Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Schism The Battle For Darracia by MichaelPhillip Cash

On the planet Darracia, an ever-widening social gap between its inhabitants is causing turmoil that is fracturing a once peaceful world. Struggling with his identity, nineteen year old Prince V'sair must harness the power of the elusive Fireblade, the secret to a warrior's heart, in order to overcome his uncle Staf Nuen's lust for supremacy. Will the energy of the Elements guide the young prince to his true destiny or will Staf Nuen conquer Darracia? (taken from the back of the book)

I fell in love with Cash's work the first time I read Brood X. It was vivid and inviting and invigorating. I went on to read the rest of Cash's work, only to find that each one, while having his particular style, were completely different genres. I was really looking forward to reading Schism for many reasons. First, I enjoy Cash's writing. It quickly pulls me away into a netherworld that nothing can pull me out of until I've finished. Second, Cash is a darn nice guy, and I love being supportive of darn nice people. Third, I was really interested to see if this book fell into the same genres as any of his other work. While I'd definitely label them all science fiction, of a sort, they range from horror to mystery to tragic comedy. Where would Schism fit? Would he let me down this time?

 I'm glad to say this was definitely up to the standards I've come to expect from Cash. Once again, we have a completely unique story and this time, well definitely being sci-fi, I found it to be an action/political romance! We have these wonderfully designed species on a uniquely formed planet. It's set up so that there's a monarch and subjects, but also there's great division between the species on the planet. Our beloved monarch is in a position to fix this and make it a united planet, but subplots abound! Things won't be as easy as our king imagines! Then, we have an inter-species romance going on. It's sudden and passionate and just brilliantly defined. If they can survive through the end of the book, they just may be able to make the king's dreams come true. By combining their forces and natures, they could become an unstoppable team, and thankfully they have the knowledge and honor to back themselves up.

 I was expecting it to take me awhile to figure out this new world and these characters, but it was flawlessly splayed for me. I didn't have pages and pages of needless background information to absorb. I didn't need to hear the entire history of the planet or it's peoples. I was simply led into a strange place and subtly fed the information I needed as I needed it.

 I'm really looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next. From horror to fantasy, this guy can do it all. If Cash continues in the same manner he has been, the sky is the limit.

Reviewed for Minding Spot

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger

London, 1385.  Surrounded by ruthless courtiers-including his powerful uncle, John of Gaunt,and Gaunt's flamboyant mistress, Katherine Swynford-England's young and untested new king Richard II, is in mortal peril, and the danger is only beginning.
Songs are heard across London-catchy verses aid to originate from an ancient book that supposedly prophesies the ends of England's kings-and among the book's predictions is the assassination of Richard.  Few besides the monarch's allies know that the lines derive from a 'burnable book,' a seditious work that threatens the stability of the realm.  To find the manuscript, wily bureaucrat Geoffrey Chaucer turns to fellow poet John Gower, a professional trader in information with connections high and low.
Gower discovers that the book and incriminating evidence about its author have fallen into the unwitting hand of innocents, who will be drawn into a labyrinthine conspiracy that reaches from the king's court to London's slums and stews-and potentially implicates his own son.  As the intrigue deepens, it becomes clear that Gower, a man with secrets of his own, may be the last hope to save a king from a terrible fate.  (taken from the back of the book)
I'm not proud of it, but for the first hour I was reading, a little voice in my head was chanting 'it's definitely a burnable book.'  I'm a huge fan of classics and the classical style of writing.  I grew up on Dante and Tolstoy.  So, it wasn't just the matter of the more classical style of writing that bothered me in the beginning.  Honestly, I was bored.  We start out with this tasty little morsel that begs you to dive in for more, and then we get boring politics and background stories and all of these wonderful people that I just really don't care about.  I.  Was.  Bored.
I didn't give up!  I kept plugging away and I found I was enjoying myself.  It's sort of like wading into the ocean.  You start by sticking your toes in and urge yourself out a little further and further until you suddenly find yourself happily swimming with the sharks.  It sort of sneaks up on you.  I'm glad I stuck it out with this one.  Once I was able to get past the beginning of stage setting and all of these horrible, wretched people I didn't know or like, I was able to sit back and relax.  I found myself running along the dirty streets of London with a bunch of swervers and having a grand old time.  I even fell in love with Chaucer again. 
This book is NOT light reading.  Do not pick this up for a day at the beach or to while away a few minutes while waiting for the kids to get out of school.  I strongly urge you to read it, especially if you're the scholarly sort, but make sure that you plan to dedicate time and energy to read this one.  It takes a little bit to get into it, but it's worth it.  You just sort of feel yourself slipping into it.  Also, if you have a taste for the medieval, you'll find everything accurate and probably even learn quite a bit.
Reviewed for Minding Spot 

