Thursday, July 2, 2020

Anomaly Two

Scarlett Lott is positive she didn't kill her corporate magnate uncle. The authorities, however, have irrefutable video evidence that she did. Unable to extract a confession and unimpressed with her denials, they ship her off to the Omniservatory, an asylum - sorry, rehabilitation facility - where "guests" are placed under constant surveillance and deviant behavior is corrected.

Locked up and off the grid, she has no way to verify if her uncle's even dead (he has faked his own death before), let alone try to clear her name. Luckily, Scarlett manages to snag a meeting with her best friend Rachel to enlist her help. Unfortunately, Rachel teams up with the guy who played a role in Scarlett's arrest. When the person she trusts most and the person she trusts least break her out of the Omniservatory, accidentally shooting a guard in the process, they all become fugitives.

Despite the temptation to just make a run for it, Scarlett feels obligated to stay for the people who are now part of her mess. Going through some of her uncle's hidden files, Scarlett discovers a birth certificate indicating that she isn't who she thinks she is. The only way to figure out her real identity is to break into his corporation's maximum security biotech lab. Scarlett has less than twenty-four hours to find out who wanted her uncle dead, why they would frame her for it, and who she really is, before the authorities catch her and erase any trace of her existence permanently.

Read it by clicking here.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Making Gnocchi From Scratch

CL Designs and I decided to make gnocchi from scratch this weekend!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Game Boy Color & Legend of Zelda Unboxing

Found my old Nintendo Game Boy Color and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages the other day and thought I'd make a YouTube video unboxing them. What do you guys think?!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Anatomicals Hand Cream Review

The cute blue packaging caught my eye at the store the other day so I went in for a closer look and then ended up picking one up. By the looks of it, Anatomicals is a skincare line with an edgy/slightly sardonic personality. (Their tagline is "we only want you for your body.")

This particular product is a hand cream, cheekily labeled "the cream of British society" with the subtitle "one's favourite hand cream" in a white tea scent. What's interesting is that this one appears to have been distributed by Australia (according to the back of the tube), was created in the UK, but made in the USA. Quite a globetrotter there! 
The product description gave me a chuckle too: "the artistocracy aren't what they were. their fortunes have dwindled, and those who still have their stately piles (not as in the dreadful bottom condition caused by sitting on their thrones for too long) have had to resort to taking in paying guests - perish the thought. if there's one thing they've managed to hold onto, it's the fact that they can continue to afford this cream and don't have hands as dreadful as their former, now fired, servants." (Complete with lack of capitalization and all.)

The formula is paraben-free and the scent is fairly neutral, kind of like what you'd expect a hand cream to smell like. The lotion did feel a little like it was sitting on top of the skin rather than absorbing in, but it does make your hands feel soft and doesn't leave behind any stickiness or streaks on electronics' screens, so tally this one up in the 'win' column!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

2013 Releases for the TBR List: Doubles/Parallels

Way belated post, but here's the fifth (and final planned) installment of the 2013 Releases for the TBR List series. Previous lists: contemporary, space, sci-fi, and dystopia.

Looking through the 2013 YA releases, I noticed that there were quite a few titles that deal with doubles (either in the form of clones, lookalikes, etc.) or parallel (i.e. also doubled) timelines (such as alternate universes/realities).

Pivot Point - Kasie West
February 12th, 2013 | HarperTeen
Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

Been hearing loads of great things about Kasie West's writing, so definitely excited to check this one out. 

Just Like Fate - Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young
August 27th, 2013 | Simon Pulse
Caroline is at a crossroads. Her grandmother is sick, maybe dying. Like the rest of her family, Caroline's been at Gram's bedside since her stroke. With the pressure building, all Caroline wants to do is escape--both her family and the reality of Gram's failing health. So when Caroline's best friend offers to take her to a party one fateful Friday night, she must choose: stay by Gram's side, or go to the party and live her life.

The consequence of this one decision will split Caroline's fate into two separate paths--and she's about to live them both.

Friendships are tested and family drama hits an all-new high as Caroline attempts to rebuild old relationships, and even make a few new ones. If she stays, her longtime crush, Joel, might finally notice her, but if she goes, Chris, the charming college boy, might prove to be everything she's ever wanted.

Though there are two distinct ways for her fate to unfold, there is only one happy ending...

Tandem - Anna Jarzab
October 8th 2013 | Delacorte
Everything repeats.
You. Your best friend. Every person you know.
Many worlds. Many lives--infinite possibilities.
Welcome to the multiverse.

Sixteen-year-old Sasha Lawson has only ever known one small, ordinary life. When she was young, she loved her grandfather's stories of parallel worlds inhabited by girls who looked like her but led totally different lives. Sasha never believed such worlds were real--until now, when she finds herself thrust into one against her will.

