Monday, April 29, 2013

Read - Sharp Objects

Sharp Objects
by Gillian Flynn
2006
252 pages

WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart
Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.

NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg
Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.

HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle
As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.

With its taut, crafted writing, Sharp Objects is addictive, haunting, and unforgettable.


*** MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS ***

I've been reading so much Young Adult paranormal/fantasy romance lately that this book was like an absolute breath of fresh air.  At just 252 pages, it seemed to fly by compared the usual 400+ pagers I've been reading for so long now.

When I first started reading this I thought the style of writing might turn me off.  It's first person, told from the perspective of main character Camille, but it's written in that sort of choppy sentence style, like writing exactly how you think.  I don't know if that makes any sense.  I can't think of how to describe it.  But anyway, what I thought would bother me didn't really bother me at all once I fell into the groove of the story.

Camille is a small-time reporter living in Chicago who is sent back to her hometown to cover the story of two little girls who have been murdered.  Her boss thinks she's the best person for the assignment because she knows the people and the area and can probably get the scoop from the locals, pick up on gossip and information, etc.  But Camille left that town years ago for good reasons and she's not at all thrilled to be going back.  Now she's not only trying to write this sad and disturbing story, but she's having to face her childhood demons again . . . the things that drove her away from home in the first place.

Camille is damaged goods.  She had a lot of problems and did a lot of things and went through a lot of therapy in her younger days.  While I understand why she does the things she does now in her adult life, I found I just didn't really like this character.  I don't think I ever really 'liked' any of the characters in this story, but aren't we supposed to at least like our main character?

Being a fairly short book, it kept a quick pace.  Sometimes it was almost a bit confusing because Camille would be coming and going and not keeping any kind of schedule, so a lot of times I was wondering what time of day it was or how much time had passed but it wasn't any glaring problem that distracted from the story.  There is no fluff and filler in this book.  Far from it.  In fact, this is quite a blunt and too the point book.  There is sex, graphic details, disturbing scenes . . . and an almost comical portrayal of the 'normal, happy people' in town as seen through Camille's eyes.  Sometimes it seemed there wasn't enough detail or information, but to spend more time on such things would have steered towards bringing in unnecessary bits and bogging down the flow of the story.  Example, we never really get to know much about the Richard, the investigator, even though he's a pretty big part of the book.  We get to see only what Camille needs to know as she tries to get information from him.  And while you might want to learn more about this guy, you don't get too upset because things just keep moving in the story.

It was refreshing to not have a teenage love triangle to deal with in this book, after reading soooo many others lately that seem to revolve around that obligatory plot point.  There's not really any romance at all in this book.  And it was relaxing for my brain to not have to sort out tons of fantasy elements and keep up with overly busy storylines and plot twists.  This was a short, quick, stand alone novel, and a refreshing break from the usual long, involved series I've been reading for so long now. 

I was not at all familiar with Gillian Flynn books before reading this one.  Now I want to read whatever else she has but I'm leery.  I picked up another of her books while shopping the other day, and while flipping through and reading snippets, it almost seems like the character in that one is written the same as Camille in this one was.  I hope all of Gillian Flynn's books are not going to have that same type of 'attitude.'  You know, while the story itself is different, the main character is just a carbon copy in each one.  Know what I mean?  I guess I'll find out though, because I do want to read more by this author.
 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Read - Clockwork Angel

Clockwork Angel
by Cassandra Clare
2010
476 pages

Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length . . . everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world. . . . and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.


*** MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS ***

The Infernal Devices trilogy is the prequel series to the popular Mortal Instruments series (City of Bones, etc.) in the YA paranormal/fantasy romance genre.  Clockwork Angel is set in 1878, in London, and I was actually more interested in reading *this* series than the Mortal Instruments.  Setting pretty much any story back in the 1800s or before makes it better, and moving that story to old England or Europe just makes it that much more enticing.  Or maybe I'm just a dork that way.

Anyway, this book follows Tessa as she is sort of dumped right into the middle of this secret world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders.  Just a teenager, Tessa leaves her home of New York after her aunt/guardian dies, and moves across the ocean to join Nate, her brother and only remaining family, in London.  A proper young lady, her troubles begin as soon as she steps off the boat that has brought her to England.  Nate is not there to greet her and take her 'home' . . . so the story pretty much gets going immediately.  There is no long, boring buildup, and I liked that.  This was a well paced book, without a lot of filler or fluff.

