Fatal Burn by Lisa Jackson Book Review

I enjoyed this book just as I enjoyed Deep Freeze.

The switching POVs kept the book interesting through the slower parts. The complex, thought-out story/explanation kept me guessing until the last page. I was shocked by the “Stealth Torcher”s identity, more so than the serial killer from Deep Freeze.

I wish I had learned more about Dani’s character than her tomboyish nature, and more about Dani’s dad’s past. However, I enjoyed following small characters from Deep Freeze around, then catching up with major characters at the end of Fatal Burn.

Once again, the sex scene felt unnecessary.

I loved the symbol that the Stealth Torcher used to track his progress/get revenge on the Flannerys/make his revenge a game and keep the police guessing. It definitely stumped me.

This review is short because this book is similar to Deep Freeze–which I already wrote a review on–but I still liked it! In fact, I wanted to purchase After She’s Gone at Half Price Books, but they did not have it, so I purchased Close To Home instead. You can look out for a review on that in the future!

Luminance Skincare Review

Yes, cheap skin products can exterminate acne and save you some money, but I prefer to invest in good quality, healthy skin products. That is why I decided to try out Luminance.

Luminance Skin Care is organic and vegan. Its website has an easy-to-navigate layout, with every ingredient listed, and subsections for every type of skin and age.

Honestly, the only reason I tried out Luminance was because my usual skincare line–Devonne by Demi–is taking a break and I am running out of their stuff. I had a moment of panic because I had problems with dry skin years ago, and Devonne by Demi was the only product I found that made my skin feel moisturized. But I had no other option than to try to find something else. So, I ordered Luminance’s Hydration Face Moisturizer.

I was extremely impressed by the short amount of time it took to ship to my PO box: two days! Then, when I opened the box, I was pleasantly surprised that Luminance gave me a free gift, Nourishing Serum. Both bottles are made of glass and good quality. They are both small, but I was not worried since Devonne by Demi’s products were small too and I got months of uses out of them.

The face moisturizer works! I have been using it since I got it, and have had no problems with dry skin. The stuff may be expensive, but definitely worth it in my opinion! I love knowing that on top of feeling great, I am using products that are healthy for my skin. As for the serum, I have been using it only at night as a spot-treatment. I am not really sure what it is supposed to do, but I appreciate the free gift. My guess is it takes a little longer to work and that is why I have not seen any results from that product yet. I can tell both products will take a while to get used up, so I am satisfied with my purchase.

If you are looking for a healthy line of skincare products and are willing to spend a little extra moo-la, I recommend Luminance! Another great aspect of this company is they have sample kits (https://luminanceskincare.com/products/sample-kit?variant=32297418759). Also keep in mind that they have other skin products–not just for the face–such as sunscreen, soap, deodorant, etc.

Luminance Skin Care: https://luminanceskincare.com/

 

666 Park Avenue by Gabriella Pierce Book Review

Overall, I enjoyed this book. However, there are a few kinks…

One: I bought this book because I found it in the “horror” section at a local bookstore. The only horror in it, though, takes place within the last 100ish pages. (AKA the book moved slowly.)

Two: The bulk of the book I spent following around a 24 year-old girl whom makes dumb decisions by ignoring red flags all because she is in love with her fiancé whom she dated for a whopping one month before moving in with him and his gigantic family in a different country she has never been to before. She also puts up with too much.

Three: I hate sex scenes, and there were two too many.

Four: The relationships (friends, family, romantic partners, etc.) were too predictable. I never predict anything unless it is obvious, and I predicted almost every relationship made.

Five: Third person point of view makes the story objective. I do not have much of a clue as to what goes on in Jane’s head–and frankly, I need to know why she does not take hints!

Six: Maeve and Harrison both seemed like irrelevant characters. The only way they would be relevant is if there is a sequel in which they play larger roles.

Now that those are out of the way, let us move on to the positives:

One: I loved the cliché horror setting. I do not care that it is cliché. I love big, abandoned houses in isolated locations!

