold glitter. Then I just stuck the glitter in place, and used a top coat over the entire works.

This glitter was easy to use, and looks really neat once applied. However, it is a bit bulky so they did snag on my nails. Unfortunately they didn't stay on my nails for very long, either. 24 hours later, and I only have 2 of the original glitters remaining. But you receive enough glitters that you could replace any which have fallen off.

One of the things I love about this glitter is the color shifts. This one in particular shifts between kind of a green to gold and orange. I even got it to reflect back red, so this color is absolutely perfect for this time of year. Love it. Of course, I'm sure Canadians would have lots of fun with this glitter as well :)

This glitter is $2.53 for a box of 4 mL.

Don't forget, you can use my coupon code to get 10% off your orders at Born Pretty Store! Just use the coupon code QTX31 at checkout, and of course you'll also get free shipping worldwide! Be sure to check out their new arrivals as well, they have tons of great looking new products.
Thanks to Born Pretty Store for providing me with this sample.

ebook review: Scared: Ten Tales of Horror edited by Rayne Hall

I received this product in exchange for an honest review.

 As promised, I have another horror themed review for you today. Today's review is another collection of stories edited by Rayne Hall. I actually have 2 more of Hall's collections to read & review after this one. If you couldn't tell, I'm a fan of these works so far.

(image source: Google search)

 Blurb: (taken from
Ten stories of spine-tingling suspense, edited by Rayne Hall.

In this collection, you'll find scary stories for almost every taste, each penned by a different author with a different writing style and a different taste in horror. This allows you to explore your own preferences. Which story gives you the most delicious frights?

The authors have played with “What if” scenarios: What if the safe world we take for granted is changing and we don't know? What if a seemingly harmless object grows into a menace? What if an everyday occurrence turns into something nasty? What if a minor irritation is actually a sign that something big is underfoot? What if threats are outside our control? Picking up the phone, going to the toilet on the train or buying a birthday gift may be the start of a nightmare.

These stories don't seek to shock you with chainsaw massacres or to gross you out with mounds of gore. Rather, the authors aim to scare you in subtle ways, creating the kind of fear which creeps up on you, grabs you by the throat, and sometimes lingers long after you've finished reading.

To preserve the authors' individual voices, some of the stories are in American English, others in British.

Enjoy the goose-pimples, the clammy hands, the creeping chills, and the pounding heart. When you've finished reading, you can return to the real world and know you'll be safe. Or will you?

1.OUT OF ORDER by Karen Heard
What do you do when the lights go out and the screaming starts?

2. OUR LADY OF THE TOADS by Deborah J. Ross writing as Deborah Wheeler
The large, ugly toad perched in front of the gate was truly worthy of being a witch's familiar.

3. FAMILY HEIRLOOM by Pamela Turner
This weapon has a mind of its own.

4. RING OF STONES by Donna Johnson
Jake Barnes seeks revenge on the cursed creature living in the abandoned well.

A bully's cruel hand grants Maggie's dearest wish.

6. CREATURES OF THE NIGHT by William Meikle
What if intense fantasies create a different reality?

7. DRUID STONES by Rayne Hall
Modern druids enact an ancient ritual, and a woman watches in secret.

8. THE LOFT by Liv Rancourt
Three women from the church choir learn that evil is everywhere.

9. LIFE IN MINIATURE by Tracie McBride
Street kid Michael thinks it's his lucky day when a do-gooder picks him up off the street.

10. YOU HAVE ONE MESSAGE by Jonathan Broughton
Press * for connection.

Some of these stories have been previously published in magazines, ezines, story collections and anthologies.
They may not be suitable for young readers.

Review: I didn't like this collection quite as much as some of the others. I did enjoy it, so don't get me wrong. I just feel some of the other collections contain better stories. Once again, about a quarter of the book was promotion material which I just skimmed.

Ring of Stones and Our Lady of the Toads were my two favorites. Our Lady of the Toads I found bizarre but interesting. Ring of Stones was my favorite, and I quite enjoyed it. I'm not quite sure how this was a horror story, but I may have a skewed perception. The imagery was excellent, with good detail and overall good story telling.

