Book Review: Final Girls by Riley Sager

Book: Final Girls by Riley Sager – kindle edition, 352 pages.

(Advanced Readers Copy)
expected release | June 2017

Synopsis: Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

My thoughts: This is the kind of book I’ve been looking for since I finished reading ‘You’ by Caroline Kepnes. A psychological thriller that would take me on twists and turns and keep me guessing until the very end. I’d heard good things about this book, and when Tonile from My Cup And Chaucer mentioned it was on Netgalley and available for review, I immediately applied for a copy.

I think with most thrillers knowing less about the story is always more, as you’re able to enjoy the ‘ride’ in an authentic spoiler-free way. With that in mind, I will keep this review short and sweet. I loved the concept of this book, and I loved having the two mysteries playing out alongside each other and coming to a joint conclusion and reveal. I wish there had been more of a push towards the mystery at the start of the book, and that the ending had been a little less rushed and slightly more drawn out; but overall I thought the story as a whole was well executed. It was fast paced throughout the majority of the book, and the flashbacks kept driving me towards the end so I could figure out what the heck had happened. The majority of the characters were unlikable and they make some extremely questionable decisions, but somehow it all still worked for me.

There are a lot of thrillers available on the market at the moment, and this one was unique enough to stand out from the crowd. If you’re looking for an engaging thriller that will keep you guessing right until the end, I highly recommend checking this out when it’s released later in the year.

Rating: 8/10

Summer Skincare Routine

Paula’s Choice Hydralight One-Step Face Cleanser – This will continue to feature as my go-to cleanser in every seasonal skin care routine, until I run out of my slowly dwindling stash. Paula’s Choice have discontinued the Hydralight range, and as you can imagine I am not very happy about it. This is one of the best cleansers I’ve ever used – it keeps my skin clear without feeling like it’s stripping anything away, and works really well with my sensitive skin.

Paula’s Choice Moisture Boost Toner – I decided to switch up my toner to something a little bit more moisturising for summer, and it’s been working wonders. I know the rule of thumb is generally to bump up your moisture in the colder months, but I feel like my skin needs it more in summer. I love this toner, and I can feel how moisturising this is compared to the others I’ve used from the Paula’s Choice range, and it leaves an almost creamy sort of feel to the skin after using it.

Paula’s Choice Hydralight Moisture-Infusion Lotion – Another of my go-to products that I’ll be using until I run out of what I have stashed away, because of course it’s been DISCONTINUED. It’ll be a sad day when I run out of this, because it’s one of my all-time favourite skin care products. It’s the perfect summer moisturiser – lightweight, soothing on the skin, and sinks into the skin well without leaving any sort of residue.

Skinceuticals Clarifying Clay Masque – This is probably the best clay mask I’ve ever used. I know, those are some strong words; but it’s true. It’s so soothing on the skin, and even when it hardens up it really doesn’t feel uncomfortable at all. My face is prone to a bit of redness, especially when I remove a face mask, but for some reason that never happens when I rinse this off. If you’re in the mood to splurge a bit on a lovely face mask, I’d highly recommend this one.

Eve Lom Muslin Cloth – I use this every morning in the shower to remove my cleanser, and find that it’s a really gentle way to exfoliate my skin on a daily basis. To be honest I don’t know if it’s worth buying a brand name muslin cloth, I’m pretty sure you can buy lengths of the material from Spotlight for a whole lot less.

Ren Flash Hydro-Boost – This is something relatively new in my routine, and my skin is really loving it. I try to use this a few times a week when I want to give my skin a bit of an extra hydration boost, and I think it really shows. I’m glad a little bit of this product goes a long way, because it’s not exactly inexpensive. I’m in two minds about whether I will repurchase it, but for now I will just enjoy it.

