Beauty Review: Michael Todd Soniclear Petite Facial Skin Cleansing System


It’s been quite a few years since the first facial cleansing system hit the market. Since then, it’s been really interesting seeing how those systems have changed and evolved. The Soniclear Petite is the world’s first antimicrobial sonic skin cleansing system and it is definitely a game changer.

Sonic Skin Cleansing System

If you’ve read my reviews before you know that I have sensitive skin, so finding skincare products that work for me is pretty high on my list of beauty priorities. The Soniclear Petite caters to sensitive skin with 3 speeds – and none of them feel ridiculously rough, no harsh scrubbing here!

Designed to strip away dead skin cells, makeup, dirt and oil 6x better than hands alone, the Soniclear utilizes unique sonic technology that enables the petite’s brushes to move up to 18,000 times per minute. But what’s with the “antimicrobial”? Well, Soniclear cleansing heads are treated during the manufacturing process with LIFE antimicrobial product protection to inhibit up to 99.9% of stain and odor causing bacteria. Basically, the cleansing brush will stay cleaner for up to 6 more months.

Soniclear Petite

What I really love about the cleanser though is that it has a self-timer, so you hear this beep as your brushing your face which signifies that you’ve spent enough time cleansing one area of your face and you should move on to the next. This is really crucial to any skincare regimen because you generally do not want to over cleanse as it has been known to cause dryness which can lead to excess oil production, etc.

I also love that it’s cordless and waterproof, so you can use it in the shower – I feel so trained to not bring electronics into the shower that I don’t, but you definitely can if you want to, haha! I was sent mine via Amazon, and that one from Michael Todd came with the Michael Todd Damascus Rose Cleanser which I love. I’m already a massive Michael Todd fan from back when all the YouTube beauty gurus were raving about their green algae cleanser.

Soniclear Petite Kit

You can check out the Soniclear Petite here for more details, reviews, and to purchase (ARV $89.95). If you do get the Soniclear or already own one, let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

*I received this item at a discount or complimentary in order to facilitate this review. This review is not sponsored. All opinions presented here are my own.*

Book Review: Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

Touted as an Outlander for teens, I was more than excited to get my book nerd hands on Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor. I literally finished this book within 48 hours, so right off the bat I’m going to tell you it’s good, and yes, you should totally read it! Here’s a quick synopsis before I delve into my review:

Into the Dim Book Review

Being “the homeschooled girl,” in a small town, Hope Walton’s crippling phobias and photographic memory don’t help her fit in with her adoptive dad’s perfectly blonde Southern family. But when her mother is killed in a natural disaster thousands of miles from home, Hope’s secluded world crumbles. After an aunt she’s never met invites her to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic. She’s a member of a secret society of time travelers, and is actually trapped in the twelfth century in the age of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Now Hope must conquer her numerous fears and travel back in time to help rescue her mother before she’s lost for good. Along the way, she’ll discover more family secrets, and a mysterious boy who could be vital to setting her mother free… or the key to Hope’s undoing.

The settings for Into the Dim are lush and exciting, and the story itself is so engaging. As a massive fan of time travel (pretty much by way of Outlander and Dr. Who) and history, I was thrilled to see a YA capitalize on them both. Unlike many sci-fi novels, there aren’t any glaring plot holes. The manner of time travel is easily explained and the conflict is complex but not unbelievable. I loved the characters, although I’m really hoping that the next book delves more into the Viators and the Timeslippers – I feel like we haven’t yet had enough time with all the characters!

Into the Dim kindle cover

I loved Hope, she is a great YA main character. She has this amazing photographic memory, which is counterbalanced by her serious phobias like anxiety and claustrophobia. I love that despite her various issues, Hope is never really weakened by them, she doesn’t engage in any sluggish self-pity. Despite her crippling anxiety she handles her situation rather well. Going along this journey from Hope’s perspective was a joy, she’s the kind of character that you definitely look forward to hearing more from.

I do wish that the book was longer – I know it’s 432 pages, but it felt like it went by so fast! Also, I wasn’t thrilled with the ending which felt rather rushed. I know everyone hates a cliff-hanger, but they’re a necessary evil. They leave you reconsidering everything you just read and wanting more, and I don’t really feel like there was a serious “gasp! Until next time…” kind of ending. That being said, I loved Outlander and I love that Diana Gabaldon gave this book her stamp of approval, one drawback about Outlander for me is that I wouldn’t share it with my younger sister because it has so many intense mature themes. However, Into the Dim allows me to share the world of time travel and history because it’s written for that young adult audience and I know my sister will get hooked because with a story like this – brimming with adventure, history, time travel, and romance – how could you not? It’s just so utterly engrossing and wonderfully told.