I also enjoyed Druid Stones, although I found the ending predictable. The last two stories I actually found amusing. Life in Miniature wasn't a new idea in the least, and therefore predictable yet I enjoyed it anyway and I suppose it was among my favorites. You Have One Message reminded me of Stephen King's Cell and I only found this story highly amusing because it so much resembled my real life every day battle with technology (ironically, after reading this I spent the better part of the evening trying to get my phone to open Kindle. Yes - technology hates me.)

Upon reflection, I think the reason I didn't enjoy this book as much as some of the others is that so many of the stories I found predictable or unoriginal - or worse, both. There were even a couple which I had to read a few times to make sense out of, and one more which I can't remember at all it was so forgettable. Quite frankly, I found several of the stories quite dumb.

I definitely didn't love this book, but I didn't hate it, either. Was I scared reading these? No, definitely not. Entertained? Yes. This e-book is only 99 cents on Amazon so it's still a great buy for that price.

 I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Free e-books, my recommendations

I have nothing to disclose. Blurb sources from, image sources google search.

I mentioned in yesterday's blog post that I've been reading free Kindle books from Amazon, so I thought today I would recommend some of those for you. I'll probably do this monthly or every few months to help me keep track of my reading list as well :)


Alex Finch: Monster Hunter (The Monster Files Book 1) by Cate Dean

Meet Alex Finch - tomboy, techno geek, monster hunter.

Reluctant monster hunter.

A school project, an absentminded project partner, and a misplaced backpack all change 16-year-old Alex Finch's life forever.

In a single afternoon Alex finds the missing backpack, has a run-in with Sam,  the boy she's had a crush on since first grade - and discovers that monsters are real.

That mind-blowing incident throws her life in a completely different direction, uncovering secrets that cost her more than she could ever imagine. And the further she digs, the darker and more dangerous the secrets become.

What else is hiding behind the ordinary facade of her California beach town?

Alex is about to find out.

Ache: The Punk Series, Book 1 by PJ Post

His only refuge is his music. His only solace is his rage.

Connor Clay abandoned any hope of escaping his troubled life long ago and has immersed himself in the hardcore punk scene, living every day as if it were his last. But in the scorching summer of 1982, he meets Shauna, an upper middle-class girl that seems to be everything he wants and needs.

Unfortunately, she also represents everything that he hates.

ACHE is the first book of the Punk series. It is intended for 18+ audiences due to pervasive language and adult themes and situations.

Enchantment (The Channie Series Book 1) by Charlotte Abel

When Channie Belks moves from her home in the Ozark mountains to a suburban Colorado high school, she tries to hide the fact she's a mage. It might have worked until her parents slapped a chastity curse on her for flirting with "dirty-minded, non-magical, city-boys." She can't even walk by a hot guy without zapping him.
There's a way to break the curse; but one mistake could kill her. It's not worth the risk. Until she meets Josh…a BMX champion with a dazzling smile, washboard abs and the bluest eyes she’s ever seen.
Suddenly, the threat of death isn't such a deal-breaker. 

Alliance (Unholy Alliance Book 1) by Lacy and Haley Yager
How do you choose between destiny and love?  
Forever seventeen, vampire Maggie Wells has spent her life in the shadows. A master at blending in, she lives among the troubled teens she's made it her mission to protect, along with her best friend and witch, Hannah Morgan.  
Eighteen-year-old Shane Campton knows his destiny: he was born to kill vampires. When he crosses paths with Maggie, the only thing that keeps her alive are the witnesses present.  
When Shane's younger sister, a mysterious supernatural, needs Maggie help, Shane is torn between his duty to kill and his sister's safety. He starts to get to know Maggie, and finds there is much more to her than he thought. But Maggie has a secret past that could destroy them all. 

I've read the entire Alliance series so far, and really enjoyed it. Very easy reading.

99 cents

Dangerous (Element Preservers Book 1) by Alycia Linwood

In the world of elemental magic, losing your heart to the wrong person might be more dangerous than having magic disease...