Taking the story of the Shadowhunters and Downworlders back more than a hundred years, it was fun to see all the familiar family names, and even some of the same characters such as Magnus Bane.  The format of the story was basically the same though . . . a series of events lead to a dramatic confrontation, there is a sort of regrouping period after that and then another big happening closes out the book.  While I didn't really find Tessa to be a duplicate of Clary, Will and Jace are pretty much carbon copies of each other personality wise.  That was a boring disappointment.  Does the author know of no other way to write the main male character?  Do teenage girls really swoon over such snotty, standoffish guys?  I just did not like Will, maybe because we've seen it all before in Jace.  I was also really disappointed in the whole 'infiltrate the party' scenes because, again, it had already been done in City of Bones.  It would have been nice to see the author be a bit more creative with things.

Still, I did enjoy this book quite a lot.  There were some twists that I had not seen coming.  Things were left wide open at the end because this is a trilogy.  I am curious to see how things play out, and hoping we get to see a softer side of Will.  I also like that it is only a trilogy because that hopefully means not a lot of extra side stories will be added to extend the run.  I've heard the third/final book is amazing and can't wait to see what all the fuss is about! 

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Plum Crazy

Plum Crazy - ‘Sweet plum scent.

This is interestingly nice.  I wouldn't know what a real plum smells like so I can't say how true this is.  There is obviously a fruity note, dark fruit ... not bright and summery like a lot of fruit scents are.  There is also a sort of spice note, just a hint of something slightly 'sharp.'  Does plum smell like that??  I don't know, but I like this!

This was a sample with my order, slightly smaller than the usual 1 oz. scallop tarts.  I melted this whole tart in my tea light warmer and while the throw was strong, the scent itself was more medium to light.  I didn't really smell much until I was moving around and the air was stirred up.  On the other hand, when I came back into the house from doing something outside, I could immediately smell this upon opening the back door.  The longer it warmed, the stronger it seemed to get, but still stayed a softer background type scent.

One of the reasons I like samples in orders is because of times like this.  I probably never would have picked this scent on my own, but now, having been presented with one to try, I find that I do indeed like and would order it.  Yay, for samples!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Lemon Noel

Lemon Noel - ‘(SF Blend) Refreshing lemons and Vanilla Bean Noel.’
[VBN = buttery vanilla, cookie, and caramel]

This reminds me of all the lemon marshmallow/cookie type scents I've had during my lemon kick.  Mainly a lemon scent, the vanilla warms and softens it.  While I don't get any specific cookie or caramel notes, I think it all works together to make this a very nice bakery lemon scent.

I melted this entire 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and got a strong scent and throw.  It was deliciously strong in the room the warmer is in but I could also easily smell it throughout the whole downstairs of the house, and even lightly upstairs.  And the scent stayed strong and consistent all the way through the tea light (4 hours), so I'm sure I'd be able to get another melt out of this one.

Definite winner!

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Serendipity

Serendipity - ‘Sweet vanilla, powdered sugar, sweet cherry, orange, citrus, and yummy coconut.

I've heard that some versions of Serendipity can be cherry-heavy, and some can be coconut-heavy.  This one seems to lean toward the coconut-heavy side, and that was fine with me.  Serendipity can also be sickeningly sweet sometimes, and this one wasn't.  When it first started melting, I noticed the really bright notes from the citrus and sugar, but after it had been going a while it seemed to warm up more as the coconut and vanilla came out.

I melted this entire 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and got a medium scent at best, which probably helped in keeping the over-sweetness down.  I could smell it lightly in adjacent rooms.  This was a very easy to handle version of a scent that can often be overwhelming.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Vikings (TV Show)

I'm sure you all know by now that hubby and I are big Minnesota Vikings football fans, but this post is about a new TV show that we've been watching.  Let me tell you a few things about our Viking interest first.  Way back when hubby and I first got together, he was not a football fan at all.  I was a casual fan at that time, and the Raiders were my favorite team.  (That's funny when I think about it now ... Raiders, Vikings, hehe.)  Our first 'date' was supposed to be to meet at the local high school homecoming game but I didn't go because I hadn't thought he was serious about showing up.  (He did go.  DOH!)  Somewhere along the way his interest in football started growing and after a mild stint as a noob Packer fan, he settled on the Vikings as 'his' team because of his family ancestry.  I mean, c'mon, the family name is Engebretson.  Doesn't get much more Scandinavian than that.  It took several years but I eventually jumped the Raiders ship and climbed aboard the Vikings ship.  Hey, they have cooler colors, alright?  =P

Over the years, when I've dabbled in genealogy, I've really wanted to focus on hubby's side of the family because it's just so different from anything in mine.  We know his ancestors came from Iceland, Sweden, Norway.  It's probably going to be harder to trace anything there than in places like England or Germany or France.  And now watching this show has got me wanting to try hitting the genealogy sites again.