Two: The twist with how the Grandma died totally got me and made for an interesting catapult into horror territory.

Three: Dee was a fun character. I appreciated her presence. She was the beacon of hope in a world of crazy.

Four: Jane’s manipulation of Charles and rescue of Malcolm, then departure from him at the train station shows what a strong character she is. She may have made dumb decisions throughout the novel, but she has got a brain! (Plus, she got herself a job even when her new family looked at her crazy because of it.)

Five: Pierce effectively incorporated foreshadowing into 666 Park Avenue, which added suspense as well as prepared the audience for what was yet to come. I still think she drew the “acting normal” part out to long, but I like the foreshadowing.

Six: There was a strong background story which was especially brought to life through Lynne.

Seven: I enjoyed it.

Sure, there were some flaws. It certainly is not a masterpiece, in my opinion. But, overall, it was well put-together and entertaining. I would consider reading a sequel (if one is to be written).

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

Emotional, Puzzling, Beautifully horrible.

When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I thought it was super dumb (talking animals–seriously?). But, as my whole family was going to the movies to see Spiderman: Homecoming and Despicable Me 3, War for the Planet of the Apes seemed like my best option. I was surprised to find that I deeply enjoyed the movie.

The graphics are intense and everything feels real because it is high definition. So, I actually found myself gaping at scenes during the movie. It may be a war movie, but the forest, cave, sunny plane, snowy mountain, etc. settings were all gorgeous.

The apes act like humans for the most part, so it is not hard to take them seriously. They also used sign language (I am not sure if it is American sign language or some made-up language, but they used their hands, so imma go with sign language) to communicate. This proved helpful during the war as well as effective when creating an emotional connection with Nova.

Let us talk about Nova! At first (from the trailer), Nova appeared to be a completely unnecessary character. However, she ended up pulling the whole story together through her symbolic representations of innocence and hope–which are both well-needed in a war setting. She also pulled the two–ape and human–worlds together, posing the question of whether or not the colonel’s point of view is right.

I think for most people, they probably sided with the apes. But I could not seem to choose. Of course, I felt for the apes since the movie is done from Cesar’s perspective. However, when we meet the colonel and he tells his story (which puts Cesar to tears, by the way), he has a point. Some might even say he is courageous and selfless. I mean, it must take a lot to kill your only son. Anyway, I thought both sides were valid. We want to be/stay the dominant race, as humans. Anything/Anyone more intelligent than us scares us (ex. technology/robots). So, it makes sense that the colonel and his soldiers feel threatened by the apes’ existence (I do not understand why they cannot just talk it out, but whatever…). On the other hand, the apes are just protecting themselves. Cesar even offers the colonel peace in the beginning of the movie. The colonel refuses, but the apes still offered! I do not agree with killing in general, but both of these sides have points, and I wonder if the movie makers were trying to stump me. If so, it worked. (I think, if anything, though, I sided a little more with the apes just because the whole movie was from Cesar’s perspective.)

Cesar is a strong character. Despite his feelings, he always thinks about his “followers” (more like family) before himself. However, he does not let anyone kick him around. He also inspires his followers–which comes in handy. Next, I enjoyed watching a character with a set goal whom also had a sensitive side. Plus, Cesar was smart (for the most part) and up-front, two qualities I value in a leader.

(Get ready for various random opinions all at once.) This movie does not spare any feelings when it presents audiences with war. I do not see it glamorizing war at all. I loved the twists in it as well as the emotional progression. The traitors of both sides were unexpected, but real. In addition, I appreciated the apes’ hand symbol (“Apes together strong”); it was extremely powerful. Bad Ape was well woven into the movie, as he was humorous but real. He also reminded me of someone I know who acts like that. Lastly, I appreciated Cesar’s death at the very end. It is really annoying to have every movie end the same way, because it takes the thrill out of watching it if you know certain characters are going to live through ’till the end. This movie killed the two most important characters, and as a result, it brought a whole new perspective not only to this story and to war, but to film, too.