Ria is an 18-year-old girl who has just started going to the University of Magic, a special university for those who have one of the four elements: fire, water, air and earth. There she meets Michael, a boy whose element is different from hers, which makes their romantic involvement seem impossible because mixing of elements can have horrible consequences. She also feels threatened by Adrian, a very dangerous magic disease carrier. Ria's best friend, Paula, is fascinated by Adrian like most of the girls at the University and wants him to help her with her research about the disease. All Ria's beliefs are put to test when she starts having the symptoms of the disease and the only person she can turn to is Adrian.

Young Adult/New Adult Fantasy/Romance for mature teens. 

 If you can get past the absolutely horrible grammar which pops up from time to time, this series is excellent.

I'm looking forward to reading more from all of these authors in the future. In the meantime, I have a list of other books to read that is about a mile long. If you haven't checked out Amazon for their free Kindle books, you definitely should! They have a huge range of different books available.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Melanie Karsak Midway review

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

This past summer I discovered a wave of excellent authors who have e-books for free (or close to) on via Kindle. +Melanie Karsak  is one of these authors. I first read Chasing the Star Garden and fell in love with Melanie's writing. Next I read the Harvesting. While I'm not really interested in zombie stories, the Harvesting is most definitely not your typical series about zombies. There is a lot more going on in this story aside from your normal every day zombie tale. I really enjoyed it, and I plan on reading more of the author's work. So when I saw she was looking for book reviews, of course I jumped at the chance!

Today I will be reviewing Midway, a novella which takes place in the Harvesting Series world. It is book number 1.5 in the series, yet it works well as a stand alone story.

Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, for the beginning of the end.
Carnie. Ride jockey. Roustabout. White trash. Tilt girl. Gypsy. Cricket has been called a lot of things, but she never thought survivor of the zombie apocalypse would be one of them. One day she’s barking on the midway, and the next day, the world is eating itself alive.

Cricket, along with Vella, a tarot reader, and Puck, Cricket’s mangy mutt, find themselves running for their lives, but where can you hide when mankind has fallen? Cricket will need help if she hopes to survive.

Luckily for her, we were never really alone, and apparently, magical forces want to keep this tilt girl alive. (Image & blurb source:


I felt the characters in Midway were well developed, the plot interesting. I had hoped this story would tie in with the Harvesting more than what it did, but that's alright. As I mentioned, just by itself this is a good read and I can see it being read as an introduction into the Harvesting series or just as a stand alone novella. I don't feel like you'd be missing too much if you read this without having read the Harvesting first. That alone can be tricking to accomplish in a series, so well done Melanie.

I didn't enjoy this story quite as much as Melanie's other work, perhaps because it was so short. However, she introduces some new characters which I hope will make a reappearance in the series (edit: it appears they will in the next book.) There are also some parts of the story line which seem like they will have more meaning in forthcoming works (I really hope the mention of the foxes are a hint at Kitsune!)

One of the things I like about Melanie's work in general is her characters are likeable. Unlike the typical zombie horror movie, there aren't any annoying characters which you just want to see die. That little difference is nice for a change. I feel like there are some interesting parallels between the characters in Midway and the Harvesting, so I think it will be interesting to see if that trend continues throughout the series.  I'm also interested to see if she's going to give Cricket her own novel or continue her story as novellas, or what she's she's going to do. More so, I hope to read more about Tristian in the future ;)

This story would be fine for young adults or teens, as the gore factor is a minimum. This story is a short 99 pages estimated, and is only .99 cents on Amazon, which in my opinion makes it a great buy.

I'm definitely looking forward to the release of The Shadow Aspect, the next book in the Harvesting series, coming next year!


Author's blog

Thanks to Melanie Karsak for providing me with this novella to review.

Friday, November 7, 2014

stamping practice AKA my first Christmas manicure of the year

I have nothing to disclose.

I was going to do something constructive today, such as work on a review - but I've been awake since about 4 AM so I decided to blog about something which requires less brain work. 

About a week ago I put 1 coat of Sinful Colors Starry Night over top my gel nails because I figured if I'm going to test these gel nails, I might as well test with glitter. I haven't tried removing it yet, BUT I'm happy to say I did NOT top coat this, yet Starry Night held on for days with no issues, no chipping. That is awesome!

I decided to practice some stamping on top of this just for fun. I used Konad Special White and Bundle Monster stamping plate number BM-221.

