Saturday, June 27, 2015

Review: Gotham Academy Vol. 1

Gotham Academy Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy (The New 52)
by Becky Cloonan, Brendan Fletcher, & Karl Kerschel

Graphic Novel, Teen, Mystery
Ebook/Print (160 pages, DC COMICS)
Welcome to Gotham Academy, the most prestigious school in Gotham City. Only the best and brightest students may enter its halls, study in its classrooms, explore its secret passages, summon its terrifying spirits…
Okay, so Gotham Academy isn’t like other schools. But Olive Silverlock isn’t like other students. After a mysterious incident over summer break, she’s back at school with a bad case of amnesia, an even worse attitude… and an unexplained fear of bats.
Olive’s supposed to show new student Maps Mizoguchi the ropes. Problem: Maps is kid sister of Kyle, Olive’s ex. Then there’s the ghost haunting the campus…the secret society conducting bizarre rituals…and Bruce Wayne, the weirdo billionaire who funds the Academy - and may know the secret to Olive’s big mystery.
Find out in GOTHAM ACADEMY VOL. 1, the acclaimed new series from co-writers Becky Cloonan (DEMO) and Brendan Fletcher (BATGIRL) and artist Karl Kerschl (TEEN TITANS: YEAR ONE)! Collects GOTHAM ACADEMY #1-6.

Nice option for the middle-school reader. (5 stars)

I'm notably new to the DC universe. I've just always been a Marvel girl but I'm trying to expand my reading this year and I'd heard good stuff about Gotham Academy. I'm so glad I did because I love a good boarding school story and this one is really good.

Since I was previously unfamiliar with the characters I definitely felt like I was missing something but that added to the mystery that Olive and Maps are trying to solve. I was pretty amused with what they discovered and am very eager to see where the story heads in the next volume. In particular I loved the illustration style, it suited the story so very well I felt it was important to mention.

If you liked the new Batgirl or have enjoyed the Vampire Academy graphic novelization or loved Runaways—all three of which I loved—I would highly recommend picking this up!

Notes: ARC received via Edelweiss.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

My Secret to Staying Hydrated All Summer Long

Infuser Water Bottle by Live Infinitely

Company Site: website
Product Details: SAVE MONEY & CALORIES - By using our infuser water bottles you not only have found a delicious alternative to achieving your daily intake of water, but you're also saving money with an eco-friendly and reusable infusion water bottle!
INFUSE EVERY DROP - Top loading infusion water bottles stop working the second you start to drink and decrease the water level. Our design allows the fruit to be infusing the entire time with the infusion basket at the BOTTOM of the bottle! Designed with the finest TRITAN material, we ensure a top quality water infuser that is FDA approved, BPA free, leak proof and dishwasher safe
STAY HEALTY - Fruit infused water provides an exceptional alternative to artificial flavoring. The options to customize your fruit water are endless; combine watermelons, kiwis, strawberries, lemons and more! Infusion tumbler can be refilled all day using the same fruit
VERSATILE - Use for more than just fruit! Perfect tea tumbler to take your favorite iced tea on the go, removable infusion basket to create the perfect sports water bottle, or bring the fun to any situation and use as your personal vodka infuser
Also available in blue, green, orange, purple and red.

A great way to stay hydrated. (4 Stars)

I love being the envy of my friends (who doesn't) and everyone has been asking me how I always have amazing mint water all summer long... FOR FREE. Well my secret is that I planted mint in my flower beds instead of shrubs and flowers because it's crazy low maintenance while providing food for the bee population in my area, looks amazing without much more than weeding, smells phenomenal, and of course, has wonderful edible uses. My favorite of which—aside from homemade mint ice cream, of course—is infused water.

Every couple of days I go out and snip stalks of chocolate-mint or my new favorite orange-mint and pop them in an infuser bottle to make chilly good drinks. But let's face it, not all infuser bottles are awesome. I have one I love but the infusion cup is at the top and you're drinking the water right through it which can be a little awkward. So I picked up this one from Live Infinitely for review because the infuser is in the bottom of the bottle.

Drinking wise I prefer it! I used it wrong the first time, forgetting that the words have to be a certain way and hated it but once I realized I had it wrong I was really pleased with the comfortable rim for drinking. I would love it with a spout at the top so it's just a little easier when I'm working out but it's not a deal breaker. I do feel it worth noting that I get a tiny bit of leakage that I can't seem to fix. (You can see it in the photo). It's very minimal so it would only bug me if I regularly stuck it on a wood surface. And no it's not condensation as the photo might suggest, I tested for that a few times and it does it with every use I've had.

I would give this a try with delicious combos like strawberry-basil, lemon-thyme, ginger-orange, raspberry-mint, and pineapple-blueberry!

