Wednesday, September 30, 2015

OrangeGlad - Sweets in Your Mailbox Every Month

OrangeGlad Sweet Box Subscription

Review by Lauren

Source: one month's box was sent for review; all opinions are my own

Review: A box of different sweets every single month? Yes, please! I've heard of OrangeGlad for awhile now so it was really great to finally check it out. My mom was definitely a fan, and this one is one subscription service I plan on checking out again. If you subscribe, you get a variety of different sweets from around the United States for only $19 a month ($15 a month + $4 shipping). This is such a fantastic price for the amount of items you get.

Each package includes a booklet (shown in the picture above) that includes information about all the items (you get two of each item, another plus!). Each page has the name of the item you are going to taste, as well as information about the company that made it (where they are from and pictures of the chefs are included too!).

Another plus about the booklet is that the bottom of the page says Ingredients (all of mine noted to look at the label), as well as a Best by Date which is handy in knowing what you should eat first. One says to enjoy within 9 months while another should be enjoyed within 1 week, so it varies!

By the time I write this, my mom and I have tried most of the items in this box and there are definitely things I would love to try again. I'll have to search these companies online and see about online orders for the future!

The Hard Crack's Original Toffee Cookie Snack Packs were so amazing. My mom and I both loved these, and I seriously want more. Each pack comes with six thin cookies (three on each side). These are absolutely one of my favorite items in this month's box. If you like toffee, you are sure to love these little cookies. Each pack is perfect for a snack - or to share!

The other item in the photo (on the left and ride sides) are Raspberry White Chocolate Cookies from Selma's Cookies. I haven't tried this yet, but my mom had one the other day. She said it had too much raspberry for her taste, but if you love raspberry, then these sound perfect.

The box on top is Georgia Peach Cookies by Byrd's Famous Cookies. We received two boxes of these (again, each item had two of each - even though I only photographed one of each in the above photo) but my mom and I both thought they were too sweet for us. I liked them but we decided to share the other box with someone else.

In the bottom right hand corner, we have Citrus Mix Fruit Rock Candy by Raley's Confectionary, which I haven't had the chance to try yet either. I think they look really good though and I have a feeling I'll like these. I'm a fan of hard candy!

Finally, we have the item in the bottom left hand corner - Craft Beer Pretzel Caramels from Shotwell Candy. Along with the toffee cookies, these were mine and my mom's favorite item in the box. Each package included 3 individually wrapped caramels. Mmm mmm...I could use some more of these right now, but alas, we have eaten them all!

All in all, this was a fantastic box. Who wouldn't want a mix of new and exciting sweets at their door every single month? I really love that you get two packages of each item - plenty to eat and share if you wish, which is especially good if you are sharing with a family. I also love that it's only $19 a month in all which is a pretty good price for a food subscription box, I think. I will definitely check out more of these boxes in the future. I'd like to say I would subscribe every month, but you never know about money issues - another positive though is that you can skip a month (or cancel) at any time.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fanspirations Subscription Review: Choose Your Fandom

Fanspirations Review: Use my coupon code to get $4 off the first month:  SHOOTINGSTARS

Review by Lauren

Source: I was given a discount code to help purchase a box for review; all opinions are my own

Review: I have a feeling this is going to be a lot of my reader's favorite subscription box - or one of them at least - because you get a box full of fandom goodies every month. Plus, YOU get to pick the fandom from a long list of possible choices (which I'll share below). As for me, I went with BBC Sherlock as my fandom choice because I'm dying for new episodes and I don't really have anything besides the DVDs to showcase my Sherlockian love.

I got a lot of Sherlock themed jewelry which is fun. I'm not much for wearing jewelry, but I think I could change that a bit with some of this stuff because it's really showcasing my nerdy love. I've already worn the Sherlock Holmes book necklace (far right in the above picture) out and I think it's super cute. I also really like that you can open the book!

