Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review of The Girl Who Chased the Moon

The Girl Who Chased the Moon
by Sarah Addison Allen

"Emily Benedict came to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother’s life. Such as, why did Dulcie Shelby leave her hometown so suddenly? And why did she vow never to return? But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew—a reclusive, real-life gentle giant—she realizes that mysteries aren’t solved in Mullaby, they’re a way of life: Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbor bakes hope in the form of cakes.

Everyone in Mullaby adores Julia Winterson’s cakes—which is a good thing, because Julia can’t seem to stop baking them. She offers them to satisfy the town’s sweet tooth but also in the hope of rekindling the love she fears might be lost forever. Flour, eggs, milk, and sugar . . . Baking is the only language the proud but vulnerable Julia has to communicate what is truly in her heart. But is it enough to call back to her those she’s hurt in the past?

Can a hummingbird cake really bring back a lost love? Is there really a ghost dancing in Emily’s backyard? The answers are never what you expect. But in this town of lovable misfits, the unexpected fits right in."

Pleasant. This is what I would say if I were asked to desribe this book in one word. It was a really enjoyable read, and it's made me a fan of Sarah Addison Allen. (...Aaaaand the neverending tbr mountain pile grows yet again. *sigh*) The Girl Who Chased the Moon takes place in the comfortable southern town of Mullaby, North Carolina. I think the setting really set the pace for this book; nothing about it felt hurried or rushed. Even the characters moved (for the most part) at an easy-going pace, strolling through town for breakfast or some "real barbeque!" The way that the author told each character's story in bits and pieces, like a pattern of flashbacks, was such a good way for me to get to know them. She didn't just introduce the characters, like "here's this person, here's their problem, this is the way they are and everyone just deals with it."  She uses their pasts to show the reader the reasons behind each characters actions and traits. I loved it!

There was pretty much no "action" in this book, and you know what? It's better off without it. I'm pretty sure that the author didn't write this book to give readers an adrenaline rush. (In a small, history-rich NC town? By all means, please keep the murders and other various crimes outta there. I think that the ghost lights appearing in Emily's backyard at night provide enough action for Mullaby. :D) Instead, this book tackled a boatload of emotional issues. It was about people dealing with the past: their pasts, their family's pasts, their friends' and neighbors' pasts. Facing the consequences of your own actions, and the actions of others. It was about learning from mistakes, and using that knowledge to make new choices. The thing is, I didn't even realize all of this until after I finished the book. There are like ten different moral themes in The Girl Who Chased the Moon, and the author disguised them with a scoop of romance, a handful of humid summer weather, a pinch of mystery, and a sprinkling of magic. The ingredients blended together perfectly. Sarah Addison Allen, you are a sneaky sneaky author and an excellent book chef.

My favorite part of the book? The end. No, not the ending. The pages that come after you're hit with the realization that yes, the story has just ended. You have that weird, stunned feeling you get after emotionally investing yourself in a story and the words have stopped. Kinda sad, slightly confused...this author must know the feeling, and that it's not easily gotten rid of. She provides a fitting solution... you get to read CAKE RECIPES AT THE END! How much happier can you possibly make what could be the saddest part of a reading experience?!?! Obviously I'm not going to list the recipes here (-duh. Go read the book!!!) but I will most certainly be using them to attempt making something edible. Thus, I will end my review with three words to inspire you: Milky. Way. Cake.

Lia's Rating: A Remarkable Read :)


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Beauty Review: Billy Jealousy Combination Code Face Moisturizer

First of all, this brand is supposed to be a "man brand"...but I think more women have tried it than men ;)  Combination Code is a moisturizer meant for the unfortunate souls who have combo skin: dry and oily. As one of these unfortunate souls, it's really important to me that my moisturizer doesn't have a greasy feeling to it, that it won't attack my sensitive skin, and that it doesn't exacerbate my already oily face.  This is the first moisturizer I've used that satisfies all three of those requirements. And it doesn't reek of herbs or perfume, yay!

I first received a sample of Combination Code about a year ago, and I got almost a week's use from the packet. It had a light, fresh smell to it, and had a texture that was like halfway between serum and lotion. (Because of this, it's not the most effective winter moisturizer.) It glided on my face, absorbed very quickly, and had an almost mattifying effect. My face felt moisturized, without the usual oily feeling! It was awesome, and well worth the price.

I immediately ordered the full size and have had it for a little over a year. I'm going to need to buy another one soon. It's an effective moisturizer for spring, summer, and fall, but during the winter it's not enough on its own. Because this is the first helpful moisturizer I've used aka I haven't had any bad reaction to it, instead of using another product, I simply apply two layers of it when the weather is cold, and that seems to be enough for my skin!

Lia's Rating: Remarkable!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Indigo Spell Release Day! And a few new TIG snippets :)


"In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch--a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood--or else she might be next."

For anyone out there who, like myself, is tragically unable to get a copy of this book, here is a list of links to excerpts and released chapters, all in one convenient post. :)  * busy reading and rereading these snippets for the next few weeks kbye*

TIG Chapter 1:

TIG Chapter 2:


Happy reading!


Friday, February 8, 2013

Beauty Review: Make Up For Ever HD Microperfecting Primer

In a recent beauty haul, I received a sample of MUFE HD microperfecting primer in neutral (which is the clear one...its said to give your face "natural luminousity) and was super excited to try it. Why? Because I've been wearing foundation on-and-off for years, oblivious to the fact that I was walking around with "flaky foundation face." I would hastily swipe some moisturizer on, then apply my cheapo foundation and be on my way. Last year, I realized that I must have been doing something wrong, and thanks to the internet, I discovered the magic word: primer. I picked out some drugstore primer (something that mentioned "dewy skin" "shimmery moisture" blahblahblah) and proceeded to test it out for a week. Sure, it made my $5 foundation look great, but my face erupted in an awful breakout that took what felt like forever to clear up. I avoided primers like the plague for a few months, until I built up the courage to try again. This time, I used a high-end brand. Once again, great coverage, but with a breakout that could make your mirror explode.

So I'd basically sworn off primer forever for a while. Until I had the opportunity to sample this, this MIRACLE product. Reviews from acne-prone peeps were positive, so I eagerly awaited its arrival... 
Let me start with how the primer feels. It's very light, almost watery, and I can easily spread it on my face. It dries fast, so I don't have to wait long to apply foundation. It almost feels like a protective barrier between my skin and my foundation. It has a light scent that reminds me of my mom's oil of olay sensitive moisturizer (which I found pleasant!) No perfume-y or floral or fruity smells or anything.  As for packaging, I had a sample packet, but the regular size product comes in a pump dispenser. With this primer under it (and my moisturizer under that) my foundation looks awesome. No flakiness or weird, powdery splotches of discoloration...the foundation spreads evenly, and it buffs nicely at my jawline. (Note: I use a liquid foundation; not sure how a powder foundation would look over this primer.) I had, for the first time maybe EVER, a flawless finish. Even better than the flawless finish? I am happy to report that I am free of the dreaded post-new-product breakout :D    
There are quite a few other shades of this primer, with different purposes. Green to reduce redness, pink to brighten, etc., but I'm very pleased with the neutral "shade" and its results. I'm not a makeup expert, but apparently the primer works even better when using the same brand of foundation? Maybe I'll test out this theory in the near future... 
Lia's Rating: Loved it! ( much that even the scary price won't keep me away.)