Into the Dim by Janet Taylor

All in all (wow, I feel like I haven’t written that phrase since my senior thesis), Into the Dim is an exciting YA novel not just because it’s amazingly written but also because it’s a great way to introduce younger readers into the world of time travel and history, and I cannot wait to see what else Janet B. Taylor has up her sleeve! The book is anticipated to hit shelves on March 1st 2016 – make sure you get your hands on a copy!

Preorder Into the Dim for your kindle here.

Title: Into the Dim
Author: Janet B. Taylor
Pages: 432
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, Adventure
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers

*I received a digital copy for review via NetGalley, find more of my reviews and talk books with me on goodreads!

Book Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Two weeks ago I went on YA reading rampage. Well, not really. But I did finish three books in a span of three days, and one of those books was Uprooted by Naomi Novik (the others were the first two books of The Remnant Chronicles series). The blurb for Uprooted promised to be an intriguing, if not dark, retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It’s only until recently that I’ve become a fan of BATB, as a kid I never really liked it because it was my older sister’s favorite Disney movie and as rascally younger siblings do, I didn’t want to like everything that my sister liked. Of course now when she asks if we should watch Beauty and the Beast, I’m always game!

Kindle Book Review Uprooted

But back to the book, while this is modeled generally off of the framework of BATB, it’s not really a retelling. It’s more just inspired by BATB – sure we have a “beast” character, a Belle, and even a sort of Gaston, but the stakes are much higher here than in Belle’s little village and the curse in this story is a dark and dangerous woods that is a legitimate threat to life in the entire kingdom.

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”
 
Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.
 
Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.
 
The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.
 
But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

As far as main characters go, I really adored Agnieszka. She was spunky and honest, brave but in a realistic way. I’m not a big fan of leads being surprised that they have some hidden strength that no one else has – girls that are “just normal” but find out that they’re in fact princesses, have epic ninja skills, or are secretly another being entirely – but when we find out that Agnieszka is unique in her own right, it’s so well written that we don’t feel that this makes Agnieszka no longer relatable. She doesn’t become this awesome, cool heroine who is impossible to emulate because you don’t have a similarly tragic past that’s murky with mystery and deadly family secrets (I’m looking at you dystopian fiction). She’s still this normal girl, who is struggling with a life and future that she never anticipated – i.e. spending ten years with the “Dragon”, a mysterious and grumpy/rude but generally helpful wizard.

This story was packed with so much great stuff, I honestly don’t know where to begin, and really party of me just wants you to stop right now and pick up a copy yourself. So if you haven’t read it, I recommend you stop here. If you have then continue –

us-uprooted1

So I loved the idea and the character of the ‘Dragon’, but I wish that there was more development where he was concerned. I don’t know, I felt it was like a gun on the mantelpiece – there is so much more potential for story here! I am demanding a sequel Naomi!

The whole premise of having a forest that is pretty much alive with deadly forces is so enchanting, and I loved how the author doesn’t leave flagrant plot holes and does not overwhelm you with useless information. I do wish that there was more interaction between the Dragon and Agnieszka – their relationship goes from 0 to 60 in a matter of a few scenes, and I honestly don’t think she was prepared to get into bed with the Dragon when she did. In fact I wish she hadn’t – partly because I would’ve recommended this book to younger readers (like my younger sister) if this scene hadn’t been included. I love Agnieszka’s relationship with Kasia, but I also feel that there is so much more that could be done/said with both of their characters.

I get that this is one of those do you or don’t you book reviews – but the reality is is that I loved this book, but on the other hand I can understand people who are not as enamored with it as I am. For instance, I love lyrical and descriptive writing – my imagination can fill in the scenes with all the suspense and drama required – but some people prefer it to be written out for them and there’s nothing wrong with that. I do sincerely hope that Naomi writes a sequel, as the book really just scratched the surface of iceberg of potential this world she wrote has.

Pick up your kindle copy of Uprooted here!

Title: Uprooted
Author: Naomi Novik
Pages: 448
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Del Rey, Ballantine Books, Random House

What’s On My Kindle: Cinder – Book One of the Lunar Chronicles

I had heard so many good things about Cinder on blogs and vlogs that naturally I chose it as my form of procrastination the week before finals (yep, shudder in yer boots – finals). Unfortunately I just couldn’t get into the beginning. I don’t know if I was restless from doing so much academic reading, but try as I might I couldn’t connect with the story. I normally am not a massive sci-fi fan – aside from Dr.Who – aliens and robots don’t appeal to me as a reader (or viewer). But finally, finally, the week after the finals I sort of fell into it and I couldn’t put it down.