The two necklaces in the top left hand corner of the above photo are cool because they have silhouettes of Sherlock and Watson on them - you can wear them both, one at a time, or use them as best friend necklaces. You can do the same for the bracelets at the bottom of the photo. I tried these on and they are comfy on the wrist, which is a major thing for me, and I like that it's simple, yet it still shows your love of Sherlock.

Finally, there are the earrings (three different Sherlock-themed stud earrings). My ears aren't pierced, so my sister claimed these. They are so cute though! I would wear them if I could, but I know my sister will, so it's all good.

The above photo gives you a closer look at the Watson/Sherlock necklaces. As you can see, the background is a book. Pretty cool, huh? You can also see that the other necklace opens up and it also features some pages from Sherlock. This one is definitely my favorite because it honors the original novels and I just really like that it opens!

I also got this really cute 221B Door key chain which is really fun. It's already on my keys and a friend of mine even noticed it today (she's a Sherlock fan as well). For someone that doesn't do a ton of jewelry, I really liked this addition. I also received a t-shirt, which is great because I'm pretty obsessed with wearing t-shirts, especially of the nerdy variety.

If you look closely at the blue decorations around Sherlock on this shirt you will see that there are some symbols that go along with the character, like the skull and the violin. I'm not normally a big fan of shirts that have actors themselves on it because it can be weird walking around with someone's face on your chest, but this one works well for me because it's the back of him. I haven't been able to wear this one yet, but it's super cute and I can't wait! Also, I will note that I chose the t-shirt size so I know it'll fit!

Now, let's talk about the various levels of subscriptions:

Perfect Deal is $13/month and includes 3-4 items

Favorite Deal is $30/month and includes 5-7 items (I chose this for my review!)

Best Deal is $50/month and includes 8-11 items

You can pay for your subscription month to month, but you can also do a 3 month, 6 month, and 12 month prepay. The prices are listed once you choose the deal you want.

One thing I really love (among many) about this subscription is that you can change your fandom EVERY MONTH; just make sure you log into your account and change it before the next shipment (I believe it's before the 20th of every month, otherwise your subscription will auto-renew with the previous month's fandom).

Finally, here is a list of the current Fandoms you can choose from every month. I went with Sherlock, but you have a lot of other options too:

Fanspirations - A mix of open themes
Heroes - DC and Marvel
Demon Hunters (Supernatural)
Walker Stalker (Walking Dead)
Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones)
Demigods (Percy Jackson)
Ringheads (LOTR)
Factions (Divergent)

I really love Fanspirations. I might try the cheaper subscription box ($13 a month) just so I can check out some of the other themes without breaking the bank each month. In particular, I really want to try out Potterhead, Whovian, Heroes, and maybe even Tributes. I know friends that would love Supernatural, Game of Thrones, and LOTR too!

What do you think? What fandom would you choose?

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Music Box Review

The Music Box - try it out with a 15% off code: SEPTREVIEW15

Review by Lauren

Source: one month's box sent for review; all opinions are my own

Review: I love finding new music, and I used to be pretty good at keeping up with the latest bands and groups. It's more difficult nowadays, and I feel like I know more about books than music, but that doesn't mean I don't still love the fun of discovering a new artist. Therefore, I loved the idea behind The Music Box where you can choose from various subscriptions and receive fun music in the mail every month. Granted, you might get something you already know or own, but I feel like those chances are pretty slim.
A look at the inside of my box!
Let's break it down to figure out what you would get every month if you subscribed, before I share what I received!

The Envelope: $5/month- ONE compilation CD w/ 15-20 songs. Featuring genres such as Pop-Punk, Pop-Rock, Indie, Alternative, etc.

The Box: $10/month: 2-4 CDs and other goodies. Goodies could be stickers, wristbands, downloads, autographs or t-shirts, etc.

The Bundle: $13/month: ONE music box and ONE envelope

Shipping Rates-

United States -shipping is free

Canada- shipping is $6

International- shipping is $10

Some of the goodies in my box!
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's see what I got in my box for the month of September (I chose Pop/Rock as my musical genre but there is also Alt/Indie, Rock, Country, and Surprise Me).