This show called Vikings is on the History Channel, Sunday nights at 9pm/Central.  When hubby first started seeing previews for this, he was all over it, couldn't wait for it to start.  I wasn't interested enough to watch so we'd just been recording the episodes each week and he would watch them on evenings I was at work.  I'd kinda been thinking I'd wait for the DVD set to eventually come and I'd watch them all then, since that seems to be my way of doing TV shows these days.  Well, we got a DVR recently and hubby managed to get all of the episodes recorded so I could watch them and get caught up if I wanted.  I put it off until this weekend when our weather was crap and we had nothing else to do.  Through some marathon viewing, I am now caught up.  And while I can't say I love this show like I've loved others (like Game of Thrones, or The Tudors), I can say I'm enjoying it.

The show takes place in the years around 795 AD, the beginning of the 'Viking Age,' and follows famous Viking warrior and leader Ragnar.  I like this guy.  Blond hair, blue eyes is usually not my thing but this guy is . . . uh, pleasant enough.  I don't like how he's acting now in the later episodes though, all overly cool and trying to be scary, like with his head down stare and sort of smirk on his face.  Almost like he's trying too hard now.  Liked him much better in the first few episodes.

Lagertha is Ragar's wife and a very accomplished shieldmaiden.  A lot of people love her because she's strong and kicks ass for a woman.  I don't like her much and usually see her as a bitch.  Once she and Ragnar come into power, she's suddenly this soft-spoken and girlie mannered lady that seems so out of place.

Bjorn and Gyda are the children of Ragnar and Lagertha.  History tells us that Bjorn will rise to fame where is father leaves off.  Hubby says as the show goes on he thinks Bjorn is getting meaner and snottier, and is starting to remind him of evil boy king Joffrey from Game of Thrones.  I don't really see it but I guess it makes sense, if he's going to become a powerful Viking later on.

Rollo is Ragnar's brother in the show.  Although there is a very famous Viking named Rollo in history, I don't know if he was actually brother of Ragnar.  Anyway, in the show this is Ragnar's brother.  I'm undecided about him.  He seems faithful to his brother but there also seems to be an underlying danger that he wants equal power and fame.

The evil leader, Earl Haraldson, is a horrible man.  I did not like him at all and was glad when Ragnar eventually defeated him.  I don't like his wife much either and wonder if she'll redeem herself or be a traitorous character.  (I couldn't find a good in-character picture of her.)

Athelstan is the British monk that Ragnar's group captured during their first raid, on a monestary.  They took several monk back home and sold them as slaves.  Ragnar was able to keep Athelstan as his own 'slave' and has used him to learn about England and other lands, and to learn the English language.  I really like this guy.  He remains kind and faithful and begins to grow fascinated by this new land and culture.  From what I've seen in previews of upcoming episodes, he might even renounce his Christian beliefs.  I don't know if this character is based on anyone real in history but he's quite interesting in the show.

And Floki.  Oh how I love Floki.  This guy is crazy!  He is a ship builder and faithful friend of Ragnar.  He's quite intelligent in his weird scary way.  All the other guys are big, burly, hairy dudes, and here is Floki . . . super tall and skinny, and scary with his crazy makeup and short spiky hair.  He's quite a fighter though when he has to be.  Love this guy!

There are other characters but these are the main ones.

I'm surprised how many people I know that watch this show.  I wouldn't have thought it would be that interesting to anyone but maybe history geeks.  I know there is a second season in the works but I can't help but wonder how long they can make the show last.  Yeah, they can bring in all sorts of fictional characters and events, but really . . . how many episodes can be about the latest raid?

Have YOU watched Vikings at all?

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Summer Days

Summer Days - ‘(SF Blend) Creamy coconut and fresh apple.

I think I've now tried almost every coconut combination Sweet Fixations has . . . LOL!  Coconut with apple sounded quite interesting, so while I usually prefer my apple scents in the fall, I just had to try this one.  This is mainly an apple scent, bright and juicy and happy.  There are hints of coconut, just something sort of warm and sweet against that perky apple . . . but it is really an apple scent.

