Giveaway! Information About the GastlyGirl/JosieAdeline Summer/Fall 2017 Giveaway

GiveawayGraphic

Hi there! The following is the set of terms and conditions governing the subscriber giveaway I am hosting. I am very excited to be able to do a giveaway, and these kinds of rules and regulations are necessary to its proceeding.

i. Title: This giveaway will be known as “the GastlyGirl/JosieAdeline summer/fall 2017 giveaway.” (I like slashes, okay?)

ii. No Purchase Necessary: There is no purchase necessary to enter this giveaway. Purchases of any kind will not increase one’s odds of winning or influence the drawing of the winner in any way.

iii. Promotion Description: One (1) prize bundle/box will be created by me (“GastlyGirl/JosieAdeline”) and shipped to the chosen winner. This prize bundle will include assorted goods, such as cosmetics, skincare, coupon code(s), handmade gifts, et cetera. For any questions, please email josieadeline@outlook.com.

iv. Eligibility: The winner must live in the continental United States of America and be at least eighteen (18) years of age.

v. How to Enter: In order to be eligible to win this prize, you must be subscribed to Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC63FUw8mlnVo74yTFsTuW7Q or to the blog located at URL josieadeline.com on December 1, 2017 when the drawing is done.

vi. Winner Selection: The winner will be drawn December 1, 2017 (time to be determined). The winner will be drawn from all collected users who are subscribed to Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC63FUw8mlnVo74yTFsTuW7Q and users who are subscribed to the blog located at URL josieadeline.com. The winner will be chosen at random and the odds of winning are dependent on the number of subscribers on December 1, 2017.

vii. Winner Notification: Upon being drawn, the winner will be contacted on the account they are subscribed with in order to get an address for shipment. If the user does not respond within 3 days (72 hours), or if the user does not live within the continental United States, a new winner will be drawn and contacted in the same manner until a successful winner is chosen.

viii. Privacy Policy: No personal information collected for the purpose of this giveaway will be sold or otherwise used for my own material gain. By accepting the Sweepstakes Prize, you grant me permission to share your email address and any other personally identifiable information with the other Sweepstakes Entities for the purpose of administration and prize fulfillment, including use in a publicly available Winners list.

ix. Limitation of Liability: I assume no responsibility or liability for (a) any incorrect or inaccurate entry information, or for any faulty or failed electronic data transmissions; (b) any unauthorized access to, or theft, destruction or alteration of entries at any point in the operation of this Sweepstakes; (c) any technical malfunction, failure, error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or communications line failure, regardless of cause, with regard to any equipment, systems, networks, lines, satellites, servers, camera, computers or providers utilized in any aspect of the operation of the Sweepstakes; (d) inaccessibility or unavailability of any network or wireless service, the Internet or website or any combination thereof; (e) suspended or discontinued Internet, wireless or landline phone service; or (f) any injury or damage to participant’s or to any other person’s computer or mobile device which may be related to or resulting from any attempt to participate in the Sweepstakes or download of any materials in the Sweepstakes.

 If, for any reason, the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned for reasons which may include without limitation, infection by computer virus, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes which may corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this Sweepstakes, I reserve the right at my sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the Sweepstakes in whole or in part. In such event, I shall immediately suspend all drawings and prize awards, and I reserve the right to award any remaining prize in a manner deemed fair and equitable by myself. WordPress and Youtube shall not have any liability to any participant in connection with the Sweepstakes.

x. Social Network Disclaimer: WordPress or Youtube account is required to enter. If you don’t already have an account, visit http://www.wordpress.com and/or http://www.youtube.com to create one. It is free to create an account. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with WordPress or Youtube. You understand that you are providing your information to me and not to WordPress or Youtube. By participating via the WordPress or Youtube platform, participants are also subject to these platforms’ respective data policies and terms of use found on each respective site.

josieadeline

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Lit for Life Book Reviews: Among Wolves by R.A. Hakok

among wolves ra hakok

The book I would like to look at today is Among Wolves, the first of two books in the Children of the Mountain series by R.A. Hakok. It was published on July 10th, 2015. I read this book over the course of a day, the longest of all of my vacation-week reads (most of the days, I finished at least one book and started at least one new one). This one clocks in at 381 pages.

This Kindle ebook was free when I added it to my library and is still available for free as of June 2017.

