Friday, July 25, 2014

Read - Her

Her
by Harriet Lane
2015**
246 pages

'You don't remember her --- but she remembers you.

On the face of it, Emma and Nina have very little in common.  Isolated and exhausted by early motherhood, Emma finds her confidence is fading fast.  Nina --- sophisticated, generous, effortlessly in control --- seems to have all the answers.

It's easy to see why Emma is drawn to Nina.  But what does Nina see in her?

A seemingly innocent friendship slowly develops into a dangerous game of cat and mouse as Nina eases her way into Emma's life.  Soon, it becomes clear that Nina wants something from the unwitting Emma --- something that just might destroy her.'

** I won an advance copy of this book on Goodreads, but I think it might have already been released (self published maybe?) earlier this year.  The copy I have says it's being released Jan. 1, 2015.

*** MIGHT CONTAIN SPOILERS ***

This was a quick read and I quite enjoyed that after the beastly books I've read recently.  It kept a quick pace, almost too quick sometimes.  The story does go back and forth from Emma's point of view to Nina's, and it's written in that style where it's like you're reading exactly as the characters see and think right as they see it and think it.  (Is there a name for that style?)  Several events are pretty much repeated, so we experience it from both points of view, and I've read some comments about that being annoying but I didn't see it that way because you do get two different views of the same events.

Although Nina is the evil one in this story, I had a hard time liking the character of Emma.  She seemed rather whiny and floundering at times, an ongoing pity party, when there didn't really seem to be any reason for it.  She seemed to always come off as 'My life is soooo hard and you can't do one little thing to help me?' when she was the one making it hard on herself.  So it was easy to see how Nina weaseled her way into Emma's life.

I was glued to this story.  As you read, you're constantly trying to figure out the connection.  You're always trying to find the clues.  You're trying to fit those pieces of the puzzle together, and then wondering if those pieces are even the clues you're meant to find.  There are mentions of things along the way and you're like 'Did one sleep with the others husband?' or 'Ooh, are they half sisters?' or 'Did one maybe kill a family member of the other?'  It very much reminded me of The Hand That Rocks The Cradle in the way Nina was the only one who knew what was going on, and was easing her way into Emma's life by being all nicey nicey and perfect, a life saver in many situations, when actually Nina was creating or instigating several of those situations to begin with.  And all along the reader becomes more and more impatient, wondering just what the heck that past connection was. The mystery continues to build all the way through the book, until the last twenty pages or so.  By then you're seeing how close to the end you're getting and you're quite frantic.  LOL

Even when the connection is finally revealed, it's done in an almost casual way.  You're kinda left wondering if that was it, or if more details are still to come.  Then you see there are only about 5-10 pages left and now you're wondering what could possibly happen as a result in so little time.  Well, let me tell you, this book pushes the climax right to the end and then leaves you on a huge cliffhanger.  Holy crap.  I seriously looked at the back cover, and re-examined the first 'legal stuff' pages, frantically trying to figure out if there is sequel coming out, or if maybe my advance copy was somehow incomplete.  It totally leaves your brain screaming "WHAT HAPPENS?!?!"

I love that it ended with the reader left to make up their own mind how things turned out, but there is still a part that *needs* to know what the author intended to happen.  For me though, looking back on the book after ending on that high drama note, there was a feeling of disappointment.  Once I knew what the connection was, I was kinda like 'Really?  All of this because of that?'  In some ways, what happened back then seems so minor.  Then I started wondering about all the unanswered questions.  What was Nina hoping to gain by her actions?  Obviously in her mind it was paybacks, a form of punishment, but what was she hoping to accomplish?  Especially since Emma didn't even have a clue?  Is there really any punishment when one doesn't know they're being punished?

Although I do think the actual connection these women share, what drives Nina's actions, was weak, I still think this was a great book.  I liked that it was short and quick, and that it (hopefully) won't be part of a long drawn out series.  I liked that so much of the story is left up to the reader to interpret, but I also wish I knew a bit more about how the author saw it.  Overall though, well worth the read, and it won't take you long to do it.  So glad I was given the chance to read this!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Haul - Kim's Tarts

As we creep closer and closer to fall, I'd been thinking about what fall and winter scents I wanted, and who I wanted to get them from.  It was looking like I was going to have several small orders scattered around at different vendors but then I decided to just go off the beaten path and do one big order from Kim's Tarts.  This is a vendor that has probably fallen off the radar for most people in the wax community.  Some newer wax fans might not even know of Kim's.  Several years ago though, she was one of the popular vendors.