Melting this 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer I was greeted with an immediate STRONG scent of apple.  At first I was thinking 'Whoa, I can't handle this,' but I let it go and within the first 30-45 minutes or so it settled down into a medium-strong scent with more the of the coconut hints coming through.  It had a strong throw, could smell it pretty much everywhere in the house, but on a lighter medium scent level in rooms other than where the warmer was located.  The longer it melted, the more the coconut seemed to emerge.

An interesting scent but I think I still prefer apple scents in the fall, and with a bit of spice.

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Dole Whip

Dole Whip - ‘(SF Blend) Fresh pineapple and vanilla ice cream.

Another bright, summery type scent, this was mainly pineapple with a bit of creaminess to soften it.  I really liked this except that it was rather light.

I melted this whole 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and got a medium scent.  If someone walked by or the air was stirred up from the furnace kicking in, I would get a good strong whiff of this but in general it a very light background scent.  It did travel to other rooms though, so if you like lighter scents or have smaller rooms, this might be awesome for you.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Flip Flops

Flip Flops - ‘Tropical vanilla scent with creamy coconut.

Of all the summery coconut blend scents I've had in this big Sweet Fixations order, this is my least favorite.  I like both coconut and vanilla, and at times this seemed stronger on the coconut note, then other times it seemed stronger on the vanilla . . . but something about it just didn't work for me.  There was a sort of an underlying bitter or harsh note that just bothered more and more as time went on.  It was not a bad scent though!  It's not like it was some gross thing.  It just was not a favorite for me.

I melted this entire 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and got a medium-strong scent and throw.  I could smell it easily in the room the warmer was in, and could easily pick of lighter hints of it in other rooms.

I probably would not order this one again just because there are other coconut scents I enjoy more.

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Purple Cow

Purple Cow - ‘Just like the popsicles from out childhood. Grape and vanilla ice cream.

I've been passing this one by for some time now but when Lauren over at the Lolo Loves Scents blog posted about a Purple Cow blend recently I figured it was time to finally melt this one.  This one is just so different and I wasn't sure why, but now that I think about it I think it's because grape simply isn't a common note in home fragrances.

I thought the 'purple' in Purple Cow was grape soda and I could have sworn there was a slight bubbliness to this but maybe it was my mind playing tricks on my again.  The scent description doesn't mention soda.  This is very much a grape scent, first and foremost.  There is a softness to it, a creaminess from the ice cream.  Together it reminded me of a grape candy.  It was soft and sweet, not overly sugary or cavity inducing.  A very nice change from my usual/favorite bakery type scents.

I melted this whole 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had medium scent and throw.  In the room where the warmer is, it was stronger but still sort of a 'background' scent.  I could smell it lightly in adjacent rooms, just sort of perking up the air a bit, and I could even detect light hints of it all the way upstairs.

This a very nice scent that I would order again, but maybe melt two in different rooms to boost the strength.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies - ‘The wonderful smell of freshly baked cookies
with semi-sweet chocolate and vanilla.

I'm not usually a fan of chocolate scents when it comes to home fragrance.  This is one of the few exceptions.  While there is quite a strong dark chocolate note, you also get the cookie dough part.  It's a softly sweet, very cozy scent.  Love this one.

I melted this whole 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and got a nice strong scent.  Super yummy in the room the warmer is in, the scent was a bit lighter in adjacent rooms but even so, it was just like there were cookies baking in the oven.

A deliciously fun scent that I would gladly order again.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Game of Thrones - Season Two

I've been putting off posting my thoughts on the second season because I was trying to wait until my sister had watched it, but now that the third season has started I'm going to start confusing what happened when if I don't do this soon.  So here goes . . .

Close your eyes if you haven't watched the show yet . . .

*** SPOILERS ***

First of all, I didn't think I liked the second season near as much as I liked the first.  It seemed that we didn't see enough of the few people we care about, and instead had deal with a bunch of new characters on top of the old characters that just need to die agonizing deaths.  Hubby had seen the second season while it originally aired, but I had not.  When the dvd set was released, we did a marathon viewing of the entire season in one weekend.  Maybe I thought I didn't like it because this was my first look at it.  With the first season I'd seen many more bits of various episodes and sort of knew the story.  I tried to remind myself of that and keep an open mind.  And then, the weekend of the third season premiere, HBO replayed a marathon of the second season so we watched them all again.  Sure enough, now that I was more familiar with it, I enjoyed the second season a bit more.