This is another free Kindle ebook that was recommended in one of my daily emails from Bookbub. This service emails you about free and discounted ebooks in genres you are interested in. I have gotten tons of free ebooks through this service.

Amazon’s Summary:

There’s only one place left that’s safe.

It’s the last place you should be.

Gabriel remembers the Last Day. He and Mags had been on a tour of the White House with the rest of Miss Kimble’s first-graders when it happened. They fled with the President to a long-abandoned bunker, even as the first of the bombs began to fall.

Ten years have passed, and now Gabriel is almost grown. He still lives deep inside the mountain, waiting for the world to thaw. But outside the storms continue to rage, and supplies are running low. The President says it will be okay, because they are the Chosen Ones. But Gabriel isn’t so sure. Gabriel’s their scavenger, and he’s seen what it’s like out there.

Then one day Gabriel finds a bloodstained map. The blood’s not a problem, nor are the frozen remains of the person it once belonged to. Gabriel’s used to seeing dead bodies. There’s far worse to be found in any Walmart or Piggly Wiggly you care to wander into.

Except this one he recognizes, and it shouldn’t be all the way out here. Now all Gabriel can think is how he’s going to make it back to the bunker and let the President know what he’s found.

But Gabriel’s troubles are only just beginning. For things are not as they seem inside the mountain, and soon he will face a much larger problem: how to get Mags and the others out.”

Rating/Triggers: PG-13 (violent/gory images, themes of apocalypse and worldwide breakdown/disaster, could be scary for an audience too young for that kind of thing)

Genre/Stats: As of June 3rd, 2017, this book’s Amazon ranking and genres are as seen below.

among wolves product details 6-3

Spoilers May Exist Below!

Diversity: For a cast of characters as limited as this post-apocalyptic community, there was a surprising amount of diversity and inclusion. Many characters are not highly specified in their appearances, which was nice to me because you could think of them in all sorts of ways.

To be honest, the whole time I was reading, I was imagining what this would look like as a movie and all of the possibilities there. 😍

There was one explicitly black character, as far as I can remember, and he was dead (but vital to the plot). There were some minor characters in the subplot (a flashback-type situation where the actual end of the world was explained, but more on that later) who were Asian. But many of the characters simply weren’t described by their skin tones/races/ethnicities/etc at all (which I thought was at least better than making everybody explicitly white, right?).

The main female character, Mags, is rather rebellious and likes to push against gender norms and the system of authority in the community, which seems especially pertinent in the tiny, super-religious community setup of this novel.

Also, one of the confusions for Gabriel in the plot (like, one of the two main tensions of the major plot) is that he thinks the old man he scavenges the outside world with, who once was one of the guards/military/Secret Service/whoever guarded the underground city-in-the-mountain place where they live, murdered the other old guard (the explicitly black character I referred to before).

It turns out that the two men had been a couple. Gabriel didn’t understand at first because he had grown up in this weird, extremely religious environment that the President created underground and had never really seen/heard much about homosexuality, but then when it clicked he didn’t really question it or say anything bad, he just accepted and respected it, which was cool.

Originality & Plot: I thought that there were a lot of really neat ideas and themes going on throughout this piece. It wasn’t extremely original (small, isolated community existing post-apocalypse), but it’s hard to find an apocalypse story that is.

The way that the apocalypse is brought around is interesting, though, as is the way it is slowly revealed as a subplot while the main plot goes on. The President, who leads the little community of the only known survivors, used to be a pastor. He sends one of the devout women from his old church, who seems to happen to do calculations for what buildings in other countries might house nuclear facilities (it’s never outright explained, like some of the other details in this piece, so it’s a little difficult to figure out exactly what happens, but that’s what I got from it), on a mission in Asia to a nuclear facility she has detected.

She carries a virus she is supposed to infect the facility with. It is supposed to target and break down certain kinds of metal in order to destroy the nuclear facilities and help get rid of the nuclear threat in the world. She is told that it will not affect or harm her. But, of course, that’s not how things like this go. This book is listed in Horror, right?

Instead of being fine and just passing the nano virus around the facility (though it would seem that does happen, too, it seems to spread around the world very quickly and destroys buildings and all sorts of metal objects), the woman becomes the first Fury. The virus apparently targets the iron in people’s blood (because no scientist would have thought of that! Or maybe it is purposeful, like the rest of the crazy plot) and basically turns them into a kind of vampire creature they call Furies later on.