The only cliche aspect of this movie was Cesar’s anger. It was too predictable. Of course, it probably is common in war, to be mad at the person who killed your loved ones. However, considering this is just a movie, I would have liked to see Cesar overcome his anger earlier in the film or project it in some other direction/way.

I loved this movie and will definitely be buying it. 4.5/5 stars!

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cute, fun, empowering.

All I could think about while watching this movie was how much my grandma, Mammie, would love this movie. I have to admit, after watching horror movie after horror movie, watching a family movie was a breath of fresh air.

This movie was cute like the previous two movies; however, I did not enjoy it as much. Here’s why:

  1. I predicted the ending early on. (I never do that!)
    1. Usually, even if the movie is bad, I become the main character and think exactly like them–leading me to never be able to predict the ending because I am experiencing things as they do (I like this). For example, it took me watching Clueless four times before I understood why everyone found her stupid… Anyway, in Cars 3, I predicted right away that Lightning McQueen was going to wipe out, Stirling would turn out bad, Cruz and Lightning would get assigned to each other, and that Cruz would end up racing for Lightning and winning the race. Of course, there were aspects I did not predict, but I predicted all the main plot points beforehand! The movie was too easy to figure out in my opinion.
  2. I was not satisfied with the buildup–if there even was any–of the friendship between Cruz Ramirez and Lightning McQueen.
    1. The friendship between the two was forced. I liked the introduction. Cruz treating Lightning like he is 70 was hilarious, and so was the beach scene (“the beach ate me”). But after a while, nothing seemed to move. All the emotional conversations between the two were one-sided, so they never connected. When Cruz told Lightning her sob story, he was silent the entire time. Later on, when Cruz helped Lightning in his training by pretending to be storm to motivate him and Lightning was improving, he congratulated himself instead of thanking or even chatting with her. They felt awkward and distant.
  3. I wanted more of Doc!
    1. It was obvious in the beginning that Lightning needed training. But why the heck did he go to Smokey instead of to Doc? Throughout the movie, Lightning watched clips of Doc wiping out as well as performing his incredible never-before-seen moves and winning, looking at newspapers of him with Doc, talking with Smokey about Doc, etc–so why was there no Doc??? (He was in some flashbacks, but they were short.)
  4. Cruz’s character was cliche, and I did not agree with the ending (even though I predicted it ahead of time).
    1. Everyone has a backstory, and since Cruz was first seen killing it on the simulator and then training current racers, it was easy to guess hers. Once she revealed that she had always wanted to be a racer and chickened out of her shot, it was easy to guess that she was going to end the movie by winning the race and becoming a racer–with Lightning as her mentor. The reason I do not like that ending is because not everyone has the physical or even mental/emotional ability to achieve their dreams, so making it seem like everyone can achieve their dreams is unrealistic and misleading.
  5. The music did not stand out to me.
    1. I still remember Life is a Highway from the first movie! In the past, the music for the car movies have been carefully and well-chosen. This movie…not so much. The music is modern, and as I think most people can agree on, modern music (most of it, anyway) is bad. Obviously this is personal preference, but the music nevertheless was unmemorable and not enjoyable.
  6. I did not feel as empowered by the ending to this movie as I did with the previous two.
    1. This may have been the result of my earlier prediction of the ending, but either way, I did not walk away with an enlightened feeling. I did like how Lightning become Cruz’s mentor, but as I described earlier, the relationship between the two felt forced, so it did not work.
  7. This movie felt unnecessary. The franchise could have gotten on without it.
    1. The message seemed to be the same. I did not gain anything from this movie either. My opinion definitely could be different if they carried it out differently/improved it, but as it is, it was an unfulfilling end to the cars movies. I much would have preferred that they ended with Mater (I am probably going to buy all the movies anyway).