Notes: I received a complimentary product in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Review: ODY-C Vol. 1 by Christian Ward & Matt Fraction

ODY-C Volume 1 by Christian Ward & Matt Fraction

Graphic Novel, Retelling
Print (136 pages, IMAGE)
An eye-searing, mind-bending, gender-shattering epic science fiction retelling of Homer's Odyssey starting with the end of a great war in the stars and the beginning of a very long journey home for Odyssia and her crew of warriors. The journey to Ithicaa begins HERE, by Matt Fraction (Sex Criminals) and Christian Ward (Infinite Vacation, Olympus).
Publisher Site: website

Wasn't for me but I think others will love it. (2 stars)

I was that weirdo who actually really enjoyed having to read The Odyssey in high school so I was pretty stoked when I started hearing buzz about ODY-C. Unfortunately, as much as I loved the idea of it... I didn't like it at all. I never stop in the middle of a graphic novel and make the conscious decision that it's just not my cup of tea but ODY-C just didn't work for me. Maybe it was the disjointed way it was written or the art that reminded me a lot of Low but I decided that this was one of those times when it wasn't going to get better for me and I'd be better off reading something different.

That said I really think that if you loved Low or Jupiter's Legacy, maybe even Pretty Deadly you'll find this warped and weird retelling turns your crank. It is really conceptually cool, especially if you love seeing women in powerful roles. I won't give away the surprisingly odd and good twistedness that was it's one saving merit but dude, if you like trippy stuff I would recommend giving it a try.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Review:'s The Walking Dead-inspired Carol's Cookies Tee

Yesterday, Mr. Rhi and I were getting ready for bed and he was regaling me some hooplah about how a co-worker said he needed to get some new t-shirts. To this I raised my eyes from my book and gave him 'the look'. You see, Mr. Rhi and I have a problem... we have a closet that has about 12' of bar and at least 4' of those feet are taken up by his collection of pop culture tee shirts. This is after we cleaned it out last summer and reduced it a couple of feet. The man buys funny graphic tees and pop culture inspired ones the way some people buy movies.

Gettin' fit for the zombie apocalypse!
With 'the look' trained on him I replied, "And did you tell so-and-so that you already have about 70 t-shirts in your closet? Perhaps you just need to stop wearing your 5 favorites over and over?"

To this Mr. Rhi gave a sheepish look and a snort because we both know it's just a fact of his personality. I have many pop culture tees myself, as I'm sure you've seen on my Instagram feed. I simply can't help myself. I tried wearing cute tops and being more girly but I'm just not that kind of lady. I'm just much more comfortable in a t-shirt and I'm not all that fond of plain ones. They're boring and I don't do boring. So when the lovely folks at let me have one of their The Walking Dead-inspired Carol's Cookies T-Shirts to review I knew I was in trouble.

I might have worn it 3 times in the week I've had it—with washes in between, what kind of person do you think I am!?!—because it's such a fab shirt. I was really impressed with the quality of the silk screening and that the preshrunk cotton tee itself didn't shrink. Yeah, I've had my fair share of supposed preshrunk tees shrink up on me and that's always frustrating.

I usually wear a women's XL fitted or a Men's Small so I went with a Men's Medium because I wanted a looser fit for this one. As you can see above it fits as expected. The design is also available in kids sizes, hoodies, long sleeve tees, and tanks too. The Carol's Cookies t-shirt not really your thing? They have lots of other fun pop culture inspired tees and just plain funny ones. They even have hats.

Be sure you give BigTimeTeez a Like on Facebook if you've read the review this far because they do lots of flash sales and giveaways you won't want to miss.

Note: I received a free product in exchange for this honest review.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Review: The Blender Girl Smoothies by Tess Masters

The Blender Girl Smoothies: 100 Gluten-Free, Vegan, and Paleo-Friendly Recipes by Tess Masters

Release Date: June 30th, 2015
Health & Wellness, Cookbook
Ebook/Print (256 pages, TEN SPEED)
A beautiful collection of vegan smoothies from powerhouse blogger The Blender Girl, featuring photographs, flavor boosters, and nutritional add-ons for every recipe.
The Blender Girl takes smoothies to the next level in this comprehensive guide, helping you blast your way to good health and blended bliss. These 100 creative and delicious recipes are designed to fit your every need, whether you want to detox, lose a few pounds, get energized, or guard against seasonal colds. Each smoothie has three optional boosters (like chia seeds, ginger, coconut oil, or wheat grass) that allow you to ramp up flavor, nutrient value, or both. Featuring gorgeous photography throughout, a smoothie pantry that demystifies unusual ingredients, icons to identify smoothies that fit your particular dietary needs, and strategies for achieving smoothie success, this accessible handbook makes it fun and easy to find your perfect blend.