My stamping is coming out better than it used to, for certain. My pointer finger was almost perfect until I applied my top coat which smeared it a little bit. Go figure. This stamping plate was much easier to use than some of the others I've tried and overall I was pretty happy with the result considering I haven't practiced much.

Later, I was looking at my nails and decided it would be fun to add a little sparkle to them so I got out my Shany nail art #15 and painted some green in.

Here's a closeup of my good nail :)

I'll have to try removing this in a couple of days and play with it some more to see how the gel manicure does underneath. I'm going to be reviewing another set of gel polishes sometime soon so that'll give me more time to play as well!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Vaseline Voxbox review!

I received this product complimentary for testing purposes.

I'm excited to share with you another voxbox review thanks to Influenster, and this one arrives with a bit of a story. I had checked the tracking on my box, and it had gone from PA to Vermont to NH. What?? I live in Wisconsin, where is this thing going? Well, I posted to Influenster on Facebook and they got it taken care of immediately. I even received it on the exact same day it was expected to be delivered according to the tracking number. So here's what went wrong.

I can't quite make out the crossed out zip code, but to me it looks like that's either a CA zip code or France. Given the direction it was headed, I'd say France seems more likely. So that was really odd! Thanks Influenster for making sure I received my package :)

Now for the unboxing.. here's what I received.

I received a full 10 fluid ounce bottle of Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair non greasy lotion to try out. So in truth I would have been more excited if I had gotten one of the other voxboxes I've seen lately, since I already have a ton of unused lotion but that's OK. They at least made this fun to review and try out. I'll show you what I'm talking about.

Along with the lotion, I was sent this cool test strip set to try out. I seriously had more fun with this than the lotion. I'd like to know if there's any way I could get more of these, they're just fun to play with.

Here's a picture of me trying out the test for the "Before" test.

Here's my results! I got normal skin. What? My skin always seems so dry to me.

So after seeing that apparently I have normal skin, I wasn't so sure that I really needed to use this lotion but of course I did anyway for the review. Vaseline advertises this lotion "to heal very dry skin in 5 days" so I tried it out in 5 days and retested to see if there was any difference.

Hopefully you can tell from my picture, this time when I tested my skin the result came back almost clear! There's hardly any cracks or anything. That's proof enough for me, this stuff works.

Now for the review:

This is supposed to be fragrance free, and I had Mike smell it for me. He reassured me it doesn't have much of an odor. I think I expected it to smell like baby powder for some reason, so my brain keeps telling me that's what it smells like. Silly brain!

This is also supposed to be non-greasy. I did find it just a little bit greasy but it definitely is quickly absorbed and it's definitely much less greasy than similar products I've used.

Fast healing? Yes.

One of the things I question about this lotion is the bottle states "clinically proven to keep skin healed for three weeks." So, what? It just suddenly stops working after 3 weeks? I don't know, but I'm very happy with the results of this lotion, and I'm going to keep using this during Winter when my skin is normally the worst. I hope this year I won't have dry cracked elbows for once!

Now for the real test: I looked over the ingredients. If, like me, you try to stay away from chemicals as much as possible, you will want to look for a different product. Water and glycerin are the first two ingredients, and OK, that makes sense. This does have some questionable ingredients, such as alcohol - you don't want to put alcohol on your skin, it dries it out! Also, I noticed it does contain a paraben so men especially might want to stay clear of this product. There are definitely way too many chemicals in this product, but I suppose that's to be expected from a mainstream company.

Also, I did notice the bottle itself is made out of number 2 plastic, so it is recyclable for those who recycle.

Would I buy this product? I wouldn't, only because I never have to buy lotion, it's one of those items I always have plenty of. But, let's just say that I didn't have 5 full bottles of lotion stashed away waiting to be used. Then yes, I would consider purchasing this. I would definitely recommend it to others, unless of course you're worried about those ingredients I mentioned previously.

This product can be found at Walgreens, so I'm assuming it can be found at Walmart, CVS, and where ever lotion is sold.  It is $3.99 on which in my opinion is reasonable so I will give this product an additional thumbs up for the price.

Thanks again to Vaseline and Influenster for sending me this product to review.