Two of the albums that I got in my box are from Five Times August. I have heard of him but I don't know if I knew any of his music beforehand. I listened to some of the album Life as a Song (in the top right hand corner of the below picture) and it was really good. I've always loved Pop/Rock type music and this definitely fits the music that I listened to in my teens years. I'm excited to listen to more of his stuff!

I haven't had a chance to listen to Rollo Time yet, but I'm excited to find a band I had never heard of before! I think this service is really well priced and I love that you can choose the amount of goodies you want as well as the genre of music you would be interested in. I think my mom would love to try out the Country box, and I'm curious to see what other Pop/Rock albums I would be sent in the future. I'm not subscribed to this service, but it's one I do want to try out again in the future to see what I think of future pickings.

For now, I really like The Music Box and I would recommend checking it out! It seems like a really fun and easy way to discover new music.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Never, Never by Brianna R. Shrum

Never, Never by Brianna R. Shrum

Review by Lauren

source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up.

When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man, James decides he could try being a child - at least briefly. James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children's dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to be a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves. A world where children are to never grow up.

But grow up he does.

And thus begins the epic adventure of a Lost Boy and a Pirate.

This story isn't about Peter Pan; it's about the boy whose life he stole. It's about a man in a world that hates men. It's about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan.

Review: To be honest, I have never read the original Peter Pan story. I have seen various film adaptations of it though, so I was really excited about reading a book that focuses on a young James Hook who is essentially lied to by Peter Pan. If you want a book where Pan is a lovable boy, then don't read this book. Pan is not someone to admire in this story. The question though - is James?

Never, Never was an atmospheric novel with some great characters. You don't really get to know many of them besides James Hook, but I felt like you knew enough about them to care about their feelings and their lives. Tiger Lily had a large role in the second half of the book. She is made to love Pan, but James can't help falling for her and that dynamic is very interesting.

This is a dark novel, full of action and mixed emotions. I do think it was a bit long in parts, but then again, I read this as an e-book and I think physical novels tend to go faster sometimes. It all depends! Despite it feeling long, I can understand how everything works and nothing felt unneeded.

Never, Never was an exciting adventure story and I am curious to see what everyone else thinks, so share your thoughts below!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Review: My Craft in a Box

By Lauren

August Box sent for review - all opinions are my own

Jennie created My Craft in a Box for all of us craft lovers out there. I love this idea. Seriously. This is one of the subscription boxes I tried out that I would honestly want to subscribe to myself. I think this would be a fantastic idea for my sister-in-law too as she's quite creative and crafty too. What I really love about My Craft in a Box is that you don't just get a craft to make - you also get some fun items that relate to the theme of your box.

The August theme was In Your Dreams so all of my items related to that.

Owls are a big theme for this box as they are nocturnal animals and people tend to relate night/dreaming and owls. I'm a big fan of owls, so I thought this was so cute.

This is a look at all of the items that I was given in the August box. I'm so in love with that dream catcher. It's hanging right by me in the living room as I type this, and it's been there since I got the box. My mom was seriously in love with it too! There is also a packet of tea and a bag of potpourri, as you can see in the above photo.

I hung up the dream catcher so you can get a better look at what it would look like. Isn't it great?

As for the actual craft, I was sent this little package with almost everything you need to make an Owl Sleep Mask. I'll admit that I haven't tried making it yet as I've been ridiculously busy and once I start, I'd really like to finish it! However, I think this is a really cute craft idea and it obviously fits the theme so well.

Extra Information:

* Each box is $24 + free shipping (U.S. only)
* You can currently order three boxes (Sept, Oct, and Nov) for $69 (free shipping)
* Sometimes you can visit the shop and buy previous month's boxes for $20
* You can buy the September box right now - the theme is "The Bewitching Box"

Swapoween: Sign Up Now

It's that time of the year! Halloween is my favorite holiday and October is my favorite month, so it's no surprise that I immediately signed up for the Swapoween hosted by Chaotic Goddess Swaps. I've done this swap for a few years now, so I do recommend you checking it out! Who knows? Maybe we'll be matched up!