These days I think people scoff at Kim's Tarts because cheap and rather generic.  There is no colorful branding, no fancy packaging or labeling, no beautiful colored chunks or custom blends.  Heck, the bags probably aren't even considered 'proper' anymore in this latest wax community panic.
The tarts are plain, sometimes even have that sunken in middle that some feel is a ripoff.  No glitter or cutesy embellishments here.  What you do get is affordable, strongly scented wax from a site that's always open, and a quick turnaround time.  (A 3-pack of scallop tarts is $1.50.  Each tart is .8-1.0 oz, which is the same as two clamshell cubes.)

I decided to just place a large order here, knowing I'd get it fast enough to still be able to place a couple small orders elsewhere for a few other known favorites if I found these lacking.



So let's see what I got!

That first pic in this post is the whole order, minus two scents she will send later when those oils come.  This pic above is just the fall scents.  Heh, shouldn't surprise you at all that there are so many.  Fall IS the best time of the year and has the best scents!  For now, I will just list the scents with the description from the Kim's Tarts site, and maybe a quick thought here and there.  Individual pics and more in depth thoughts will come later as I melt each one.

Fall Scents
 - Country Bumpkin - 'A wonderful complex blend of apples, candied yams, marshmallows, sweet cream butter, brown sugar, nutmeg, crushed cinnamon bark and fresh cloves.'  First discovered this scent in soap, years ago, and it was my absolute fave for a while.

- Sugar Corn Pudding - 'This fragrance is very unique. This is one of my favorites! AWESOME scent!'  Not much of a scent description.  Took a chance on this one because I've liked the scent from other vendors but have not had it often.  Smells sort of cornbread-y at the moment.

- Trick or Treats - 'Trick or treat fragrance begins with top notes of pumpkin, persimmon, and apple; followed by middle notes of blueberries, elderberries, currants, orange and cinnamon; and well rounded with base notes of sugar cane and vanilla.'  Another I took a chance on, because I've had mixed results with other vendors.

- Caramel Apple - 'The scent of a big red juicy apple dipped in warm, buttery caramel.'  Gotta have this scent in the fall!  Slightly more apple than caramel in this one.

- Pumpkin Crunch Pie - 'A super rich and strong pumpkin loaded with caramel, brown sugar, whipped creme, french vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon and hints of maple sugar.'  Spicy pumpkin with some hints of sweet creaminess.

- Mulled Cider - 'A fabulous spiced scent!'  I'm not a huge cider scent fan but I think I grabbed this in an 'Oh why not' type decision since I was ordering pretty much anything and everything fall scented.  Quite spicy but not really apple-y.  Seems there are other fruits in here.

- Fall Harvest - 'Sweet orange gets crisp accents to create a bright opening for this warm nostalgic scent. Green apple is warmed with spiced cinnamon and balanced with vanilla musk and golden amber.'  Oooh, interesting.  Sort of a typical darkly spicy fall mix, if you have any idea what that means.

- Spiced Pumpkin Pie - 'A traditional pumpkin pie with hints of clove, nutmeg, and vanilla.'

- Spiced Cranberry - 'The base note is cranberry.  The different spices to give it a heavy, rich, spicy attitude!'  So good!  Not as spicy as it sounds.

- Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin (B&BW Type) - 'A fabulous blend of spicy pumpkin purée with sweet butter and vanilla cream. Hints of apple, strawberry, cranberry, cinnamon, pumpkin and clove with tiny floral tones and precious musk. All the sweet and spicy fragrances of fall come together in this unique scent.'  Hmm, I don't know.  A little brighter and perfume-ier than I'd imagined.

- Grannie's Homemade Apple Butter - 'Very spicy apple with a warm buttery background!'  

- Pumpkin Cheesecake - 'A totally fabulous and spicy blend of pumpkin, clove, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, rich maple and sweet creamy butter.'  Spicy pumpkin.  Not much of a cheesecake note, at least not on cold sniff.