Very involved but also, worth it! (4 stars)

Somehow I missed the Blender Girl boat but that's okay. Since the temps have risen I've been in a mood to consume nothing but smoothies every day and since that's not really very healthy I wanted a great resource for improving the ones I was making. I have to admit I never bothered following any of the recipes, that's just not my style, but I've been inspired to play around with liquids I didn't use before like juices and coconut water now when before I tended to prefer nut milks and teas.

Whether you're the kind of person who needs a recipe or prefers to get inspired there's an amazing array to go with here. Each recipe is very purposed whether it's focusing on a healthier liver or helping clear your skin so you won't be finding a lot of random stuff thrown together. Many are unsweetened too which is a nice change of pace for folks like myself who hate stevia. These are vegan so you also won't find yogurt or milk as an ingredient but for those of us who aren't I think some of these could be adapted well to suit the addition of honey or yogurt if desired.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Review: Nail Art by Douglas Scotti and Alessandra Pelagotti

Nail Art by Douglas Scotti & Alessandra Pelagotti

Children's Nonfiction, Beauty, Fashion
Release Date: July 15th, 2015
Print (48 pages, DOVER)
With this book's illustrated advice, you can not only give yourself an ideal manicure but also use your fingernails to express your moods and creativity. Discover how to add musical notes, flowers, snowflakes, animal faces, and other dainty designs to your nails.
Each style features a color photo and step-by-step instructions. The designs are graded according to difficulty, from simplest of styles to those requiring expert skills. With these guidelines and a little practice, anyone can learn to create the most sophisticated nail art.
(Age 8-16)
Publisher Site: blank

Perfect for the budding tween/teen nail artist.  (4 stars)

Nail art has been trending for several years now and what used to be viewed as trashy, has since become so popular it's everywhere. From the lunch lady to the celebrity, beautytubers to preschoolers. I'm terrible at it but I love it as an art form so I was curious what this book would bring to a young artist. My own daughter is a few years to young for it but a good friend has an 11 year old that I think would absolutely LOVE this book.

The ideas are simple and though I sometimes feel the instructions could have been a bit more helpful to a kid trying to do them they were also very well laid out. Most of these are basics that are very easy—I've done the cloud one myself, for example—and others are a little more involved but still simple enough they look harder than they are—like the watermelon/strawberry which I have also done and got lots of compliments on.

If you're looking for a fun way to keep your tween/teenager busy this summer I would gladly give this book a recommendation. The only thing I didn't care for were how unprofessional a lot of the photos looked, they used fake nails a lot that did not fit the models' nails and it looked awful.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

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Review: Indulge Personal Lubricant

Indulge Personal Lubricant
Product Details: Experience total bliss with indulge personal water based lubrication. This sensual lube provides the added moisture to enhance your erotic sessions whether you're alone or with a partner. Safe to use with any adult toys and compliments any type of birth control, including latex condoms. Indulge is the perfect bedroom companion.
Smooth, slippery, wet and loads of fun. Indulge sex lube is colorless, odorless and tasteless. Superb for vaginal dryness and does not irritate sensitive skin. It is easy to dispense, with no smell, no irritation. Leaves no stains and washes off skin and fabric without a problem indulge has a very natural and clean sensation.
Discreet, elegant, black safety-sealed bottle, packaged with a pump for easy dispensing. Indulge water based lube is light and easy to use. One simple pump is enough for a passionate session of pleasure. Large 16oz bottle will provide endless indulgence and lasts as long as needed.
Made in the USA in a professional laboratory using the highest measures of safety and FDA sites. Your Health and wellness are of prime importance with our lubrication. A very safe way for a wonderful amount of enjoyment.

Ingredients: Glycerin, Water (Aqua), Carboxymethyl-cellulose, Pentylene Glycol, Potassium Sorbate

Your mileage may vary... (3 Stars)

The older I get the more I appreciate the glory that is personal lubricant. When it comes to intimacy the saying 'the wetter the better' is just way too true. It's been my personal experience that I tend to prefer silicone based lubricants but as a toy user from time to time I've pretty much gone to water based lubricants only. All it takes is accidentally grabbing the wrong lube in the dark and ruining an expensive favorite silicone toy to make ya kick it out of the bedroom. If you're a toy fan Indulge is toy friendly and condom safe making it an excellent choice.

Unfortunately for me, I found that Indulge was mildly to moderately irritating. My skin overall tends to run on the sensitive side but this is the first time I've found a lube that caused discomfort. I know the info says it won't but it did. I believe it could be the potassium sorbate which from what I was able to discover upon trying to figure out which ingredient might have caused it seems to be commonly known to cause irritation. So if you tend to be on the sensitive side this is something to consider but otherwise I think it's a good lubricant at a very good price. Bonus, it's made in the USA!