I am not a sourpuss, though. Here are all the movie’s positive qualities:

  1. It had a great overall message.
    1. This movie encompassed how life changes when you grow up. Nothing stays the same and you have to adjust. It also encourage working hard for what you want and never giving up. Follow your dreams is another message, and work hard and you will succeed is another one. There are probably more, but I think that is the gist of it. The messages may be cliche, but they are important to exercise.
  2. It was funny!
    1. The pranks in the beginning, Mater in the middle, and Cruz throughout all lightened the movie up. I cannot deny that I laughed many times during this movie, and I am sure I would laugh again if I were to rewatch the movie.
  3. We got to see Lightning McQueen later in life after he has grown up more.
    1. It is always fun to follow our favorite characters for as long as movie makers will show them to us. I may not have enjoyed the last cars movie as much as the first and second movies, but I definitely enjoyed seeing Lightning at different times of his life.
  4. We also got to see Lightning McQueen wipe out (everyone messes up, accidents happen).
    1. Sometimes we put people on pedestals, so it was nice to see one of the greatest racers of all time wipe out too.
  5. The clips of Mater showed him being as adorable as ever.
    1. If you did not love Mater after the first movie, you sure as heck did after the second one! Mater is a laugh-box and a supportive friend, so I enjoyed the scenes of him giving Lightning not-so-good advice and cheering for him at his races. I wonder what happened to his girlfriend…
  6. I loved that Lightning’s competitors (the old ones) were his friends.
    1. In the previous movies, Lightning’s racing competitors were mean and violent towards him. Cars 3 shows a whole different side, where as a result of Lightning’s years of racing with the same cars, he and those cars were friends. They would pull pranks on each other before, during, and after the races–and would cheer each other on when one of them one. I loved the lightheartedness and friendship.
    2. Another change I enjoyed was when Lightning joined Dinoco. Just like Lightning became friends with his old competitors, he “became friends” with an old competing company.

So, overall, I think Cars 3 is worth a watch. However, it did not live up to the masterpieces that were its previous two films and was unnecessary.

Devonne by Demi Body Lotion Review

I received the Devonne by Demi body lotion in one of the kits I bought a while back. Unlike the masque, I LOVE it.

It is a reasonable size–bigger than all the other products–meaning that it lasts longer. The lotion smells like the rest of the kit (lavender) and feels good as well (it feels like lotion, so it serves its purpose).

I like to use the lotion when I travel. There is plenty of lotion left in the bottle even though I have taken it on multiple trips, probably a month or longer in total length. It may hold more than three ounces, but its size will not cause you to not worry about running out or about buying more lotion after only one one-week trip. I would predict that the lotion would run out after 2-3 months (depending on how much you apply per day).

Overall, I have no complaints and would definitely recommend this product. It is definitely worth the money!

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham Book Review (Rant)

**NOTE: I wrote this directly after finishing the book as a way to vent my frustration. Nothing has been edited. This piece is not meant to offend anyone, as it is my own opinion.

I have literally no idea what the purpose of this book is. And I read all 265 pages of it. Lena Dunham reflects on her life so far and shares you collection of personal narratives. The only problem is the entire book is all narratives, with no actual reflection or analysis. Maybe this is backed up by the subtitle–“a young woman shares what she’s ‘learned'”–but I do not understand it. i mean,why the heck is ‘learned’ in quotations?

All I got out of this book is that Dunham is an idiot. She both acts and thinks like [basically] every teenager I have ever met. She swears, does not respect sex (as demonstrated by her use of the f-word to describe it), does not see the value in education, is irresponsible with alcohol, makes the same mistakes over and over even though she recognizes her mistake, obsesses over death (disregard this one if it is a result of her mental disorder), does not think before she speaks, thinks revenge is okay, and expects other people to “fix” her. I think it is safe to say that we have all made at least one of the mistakes on this list before, but part of growing up is recognizing your mistake and learning from it. Dunham has yet to learn from er mistakes, but she thinks she is mature! Maybe we all have our opinions of what maturity is…but Dunham did not use a single page out of 265 to explain herself. her book felt like a waste of paper and a waste of my time. What am I supposed to get out of it? I feel like I missed something, because there are these fabulous quotes praising the book on the cover inside, but I do not understand where the praise is coming from.