Her hair all turns white and her eyes turn all white or all black and then she blacks out and tears some guard’s throat out in the bathroom. The virus sapping all the iron from Furies’ blood makes them need/crave other blood, apparently, and we see two others in the space of the novel. Hopefully, there will be more of/about them in the second book.

The community Gabriel grows up in is led by the President (like of the USA). His elementary class “just so happens” to be the only one visiting the White House in emergency-level circumstances when most of the country/world seems to be pretty much shutting down from the spreading virus. They are all swept into the helicopters when the President flees to his underground safe haven just before bombs start to drop, and then are raised in a small, extremely strict, extremely conservative environment, led by the President (who seems to have gone back to a kind of pastor role). He requires that the children go to his sermons and do confessions consistently, and he plans on choosing 

They are all swept into the helicopters when the President flees to his underground safe haven, just before bombs start to drop, and then are raised in a small, extremely strict and conservative environment, led by the President (who seems to have gone back to a kind of pastor role). He requires that the children go to his sermons and do confessions consistently, and he plans on choosing their partners/mates for them. I don’t even want to call it spouses, because the whole thing is just so wrong.

But it seems like any adults who have tried to say anything about the wrongs of the system disappear or die mysteriously. The children’s teacher “commits suicide” after she tries to keep educating the children though she was told not to. Many of the kids end up unable to read, which seems to be what the President wants, while Gabriel and Mags practice with books from outside and Mags even secretly teaches others. 

Ben, the black guard I’ve referred to before, started to question the community and work on a plan to travel to other underground bunkers (which becomes the second part of the plot, basically), and then mysteriously dies while outside the bunker (he is shot by the President’s main crony and Gabriel finds his body, which is why he thinks Marv, the old guy, killed him). Once Marv and Gabriel start to cause the slightest bit of trouble, the President has his crony basically put the virus in the two scavengers’ breathing masks/respirator masks. Marv kills himself eventually so that he won’t become a Fury, and Gabriel just luckily never wears his mask anyway.

And then there’s the “virgin” pregnancy. One of the girls growing up in the mountain gets pregnant and believes that she got pregnant virginly, like Mary in the Bible stories that the President tells them. She doesn’t realize that the President hs been drugging her and his crony carrying her back to her bunk afterward… And when she tells the community that she is pregnant, he exiles her outside, where she freezes to death just outside the mountain.

So yeah, murder definitely seems to be the President’s favored way of keeping his secrets and weeding his community as he desires. He has a whole weird religious fervor going throughout his community which leads to lots of interesting religious imagery throughout the book (metal crosses Marv and Gabriel wear while outside to detect the virus, the “virgin” birth, the focus on blood with the Furies, different apocalyptic threads to hold to).

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Image from Brandy Dopkins on Flickr. Used under creative commons license with no alterations.

Editing Perspective: I noticed extremely minimal errors in editing and was pleased to note that my reading was never pulled from focus by mistakes or issues in grammar, content, development, or anything else. I was extremely pleased with this one!

Feminist Perspective: The children’s teacher and Mags were both strong, interesting characters who attempted to be as powerful as they could be in their situations. Mags rebels against the norms that the President tries to enforce about feminine appearance and behavior. The teacher even pushes back against him when he tries to tell her not to educate the children.

However, the majority of the characters are male, especially those who see any action in this book. The main character of the book is male. It can be argued, however, that the President enforcing his highly traditional norms on the other characters makes it this way. It also seems extremely likely that Mags and the other female youngsters will likely play much larger roles in the next book.

Final Review: I really enjoyed this book. I absolutely suggest reading it if you are even slightly interested in any of the genres or topics that are included in it. I have already added the next installment to my wishlist and will review it as soon as I obtain and read it.

I am currently working on several more book reviews and other videos and posts. Is there anything in particular you like or dislike about the content I have been creating lately? Anything you’d really like me to do next?

josieadeline

Lit For Life Book Reviews: The Irish Cottage by Juliet Gauvin

the irish cottage

Today’s title is The Irish Cottage: Finding Elizabeth by Juliet Gauvin. This is the first book in The Irish Heart series (which sits at 3 books), and was published in December, 2014. I read this book in about 4 hours, and it sits at 371 pages in length.