Alice Close Your Eyes by Averil Dean

Ten years ago, someone ruined Alice Croft's life.  Now, she has a chance to right that wrong-and she thinks she's found the perfect man to carry out her plan.
After watching him for weeks, she breaks into Jack Calabrese's house to collect the evidence that will confirm her hopes.  When Jack comes home unexpectedly, Alice hides in the closet, fearing for her life.  But upon finding her, Jack is strangely calm, solicitous...and intrigued.
That night is the start of a dark and intense attraction, and soon Alice finds herself drawn into a labyrinth of terrifying surrender to a man who is more dangerous than she could have ever imagined.  As their relationship spirals towards a breaking point, Alice stars to see just how deep Jack's secrets run-and how deadly they could be.  (taken from the back of the book)
Do not let your children read this.  As I was reading the first few chapters, I couldn't even concentrate on the storyline.  I just kept thinking over and over how a few short years ago this would have been labeled as pornography.  It's vivid and descriptive and leaves nothing out.  They're written well and definitely necessary to the plot of the book, but be forewarned.  These scenes are not for the faint of heart.
That being said, what a disturbing book!  I devour horror and thriller at every opportunity.  This book literally disturbed me emotionally, mentally and physically.  I was terrified in parts and found it difficult to continue reading.  There were a few parts where I had to take a short break to breathe before I could delve back in.  If you are looking for a  book that will scare you on a different level, this could be the book for you.  The way this is written, it's so easy to see how everything can spiral out of control, even when you start out with all of the control.  It's scary in that you can easily see how this could happen to you.  Also, everything is so vivid and colored.  You can't help but feel you're actually in the story.
As a character study, this is actually pretty amazing.  It deals with so many issues that people deal with.  Everyone has their secrets, it's a matter of how deeply they run.  When you start keeping serious secrets at a young age, it's easy to see how in adulthood that can lead to some mental stability issues.  Not only that, genetic mental stability issues are brought into the picture.  We see the gritty side of humanity.  It's not evil, it's not even really 'bad'.  It just is.  It's the seedier side of human nature that most of us want to believe doesn't exist and sweep under the rug.  Alice forces you to open your eyes and stop sweeping for a few minutes.
This is an excellent read that you can pull a lot away from.  Just be careful.  If violence and sex, or any mixture thereof, is difficult for you, you may want to pass on this one.  It takes a lot to get to me.  Personally, I love that it scared the bejeesus out of me!
Reviewed for Minding Spot

Friday, February 21, 2014

Apache Open Office

Recently, I received a press release in my e-mail that it was imperative that I open.  Sadly, it was a Word document.  I don't have Word on my computer.  There's a great reason behind it.  I never use it.  Most of my word processing composition is done online.  This is the first time in years that I've found I had any need to open a Word document.  At that point, I realized, I'm not willing to spend upwards of a hundred dollars for a system that I need to use once, for about five minutes, and will probably not use again in the foreseeable future.

Am I cheap?  No.  I'm frugal.  Spending that much money for something I don't use on a regular basis just seems absolutely silly to me.  So, I contacted a few friends of mine for suggestions.  One of my friends, who  has impeccable judgment when it comes to these sorts of things, suggested I give Open Office a try.  She's a professional writer and it's what she uses. 