I might be angry because the book did not fulfill my expectations. Before purchasing it, I looked at the book’s rating and read reviews, all of which were positive. I was especially intrigued  by the subtitle of Dunham’s book, as I am mature for my age (other people’s words, not mine) and actively look for new wisdom other have to give.  Like I said, I did not understand the purpose of this book. Mine was obviously not fulfilled (in my opinion, through my perspective). Maybe the advice was implied; Dunham wants me to think about her stories and draw my own conclusions. I like it when things are spelled out for me, though. And, honestly, I do not think Dunham understands life enough to write a bout it. Well, okay, that was harsh. I appreciate the effort, rawness, creativity. However, change the title! It turned out to be “clickbait” for me, and I do not appreciate that. Also, Dunham’s thoughts are completely and utterly cliche. Maybe some people need to hear a hot story about a hot mess, but I am over it. I grew up quickly, made my mistakes early, so I learned the most major and basic advice within my first 14 years of life.  This is why I normally read fiction (I like horror, suspense, mystery) because I want to feel and see something new. So, when I read nonfiction, I desire the same effect. I received none. Do not have sex with random people because you are lonely? Check. Do not skip class? Check. Stop  crushing on people 20 years older than you? Check. USE YOUR BRAIN, LENA! Next, stop focusing on the negative. I do not remember reading one positive piece of advice in that book. What an awful life, to be raped, and not see a therapist and not accept that it is not your fault.

I am still waiting for that life-changing novel…

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson Book Review

The best thing I can tell you is to read the book because it speaks for itself, but I loved it.

Not only have I never been aware that public shaming even lived in this day and age, but I was not aware that one of its key sources is social media. As a teen of the technology generation, the perspectives I have been exposed to are one-sided. I get exposed to millions of bits of information a day and somehow I never came across public shaming. The idea for this book is genius. How come no one thought of it sooner?

In this book, Ronson analyzes current examples of public shaming and the causes of them. He offers different views on these situations that I had never thought of before. If I could sum up everything he said in one sentence, I would say: You do not know everyone’s story. This is so relevant right now! There have been so many people whose lives have been ruined through twitter because people took something the wrong way or thought they knew everything they needed to about a certain person and then judged them for it! We are to blame for other people’s self-destruction. But should we stay silent? Ronson never answers this, but he does suggest that victims of public shaming should never lose their voice. I agree with this, but what about the people: the causes of public shaming? It is as easy as this: If you have nothing nice to say, do not say it at all. Now, I am not saying that you have to hold your tongue. What if you find something someone said repulsive and offensive? You have the right to express that opinion, but we should express our opinions respectfully. Name-calling is unacceptable and making assumptions is immature.

While reading this book during a class party at 6AM, I was asked multiple times what I was reading and if it was required. The reason I am including this information is because I think it is important to note that I chose to read this and I could have easily hated it. I could have blown it off, read one page and then donated it to GoodWill. But I did not. I read this book all the way through the ‘Afterword’ chapter. Honestly, I thought this book was very interesting and it changed my perspective on social media–well, more confirmed my feelings but introduced me to a new perspective to support my feelings.

After finishing this book, I immediately discussed its contents with one of my friends, who asked about it. I detailed the story of Justine Sacco and a few others to explain the points, and I was surprised at my friend’s reaction. That one friend is one of the most open-minded and accepting people I know, and she refused to side with Sacco. I told her that I thought the same way until I read Ronson’s evaluation and she informed me that she would not read the book because she could not handle it. She refused to read it before even reading the explanation…is that the kind of society we live in? On twitter, people try to shoot the people down that they deem deserving of it. The problem with that is that not all of them deserve it–and even if they do, why are we not being bigger people?