One of my favorite stories of the second season was new character Jaqen H'ghar.  He is someone that Arya encounters as she continues to travel, pretending to be a boy, after her father Ned was executed in the first season.  He is very mysterious, and has a 'gift.'  Because Arya freed him and two others during an attack, she can name any three people and Jaqen will kill them.  While her list of people she wants dead is long indeed, she uses her choices wisely.  And then Jaqen leaves at the end of the season.  Nooooooo!  I'm sure this storyline will be revisited but it won't be the same Jaqen because of the weirdness he displayed just before he left.  *sniffle*

'The Hound' redeemed himself in some ways in the second season, not that I was ever convinced he was all bad anyway.  He saves Sansa more than once, and even offers to get her safely out of King's Landing when he ends up going on the run.

Poor, unfortunate Cersei is losing control of everything.  Her prick of a son Joffrey became king in the first season and it's gone to his head in a big way now.  She can no longer control him, and he uses every opportunity to trash her and make her look foolish.  She's also losing her young daughter as her brother Tyrion ('The Imp') is pretty much in charge as Hand of the King and makes a deal to have her married off when she is older.  Cersei's beloved brother Jamie is still gone, still a prisoner of the Starks as the war rages on.  And as daddy Tywin Lannister storms the city and saves the day, she knows there isn't much room left for her.  All her grand plans are seeming to backfire.

Joffrey continues to be horrible.  The more whiny he gets, the meaner he gets to cover up for it.  He's all big talk but when it comes time to prove himself he's constantly a whiny baby being saved by everyone else.

Margaery is one of the new characters.  Best known as Henry VIII's wife Anne Boleyn in The Tudors, she is the wife of Renly Baratheon now.  She is also the sister of Loras Tyrell, who is Renly's lover.  We already knew in the first season that Renly was gay.  He's taken Margaery as a wife to cover up that fact now that he's trying to claim the throne.  Renly meets and untimely end, and Margaery ends up in Kings Landing, flaunting her hootchie self in front of Joffrey and setting herself up as a better match for him than Sansa Stark would be.

Through a series of events, Tywin Lannister ends up with Arya Stark in his custody, working as his little helper (pouring wine, serving meals, various little chores) but has no idea who she really is.  Or does he?  Hubby and I pondered this, whether he knew or not.  In the end, I don't think he knew and I'm not even sure if he ever knew that the Lannisters back in Kings Landing did NOT have her.  I know for sure though that when Petyr Baelish visited him, that he recognized Arya.  Hubby doesn't think Baelish knew who it was either.

We finally meet Stannis Baratheon, who is indeed the rightful heir to the throne, and he's going to try and get it.  He has an annoying companion named Melisandre (or The Red Lady) who has weirdness about her.  She is some sort of fire witch or something.  She promises to give Stannis the son his wife hasn't been able to.  And she does indeed give birth ... in one of the freakiest birth scenes ever.  That's no bouncing baby boy she pushes out . . .

Brienne is another new character.  A huge, manly woman, she had sworn to protect Renly but now serves Lady Catelyn Stark and has been given the task of secretly and safely delivering Jamie Lannister back to Kings Landing in return for release of Sansa and Arya Stark.  Catelyn doesn't know yet that the Lannisters don't have Arya.  But anyway, I'm not sure what Brienne's deal is yet.  She just sort of appears on the scene and is suddenly a big part of the story.  I suspect there is giant blood in her, just like there is in Hodor back at Winterfell.  Wildling girl Osha had mentioned she thought Hodor had giant blood but everyone scoffs and says there are no giants in the world anymore.  Hmmm, I think there are.

Just like I still think John Snow will end up being a very important person once we find out who his mother was.

Speaking of John Snow, he's been traveling north of The Wall with his brotherhood since their leader has decided there are things out there that need to be dealt with.  Along the way, he captures a 'wildling' girl named Ygritte and becomes separated from his group.  It's obvious these two are going to have some sort of love story.  I'm not sure yet how I feel about her but the way they interact early on is hysterical.  Poor John, the way she picks on him about never being with a girl and all the things she says about him, and how he bashfully and awkwardly tries to remain respectable.  Quite funny!

Theon Greyjoy is one of the many people who need to die a slow agonizing death.  Oh.My.Gawd!  While you can almost sympathize with his story to some point, the things he does in the second season are just so soooo wrong.  He's trying to redeem himself in his father's eyes and has all these grand plans for proving himself.  First, he is a traitor to Robb Stark when he decides to abandon the Stark side of the battle.  Then he goes back to Winterfell with his own 'army' and claims it as his.  Everything he does is bumbling and horrible with disastrous and heartbreaking results.  I never really did like him but I kinda always thought he'd do the right thing in a pinch.  Guess not!
Among the many horrendous things that happen when Theon 'takes' Winterfell, what happens to Master Luwin had me bawling.  This was the wise and gentle adviser to the Stark family.  He pretty much raised Theon along with the other Stark children.  He was their teacher, their doctor ... everything.  I just loved this character, and Theon must DIE!