So, I did a quit internet search for a free download.  Easy enough.  I was quickly able to find a safe link to download Open Office.  It took only a few short moments to download and I was able to customize it however I wanted.  Once it had finished installing, I clicked the wonderful little icon on my desktop and gave it a whirl.

This has got to be the easiest system I've ever used!  Word is confusing compared to Open Office.  When you click your icon, a small box comes up that gives you the different options for what you can do.  It's not just for word processing and spread sheets!  You can enter formulas and databases as well.  As soon as you click what you want, it opens and you find yourself with a clean sheet of paper just begging for you to fill it.  The toolbar at the top contains several easily identifiable icons and over to the right is the same thing.  You can do pretty much anything here.  If you want basic, you can keep it basic, but if you want to go all fancy-schmancy, go for it!  For free!

If you've thought about getting a word processing program or spreadsheet program, I strongly suggest this one.  It passed through all of my internet safety checks without any issue and was a quick and easy download.  Using it is proving to be even easier than I thought.  It can't hurt to check it out, right?  Free!!!

Official Apache Open Office Website

Known Devil by Justin Gustainis

Stan Markowski is a police officer at Scranton PD's Occult Crimes Unit.  All sorts of craziness is going on in his town, and it's up to him and his partner to solve the issues.  What it boils down to, it's better to deal with the Devil you know than the one you don't.  A knew drug-dealing crime boss is looking to take over the town, and in doing so has introduced a new drug to the area.  Slide, as it's called on the street, is the first drug to have an effect on supernaturals, well, other than Goblins.  Goblins and their meth issues are a whole other book. 
Slide, politics, and thugs from out of town are causing a mess everywhere.  There's death, destruction and mayhem.  But, how do you solve a crime spree when technically no crimes are being committed and everyone higher up is dirty?
This is my first Occult Crimes Unit Investigation book.  I know it isn't the first published.  I had an easy time picking it up and figuring out what was going on.  There were allusions to things that had happened in previous books, but I didn't have to actually read them in order to enjoy the book. I'd like to go back and read the others, but this one is just fine as a stand-alone.  The characters are intriguing and inviting and Gustainis has a natural knack for crime storytelling.  The fact that supernaturals are added just makes it that much more fun and unique.
For me, this was a great cross between CSI and Men in Black.  It's nothing like either of those things, however, so I'm not sure where I'm getting my reasoning on this.  It has that dark, crime feeling to it. You know there are some nasty things going on, and it's dark and gritty, with the occasional laugh tossed in there.  At the same time, it has that magical feel to it.  You find yourself in a place where vampires are in therapy and gnomes hat conical hats.  It's sort of this amazing half-breed of dark/dirty and fantasy.
If you've read any of the other books, you already know if this is up your alley or not.  For those who haven't, there's plenty of action and the unusual to keep you well-entertained.  You easily figure out who's behind all the problems about halfway through the book, but the fun part is actually in watching them figure out what to do about it.  Instead of solving the mystery, you get to be involved in the next step, how to fix it!

