Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday Snapshot for the Last Sunday of July

Currently reading:

The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu, Wouldn't It Be Deadly by DE Ireland, and more Ireland travel guides: Lonely Planet, Backroads Ireland, and Rough Guide.

Movies watched:

Kingsman: The Secret Service, starring Colin Firth and Taron Egerton

James Bond crossed with Kill Bill, and a little My Fair Lady thrown in for good measure. Slightly too frenetic at times, but overall pretty entertaining. Loved Samuel L Jackson, loved Colin Firth, loved the puppies. Roxy is a terrible person. The end.

Subscription boxes:


After the Scent Trunk fiasco, Andi convinced me to give Scentbird a try. Like Scent Trunk, you take a quiz about your style and scent preferences. Then they recommend some scents to try, or you can choose your own scents from their catalog. You get one scent per month with the option to buy a full bottle, and you can rate scents for better recommendations.

Scentbird was definitely an improvement over Scent Trunk. I picked Anna Sui's Forbidden Affair because the description said it, "tells a story of romance and intrigue, where a fun-loving and free-spirited princess can dream." A story of romance and intrigue with a princess? That has me written all over it! The perfume is a little too musky for me, but not too bad. I also really like their little perfume atomizer thingy. I'm willing to give this subscription a few more months and see what happens.

Theme of the week:

I spent most of the week doing research into Ireland for our trip. We already have our first hotel in Belfast booked! It's within walking distance of No Alibis Bookstore, because there's no way I'm leaving Belfast without stopping there. Also pretty stoked to see Brú na Bóinne and the Old Bushmills Distillery.

This is actually the first trip I've ever planned. Usually I just show up and see what happens. So, hopefully I don't make too many mistakes.


This is adorable: bookish hedgehogs of Instagram. You learn something new everyday.

Hope you all have a good week!

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sunday Snapshot Ch-ch-changes

Currently reading:

Frommer's Ireland 2015 and Wouldn't It Be Deadly by DE Ireland.

Published this week:

I posted a review of The Rain-Girl by Herbert George Jenkins at The Project Gutenberg Project. If you enjoy historical romances with a dash of comedy, I recommend this one!

Subscription Vixen is going pretty well so far. I've posted four reviews and it seems like it's getting a positive response.

And don't forget to enter the Poldark and Handsome Blog Tour Giveaway! (As long as you live in the US, that is–blame Sourcebooks.)

Movies watched:

The DUFF, starring Mae Whitman and Robbie Amell

Everyone loves makeover movies, but their weakness lies in that fact that the guy really should have noticed the heroine *before* her transformation and loved her for more than her looks. The DUFF circumvents this problem by having the heroine fall in love with the "fairy godmother" character rather than her crush.

I thought this movie was pretty fun. My favorite line was, "When I was in high school in '90s, we didn't use emoticons, but actual facial expressions." 😂 Definitely want to read the book now.

Subscription boxes:

rocks box

I absolutely ADORE the Rocks Box I got this week. It's so Mad Men, the non-crazy fashion years. This has to be one of the best Rocks Boxes I've gotten so far. I also like the new box design.

As for Ipsy, the package arrived three days late and when it got here, it was open. One of the items that I had purchased in addition to the Glam Bag was missing and everything else was soaking wet. UGH. They're going to send me a replacement for the missing item, though their addendum, "Keep in mind that we sometimes run out of inventory, so your replacement may not be exactly the same as your original. Instead, you may receive a comparable (but still awesome) substitute," makes me a bit nervous. I don't want a substitute, I want the item I ordered!

Theme of the week:

This week my parents moved my grandpa into a nursing home (technically it's assisted living specifically for people with Alzheimer's and dementia). My mom and brother and I picked out a few mementos from his house we wanted to keep this week, and I think there are plans to go through stuff more thoroughly this week and try to sell items to help pay for the care facility. Anyway, it was pretty sad to think about how he'll never be in the house again.

In positive news, I'm going to Ireland in October (hence the reading of the Ireland guidebook). The owner of the gun shop invited me along with his family, and I'm not one to turn down opportunities to travel abroad. The only things I know about Ireland come from the Karen Marie Moning Fever books and the movie High Spirits, the realism of both of which is questionable, so if you have any recommendations for places to visit I'd love to hear them!


This is really cool. Have you ever wondered what a stroll through 18th-century Paris would be like? The Duchess of Devonshire shared this video created by a musicologist that incorporates not just visuals, but sound as well.