Khaleesi has been having a tough time since surviving the funeral fire and hatching of the dragon eggs at the end of the first season.  She is determined now to claim what is hers ... the throne.  She is leading the small band of Dothraki people who chose to remain loyal to her, but they are all in danger of the other Dothraki clans out there that will kill them to keep them out of power.  Half dead in the endless desert, they are granted refuge in a creepy city for a while but while they regain their strength and try to make plans for acquiring an army and some ships, things go terribly wrong and Khaleesi's baby dragons are stolen.  She goes to the Tower of the Undying (I think? Can't remember the name offhand.) because an uber creepy member of the town 'council' insists that's where he has put the dragons for safekeeping.  At first her journey through this tower just seems plain ol' weird, then you realize she is being presented with the three things she wants most.

Among them . . .
 If what happened to Master Luwin had me bawling, THIS had me gasping for air sobbing.  Wow!  This was so unexpected for me, to see Khal Drogo and their baby Rheago?!  And the conversation that followed?!  Ohhhhhhmigod ... *BLURG*

There were other storylines that I haven't touched on, like Tyrion trying to keep his girlfriend Shae safe now that they are in Kings Landing.  He manages to get her a job as Sansa's handmaiden.  This works out for everyone, but we still don't know much about Shae.  I like her and want to know what her story is.

And then there is Robb Stark meeting and marrying another somewhat mysterious girl named Talisa.  She has been working as a doctor or nurse or whatever, tending the wounded from the battles.  This is another one (like Brienne) where I'm wondering why they're going to be so important that they need to just suddenly be plunked into the story and made a key player.  I kinda don't like this girl but that might change as we learn her story.  Robb's mother Catelyn is definitely not thrilled with them marrying since he promised to marry a daughter of the perverted old guy in season one, the dude who granted them use of his bridge.

I'm sure there are other things I'm forgetting.  Like I said, now that everyone is all spread out across the land doing various things, a lot of new stories and people have been intoduced.  You kinda feel cheated that so much time is spent on these new things when you want to know what's happening with Arya or Robb, or Bran back in Winterfell.  But after watching the season twice, I'm more accepting of it as we have now started on the journey of Season Three.  (I'm even considering doing weekly episode thoughts throughout this new season.)

Are YOU a Game of Thrones fan???

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Glazed Donuts

Glazed Donuts - ‘Butter, fried dough, sweet glaze.

Donut scents from a certain well known vendor were all the rage among the wax community last fall and summer, so when I placed my large Sweet Fixations order at the end of the year I decided to give this one a try.  I was a bit worried on cold sniff because I was mainly getting just a wax smell.  Warmed though, this is a delicious scent.  It is a very cozy, homey scent ... almost like bread but lighter and sweeter.  You do get the doughy note in this, along with a sugary glaze note.  It really is just like fresh, warm, glazed donuts.  There is not a salty note from the butter or dough.  It's just a softly sweet, yummy scent.

It's light though.  Melting this entire 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer, I only got a medium throw at best and that was when the furnace kicked in and stirred up the air (or when I was moving around, again stirring up the air).  I could actually smell it a bit stronger as it drifted into the next room than I could right around the area of the warmer.

A really nice scent, but weak.

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Brown Sugar Cake

Brown Sugar Cake - ‘(SF Blend) Sweet brown sugar drizzled over yellow pound cake.’

This one sounds so good, like it would right up my bakery loving alley.  I was worried right from the start though because even on cold throw there was very little scent.  I tried to have faith though, knowing that there have been plenty of times when the warmed result is much different than the cold.  Unfortunately, this is not one of those times.  What little scent I could get on cold sniff was nice, a sweet brown sugar scent with a very light cake note.  (Pound cake scents are not super sweet or strong like birthday cake or cupcake scents.)

Sadly, when I melted this entire 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer, I got absolutely no scent.  There was one brief moment early on, when the furnace kicked in and stirred up the air, that I got a nice strong whiff of that yummy scent but it was gone almost as soon as I noticed it.  Otherwise there was nothing.

So sooo bummed about this one.  If anyone else has had this one, how did it work for you??