Notes: I received a discounted product in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Radha Tea Tree Oil

Radha Tea Tree Oil
Product Details: PREMIUM TEA TREE OIL - 100% Pure & Natural Essential Oil Therapeutic Grade- The best Tea Tree Oil on the market produced through steam distillation of fresh leaves. This versatile oil can be used in your beauty routine, home remedies, and much more! 4 ounce bottle!
WORKS OR YOUR MONEY BACK - Our Guarantee: We back our products up with a LIFETIME hassle-free money back guarantee, no matter where you buy our product. There is absolutely no risk to you when you order now! If you are not completely satisfied, simply contact us and we will give you a full refund, no questions asked (you do not even have to return the bottle). Our #1 priority is to make sure our customers are completely happy.
MOST VERSATILE ESSENTIAL OIL - Helps heal and soothe sunburns. Heals skin infections naturally and helps to prevent lice naturally, just add a few drops to your shampoo. A few drops in your pets' crates or beds keep the fleas away. Has been found as an effective treatment for warts and soothes insect bites. Treats ringworm and is great for removing ticks.
PREMIUM QUALITY MELALEUCA OIL - Best home remedy for skin tag removal, acne, dandruff, toenail fungus, yeast infections, cold sores, ringworm and more! Great to mix with carrier oils such as Radha's Fractionated Coconut Oil to relax and soothe sore muscles. Another benefit is that it has a pleasant aroma and opens the sinuses and bronchial tubes for easier breathing, which results in deeper relaxation. Tea tree oil can be used in facial massages, mix with Radha Miracle Retinol Moistorizer and apply to your face to protect against the bacteria that causes acne.
WORKS WONDERS AS A NATURAL ANTISEPTIC- Great to have in your first aid kit.Tea tree oil is an essential oil that is soothing, detoxifying and cleansing for the feet, and it is very effective in soothing sore, tired feet after a long day. Because it has antifungal properties, it also helps to prevent and eliminate athlete's foot when it is used regularly as part of foot massages. Before massaging your feet with this oil, make sure that your feet are clean and that you use Radha Beauty's Fractionated Coconut Oil as a carrier oil for the tea tree oil. It only takes a few drops of tea tree oil for it to be effective.

Smells wrong. (2 Stars)

I have been using tea tree oil for years and unfortunately as soon as I opened this one I could tell something was either wrong with it or that it's not pure tea tree. In fact it smells downright chemical, the odor reminds me of the household cleaner Comet. I'm not sure if it's contaminated or something was different about the production but it does not smell like tea tree oil is supposed to.

While the blue bottle is very pretty, I just can't recommend this one.

Notes: I received a complimentary product in exchange for this honest review.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Review: Batgirl: Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside

Batgirl Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside (The New 52)

by Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and Babs Tarr
Graphic Novel, Superhero
Print/Ebook (176 pages, DC COMICS)
Barbara Gordon’s ready for a fresh start. She’s packing her bags, crossing the bridge, and heading to Gotham’s coolest neighborhood: Burnside. And when a freak fire burns up her costume and gear, Babs has the chance to become a whole new Batgirl!
But she barely slips on her new DIY costume before Batgirl starts trending as Gotham’s first viral vigilante — and attracting a new wave of enemies who want her social-media spotlight for themselves. Meanwhile, the girl beneath the gear’s got a whole new crew of friends, college classes that are kicking her Bat-butt and a dating scene that can make anyone want to swipe left on life.
This bat’s done living in the shadows. But will the bright lights of Burnside burn her for good?
Red-hot creative team Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr reinvent Barbara Gordon from the boots up in BATGIRL: THE BATGIRL OF BURNSIDE (collects issues #35-40 and a story from SECRET ORIGINS #10). (Gr. 9+)

A great choice for a first timer. (5 stars)

I have a confession... I've never been a DC reader. But I kept hearing great stuff about the new Batgirl comics so I caved and checked this out and I was really pleasantly surprised. I love a great female protagonist comic and Batgirl goes one farther and rounds it out with supporting characters who are also women.

Babs is very relatable as she juggles her college life, friendships, and her role as a vigilante. It's an excellent starting point for someone like myself who has wanted to pull from the DC line but hasn't found a character/book to start with. Occasionally I could tell there was back story I was missing but it was written well enough that I never felt fully lost. The art is great and totally fit the story and I love the attention that was paid to Babs' costume being realistic. Can't wait for the next volume!

Notes: ARC received via Edelweiss.

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