- Autumn Wreath - 'A cheerful fall welcome with the spicy warmth of autumn leaves, cinnamon apples, nutmeg and clove.'  Another of those typical darkly spicy fall mixes.  I find I quite like this type this year.  Well, at least as of today.  lol

- Pumpkin Bread - 'A warm and scrumptious blend of spicy pumpkin pie filling blended in a sweet bread with creamy vanilla, butter, spices and pralines.'  Spicy pumpkin at the moment.

- Apple Jack Peel - 'Delicious fresh apple aroma with spicy notes of cinnamon and clove. A Claire Burke duplication.'  Another scent I first discovered back in my soap days, and it quickly became a fall favorite, although this one seems more like a basic apple cider scent than the Apple Jack & Peel types I remember.

- Leaves (B&BW Type) - 'Rich Autumn notes of Fresh ground cinnamon generously sprinkled over tasty dried apple peel. Allspice, fresh clove bud, and drips of Vermont maple complete this festive aroma.'  Took a chance on this one too because I seem to remember being iffy on Leaves types from other vendors.  Another one of those typical fall mixes.

- Cranberry/Orange - 'This is a great blend of cranberry spice and orange.'   Had to get this after we all went crazy about it during our RG muffin club prep.  LOL

- Pumpkin Cornbread - 'Sweet pumpkin is blended with cornmeal and ground clove and cinnamon in this warm fall bread, straight from the oven.'  On cold sniff at least, this might be my favorite of the pumpkins I got.  Seems to have the deepest, fullest pumpkin-bakery type scent.

- Pumpkin Marshmallow - 'A fabulous Fall treat! Cardamom, cinnamon, marshmallow, cooked pumpkin, madagascar vanilla, buttermilk, caramel-glaze, and a hint of graham cracker.'  Took a chance on this too because more than one vendor's marshmallow scent has been incredibly nasty.  The mention of graham cracker in this one has me thinking it's a different type of scent blend though.  Smells pretty good on cold sniff but I do get a teeny hint of that nasty note.  Fingers crossed for this one.

- Cinnamon Apple - 'The aroma of a red juicy machintosh apple, sprinkled with fresh ground cinnamon sticks.'   This is one she will be sending later.

This is the winter scents part of my order.  A much smaller bunch, huh?  Actually there are two that were in the fall scent pic that should have been in here.  They will be included in this list.  I'm a bit more hesitant when it comes to winter scents.  I do like having hints of a Christmas tree note but I find most strong pine/evergreen scents to be too much for my liking.  I usually stick to mint, eggnog, gingerbread scents for winter, so some of these are going to be really taking chances for me.

Winter Scents
- Gingerbread Applesauce - 'Fresh baked gingerbread and warm apple sauce. Apple cider, sweet cinnamon, hints of nutmeg, clove and ginger.'  Very weird on cold sniff.  Not spicy at all.  Sort of a watery weird scent.

- Buttery Gingerbread - 'A yummy spiced gingerbread with rich butter notes; tiny hints of maple and nut with vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg!'  A bit light right now, seems like a typical gingerbread.

- Perfect Holiday Spice - 'The perfect blend of red cinnamon, spiced orange peel, sweet vanilla cream and the special warmth of the Christmas spirit.'  I like!  A spiced orange scent.

- Aspen Winter - 'A festive combination of bay leaf, fresh pine, red cinnamon and warm winter woodsy notes combined with hints of holiday fruits.'  This is one of those I'm not sure about.  Definitely one of those outdoorsy type scents, very piney and woodsy, with a hint of sweet.

- Glistening Snow - 'A wonderful holiday oil bursting with fresh Bayberry with undertones of cinnamon, clove and peppermint!'  This is apparently a Glade dupe and I've had it from another vendor.  I like it.  Not overly minty.

- Snickerdoodle - 'The fresh baked aroma of French vanilla with a touch of cinnamon sticks, gingerbread, and maple syrup.'  I suppose this isn't really a holiday scent but what the heck, spicy bakery?  Why not.  Just get a simple spiced cookie scent at the moment.

- Vanilla Snowflake - 'A delectable blend of creamy vanilla and winter mint with a light coconut kiss that brings back memories of making angels in winter's first snowfall.'  I know this is a dupe for something but I don't know if it's Yankee or B&BW or what.  I had it from another vendor last year.  A super yummy sugar cookie type scent.  I don't get any mint note in this.