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Butterscotch Ice Cream

Butterscotch Ice Cream - ‘Butterscotch, vanilla ice cream, topped with nutty pecans.

Love!  Butterscotch is one of my favorite scents in home fragrance. I used to think maple and/or caramel were my favorite but I'm realizing that no, it's butterscotch that I love.  This is creamy from the vanilla ice cream but is still pretty much a straight up butterscotch scent.  There is a bit of a nutty note wrapped softly among the sweet yumminess.

This is strong and long lasting too.  Melting this entire 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer gave me strong scent and medium-strong throw.  The scent was fabulous in the room the warmer was in and did carry pleasantly into the next room, but beyond that it was only lightly noticeable.  After one tea light burn (4 hours) there was still plenty of scent so I put through another tea light burn later in the day ... and there was still plenty of scent left even after that.

I will reorder this one for sure!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Almond Rum Cake

Almond Rum Cake - ‘Yummy cake with chopped almonds, vanilla extract, dark rum, and vanilla.

Love this one!  The almond note is quite strong, quite cherry-like, but there is a nice warm rum note cozying up with it, and a super yummy cake note softens and sweetens it all.  It's similar to a pound cake type scent, as opposed to a birthday cake or cupcake type.

I melted this whole 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and got awesome scent and throw.  I could smell this all over the house.  It was very noticeable, yet still easy to handle ... not overwhelming or headache inducing.  And long lasting too.  After one tea light burn (4 hours) there is plenty of scent left in this bugger.  I like that!

This one is going on my Would Definitely Reorder list.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Lemon Fluff

Lemon Fluff - ‘(SF Blend) Sweet and sour lemons blended with marshmallow.’ 

Loved this one!  And that's not surprising because it's very similar to Front Porch's Lemon Marshmallow, which I love.  I think Front Porch's might be a bit 'deeper' though.  This is a lemon scent first and foremost, but that marshmallow sort of softens it.  Just a really bright, yummy, awesome scent!

Melting this whole 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer gave me nice strong scent and great throw.  I could smell this everywhere in the downstairs of my house, and if I had checked upstairs while it was melting I'm pretty sure I would have smelled it up there too.

I will absolutely order this again.  And if you can't find Lemon Marshmallow in stock at Front Porch, I'm sure this can fill in as a suitable substitute.

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Berry Creme Noel

Berry Crème Noel - ‘(SF Blend) Sugary berries topped with vanilla caramel glaze
and a dash of Vanilla Bean Noel.

This reminds me of the Wildberry Mousse type scents that are quite popular, and that I'm only mildly a fan of.  It is a sweet berry scent, with a very heavy blanket of rich vanilla.  There is something almost smothering about the 'mousse' type scents.  I don't know how to describe it but wax geeks like me probably know what I mean.  This one isn't as bad as a true 'mousse' scent though.  Even though it's berries, this sort of strikes me as a winter scent because it's warm and 'heavy.'

I melted this entire 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had a nice strong scent.  I could easily smell it in rooms adjacent to where the warmer was.  It was quite rich, maybe not good for around those sensitive to scents.

I liked this but would not be in a hurry to order it again.

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Grapefruit

Grapefruit - ‘Sweet, juicy, and refreshing grapefruit with a tangy zest.
This was a freebie in my order, and not something I'd ever have picked on my own.  Even so, when I pulled it out of the box this morning I thought it might be a good scent to get the day going.  It's definitely grapefruit.  It is bright and juicy, and even has that sort of zesty, effervescent feel about it.  To me, it's sort of choking.  I don't like it, but I don't like real life actual grapefruit scent much to begin with.  If you're a grapefruit fan, you'll probably like this because it's quite accurate.

And it's strong.  I melted this whole 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and got a strong scent and throw.  I could easily smell it throughout the downstairs of the house, and even noticed traces of it upstairs.  It really did perk up the air, bright and cheery on a sunny spring morning.

I would not order this again simply because I'm not a grapefruit fan.  If you are, this would probably be a good choice for you.

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Beach Retreat

Beach Retreat - ‘(SF Blend) Juicy fresh pineapple blended with creamy coconut.

This was a really nice scent!  It was a fairly equal blend, both the pineapple and coconut making themselves known, although at times the pineapple was stronger.  Not a whole lot to be said about this.  It was bright and cheerful and summery.

I melted this whole 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had a strong throw, with the scent itself being on a more medium level.  I could smell it all over the downstairs of my house but it was not a heavy scent filling the air.  It was enough to easily know it was there, but not so much that anyone would be overwhelmed by it.  Very nice for these days that are finally starting to warm up for us, allowing us to crack open some window and get some freshness into the house.