Rating/Triggers: R (Explicit sex scenes, suggestions of sexual assault, suggestions of abuse, explicit violence, guns, cursing, drinking)

Amazon’s Summary:

“Elizabeth Lara built a perfect life as San Francisco’s top divorce attorney, but when she loses her great-aunt Mags, the woman who raised her, she boards a plane and leaves it all behind.

The Irish shores welcome her as she learns a shocking truth, kept secret for thirty-five years. Devastated and now alone in the world, Beth tries to find peace in a beautiful cottage by Lough Rhiannon, but peace isn’t what fate had in mind. Almost as soon as she arrives, Beth’s solitary retreat into the magic wilds of Ireland is interrupted by Connor Bannon. A man with light brown hair, ice blue eyes and a secret of his own. He’s gorgeous, grieving, and completely unexpected.

With the help of Mags’ letters, the colorful townspeople of Dingle, and Connor, Elizabeth might just find a way back to the girl she lost long ago and become the woman she always wanted to be.

A Note From Jules:
Be forewarned you might not want to start this book late at night—several readers have reported “gobbling it up” and going on to the next book immediately. This book is literary women’s fiction, it is not a traditional romance, per se.”

Acquisition: I read this title as a Kindle ebook, which I “purchased” for free in December 2016 and just finally read this week. It was another Bookbub daily email suggestion. It is still available for free as of now, May 2017.

Spoilers May Exist Below!

Diversity: Harshly lacking. Nearly everybody is supermodel beautiful (and literally described as such), muscular, well-educated, and extremely wealthy. The romantic interest of the book, Connor, is literally a Lord who lives in a castle and is apparently embarrassed by this.  😒

Luckily, Elizabeth is not a stereotype in her emotional and mental choices/faculties. She is an extremely independent woman who has earned her own finances by being a brilliant divorce lawyer. She is strong-willed and physically defends herself, but also allows herself to hurt and mourn for her dear, recently departed great-aunt Mags who raised her.

There is also one character who is not heterosexual–one of Connor’s incredibly beautiful friends is described basically as a bisexual woman. This is mentioned when Elizabeth realizes that she is “eyeing” her, and then little other mention is made of it. In this way, the other character’s sexuality seems like a tool to reinforce Elizabeth’s attractiveness.

In the end, the characters never seem to have to work during the action of the novel, and only beautiful heterosexual love is really seen. I did not notice any differently-abled bodies, and one character, who is deemed “not right in the head,” even acts as a villain, trying to sexually assault Elizabeth and then threatening her with a gun after Connor goes to his father (see Feminist Perspective discussion below).

Originality & Plot: The major driver of this novels’ plot is that Elizabeth’s dear aunt has died, and so Elizabeth has taken a leave of absence from work (which she later decides to never return to) to rent an absurdly expensive home in Ireland in which to heal. She chooses Ireland because her aunt loved to travel and the two of them had been supposed to go there together, but Elizbeth was always “too busy.”

Mags left Elizabeth a series of letters (I believe it’s 17 total, and she only gets through I think 5 or 6 in this installment) in which she explains the truth about Elizabeth’s parents and how Mags thinks Elizabeth has lost herself and can find herself again. Some of these “letters” include photographs and/or sim cards with videos that the old woman has made of herself.

The love story of this book is not especially interesting. There are some half-decent sex scenes and luckily it is fairly reciprocal, but it also seems typical and can get boring (see more in Feminist Perspective discussion below). The characters are not especially original, with the exception of Mags, but the larger plot of healing, exploration, and self-acceptance seems fairly interesting if not quite new.

Editing Perspective:  There are a few times when the author uses unnecessary all-caps. I understand that all-caps is equivalent to yelling, but in literature, you can achieve the desired effect with simple exclamation marks. There is no need to use both because it just seems harsh. I would love to know what you think, but I always cringe when I try to read anything in caps, especially entire sentences. 😒 Luckily, these only occurred at the beginning of the text.

There are, unfortunately, several times when the narrator seems messed up: they occasionally know things they shouldn’t as a third person limited narrator. Occasionally, they speak about things that Connor thinks, feels, or believes instead of Elizabeth. It is very confusing and really brings me out of the world of the book.

Feminist Perspective: This book has some definite problems, from a feminist view. The first is discussed above: the one non-hetero character is a bisexual woman whose bisexuality is only discussed or used to reinforce the attractiveness of the protagonist.