Product Review – Ren Flash Hydro-Boost

I received a Mecca Voucher from my girlfriends for my birthday last year, and decided to pick up a couple of new things to try. One of which was the Ren Flash Hydro-Boost. I had no idea what to expect with this product, as I did absolutely no research before purchasing it. All I knew was that Ren was a highly recommended brand by many of my favourite beauty lovers, and that I wanted something that could add a little bit of extra hydration to my skin. This product is different from anything I’ve used in the past, in that once you apply it you actually have to dab water onto your face to activate it. It sounds a bit weird, but it really does seem to work. I use this a couple of times a week when I feel like my skin needs a bit of an extra moisture boost, and I honestly think that results are obvious on the day that I use it. My skin somehow looks plumper and my makeup seems to sit a lot nicer on my skin. If you feel like your skin needs a bit of extra hydration this summer, I’d highly recommend picking this up. The Ren Flash Hydro-Boost retails for $64 AUD and is available for purchase from Mecca.

Book Review: Masked Innocence by Alessandra Torre

Book: Masked Innocence by Alessandra Torre – kindle edition, 304 pages.

Synopsis: The man was sinful. It wasn’t just the looks that made him dangerous, it was the cocky confidence that dominated every move, every touch. And the frustrating yet ecstatic fact about the whole package was that he could back it all up…

Julia Campbell never knows what to expect with win-at-all-costs Brad De Luca. And she’s starting to like it that way. She gave up safe, conventional relationships when she let the elite divorce attorney seduce her into his world. Now that he’s determined to strip her naked of every inhibition, she’s in danger of falling too deep and too fast.

But their affair begins to feel even more dangerous when a murder leaves a trail of suspicion that points straight to the mob… and Brad. Trusting a man with a bad reputation and a past full of secrets seems like a mistake. But when she’s forced to make a choice, the consequences will take her further than she could ever have imagined.

My thoughts: The first book off the shelf for 2017 was something a little bit different for me, as you could probably tell from the synopsis. I read the first book in this series last year, and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. My introduction to Alessandra Torre was through her Deanna Madden ‘Girl in 6E’ series, and after absolutely devouring those I decided to check out some of the other books she had written. Although the majority of what she writes falls more under the chick lit/erotica banner than crime/thriller (which is more my cup of tea), I’ve found that her books are always a lot of fun and I enjoy reading them.

Having said that, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed the first in the series. I’m not sure if it was because it wasn’t as new and fun to me as the first book was, but I felt like it fell a little flat. I found the protaganist in this book quite grating, and I’m not sure if that was because she made some terrible decisions throughout the book, or because I’m not a fan of “sassy” characters in general. The ‘hero’ in the book was also far less appealing to me than he was in book one. At one point in the story the lines of consent get a little bit blurry, and although I know erotica can push the boundaries in this area I’m still not a fan of the idea in general.

Overall I didn’t find this as fun and lighthearted as book one, which was the appeal for me in the first place. I think if you’re looking for an easy read (that’s more than a little bit raunchy), try Blindfolded Innocence; if you’re a fan of that, check this out… just go into it with mid-to-low level expectations.

Rating: 4/10

Product Review: Frank Original Coffee Scrub

Every now and then a product comes along that is surrounded by extreme hype, but for the most part I can them and eventually they fade away. The hype never really left the Frank Original Coffee Scrub, so decided to give it a go and popped it on my Christmas wish list. I ended up receiving both the original scrub and the peppermint scrub, but I decided to start with the original to see what all the fuss was about. This product certainly makes for a full on body scrub experience. First up – the smell is amazing. If you want a scrub that will kick-start you and wake you up in the morning, look no further. It’s especially good for me, as I can’t actually drink coffee but I do love the smell. The only downside to the smell is that it sort of lingers on the skin after you rinse it off, and I’m not a huge fan of products that do that. The scrub element itself is phenomenal. This is a heavy duty scrub, you can really feel it working away and getting the job done when you use it. And then of course there is the novelty element of you and your entire shower being covered in coffee grounds (don’t worry, it washes off). The scrub is vegan, cruelty free, and made in Australia. Frank Original Coffee Scrub retails for $16.95 and is available for purchase from Frank Body.