Have a great week!

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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Poldark Spotlight and Giveaway

ross poldark blog tour

Greetings me darlings! Today I'm spotlighting Poldark–or, as I like to think of him, Poldark and Handsome. We all know Poldark from the PBS miniseries, but did you know the miniseries is based on a book series by Winston Graham? Sourcebooks is releasing first two books in the US in conjunction with the series, and you have the chance to win them and a bunch of other cool things! Read on for more details...

About Poldark:

In the first novel in Winston Graham’s hit series, a weary Ross Poldark returns to England from war, looking forward to a joyful homecoming with his beloved Elizabeth. But instead he discovers his father has died, his home is overrun by livestock and drunken servants, and Elizabeth—believing Ross to be dead—is now engaged to his cousin. Ross has no choice but to start his life anew.

Thus begins the Poldark series, a heartwarming, gripping saga set in the windswept landscape of Cornwall. With an unforgettable cast of characters that spans loves, lives, and generations, this extraordinary masterwork from Winston Graham is a story you will never forget.

About Demelza:

In the enchanting second novel in Winston Graham’s beloved Poldark series, Demelza Carne, an impoverished miner’s daughter Ross Poldark rescued from a fairground brawl, now happily finds herself his wife. But the events of these turbulent years test their marriage and their love. As Ross launches into a bitter struggle for the right of the mining communities, Demelza’s efforts to adapt to the ways of the gentry (and her husband) place her in increasingly odd and embarrassing situations. When tragedy strikes and sows the seeds of an enduring rivalry between Ross and the powerful George Warleggan, will Demelza manage to bridge their differences before they destroy her and her husband’s chance at happiness?

Against the stunning backdrop of eighteenth century Cornwall, Demelza sweeps readers into one of the greatest love stories of all time.

Giveaway time!

poldark giveaway

Win One of Three Fabulous Prizes

In celebration of the re-release of Ross Poldark and Demelza, Sourcebooks Landmark is offering three chances to win copies of the books or a grand prize, an Anglophile-themed gift package.

Two lucky winners will each receive one trade paperback copy of Ross Poldark and Demelza, and one grand prize winner will receive a prize package containing the following items:

(2 ) Old Britain Castles Pink Pottery Mugs by Johnson Brothers
(1) Twelve-inch Old Britain Castles Pink Pottery Plater by Johnson Brothersr
(1) London Telephone Box Tin of Ahmad English Breakfast Tea
(1) Jar of Mrs. Bridges Marmalade
(1) Package of Duchy Originals Organic Oaten Biscuits
(2) Packets of Blue Boy Cornflower Seeds by Renee's Garden Heirloom (1) Trade Paperback Copy of Ross Poldark & Demelza, by Winston Graham

To enter the giveaway contest simply leave a comment on any or all of the blog stops on the Ross Poldark Blog Tour starting July 06, 2015 through 11:59 pm PT, August 10, 2015 (link will take you a list of all the tour stops). Winners will be drawn at random from all of the entrants and announced on the Buzz at Sourcebooks blog on August 13, 2015. Winners have until August 20, 2015 to claim their prize. The giveaway contest is open to US residents and the prizes will be shipped to US addresses. Good luck to all!

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sunday Snapshot for July 12

Did someone at ComiCon lose an Ewok? lol

Can you believe July is almost half over already? I feel like it just started. Did I sleep through a few weekends? Hm...

Currently reading:

The same as last week, although I did finish Pretty Baby (thank god).

Published this week:

I answered 20 bookish questions, which was kinda fun. Book Bloggers International's newsletter is now live, as well. You can view it and subscribe here.

Subscription boxes:

rocks box

Another week, another Rocks Box. I love the earrings in this one, but the necklaces don't do much for me. The Gorjana Crescent Plate in particular is just weird. I've tried to wear it several times and wind up taking it off and replacing it with something else.

Rocks Box is also having a "samples sale" this week of gently used jewelry. I bought the Perry Street Elise Earrings and the Margaret Elizabeth Teardrop Bangle in Black Druzy from my second Rocks Box. The earrings were $19, only a dollar less than I would have paid if I'd bought them with the box, but the bracelet was a freaking bargain–it retails for $88 and I would have had to pay $60. Instead I got it for $26. Not bad!