Reviewed for Minding Spot

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What began as a video game has become all too real for Artie Kingfisher.  He has escaped the evil Lordess Morgaine, reclaimed Excalibur, and finally opened the gate to the legendary isle of Avalon, where he will take his rightful place as King Arthur reborn.  Now Artie and his friends-each with a mythical sword in hand-are ready to become the new Knights of the Round Table.  In Avalon they are safe, but their fight is far from over.
Reeling from her defeat, Morgaine still plots to overthrow Artie and claim Excalibur as her own, while Merlin's blind quest for ower grows wilder and more dangerous.  In preparation for the greatest battle of his life, Artie must discover the secrets of an ancient and mysterious tool called Scarffern and recover nothing less than the mythical Holy Grail.  And he may soon find that his final fight won't be against an enemy-but against someone who he used to call friend. (taken from inside book jacket)
Picking up where the last two books left off, we find Artie and the gang have finally reached Avalon.  Just when it seems like things are finally looking up, we find that they're worse off than ever.  Not only has everything gone crazy in Otherworld, but Artie and Kay's home world as well.  Now the kids are left without their guardian adults.  It's fascinating to me just how much they've grown since the beginning.  Though they still battle with fear, they're wiser and braver.  They've learned to take their surroundings in stride and use wit to help them survive. 
In this third book of the Otherworld Chronicles, things have taken an unlikely turn.  Being the last book of the series, I was expecting everything to be a bit more predictable and I'm glad I was wrong.  I still find myself taking unlikely twists and turns with my beloved characters.  Honestly, I'm sad to see the ending to this tale.  It's quite the fulfilling series and this last book was the perfect ending, but I still want more.  I'm interested to see what Johnson-Shelton comes up with next. 
For those King Arthur/Holy Grail fans, this is a must-have series for your collection.  Anyone interested in a grand fantasy adventure will have a blast with these books.  For me, they were reminiscent of a much less complicated Gregory Maguire.  The language is simplistic enough for younger readers to be captivated and pulled into adventure, but the  layering is definitely there.  One last note:  This would be the perfect gift set for any young reader or book collector.
Reviewed for Minding Spot

The Seven Swords by Nils Johnson-Shelton

Spending the summer fighting dragons, rescuing wizards, and leaping through portals into the Otherworld was only the beginning for Artie and Kay Kingfisher.   The two worlds remain divided, Merlin is missing, and worst of all, Qwon Onakea, their kidnapped friend, may be lost to the Otherworld forever.  It seems the only way to save both world-and to save his friends-is for Artie to claim his throne as King Arthur reborn.

To do this, Artie must gather his knights so they can venture forth and recover each of the Seven Swords.  Finding them all is Artie's only hope for victory.

But all the video games in the world haven't prepared Artie for the battles to come against giants, dragons, ogres, and sorcerers.  Nor is he ready for the unexpected threat of the Peace Sword, a mysterious weapon used by the treacherous Mordred to kill the original King Arthur more than a thousand years ago.  (taken from inside book jacket)

Unrelated to the actual story, I have to say how excited I am that I've learned something about these books.  I didn't remove the book jacket from the first book, and so I didn't notice it.  Having removed it from the second jacket, I was impressed with just how pretty these books are!  They're beautifully hardbound. On the front cover of each, is the impression of a sword.  My first book, The Invisible Tower, has a shiny aqua sword impressed in the front cover. This book has the most beautiful purple sword emblazoned on the front.  The third book, my next upcoming review, The Dragon King, has a gorgeous teal sword on the front.  All of the writing on the book spines is in the same shiny, metallic ink impressed into the binding.  Absolutely beautiful!  I can't imagine anyone not wanting these for their bookshelf, regardless of the contents inside!

However, speaking of the contents inside, they're quite valuable!  We continue Artie's quest to save both the Otherworld and our world.  We meet new characters and go on different adventures this time.  Even though I adored the characters in the first book, this second book has really cemented a sort of kinship with them.  I'll admit it, Kynder is my favorite.  We have all the action and thrills of The Invisible Tower, but things have become increasingly tense.  Now it's not just a matter of getting Artie to believe who he is and begin a quest, our villainy has greatly increased and the odds appear insurmountable at times.

For those fans of Arthurian legend or the Princess Bride, you'll find this to be an excellent mix of both.  Toss in a few video games, and you have the Otherworld Chronicles.  Don't start with this book, however.  Definitely start with The Invisible Tower.  That way, you can continue the journey with The Seven Swords.  Although you could read it as a standalone, I wouldn't suggest it anymore than I would suggest starting the Harry Potter series with book four.

The Invisible Tower by Nils Johnson-Shelton

In Artie Kingfisher's world, wizards named Merlin, fire-breathing dragons, and swords called Excalibur exist only in legends and lore-until the day his video game Otherworld springs to life.