Another issue is that of the minor “villain” type character. He is, of course, set up as one of the few less-than-gorgeous people in the book. He is introduced when he makes a comment to his friends about wanting to sexually assault Elizabeth, which sends Connor into a rage, as discussed below. This character then pops up again at a dance when he tries to get a drunk Elizabeth to leave with him (she kicks his ass). After this, Connor secretly goes to the boy’s father to “tell on him” in a way, but it is alluded to that the father beats or otherwise abuses the boy. The boy then comes to Elizabeth’s house in the night with a gun, seemingly to kill her to get his revenge.

When Elizabeth gets herself out of the danger (by pretending to seduce him), she tells Connor not to be angry because the boy needs psychiatric help. I felt that his character was so confusing and strange and seemed to parallel Connor, like what Connor would be seen as if he weren’t so hot.

In fact, there are several times that Elizabeth specifically says that things Connor and his friends say or do would be really creepy if they weren’t so gorgeous. For some reason, though, this highly intelligent and independent woman excuses downright creepy and gross remarks because the men who say or do them are so attractive.

When they concede to their attraction, Connor suddenly finds himself easily enraged by jealousy and/or protectiveness (as above). He says that he has never felt that way or been violent, but “something about Elizabeth brings it out.” How many times do I have to use the side-eye emoji? She even says that it seems like a red flag, but she is just so hot for him that she is willing to ignore it, as long as sh believes he won’t hurt her.

I was pleased, however, that Elizabeth does prove herself an independent woman. She decides to follow her heart and “the Universe” as Mags’ letters have taught her to do. She decides to go on with the next stage of her journey to self-discovery by trying to help Mags with her final wishes. She leaves Connor and basically tells him, “Yeah, I love you and we helped each other heal, but I have my own adventure to go on. I’m not about to just follow you on yours.” I thought that was pretty sweet.

Final Review: In the end, I thought that this was a perfectly good quick vacation read, the kind of thing I would read on the beach if the beach didn’t sound like death by sunburn to me. I think that, as long as it is free, it is a read that wouldn’t hurt and could easily be worth your time if it sounds like something you might be interested in. I will be adding the next books in the series to my wishlist, ready and willing to review the rest of the series when I am able to do so.

It has its weaknesses, certainly, but I think that The Irish Cottage was interesting and made some good statements about self-reliance and living your own life as your adventure, owing yourself a great ride. (P.S. If you read the book, check out the Amazon page afterward and see how similar the protagonist is to the author. 😂)

Let me know if there are any specific books you would like me to review or if you have any questions/comments about this one.

josieadeline globe

Lit For Life Book Reviews: Perception by Lee Strauss

perception by lee strauss cover

Today’s title is Perception by Lee Strauss (and Elle Strauss, apparently, though her name isn’t on the cover?). It is the first book of The Perception Trilogy and was published as an ebook in December of 2013. I read this book in between 3 and 4 hours, and it sits at 313 pages.

Summary on Amazon:

“Seventeen year old Zoe Vanderveen is a GAP—a genetically altered person. She lives in the security of a walled city on prime water-front property along side other equally beautiful people with extended life spans.
Her brother Liam is missing.

Noah Brody is a natural who lives on the outside. He leads protests against the GAPs and detests the widening chasm they’ve created between those who have and those who don’t. He doesn’t like girls like Zoe and he has good reason not to like her specifically.

Zoe’s carefree life takes a traumatic turn. She’s in trouble and it turns out that Noah, the last guy on earth she should trust, is the only one who can help her.

PERCEPTION is a dystopian romance Young Adult novel that takes place in the not too distant future in a world changed by climate extremes, natural disasters and impending wars, and where scientific breakthroughs cause class divisions—both financially and philosophically. It explores the clash between faith and science and how differences can separate us as enemies or ally us together. And in some cases, even in the midst of betrayal and personal crisis, there’s room to fall in love.”

Acquisition: I read this title as a Kindle ebook, which I “purchased” for free. It was suggested to me by Bookbub in my daily deals email as a currently-free ebook in March of 2016, and is free as of now, as well (May, 2017). It is also available as a paperback and as an audiobook.

Spoilers May Exist Below!