So, remember how last week I was saying that I was going to cut back on the clothing subscriptions because I was spending way too much money and blah blah blah?

ha ha no john watson

Yeahhhh. About two hours after I wrote that I was signing up for Le Tote. I think I need an intervention.

le tote

Anyway, Le Tote! It's pretty much like Rocks Box except it includes clothes. You take a style quiz, put items on your wishlist, and then you rent two accessories and three pieces of clothing for as long as you want, with an option to buy.

One thing I REALLY liked about Le Tote is that they let you preview the items before they send them, so you can switch pieces you don't want out for other items. You also get a lot of clothes for about $50/month, and you don't even have to clean them. Basically you can order a weekly wardrobe and send it back without ever having to do laundry! (Note to self: Attempt to see if this actually works.)

Theme of the week:

Thor's paw is finally better and the website I was working on is actually live, which seems like a miracle. Still, this week was kind of tough and stressful. I'm glad it's over.


subscription vixen

I need a new blog about as much as I need to go through TSA airport security wearing lace-up thigh-high boots, but yesterday I had a brilliant idea for the name of a subscription box blog: Subscription Vixen! I really couldn't pass it up. Luckily, I have enough previously written content to keep it going for a while. New posts start going up tomorrow!

Have a great week, everyone!

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Monday, July 6, 2015

20 Bookish Questions

I saw this meme at It's All About Books and thought it looked fun. Feel free to swipe the questions if you want!

1. Favorite childhood book?

childhood favorites

I guess that depends on how you define "childhood." When I was little–like, before I could read on my own–I was obsessed with The Alligator's Song. The Ghost Wore Gray is the first book I can remember loving. Before that, I just kind of consumed books without thinking about whether they were "good" or not. And The Vampire Diaries was probably the book I was most obsessed with before I hit the teen years. OH THE TEEN YEARS. We shall not speak of them.

2. What are you reading right now?

currently reading

The English Spy by Daniel Silva, Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica, and The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas

3. What books do you have on request at the library?

on hold

Wouldn't It Be Deadly by DE Ireland, Alex + Ada, Vol. 3 by Jonathan Luna, Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix, Jerusalem by Guy Delisle, Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari, and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

4. Bad book habit?

I guess skipping to the end of chapters and books to see what happens? And buying cheap ebooks just because they're on sale.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?

currently checked out

Lots! Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick, The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion, Alex + Ada, Vol 2 by Jonathan Luna, Just Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore, Rain by Amanda Sun, The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain, The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell, What Did You Eat Yesterday? Vol 2 by Fumi Yoshinaga, Books That Cook, Greenglass House by Kate Milford, Ooku Vol 1 by Fumi Yoshinaga, and The Perfect Couple by Jennifer Echols.

6. Do you have an e-reader?

Yes, and I love it.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?

I generally have one audiobook, one novel, and one non-fiction book going at a time.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?

Yes, in too many ways to count. Different genres, different times of day I read, less patience, interacting more with other readers, etc.

9. Least favorite book you read this year?

Haha, welllll that's kind of difficult to narrow down. Of the ones I actually finished, probably The Gold Bag by Carolyn Wells.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?

northanger abbey

Northanger Abbey. Mr Tilney!

11. How often do you read outside of your comfort zone?

Not very often. Sometimes I'm forced to.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?

Ha! I'd say most fiction genres: romance, mystery, sci-fi/fantasy, spy thrillers. Classics, particularly from the early 20th Century. Very specific genres of graphic novels and manga. And non-fiction books about art, food, and history.

13. Can you read on the bus?

Yes, I can read on the bus. I can read on a plane, I can read on a train, I can read on a boat as long as it floats. I can read sitting backwards, sideways, and hanging upside down. I can read all around the town.

14. Favorite place to read?

Outside, in the sun, in one of those lounge chairs. Preferably accompanied by sunglasses, cute animals, and adult beverages.

15. What is your policy on book lending?

I only lend books if I don't care if they come back or not. Exceptions for my mom and brother, since they're pretty easy to track down.

16. Do you dog-ear your books?

I used to! I stopped doing that years ago, though, I'm not sure why. Now I always use bookmarks.

17. Do you write notes on the margins of your books?

Yes, I love marginalia, although I don't do it very often in novels. In non-fiction books anything goes.