Cryptic clues lead Artie to a strange place called the Invisible Tower, where he discovers that nothing in his life is as it seems.  Artie is none other than King Arthur, brought to life in the twenty-first century.  Artie has won the battle in the virtual Otherworld- now the key to saving the real Otherworld lies in his hands as well.

Green dragons, hungry wolves, powerful sorcerers-suddenly Artie must battle them all as he wields Excalibur and embarks on a quest worthy of the Knights of the Round Table.  With his sister, Kay, by his side, Artie steps into the Otherworld-straight toward his destiny.  (taken from inside book jacket)

This is an exquisite retelling of the story we all know and love involving King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.  Artie has been created using the same genetic material as the original King Arthur.  Of course, neither he nor his family know this.  Artie, along with several sidekicks you'll recognize, gets a chance at real Otherworld adventure!

Personally, I adored this book.  It's full of action and mystery and fantasy.  Just when you think you're getting to a slow part, something huge happens and you're in the midst of a rollicking good time again.  Things aren't always safe and you learn quickly that this is a dangerous world they're living in.  Powers that could harm them lurk in every corner and no one is safe from them. 

Though it's intended for children ages ten and up, make sure your child is an avid reader before grabbing this treasure for them.  It's rather long and takes quite awhile to get through.  There's plenty of adventure to keep them interested, but most children who aren't into reading won't have the patience for it.  On the other hand, older children and those adults who have a knowledge of the original lore surrounding King Arthur will have a blast with this.  The best part for me were drawing comparisons between stories. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

See How She Runs by Michelle Graves

Izzy was a normal girl living in Chicago as a bike messenger before that fateful day.  She delivered one package and set into action a chain of events she never could have expected.
Now she is running for her life from the Corporation, her best friend is not at all who he seemed, and to top it all off she keeps having visions. (taken from the back of the book)
In the beginning, I was really excited about reading this.  Izzy takes on characteristics and the attitude of the character Jessica Alba played in the short lived television series Dark Angel, which happens to be an all time favorite of mine.  She's sassy, witty and strong.  When she gets tossed into an impossible situation, she stands up tall and takes it in stride.
I was disappointed, though, as her character progressed.  We see less and less of her snarky attitude and more and more of typical female idiocy and stubbornness.  In the beginning, she's adult and handles things in a 'stand up' manner, but as the book progresses, she lashes out in fits of anger rather than actually sitting down and having a conversation.  Having never been in her situation, perhaps that's the cause, but it really bothered me that she started out such a great character and then regressed.
Actually, I felt that way about most of the characters.  They each have a strong beginning and then sort of fade to black. 
As for the story, most of it has been done before, but it was still a really fun read.  I wouldn't say it was intriguing, since most of it was easy to figure out before it happened, but it's still told in such a way that you don't feel like you're reading the exact same book you read before.
I do look forward to more Izzy books.  I'd love to see Graves get back on top of the strong characters she started out with and bring more force into this series.  She has endless possibilities here to work with.
If you're a paranormal junkie, you'll want to pick this one up simply for that fact.  I'm not going to say it's a must-read, however.  I'm holding off my opinion on that until I see where this leads in the second book.
Reviewed for Minding Spot

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past.  Blue ever sees them-until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, and he's a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school.  Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys.  Known as Raven boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can't entirely explain.  He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys:  Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die.  She doesn't believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem.  But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.  (taken from the inside cover)

Honestly, I cannot imagine how this book slipped past my attention when it was released.  I'm an avid reader, pretty active in the book world, and most of my friends are the same way.  I cannot imagine  how no one brought this to my attention.  I have the second book, sitting here ready for me to read it, and I didn't even know the first book existed!  Some of you have really let me down!

This was such an exquisite story!  Full of magic and mystery and wonder and dirty, gritty reality!  I suppose I'd say it's a young adult book, but it certainly held my attention and wasn't childish in the least. 