I would order this one again.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Raspberry Macaroon

Raspberry Macaroon - ‘Toasted coconut, caramelized sugar, and raspberry.

After just insisting to someone in blog comments that Sweet Fixations has been reliable for me, I think I may have come across my first dud.  And it sucks because what little I can smell of this is fabulous.  It's mainly a raspberry scent, sweet and juicy, but a really nice, light coconut note sort of softens it while a bit of warmth comes from the caramelized sugar.  The coconut and sugar sort of give the illusion of the cookie part.  It's yummy!  Too bad it's so weak.

Melting this entire 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer, at first I thought I was getting absolutely no scent or throw at all.  As time went on I realized that whenever the furnace kicked in (and stirred up the air) I was indeed able to smell this, but still only medium strength at best.  If I walked by, like to grab something from the next room, I could smell it.  I noticed I could smell it lightly in the kitchen even when I couldn't really smell it in between the warmer and there.  This one is just really weird and random, and it's too bad because that scent is really nice.

Have any of you had this one?  How did it work for you?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Strawberry French Toast

Strawberry French Toast - ‘(SF Blend) Sweet strawberry jam and French toast.

This is my favorite of the three French toast scents I've tried so far ... banana, blueberry, strawberry.  You really do smell the strawberry and it does indeed smell like jam.  The warmth of the cinnamon comes later, and is soft, wrapped up in the bread note.  Sometimes it smells like regular toast with jam, and I expect there to be an accompanying coffee scent.  Whichever way your nose and brain lead you though, this is really good scent.

I melted this whole 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had a medium-strong scent and throw.  I had gone outside for a bit and when I came back in, I could smell this as soon as I opened the back door.  It was a pleasant level of scent though, not overwhelming as I got closer to the warmer.  It was a very comfortable and homey scent throughout the house.

I would definitely order this one again.

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Sweet Cherry Bread

Sweet Cherry Bread - ‘(SF Blend) Buttered bread topped with juicy cherries.

I'm sure everyone knows by now that I hate zucchini bread scents.  Unfortunately, this is too close to a zucchini bread scent for my liking.  Bummer, because it seems like it should be so yummy.  I only get a very faint hint of sweetness, and not even something I'd recognize as cherry.  The bulk of this scent is salty, doughy bread.  Bread scent lovers might still love this, but that resemblance to zucchini bread just turns me off.

I melted this entire 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had a medium/strong scent and throw.  I could pick up a warm, bakery note in the air throughout most parts of the downstairs of the house.  It was not heavy in the air, but definitely noticeable.

I won't order this again ONLY because it reminds me of the dreaded zucchini bread.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Melted - Sweet Fixations / Blueberry French Toast

Blueberry French Toast - ‘(SF Blend) Delicious blueberries and French toast.

This is another warm and yummy scent.  When I started melting this I got an immediate, strong blueberry note.  At first it seemed like more of a blueberry muffin scent but as it melted more it became more of the bread note that it really is.  It took a while for some soft cinnamon notes to poke through.  Well into the melt, this was a delicious scent.  At times it almost seemed like hints of syrup were in there but the description for Sweet Fixations' French Toast does not include any mention of syrup so maybe it's just a trick of the mind.

Melting this entire 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer, I got a nice strong scent and throw.  It was not chokingly strong but you could easily smell it throughout the house.  It did take a while for the full mix of notes to bloom, but once they did it was a very nice scent.

While this was pleasant enough, I don't know if I'd order it again simply because I don't think I'm big on blueberry scents.

Melted - Sweet Fixations / 7-Up Pound Cake

7-Up Pound Cake - ‘Lemon-lime, warn cake, vanilla, and sugar.

Being pound cake, this is not as sweet of a scent as something like 'cupcakes' or 'birthday cake.'  You still get a definite cake note, yummy and warm and comforting.  There is a bit of the lemon-lime sweetness too, but not really distinct enough to know it's '7-Up.'  Still, it is another very nice, mellow scent ... something almost anyone would enjoy because it's rather simple and safe.

I melted this whole 1 oz. tart in my tea light warmer and had a medium-strong scent and throw.  I could very easily smell it all over most of the downstairs of the house (did not check upstairs during this one), but it was a very pleasant amount of scent in the air, not something heavy and overly obvious.  This would be another good one if you just want to perk up the air in the house before company arrives, or something along those lines.

I would order this again, sure, but there are other cake scents I like more.