Diversity: So-so. The GAPs (Genetically Altered Persons) in the book often are described similarly, but this is also made a point and an uncomfortable fact several times. Because these GAPs are genetically altered and specifically “designed” to be as attractive and aesthetically “perfect” as possible, they look fairly similar and are usually tall, beautiful, blond men and women.These characters are also very similar in their great wealth, intelligence, education, and beliefs. They are all wealthy and are of a distinctly higher social class than “naturals,” who are not even allowed to enter GAP cities (which have much better architecture, security, and energy efficiency) unless they work for a GAP family and are authorized to enter. However, the “naturals” who are described have more physical diversity.

These characters are also very similar in their great wealth, intelligence, education, and beliefs. They are all wealthy and are of a distinctly higher social class than “naturals,” who are not even allowed to enter GAP cities (which have much better architecture, security, and energy efficiency) unless they work for a GAP family and are authorized to enter.

The GAPs also all seem to be educated to the same level and hold the same morals/beliefs, which are fairly entwined. They all go to the university in Sol City (the GAP city in/connected to LA) and are expected to make contributions to science, which is basically what they have faith in instead of religion of any kind. Science is what gives them extremely long lives, immunity to almost all disease, and their social standing, and so it is also what they have faith in.

However, the “naturals” who are described have more physical diversity. Noah and his family are described as having darker “caramel-colored” skin. Dexter has red hair, and other unnamed characters in the “natural” city are described as being overweight, different skin tones, etc. Noah’s mother is extremely sick and Dexter is addicted to pharmaceuticals. However, I did not notice any differently-abled bodies, any non-hetero sexualities, or any non-cis individuals. 🙁

The “naturals” are also much more likely to have different moral and religious beliefs. Though they state that the vast majority of all churches have closed, it is also stated that religion may be alive and well in the family homes of the non-GAP communities. Noah’s father was a pastor (I don’t know if that was the exact word they used, but I think so? He led a church, anyway) who led the first protests against genetically altering people and their life spans, and Noah begins work to bring those protests back.

Originality & Plot: I thought that the overall ideas behind this novel were intriguing and seemed fairly original, though it reminded me of some other futuristic young adult books I have read in the past (see final review, below). The sci-fi kinds of technology ideas (city layouts, GAPs and disease immunity, energy efficiency, magnet grids, etc) were interesting ones and were well-laid-out and consistent throughout the book. It seemed very consistent and interesting that the GAP cities had much, much larger amounts of technology available and around. The whole “mystery” part of the plot is interesting  So, the dystopian and sci-fi parts of the plot were compelling.

The love story part of this book was not as compelling–beautiful girl falls in love with boy who is off-limits/is not “as good as” her/her family tells her she can’t be with–kinda yawn, isn’t it? However, thankfully their relationship does have some interesting points. Noah makes Zoe think about religion and moral choices. He makes her consider what a relationship with somebody who will live half as long as her means. But I really feel that the book could have gone on perfectly fine without the romance.

Editing Perspective: Sometimes, editing issues can be very distracting and seem to be much more common in these free, sometimes self-published book. However, I only noticed two missed errors in this entire book. Both were near the end and were simple little issues–single quotation marks where no speech was occurring. They did take me out of the story momentarily, but not enough to affect my experience.

Formatting, content, development of plot and characters, and pacing all seemed appropriate and well-done, and no issues with any of these things took me away from the story to figure out a why? or a what’s going on?. In the end, I was very happy and impressed with the book’s overall editing and level of polish.

Feminist Perspective: Zoe is a strong-willed young woman who finds ways to surreptitiously bypass authority when she feels it is necessary. I was glad to read her as an independent individual after a while, finally choosing to learn more about and spend time with those who do not have the extreme level of privilege that she was born with. When her grandfather alters her memory, though, she is highly dependent on her boyfriend Jackson and then on Noah, who “kidnaps” her to help her find her memories that she did not know that she had lost.

There are some problematic representations here, though. Pretty much all of the named and important characters are highly attractive, including the “natural” Noah–Zoe only decides that she can be attracted to him at all when she spends enough time staring at him to decide that he is good-looking despite his non-white, non-blond status and his single crooked tooth.

It is also frustrating and problematic to me that the book completely lacks disabled bodies of any kind, non-hetero relationships of any kind, and non-cis characters of any kind. I hope that these lackings can be addressed in some way in future books (is it a societal issue? are these individuals entirely unaccepted? have we simply not seen them because we spent much of this novel with Zoe in the GAP Sol City?) and that Zoe will reclaim her strength and independence, so that she doesn’t have to rely on Noah to “save” her.