As characters, we find such a mish mosh of peoples.  They all have different darknesses and lights and as some of them are revealed, you find yourself surprised and saddened.  The town itself has the same theatrical feeling to it.  Each second, you don't know whether you're about to touch the light or the dark, and you have to try to be prepared for both.  This was definitely an active read for me!  No, I wasn't jumping hurdles or anything like that, but I was so involved with the characters that I was flinching and tearing up, and grinning and feeling those little romance pangs deep inside.  Such an emotional rollercoaster!

As for the storytelling, I don't remember the last author I read that had such a natural talent for telling a story.  It's fluid and earthy.  Instead of reading a book, you feel like you're being pulled into this wonderful visual story to sit and watch.  It's almost an other-worldly experience.

If you enjoy the paranormal, thrills, mysteries, soap operas, this is the type of book for you.  I don't promise it'll be a quick read, but I do promise it'll be a worthy one.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off by Carolyn Brown

Carlene Lovelle, co-owner of Bless My Bloomers lingerie shop, found a pair of fancy red-silk panties in her husband's briefcase, and all hell is breaking loose.  She custom-made those fancy bloomers herself-  and she remembers the bimbo who bought them.  If her husband had a lick of sense, he'd know there are no secrets in a town like Cadillac.
Carlene's cohorts-and their mamas-plan to exact revenge on Lenny Joe where it'll hurt the most:  break his ten-year winning streak at the prestigious Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off.  Never before has a woman dared to compete.  But the ladies of Bless My Bloomers are cooking up a storm...and it seems the whole town is taking sides in the showdown.  (taken from the back of the book)
If you haven't read anything by Carolyn Brown, you're really missing out.  She's one of my favorite female authors.  She has a pure talent for taking eccentric, lovable characters and tossing them amidst the most horrid, rigid people you can imagine.  All you do is sit back with your favorite snack and watch the drama and fun unfold.  The sheer creativity is worth picking up any of her books for.  Everything that I've read that she's authored has been laugh out loud funny and even brought a few heartfelt tears.
In this book, the fun starts the moment you pick this book up.  Though I would never behave the way Carlene does, I'm so darn proud of her that I can't help but cheer her on.  Soon the entire town is in on it and it's way more than just a cheating spouse.  The fur flies along with all the gossip!  One of the best parts of reading this is that from the very beginning you know who you love and who you despise, so you can just jump in and have a good time.
This book isn't just about a cheating husband and a wife that wants to get even. We have a close-knit group of people that are each dealing with some serious issues and having to figure out how to cope.  Sometimes they have each other's back and sometimes they don't, but they always love each other.  Friendship, family, romance; every sort of love relationship is sorted out here.  We have both the beautiful and the ugly sides shown to us.  You can sit back and enjoy the insanity of the book, but afterwards, you'll find that some serious messages have sunken into your heart as well.
Reviewed for Minding Spot

Cider Brook by Carla Neggers

Being rescued by a good-looking, bad-boy firefighter isn't how Samantha Bennett expected to start her stay in Knights Bridge, Massachusetts.  Now she has everyone's attention-especially that of Justin Sloan, her rescuer, who wants to know why she was camped out in an abandoned old New England cider mill.
Samantha is a treasure hunter who has returned to Knights Bridge to solve a three-hundred-year-old mystery and salvage her good name.  Justin remembers her well.  He's the one who alerted her late mentor to her iffy past and got her fired.  But just because he doesn't trust her doesn't mean he can resist her.  Samantha is daring, determined, seized by wanderlust-everything that strong, stoic Justin never knew he wanted.  (taken from the back of the book)
Being a fan of Carla's work, I couldn't wait to pick this one up.  I was thankful to find her flawless storytelling still in tact.  You're completely drawn in from the beginning through the end.  You'll fall in love with the characters and the town as well as the fascinating mystery behind the treasure Samantha is seeking.  If you've read anything of Carla's before, you already know what to expect.  For those of you who haven't, read on.
Each character is crafted in such a way that you immediately know them inside and out.  Not only that, but each has a severe quirk, sometimes more than one.  They're flawed and wonderful and you can't help but adored them and want more.  Don't worry, there are still some unlikable characters that you can have fun being angry with.
As for the mystery, you won't figure it out until the end.  Pirate treasure!  In an old, run down cider mill!  What adventure and fun you have to look forward to!  It'll keep you on the edge of your seat trying to guess how this one will end. 
This is a great read for a rainy afternoon.  It's relatively quick and you'll find time passing without realizing it.
Reviewed for Minding Spot