Important Dates to Remember
  • Sign-Ups Close on September 28th, 2015
  • Partners Assigned on September 30th, 2015
  • Packages Ship by Saturday, October 17th, 2015
  • Swap Show-Off Post/Linky goes live on October 21st, 2015

Will you take part?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Creative Work Spaces: What I Would Love

The company WeWork is a coworking company based out of NYC that offers shared office space in cities all over the world! They're curious to learn more about what people look for in an ideal workspace. 

One of my jobs allows me an office, but I share it with a permanent member of staff and therefore there isn't really anything in there that shows off my signature style or taste. I do have a set area where I work at home, but again, it's not its own office and I tend to have random books and notes surrounding me. Therefore, I thought I'd discuss a dream office instead of what I currently have!

I took to Pinterest in order to see what others have done and what I would like:

Eclectic Home Office

Okay, I just really love the lights above this desk. Plus, the chair looks really comfortable. If I'm going to be writing on the computer a lot, I need a comfortable chair!

Martha Stewart shares this really awesome chalkboard paint monthly planner. How awesome would it be to keep your calendar on the wall? I'm always writing myself notes and leaving them around the house so I'll see them and remember! I even have a post-it note tab open on my computer to remind me of things to do on the computer. This chalkboard would be so awesome to have in a home office!

And now, since I'm a total bookworm, here are some things I would love to have in my office:

This chair would be fantastic! I love the little light next to it too - perfect for hanging out and reading. Of course, your office can be more than just a work space. Plus, I could always sit here and use my laptop. Win-Win!

Finally, I would love this book rug! I don't know if it's comfortable or not, but it would be such a fun addition to any room. I'd love to have it in my home office some day!

Let's turn it to you: Would you want any of these items in your personal office space? Do you already have a cool office? Do share!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Comic Bento Review: Graphic Novels to Your Door!

Comic Bento 

Review by Lauren

Source: links are affiliate links - I was also sent a free box to review -all opinions are my own

Review: Ever since I took a graphic novel course as an undergraduate student, I have been fairly obsessed with comics and graphic novels. Therefore, I was really excited when I came across Comic Bento - a subscription service where you get comic books in the mail every month.

For a comic book fan, what could be better than that? I was really pleased with all of the books I received. I had not read any of them before, so that was exciting, but it was also great to see how much you really got for the price you would pay every month.

If you want a recurring 1-month plan, you pay $20 a month with S/H. If you want a recurring 3-month plan, you pay $18.34 a month plus S/H (which saves you $5 - total price is $55). Finally, if you want a recurring 6-month plan, you pay $17.50 a month plus S/H (which saves you $15 - total price is $105).

These are the four books that I received in my box. The theme for the month was "Dynamite" and that's the company who supplied these graphic novels. Every month you get at least four graphic novels (you never get single comic issues - another positive!) but you could get more.

I received the graphic novel version of Dracula and Vampirella: Our Lady of Shadows.

I also got a graphic novel based on the show Grimm and Fear Nothing: Volume One, the graphic novel version of the Dean Koontz novel. I knew I wanted to read one of these graphic novels before reviewing this service, so I went with Fear Nothing. I have not read this book before, but I felt like the graphic adaptation did really well. I understood what was happening and it's full of twists and turns that kept me glued to the pages. I definitely want to read the second volume now. Based on my reaction to this graphic novel, I love this subscription service even more because it gives me other novels to look forward too. This is definitely a service I might have to sign up for on my own.

Unfortunately, this service only goes to the U.S. and Canada- but I do recommend it for those that can subscribe and are interested! This would be a fantastic gift for yourself or someone else. Also, be sure to check out the Store on the website because they show you what was in previous boxes. If they aren't sold out, you can even purchase one of those previous boxes! This is a great way to see if you think you would like the boxes month-to-month.

Monday, September 21, 2015

That Time of the Month: TomBoxes Review

TomBoxes Review

By Lauren

Source: box sent for review; all opinions are my own

Review: TomBoxes is a subscription service for that time of the month - so it's obviously only available for the ladies! I love the idea because you not only get what you need (your choice of pads or tampons) you also receive fun items that you would want (jewelry, makeup, etc.). It's a win-win!