To prevent imminent war, Sasha must slip into the life of an alternate version of herself, a princess who has vanished on the eve of her arranged marriage. If Sasha succeeds in fooling everyone, she will be returned home; if she fails, she'll be trapped in another girl's life forever. As time runs out, Sasha finds herself torn between two worlds, two lives, and two young men vying for her love--one who knows her secret, and one who thinks she's someone she's not.

The first book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy, Tandem is a riveting saga of love and betrayal set in parallel universes in which nothing--and no one--is what it seems.

I really enjoyed Anna Jarzab's All Unquiet Things (reviewed); it even ranked on my Top 10 of 2010 post way back when. Definitely interested in checking out her newer stuff.  

Linked- Imogen Howson
June 11th, 2013 | Simon & Schuster
Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere. 

Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes. 

Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed. 

Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world. 

Riveting, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, Linked will make you question what it really means to be human.

The Originals - Cat Patrick
May 7th, 2013 | Little, Brown
17-year-olds Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey Best grew up as identical triplets... until they discovered a shocking family secret. They're actually closer than sisters, they're clones. Hiding from a government agency that would expose them, the Best family appears to consist of a single mother with one daughter named Elizabeth. Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey take turns going to school, attending social engagements, and a group mindset has always been a de facto part of life...

Then Lizzie meets Sean Kelly, a guy who seems to see into her very soul. As their relationship develops, Lizzie realizes that she's not a carbon copy of her sisters; she's an individual with unique dreams and desires, and digging deeper into her background, Lizzie begins to dismantle the delicate balance of an unusual family that only science could have created.

Imposter - Susanne Winnacker
May 28th, 2013 | Razorbill
Tessa is a Variant, able to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and mimic their appearance. Shunned by her family, she’s spent the last two years training with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch of the FBI. When a serial killer rocks a small town in Oregon, Tessa is given a mission: she must impersonate Madison, a local teen, to find the killer before he strikes again. 

Tessa hates everything about being an impostor—the stress, the danger, the deceit—but loves playing the role of a normal girl. As Madison, she finds friends, romance, and the kind of loving family she’d do anything to keep. Amid action, suspense, and a ticking clock, this super-human comes to a very human conclusion: even a girl who can look like anyone struggles the most with being herself.

Parallel - Lauren Miller
May 14th, 2013 | HarperTeen
Abby Barnes had a plan. The Plan. She'd go to Northwestern, major in journalism, and land a job at a national newspaper, all before she turned twenty-two. But one tiny choice—taking a drama class her senior year of high school—changed all that. Now, on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Abby is stuck on a Hollywood movie set, miles from where she wants to be, wishing she could rewind her life. The next morning, she's in a dorm room at Yale, with no memory of how she got there. Overnight, it's as if her past has been rewritten.

With the help of Caitlin, her science-savvy BFF, Abby discovers that this new reality is the result of a cosmic collision of parallel universes that has Abby living an alternate version of her life. And not only that: Abby's life changes every time her parallel self makes a new choice. Meanwhile, her parallel is living out Abby's senior year of high school and falling for someone Abby's never even met.

As she struggles to navigate her ever-shifting existence, forced to live out the consequences of a path she didn't choose, Abby must let go of the Plan and learn to focus on the present, without losing sight of who she is, the boy who might just be her soul mate, and the destiny that's finally within reach.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

2013 Releases for the TBR List: Dystopia

Fourth installment of the 2013 Releases for the TBR List series. Seems fitting to follow up the post on sci-fi reads with one on dystopian reads. For more information, also check out parts one (contemporary) and two (space).

This post has actually been saved as a draft for months now, but didn't get around to finishing and completing it until now. To recap quickly: links lead to Goodreads, where the synopsis descriptions are also pulled from. If you have any opinions on any of these books, or any other recommendations, do drop a note in the comments section below!
Reboot - Amy Tintera
May 7th, 2013 | HarperTeen
Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.

This one has been receiving a lot of buzz recently, and I've had my eye on it for awhile, after spotting it at the local Indigo bookstore.
The 5th Wave - Rick Yancey
May 7th, 2013 | Putnam Juvenile
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Another one that's been the object of a lot of hype this year. Had the same release date as Amy Tintera's Reboot.

In the After - Demitria Lunetta
June 25th, 2013 | Harper Teen
They hear the most silent of footsteps.
They are faster than anything you've ever seen.
And They won't stop chasing you...until you are dead.

Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.

After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.

Rush - Eve Silver
June 11th, 2013 | Katherine Tegen
When Miki Jones is pulled from her life, pulled through time and space into some kind of game—her carefully controlled life spirals into chaos. In the game, she and a team of other teens are sent on missions to eliminate the Drau, terrifying and beautiful alien creatures. There are no practice runs, no training, and no way out. Miki has only the guidance of secretive but maddeningly attractive team leader Jackson Tate, who says the game isn’t really a game, that what Miki and her new teammates do now determines their survival, and the survival of every other person on this planet. She laughs. He doesn’t. And then the game takes a deadly and terrifying turn.