18. Do you break/crack the spines?

Yes. Actually, I LOVE breaking the spines of books. There's just something so satisfying about bending a book backwards and feeling the spine pop and hearing that crrrack! I also get kind of OCD about when I break spines–like, for mass market paperbacks I do it every 50 pages. For hardcovers every 100-150 pages, depending on how long the book is. Trade paperbacks usually have spines that are difficult crack, perhaps one of the reasons I don't enjoy reading them so much.

19. What is your favorite language to read?

Latvian, obviously.

20. What makes you love a book?

A pretty cover. I kid, I kid. I think if a book has a great story that sucks you in and sympathetic characters that feel like your friends, you can't help but love it! If you find a specific, surefire formula for such a book, please share it with me.

Discus this post with me on Twitter, FaceBook, Google+ or in the comments below.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sunday Snapshot–Fourth of July Weekend


Hope you all had an awesome Fourth of July/Canada Day/ordinary weekend because you don't live in these countries. Thor has decided Fourth of July is his least favorite holiday and is currently refusing to move unless offered treats. Something I didn't discover through experimentation, obviously.

Currently reading:

The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas: I knew I had to read this as soon as I saw Chrisbookarama's review at The Project Gutenberg Project. So far there's a lot of history and politics. Which honestly makes me extremely glad I don't live in 17th-century Holland. If you think America's government is bad... trust me, it could be a lot worse!

The English Spy by Daniel Silva: Got this on Tuesday and have been desperate to read it ever since.

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica: For a Bookspan report. Was it Elmore Leonard who said, "Cut out all the parts people skip," or something like that? Well, Kubica's writing philosophy seems to be the opposite of that.

Posted this week:

I spent the week working on Book Bloggers International's upcoming newsletter (first edition will be released tomorrow!) and Bookstagram Month.

When not busy with that, I reviewed three more foodie books: Taste Test by Kelly Fiore, The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain, and Mastering the Art of French Eating by Ann Mah.

The Best of Book Riot is also running this week, and my list of Female Characters Who Are Way More Awesome In Books–as opposed to their on-screen counterparts–went up today.

Subscription boxes received:

book riot quarterly box

I got Book Riot's last Quarterly box this week and I loooooove the flask. Although I did have a moment when I realized we didn't have a funnel small enough to fit the mouth of the flask. But! Amazon to the rescue: they have special flask funnels you can get for less than $2. In the meantime, I guess I can hack it by cutting the corner off a plastic bag.

I think the regular price of Book Riot's box ($50) is pretty steep. But for $25, getting an awesome flask, one book I'll probably never read and another book I'll *definitely* never read, a bookmark and some random notebook paper seems reasonable.

stitch fix

I also got my third and definitely last Stitch Fix. I was sooo flummoxed by this one. I asked for sleeveless tops I could wear to work, since I realized they numbered zero after I KonMari'd my closet. So I was expecting, you know, five nice sleeveless tops. What I got was one maxi skirt (wtf?), and four sleeveless tops, two of which were a little too casual for work, one of which was butt-ugly–seriously, it was eye-searingly ugly, I can't even look at it, it looks like a mime threw up–and another that was like something my grandma would wear. Try to see if you can guess which is which from the picture. Stitch Fix seems to have an obsession with sending me grandma clothes and maxi everything.

Anyway, I know other people enjoy this service, but personally I don't feel listened to AT ALL. The Fixes have gotten progressively worse instead of better, and this particular one felt like they just sent me a bunch of leftover shit people returned because it was terrible. This is definitely going to be a cancel. I might lay off clothing subscription boxes for a while, since I tallied all the money I've been spending on them and it's way above my budget.

Theme of the week:

Was it just me, or did every day feel like Friday this week? Anyway, I didn't have a lot of deadlines to meet, so I spent most of my time at the gun store trying to will the website to go live. I swear this process has been like an obstacle course.

Thor is still limping. Add in all the scarey explodey sounds last night and he's a pretty sad little pup.


I'm currently binge watching Mind of Chef (my version of binge watching is watching one episode a day, though, so it takes a while), and my favorite thing I've learned so far is this historical curiosity. It is CRAZY PANTS!

The watermelon they talk about in the video was thought to be extinct until the Bradford family reintroduced it to the marketplace. You can now buy Bradford watermelon seeds on their website (when available, that is, which they currently aren't). If you live in South Carolina you can also buy them at, like, one farmer's market, if you get there before they sell out. Bonne chance.

Have a great week, everyone!

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