What I really like about this service is that they offer brands that you already know and love. Instead of going to the store every month, have your choice of feminine care sent to you. As you can see from the above photo, I chose Playtex, but they also offer the following:


Now that you've seen the needed item, it's time to dig in and see what fun "wants" you have been given too. This is what the bottom of my box looked like before I opened everything up. Nicely packaged- and I like the felt bags!

The gray bag had these cute bracelet/hair ties. You wear them on your wrist until you need to pull your hair up. I've seen these around before but never owned any, so it was cool to get a couple colors in my box!

The black bag contained these simple, silver earrings. My ears aren't pierced, which I probably should have told the company, but it's okay! My sister said she would love these. Another great thing about TomBoxes is that you tell the company your fashion/jewelry type so they can customize what they sent you. I let them know that I am pale and relatively simple with fashion.

I opened up the final little box (lovingly labeled Beautiful.) to find a mix of fun beauty items. I like the various chapstick and lip balm - definitely good for this time of the year and easy for someone like me who doesn't wear a ton of makeup. Please click the picture for a close-up look at everything that was included!

Some final, brief information:

-they only ship to the U.S.
-you can buy a one-time box for $24
-their standard tombox is $16 a month
-when you want to subscribe, you will go through a quick quiz first (to determine beauty/fashion type)
-please read all the FAQ's for more information


I thought this was a really handy subscription box! Who actually enjoys going to the store every month to get what you need? This makes it a lot easier, plus you get some additional fun items to hopefully make things seem a bit brighter. I think this would be a great subscription box to get a younger girl who might just be starting her period, as long as you don't mind her wearing a bit of makeup, etc. Maybe it will make it less scary for her!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Subscription Spotlight: Pampered Teacher

Pampered Teacher 

Pampered Teacher is not a subscription service that I personally checked out. However, I wanted to feature it because I do know teachers and they work really hard. Plus, a lot of you have children in school and the one- time teacher box or even some of the gifts Pampered Teacher offers might make a nice present for them!

If you want to subscribe, visit this link.

One-time teacher box is $29 (free shipping)
Quarterly Subscription (4 boxes throughout year) is $116 (as I write this, it's on sale at $109)

If you would like to check out some people's thoughts as well as photos of previous boxes, go here!

Need to Know: They only ship to the Continental United States and the boxes are geared toward female teachers. If enough people express interest in boxes for men, they will think about adding that to their line!

Any teachers out there? Would you buy this for yourself or a teacher you know?

Friday, September 18, 2015

Goose by Dawn O'Porter + Song Choice

Goose by Dawn O'Porter

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: Best friends Renée and Flo have been inseparable for years. But now, as high school graduation looms, the girls' rock-solid friendship is beginning to show cracks. Flo has her heart set on going to university, with Renée right by her side, but all Renée wants is to stop going to school as soon as possible. To distract themselves from the inevitable and frightening future, Renée gets swept up in a romance with an older man, while Flo starts attending a church group. With such different paths and views on life, the girls start to worry that it isn't just high school that's ending—but also their friendship.

Review: I didn't realize that Goose was the sequel to Paper Aeroplanes, but it wasn't difficult to follow along, so I really appreciated that. Goose takes place in 1997 and is about the final year of high school for best friends Renée and Flo. Both of these girls have been through a lot, but they have always had each other to rely on. Renée's mom passed away when she was young and now she lives with her Aunt and Nana, while her sister Nell lives with her father in Spain. Flo's father died not that long ago and she lives with her mum and younger sister. It's obvious that both of these girls are defined by grief in their lives, but they want to find other ways to cope with life.