The Program - Suzanne Young
April 30th, 2013 | Simon Pulse
In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

Of Beast and Beauty - Stacey Jay
July 23rd, 2013 | Delacorte
In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 Releases for the TBR List: Sci-Fi

This is the third installment of the 2013 Releases for the TBR List series. For more information, check out parts one (contemporary) & two (space). Following a feature on YA novels that take place in space, it seems only natural (see below, first one on the list is titled The Naturals) to progress to science fiction.

Same as before, books showcased here are either standalones or the first in new series. Links direct to Goodreads, where the book descriptions are also pulled from. If you have any particular or additional recommendations, please do drop a note in the comments section!

The Naturals - Jennifer Lynn Barnes
November 5th, 2013 | Disney-Hyperion
Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides— especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own.

Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

All Our Yesterdays - Cristin Terrill
September 3rd, 2013 | Disney-Hyperion
"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside. 

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was. 

Mila 2.0 - Debra Driza
March 12, 2013 | Katherine Tegen Books
Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past—that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.

Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life.

The Testing - Joelle Charbonneau
June 4th, 2013 | Houghton Mifflin
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one in the same? 

The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career. 

Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies--trust no one. 

But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.

When We Wake - Karen Healey
March 5th, 2013 | Little, Brown
Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027—she's happiest when playing the guitar, she's falling in love for the first time, and she's joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice.

But on what should have been the best day of Tegan's life, she dies—and wakes up a hundred years later, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened.

The future isn't all she had hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her head down and survive, or fight for a better world?

Control - Lydia Kang
December 26th, 2013 | Dial
When a crash kills their father and leaves them orphaned, Zel knows she needs to protect her sister, Dyl. But before Zel has a plan, Dyl is taken by strangers using bizarre sensory weapons, and Zel finds herself in a safe house for teens who aren’t like any she’s ever seen before—teens who shouldn't even exist. Using broken-down technology, her new friends’ peculiar gifts, and her own grit, Zel must find a way to get her sister back from the kidnappers who think a powerful secret is encoded in Dyl’s DNA.

A spiraling, intense, romantic story set in 2150—in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms—this is about the human genetic “mistakes” that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.

Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 Releases for the TBR List: Space

Here's a second installment of 2013 Releases for the TBR List. The first part, featuring YA Contemporary novels, can be found here. Some necessary caveats: books showcased in this series are either standalones or the first in new series. Links direct to Goodreads, where the book descriptions are also pulled from. If you have any particular or additional recommendations, drop a note in the comments section!

Science fiction/dystopian novels set in space have been getting big recently. K.A. Applegate's Remnants series and Beth Revis' (interview) Across the Universe (review) (#2 on Top 10 of 2011 list) series quickly come to mind, obviously. But a number of others have also joined the fray in 2013:

These Broken Stars- Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
The Starbound Trilogy
December 10th, 2013 | Disney-Hyperion
It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. 

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. 

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

Perfect Ruin - Lauren DeStefano
The Internment Chronicles
October 1st, 2013 | Simon & Schuster
On Internment, the floating island in the clouds where 16-year-old Morgan Stockhour lives, getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though Morgan's older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. She tries her best not to mind that her life is orderly and boring, and if she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in best friend Pen and her betrothed, Basil.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially when she meets Judas. He is the boy being blamed for the murder — betrothed to the victim — but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find — or who she will lose.

Absolutely adore Lauren DeStefano's writing. Really enjoyed Wither (review) (The Chemical Garden trilogy) - it was actually ranked as my favourite YA book of 2011 (list).

Starglass - Phoebe North
July 23rd, 2013 | Simon & Schuster
Terra has never known anything but life aboard the Asherah, a city-within-a-spaceship that left Earth five hundred years ago in search of refuge. At sixteen, working a job that doesn't interest her, and living with a grieving father who only notices her when he's yelling, Terra is sure that there has to be more to life than what she's got.

But when she inadvertently witnesses the captain's guard murdering an innocent man, Terra is suddenly thrust into the dark world beneath her ship's idyllic surface. As she's drawn into a secret rebellion determined to restore power to the people, Terra discovers that her choices may determine life or death for the people she cares most about. With mere months to go before landing on the long-promised planet, Terra has to make the decision of a lifetime--one that will determine the fate of her people.

Slightly funny side story: so I was going through old (like really old) messages on the Absolute Write forums the other day, and found some brief exchanges with Phoebe North from a few years ago, did a quick Google search, and realized that I'd actually seen her book, Starglass, at the grocery store over the summer, and remembered thinking that the synopsis sounded interesting. Small world, huh?
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