Final Review: This book is well-written and intriguing. I felt that the pacing and action of the plot kept me very interested throughout. I will definitely be putting the second and third installments on my wishlist and be 100% ready and willing to read and review them, as well.  I do wish that the story had more diversity in it, but, in the end, it was not a bad book at all.

The futuristic style and altered human beings, as well as the way that the characters address these ideas, reminded me of The Uglies series by Scott Westerfield. The dystopian model and the ways in which science and education interact with society and government, as well as the whole idea of their running away from the society because of big secrets, reminds me a lot of The Barcode Tattoo books by Suzanne Weyn. If you liked these books, you will probably enjoy this one!

josieadeline

#GotItFree: Poppy Voxbox from Influenster

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It’s always exciting finding a Voxbox in the mail! It’s free products in exchange for a promise to review them and complete activities, all through Influenster.

I opened my Poppy Voxbox late last week. I just finished my last school final (ever!) last night, so now I can finally put together a good post about it. I am extremely excited to try everything out: I’ve never tried any of the products from this box!

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The first thing in the box is a sample size packet of the Nyakio Kenyan Coffee Face Polish. I was very glad that the card had pronunciation information on it because I always have issues and never would have gotten that right! I have never tried a face polish/exfoliator before. I have sensitive skin that is prone to redness and blotches, so I’m not sure how this product will work for me. However, I have a coffee lip scrub that I love! I will update or post again when I try this out!

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Eva NYC dry shampoo and coupon

The next item in the box was this Eva NYC Freshen Up dry shampoo. I was really excited for this product! I received a sample size of the 10-in-1 Mane Magic in a recent Ipsy bag and I love the smell of it and how my hair feels and looks afterward! I really love and rely on dry shampoos. With my purple hair and the slowly warming weather, they help get me a few more days between washes to preserve color and keep from worrying.

I have tried this product out and I like it! It is not extremely strong, but it works for me on mildly oily days. Plus, it smells nice! Another positive is that it doesn’t cause a lot of white cast, thank goodness. That is what drives me crazy and leads me away from certain dry shampoos.

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Nivea In-Shower Body Lotion

The next item in my Voxbox was this Nivea In-Shower Body Lotion. It is for Very Dry Skin and has almond oil in it. I have seen these before and was curious about them, but have never tried an in-shower treatment like this. I love the Nivea lip balms in the little tins that I have and my skin is usually dry, so hopefully, I will enjoy this and it will work for me. I will update here or post when I try it out.

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Tide Pods with Downy and coupon

Then there was this packet and coupon. I received a single Tide laundry pod to try out and a $2 off coupon to get more if I like them. I have not tried these out because they have always seemed too expensive. However, if I could get them on a deal with coupons and Target Cartwheel discount, maybe they would be worth it. I will update or post when I try this product out!

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These two Rimmel cosmetics were the next things that came out of this great Voxbox. The micro precision eyeliner has an ultra fine tip and is waterproof. The Oh My Gloss! is in the shade Master Pink and has a thin, flexible, double-sided style of doe foot applicator.

I have been testing out these products for the last few days and I like them fine. The eyeliner is really extremely thin and tiny, so if you like precision, this is the liner for you! It really is budge-proof, which is great for wings like I like. If you like big liner or big wings, it will probably take you a little time to build it up because of how small this tip is.

The gloss isn’t sticky–thank goodness, because I cannot stand sticky glosses! It isn’t a strong color, either, just a light shine. Because of the pale pink shade, it does look a little funny where it builds up along the edges if I’m not looking in a mirror when I put it on. It also wears off super fast. Personally, I will stick with my Ultra Glazewear glosses instead, because I think that they are much longer lasting and I like the shades and trust my Avon True Color cosmetics.

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The final item in this Voxbox is this pack of 7th Heaven foot masques. They are supposed to get your feet ready for summer and sandal season. My feet are weird though, and I get clammy if I’m not wearing socks, so I don’t know how much they will be able to do for me. I also wear a size 10, so I wonder how big these are. I will update or post when I try this product out!

Thanks so much for checking out this unboxing! What do you think of these products? Have you tried any of them? I would love any comments or suggestions about using them.

Best Wishes,

Josie

kuCegeci