Renée is more outgoing and likes to flirt with boys. She's had sex and doesn't mind doing so. Flo, on the other hand, is a bit more reserved and she's still a virgin. Goose focuses on relationships for both girls and some tough lessons are learned. It also deals with them growing apart. They both find boys who take up their time, as well as a new group of friends that Flo connects with because she has started going to church. While Renée doesn't understand church and doesn't believe in God, Flo does and it's treated with respect from her point of view. You do get Renée's different thoughts and opinions, but it's done well, so I don't think it would truly offend anyone.

I really love books that take place in other countries. It was easy for me to read and understand, though I suppose if you live in the U.S. and have never read about the English education system or heard certain slang words, you may be a bit confused. Overall, though, I think anyone could read Goose and understand what is happening throughout. After all, it's mostly about two girls growing up, growing apart, and finding what makes them them.

Goose was an enjoyable read overall. I would recommend it to older teens as it not only deals with some tough, grown-up issues, but it uses some of the language and includes some more graphic details - nothing too much though!

Song Choice:

As this book takes place in 1997, Renée and Flo are huge fans of the Spice Girls. The names of the chapters even come from their songs. Therefore, I had to include a Spice Girls song to go with this book.

"Spice Up Your Life" by Spice Girls

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Not My Boyfriend by Monica L. Anderson

Not My Boyfriend by Monica L. Anderson

Review by Lauren

source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: Stuck at a co-workers retirement party, Max prepares himself for a long, boring night— until a guy across the bar with an intense brown gaze and a dangerous smirk offers some mutual gratification in the bathroom. Max had been looking for a forever love, but Karson’s so hot, forever can wait.Ever since his cheating ex broke his heart, Karson’s had rules. Only pleasure. Nevermore than once. Never stay the night. Yet long after their romp in the bar bathroom, Karson still wants Max—maybe enough to break his own rules.As Max and Karson struggle to sort out their complicated non-relationship, Karson’s ex resurfaces in full win-him-back mode. One white lie later, Max attends Karson’s tenth annual high-school reunion as his “boyfriend” to keep his ex away. But pretending is hard, when all Max wants is for the lie to be the truth.

Review: Let me preface this review by saying that this is quite a physical novel, as Max and Karson's relationship consists mostly of sex for awhile. Max is desperate to find someone he can really settle down with and he doesn't want anymore one-night stands. Karson, on the other hand, is too afraid to get close to anyone after his long-time ex cheated on him. Therefore, when these two get together, they try and keep it at sex. It fits the story and the characters, but if you want more of a story line and less sex, then you might not like this one as much.

Moving on...Max is a really sweet guy who definitely deserves love. He also works in a library, which I personally find adorable. As for Karson, he's a good guy and I feel bad for how he was treated by his ex. At the same time, I disliked how he treated Max through their "relationship" at least in terms of stringing him along. He knows Max wants more, but Karson just keeps going back to try and get Max out of his system. It's obvious he's falling for Max and the two do get to know each other as their non-relationship continues. Regardless, it would have been nice to have more of a personal connection with these two. It just seems to go from a sexual relationship to them falling in love without a lot in between.

I liked Not My Boyfriend, but it's definitely not my favorite m/m novel or book published by Samhain Publishing, who release a lot of great novels. I also hate to admit this, but I couldn't remember a ton of details about this book after having finished it about a week ago. I don't necessarily remember everything from a book, but I think I was confusing this one with another m/m book I read even longer ago. It looks like I remember that title better, which isn't the greatest in terms of Not My Boyfriend's likability longevity. Regardless, I'm glad I had the chance to check this one out and I am curious about Anderson's other novels.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Bookroo Subscription Box: Books for Children

Bookroo: "books for your kids...delivered for your doorstep every month."

Review by Lauren

Source: Bookroo gave me a discount on one month's subscription box and I paid for the rest - all opinions are my own

Review: Bookroo has two different types of subscription boxes you can choose from - board books (ages 0-3) and picture books (ages 2-6 +). I went with board books because it fits my niece and nephew better, and I didn't want to get books that only one of them could have. Unfortunately, they do not live near me anymore so I couldn't get reactions from them for the review - but I will be using these books as future birthday and Christmas gifts coming up!