Aaaanyway, I think I better stop before I start ranting (or maybe I already started). Anyway, I highly recommend this book to anyone. Whether you have social media accounts or not, this topic applies to everyone and causes you to evaluate your habits/everyday actions.

Did you read this book? What did you think of it? Would you recommend it to someone? Not that the author is ever going to see this, but if you are reading this, Ronson, did I get out of your book what you wanted me to get? Thank you for your time!

Devonne by Demi Clarifying Mud Masque Review

I have been using the Devonne by Demi skincare kit for almost two years now and I LOVE it. When I went online to order another kit, there was an option of either the mud masque or acne treatment. Since I use other products that deal with my acne (which by the way is gone now), I went with the mud masque. If any of you are trying to decide between the masque and the acne treatment, hopefully, this review will help you:
Overall I liked this product. My skin glows a little more than it used to and I can really appreciate not having that stuff on my face now (haha).
When I got my kit in the mail, I was surprised to find that the bottle is TINY. Maybe that is because the kits are only designed to last you a month (although they usually last me at least two). When I applied the masque, I did not need much, so the size did not bother me.
I LOVE the lavender smell from the Devonne by Demi skincare kit, but this smells like rubber or something. I got nauseous just from putting the cream on my fingers. Then, after applying it, it made me feel like I was sick, with my skin so dry and hard that I could barely move my lips. The only reason I got through the 10 minutes of waiting was because I watched youtube videos. But I felt relieved and overly-happy after removing the masque from my face.
I did not see any difference in my pores and I cannot really tell if my skin is softer (the normal kit already makes it soft), but it did give me a little more color; although I am pretty sure that I am the only one who can tell.
Honestly, I would not recommend this specific product to anyone because I was not impressed, but that does not change my opinion of the Devonne by Demi skincare kit (which I still LOVE and use twice a day). But I still think that it is worth a try. Every product works differently for each person, so my experience is very likely to be different than yours. If you have acne, try the acne treatment. If you do not, go with the masque.
Hopefully, that helped you decide. Let me know if you would like me to review the basic skincare kit and have a great day!

 

Lights Out Movie Review (withOUT SPOILERS!)

Lights Out is pinned a horror movie. However, I would label it a thriller. I have been looking for a movie that would actually scare me as much as The Visit (that I watched almost a full year ago) and this is the first that has done so. Even with the scares, it has a storyline and an ending that makes sense. The scaring has a purpose. That is why I would label the movie a thriller.
Often during this movie I found myself talking out loud and screaming (sorry to the six people in the theater with me) and hugging my legs to my chest. I even found myself shaking through the credits and a good 30 minutes after I left the theater. That is how good it was. Another positive feature is that as a result of the (relatively) logical explanation to the supernatural that the movie gave, I am not scared of the dark in an abnormal way as I am after some movies.
The director did a good job of building up suspense and following through; then giving breaks in between the different scares. One flaw I have found in all the–in my opinion–failed horror movies I have watched in the past year is that the suspense takes too long and so it looses its effect; and then half the time the director does absolutely NOTHING with it! This director did none of that and so I am pleased.
I loved the realism to this movie and its believability. The beginning could have done a better job at indicating the time passing from the first scene to the one after, but even with that, I eventually caught on.
I wonder whether or not the ending was supposed to be symbolic. I did not see it coming but the director definitely left hints and I had intuition. The ending was satisfying and had that love/hate relationship I enjoy.
I did like The Visit better–as it creeped me out to the ends of the Earth–but this movie was a nice break from all the flop-horror movies from the past year. If you like scary movies, I would definitely recommend this to you. It is worth your money. I do not know if I would watch it again, but I enjoyed seeing the movie once. If you saw it, what did you think? Do you agree or disagree with anything I said? Did I leave anything out? Do you have any questions about what I thought about specific parts? Comment down below. Thank you for your time!