I loved the herbal scents of these silky, smooth products.  Each is a gorgeous pearly lavender color. 
It took such a small amount of the shampoo to actually clean my hair and the scent was so relaxing! 
As for the conditioner, it had a slightly different herbal scent, almost mediciny.  It sort of threw me off.  I was excited with the way I could feel it moisturizing my scalp though. 
Then came the perfecting spray.  Sometimes I have really good luck with these sorts of things, and sometimes it ends up drastically nightmarish.  Thankfully, this one was a winner!  It still had an herbal scent, but this one was really pleasant and seemed to layer really well over the scents of the shampoo and conditioner.  It was easy to use and left my hair completely tangle free.
So, what's the overall?  You have to use such a small amount of the product that you wouldn't believe it was working if you couldn't feel it!  The thing is, after washing my hair and letting it air dry, it felt like my entire head had just returned from a two week vacation somewhere tropical.  I felt relaxed and my hair felt clean and soft.  I didn't even have to run my fingers through it because I could feel the difference with it just touching my face and shoulders. 
So, here's the negative.  Even though I loved how this whole set worked on my hair, I went to straighten it the next day and had a little trouble.  My hair was so moisturized that it took double the straightening time.  Honestly, for me, it's a toss up.  I like the straight hair, but I almost prefer the feel of wild hair after trying the Purology products.

Dial Vitamin Boost

I am ashamed to admit it, but I'm a Caress user. I found a flavor and a feel that I fell in love with, and that's what I use all the time.  It's my favorite and I hate being without it.  That being said, I'm also a daredevil and up for the challenge of trying something new!  So, let's see how Dial's new body wash measured up!
It's Vitamin boost, lotion infused, with vitamin complex B.  Sounds fancy, right?  The scent I tried is kiwi. I love to eat it, but I really don't want to smell like it. 
For the sniff test, it was slightly kiwi, but a really light scent.  I could definitely smell it while bathing, but afterwards there was just a hint.  It was enough that I knew it was there, but not so much that I couldn't layer on perfume.  Right on!  Score one for Dial so far!
For the appeal test, I want to see if I like how it looks.  I'm not going to use slimy soap.  Not happening in this life or any other.  This is a gorgeous green, almost glittery soap.  It lathers easily and definitely didn't feel slimy.  After rinsing,  I didn't have all sorts of nasty soap residue stuck to my skin.  It rinsed completely clean.
For the vitamin test, I don't have a skin vitamin tester handy here at home, so I'm just going to have to take your word for it, Dial people!
The real draw to this body wash, in my opinion, is that it's lotion infused.  How can a body wash be infused with lotion?  Wouldn't the soap just wash it away?  Actually, I was really skeptical on this one, but those Dial people seem to know their stuff.  I don't know how it works, but it does.  You know after you've been at the beach a few hours and you feel like your skin is on fire and someone puts that wonderful soothing aloe on you?  That's how this feels after you've bathed!  It feels like someone has just replenished your entire body.  It sounds cliché, but it was like giving my skin a drink.  I could feel the difference for hours!  Also, it was a deep down sensation, not just surface area. 
I'm still keeping my Caress around, mostly because I'm in love with a certain scent, but I'm also going to start keeping my Dial around.  At least this one in particular.  In these winter weather months, my skin is so dry that no amount of lotion seems to help.  This actually does!  You get two thumbs up from me, Dial people!
Reviewed for Minding Spot

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