I was sent a really cute box with my three board books, all carefully wrapped in fun paper. This is so cool because I know the kids in my life love opening gifts, so if you subscribe to this, they have something really fun to open every month!

Because I chose board books, I was given 3 books to check out. If you go with the picture book option, then you receive 2 books. This makes sense to me because picture books are usually longer and more expensive than board books! Each subscription service (no matter what type of book you choose) is $19.99 a month with free shipping to the United States. Learn about other shipping options here.

These are the three books that I recieved; none of which I had heard about before! I really love the eclectic mix of titles, good for both boys and girls. Then again, I don't really believe in "girl books" and "boy books." Let kids read what they like, as long as it's age appropriate! At any rate, I got the following titles:

The Crayon Box that Talked by Shane DeRolf: This is a really sweet book about a box of crayons that can't get along until a little girl takes them home and starts drawing with all of them. This is definitely going to my nephew, as he loves to color!

Hernando Fandango: The Great Dancing Dog by Rachel Swirles: This book is about a little girl named Adelaide and her pajama-case dog/best friend who love to dance, as well as watching Adelaide's parents dance. This is a fun book for an older reader/listener as there are more words. My niece dances, so I know she'd really adore this one!

Sassy: Let's Count! A First Book of Numbers: This one isn't a story but it is a cute book to help kids learn their numbers. Each page has a brightly colored number with a fun border. You lift the flap (which is almost as big as the page) to see what the number goes with, such as 6 Socks and 9 Ants. This would be a good book for a friend of mine who has a little girl starting to talk a bit...I just need to wait a bit longer, but she'll be one soon, so maybe for a birthday gift!

Overall: I really like this subscription service. You get some great books and it definitely helps promote a constant love of reading, if you're getting these books every month. I might have to subscribe for a few months and have them sent directly to my niece and nephew. I think they would love getting mail like this!

Bookroo has a FAQ page, but I loved some of these answers so much, I wanted to share a few of them.

One of the questions is about receiving a book you already own. Their answer?

No problem! Send us a picture of your giving the book to someone else and we'll give you $5 off your next subscription. Our experience has been that even community members with extensive libraries have discovered new books through Bookroo!

Another question was about having children in both age ranges (board book and picture book - like my niece and nephew). Their answer?

Let us know and we'd be happy to alternate which box we send you, so that you can acquire books for both age groups!

Isn't that awesome? They really do try and make the Bookroo experience fit every single family and I appreciate that! Please use THIS LINK if you would like $4 off your first month!

Would you subscribe to this service? Which box - board books or picture books? 

Let me know if you subscribe to this or any other subscription service I feature this month!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Tales From the Back Row by Amy Odell

Tales From the Back Row by Amy Odell

Review by Lauren

source: copy from netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: In Tales from the Back Row, editor Amy Odell takes readers behind the stage of New York’s hottest fashion shows to meet the world’s most influential models, designers, celebrities, editors, and photographers.

But first, she has to push her way through the crowds outside, where we see the lengths people go to be noticed by the lurking paparazzi, and weave her way through the packed venue, from the very back row to the front. And as Amy climbs the ladder (with tips about how you can, too), she introduces an industry powered by larger-than-life characters: she meets the intimidating Anna Wintour and the surprisingly gracious Rachel Zoe, not to mention the hilarious Chelsea Handler, and more.

As she describes the allure of Alexander Wang’s ripped tights and Marchesa’s Oscar-worthy dresses, Amy artfully layers in something else: ultimately this book is about how the fashion industry is an exaggerated mirror of human fallibility—reflecting our desperate desire to belong, to make a mark, to be included. For Amy is the first to admit that as much as she is embarrassed by the thrill she gets when she receives an invitation to an exclusive after-party, she can’t help but RSVP “yes.”

Review: I won't say I know a lot about the fashion industry, but I do know that it seems over-the-top and a tad ridiculous at times. I see certain trends or runway looks and I can only think "why?" Because of this, I really did enjoy Amy Odell's memoir about making it on top in the fashion world. She learns to really love and understand fashion, but she still keeps her sense of humor and understanding that not everything designers create is fantastic. She knows that certain trends are a bit off-the-wall and only fashion people can really pull the look off. At the same time, she loves her job and she's fascinated by the world of fashion. With all that passion, she's essentially living her dream.