Cinder-Lunar-Chronicles-Review

Basically, Cinder, which is book #1 of the Lunar Chronicles, is about Linh Cinder – a female cyborg mechanic who can boast both an evil stepmother and stepsister (the other sister is meant to be good). There’s also a prince, an evil queen, and an old pumpkin car waiting to become an enchanted mode of transportation. Well, sort of. Here’s the Goodread’s synopsis:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Doesn’t that sound like a good read?! Alright, I actually didn’t think much of the blurb either – but there were so many reviews saying that the book was great that I just had to read it. It’s like peer pressure for book lovers.

Cinder

Anyways, Cinder takes off towards the middle of the book – and there is a certain part where you realize who Cinder is – which is way before she figures it out – and then everything following that will basically have you on the edge of your seat because suddenly everything gets way more intense. As for Cinder herself, as a character I thought she was alright. She has the basics for a great female character – she’s sarcastic, feisty, even a little comedic but she’s also really slow on the uptake and really self-deprecating, which is great for who and where she is during this book but boy am I ready to see who she matures into for the following books (Scarlet, Cress, and Winter).

As a leading male character, I was not overly thrilled with Prince Kai. But to be fair we haven’t really had time to see him develop as a character. I felt like he gave in to Levana so easily, and after being so promising at the beginning of the story he just seemed to quit too fast towards the end. I know, I know, he’s in a no-win situation but I feel like I’d have to side with Captain Kirk on this one – I just don’t believe in a no-win situation. Queen Levana makes all evil stepmothers (including Cinder’s) pale in comparison – she’s cruel, evil, plays terrible mind games, and is pretty much just the Dolores Umbridge of the story. The story ends sort of on a frustrating cliff-hanger – and trust me, it’s not at all like the classic fairy tale (in a good way!).

All in all, I can’t wait to read the next books in the series. I don’t think I’ll pick up the next two until the third one comes out – I’m the sort who prefers to have them all in hand rather than having to wait. If I had to star this, I’d give it 3.75 stars – if you like fantasy or sci-fi then you will love this one!

Pick it up from Amazon for your Kindle here!

Title: Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles
Author: Marissa Meyer
Pages: 448 pages
Genre: Fiction, YA – Teen, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Macmillan Publishers, Square Fish

What’s On My Kindle: The Tuscan Sun Cookbook by Frances Mayes

As much as I love the feel of an actual physical book, I live in NYC where space is something I don’t have – so I rely on extensively on my Kindle to store all of my favorite stories. The most recent addition to my digital library is The Tuscan Sun Cookbook: Recipes from Our Italian Kitchen by Frances Mayes. The author of the acclaimed Under the Tuscan Sun (from which the movie starring Diane Lane was based) has published this collection of inspired recipes.

Under-the-Tuscan-Sun-Cookbook-Review

I saw Under the Tuscan Sun when I was in middle school and I fell in love with the sweeping views of Tuscan countryside, the field of sunflowers, the dilapidated but incredibly charming villa Bramasole, the parade of characters. But there was one scene that got me everytime (besides when Frances begins renovating her house), when Frances begins to cook. Bread, pastas, artichokes, wine, and poached pears only manage to rate two minutes of the movie but it always stuck with me. The food all looked, well, welcoming – which is why I was thrilled to read The Tuscan Sun Cookbook.

Frances writing style has always appealed to me, and her narration of this cookbook is as warm and enchanting as ever. The cookbook includes more than 150 recipes, with Frances guiding us through each. The recipes do not come across as complicated, instead they capitalize on the heart of Tuscan cooking – where ingredients are “left to shine, not combined with a list as long as your arm or tortured into odd combinations”.

The photographs make me wish I owned this in hardcover – where it would be much loved, and quite possibly end up with sprinkles of flour between the pages along with other wayward ingredients.

If you’re in the market for a good cookbook with simple recipes and an engaging narrative, this one is for you. Find it here.

End the Summer on a Sweet Note & Enter to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card!

Would you like to start the school year on a sweet note? Does a $100 Amazon.com gift card sound sweet enough for you? I know it does to me! Make sure you enter to win below – and remember, you can’t win if you don’t enter!

amazon blast
Makobi Scribe and Sason and Pobi are bringing you this Amazon Instagram blast. The winner will receive an Amazon gift card for $100. The giveaway is open to Everyone :) Good Luck! If you are a blogger, you can sign up for this blast here.