While this book is a memoir, it is focused around fashion. There are personal stories about wearing designer sweatpants to have dinner with her boyfriend's parents, but again, it's mostly about the fashion. This doesn't bother me, but if you really hate any talk of fashion, this won't be for you. I really liked the stories about Odell's various writing jobs. She didn't start out focusing on fashion, but she eventually ended up there after being assigned a lot of writing jobs concerning the topic. I've done freelance writing in the past and writing is something that I really enjoy, so it was cool to see a professional in her field talk about her experiences.

Tales From the Back Row was a good read. Again, it's very much about fashion so if you love it or are interested enough like me? Check it out. Not so much? I'd pass on this one!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

GTK (5) + BookCase.Club Subscription Box Review

Getting to Know: I used to be part of an online book club for years. I was even one of the moderators by the end, as it was on a forum. It was a great way to meet new people who had the same interests as you (this is before I started a blog and found other book bloggers). We also read the same books and had discussions as we went along; usually week by week but sometimes people read faster and created a final thread to discuss the book as a whole.

I found some great authors this way like Nick Hornby and Chuck Palahniuk. I also discovered Gillian Flynn, back when she published her debut novel, Sharp Objects (it was a book club pick). We also read classics like The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. I loved being part of this club and I even got to meet a lot of the "regular" members a couple times. One of the members lives in NYC and any time I visit, I always meet up with her, including this past May when I went to BEA.

To go with this week's Getting to Know, I wanted to share a suitable subscription service called BookCase.Club. They sent me a subscription box for September to review; all opinions are my own!

One thing I really like about this service is that you choose the theme you want - Paranormal Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller, Children's Picture Books, and Romance Novels.

Choose the theme you want. Pick the order type. Get two books in the mail every month, as well as another fun bookish item.

Month-to-Month: $9.99 (shipping $5)
3 Month Prepay: $28.00 (shipping $5)
6 Month Prepay: $54.00 (shipping $5)
12 Month Prepay: $100.00 (shipping $5)

Ships To: The Contiguous United States at the moment

Charity: "BookCase.Club has partnered with Books For Keeps, and each month we will donate a book for each new and recurring subscription."

My Review: I was given the opportunity to review one of the boxes that BookCase.Club sends out every month. I decided to go with the Young Adult case because I love YA books and I know a lot of you reading this do too! I figured it might be the box of most interest.

The fun, bookish item I was sent was this Do it Now: Daily Action Plan for Guaranteed Success which is pretty cool. I think it would be a nice holiday gift so someone could start using it during the new year. Be sure to check out the link for the Amazon listing if you wish to know more! Overall, I thought this was a fun addition. I like that it goes along with the whole book theme but it's not what you'd expect from a book subscription service.

Underneath the journal, I found this two beauties nestled in my box (it was a plain white box, by the way, in case you are curious how things are shipped!). These are both part of series that I have wanted to read for a while now, so that's awesome! Etiquette and Espionage is the first in Gail Carriger's YA series, so I'll have to try and start this soon. Zom-B: Underground is actually the second book in the series. It's not too far in and I can probably find the first book for cheap or at the library, so it's not a big deal. Regardless, if you are going to be sent a series book, it would be nice to get the first, just in case!!

I'm excited about the books I was sent. They aren't super new releases, so there is a chance that people getting this box will have already read these or have copies. I suppose that's the chance you take, but I'd give the box a few months to see if you mostly get new books. If not, it might be a good idea to try a different theme if you don't usually buy certain books but still like them. For me, I think I'd get a lot of books I hadn't read in the Mystery/Thriller category, and it's one that I still really love. I also really like the Children's Picture Books option for my niece and nephew, or even to donate to a local library or school that could use them. All the boxes are a fairly good price for two books a month + something extra, I think!

What do you think? What theme would you choose?