- White Christmas - 'A brisk fresh-air scent of evergreen garland and berries.'  Another one I took a chance on.  You know how some fall blends are all that 'darkly spice mix'?  Well then you might also know what I mean when I say that some winter scents are that 'typical fresh outdoorsy blend.'  This is very much like Aspen Winter.

- Christmas Splendor - 'Wonderful Christmas combination of apples, oak, balsam, fir, and pine, with a background of cinnamon and clove.'  This is more like one of those craft-stores-at-holiday-time mixes, like scented pine cones.

- Peppermint Cake Bites - 'Rich, moist white cake blended with hints of peppermint candy canes.'  Strong on the peppermint right now.  Almost seems like a slight chocolate note somewhere in there.

- Christmas Tree - 'Begins with top notes of pine and fresh lime; with middle notes of cardamom and pepper with a base note of Scotch pine.'  Even though I can only tolerate pine scents in small doses, I have to have it during Christmastime.  The lime adds a slight juicy hint to this scent but it is still a typical 'Christmas tree' loveliness.

- Mistletoe Magic - 'Balsam, holly and mistletoe with a blend of holiday spice to add some Christmas magic!'  Light right now.  Typical craft store-holiday scent, but not as spicy as the other one.

- Tis The Season - 'A healthy dose of holly and berries! This is a different twist - a little spice and a little balsam have been added to this wonderful holiday [scent]!'  Another craft store-holiday type, this one more spicy and more piney.

- Christmas Wish (Yankee Type) - 'A unique blend of hints of lemon, orange, cedar wood and pine all nestled in a warm, rich vanilla cookie base. It reminds me of a kitchen filled with freshly baked sugar cookies surrounded by pine and pine cones scented in a fireplace.'  Interesting!  First impression is that it's a bakery scent but then you quickly go back and find hints of the pine and wood.

- Santa's Whiskers - 'A fun blend of balsam, fir, and pine with warm vanilla sugar cookies.'  Stronger on the evergreen notes than the previous one.

- Christmas Eve (Yankee Type) - 'Traditional holiday scents of a warm hearth, sugared plums, and candied fruits.'  Hmm, another of those scented pine cones - craft store - holiday blends.


- Hansel & Gretel's House - 'Vanilla frosting, cinnamon sticks, toasted graham crackers and juicy raisins.'  This is the other one Kim will be sending later.  This is an old favorite of mine, whoever I order it from.


                                 There were also three freebies with my order.  Thank you , Kim!
- Monkey Farts - 'Rich, perfectly ripened bananas mixed with crisp apples and rich creamy caramel with crunchy toffee added for an extra kick!

- Fruit Loops - 'Top notes of lemon rinds, lime, and grapefruit; middle notes of lemongrass, lily, and verbena; and base notes of vanilla sugar.'  Thought this one was funny because we'd just been talking about Fruit Loops scents recently here on the blog.


- Downey (Lavender Vanilla) - 'A well-rounded combination of fresh lavender, fresh vanilla beans, with orange zests and patchouli.



And that is my monster order!  I realize another reason I don't like placing large orders . . . I don't like how long it takes to blog about them!  *sigh*


Anyway, as mentioned above, 3-pk scallop tarts from Kim's cost $1.50 a pack.  I placed my order on July 5, and received the package on July 23.  While that is a bit over the TAT suggested on the website it is still a bajillion times better than the new norm of four, five, six months.  And I used a coupon code to get free shipping.

Have you started ordering your fall and winter scents?  When do you actually start melting your fall scents?  When do you stop melting your winter scents?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Melted - Beezy Tarts / Watermelon Cake

Watermelon Cake - 'Yummy cake with a hint of watermelon.
What says summer like watermelon?  And since I seemed to be grabbing all the cake scents in the limited Beezy stock when I ordered, watermelon cake seemed perfect.  This was a nice sweet cake scent, with an addition helping of sweetness from the light watermelon note.  This was more of a bright and fun cake scent, instead of some of the warmer, cozy cake scents you'll find.  At times it even seemed almost like strawberry instead of watermelon.
I melted half of this scent shot in my tea light warmer was bummed to find this was a much lighter scent than previous Beezy tarts that I've melted.  It was still a healthy medium strength scent, but was noticeably lighter than the banana and orange-caramel ones I recently had.  A bit of a bummer there but still a great scent.

Melted - Beezy Tarts / Banana Walnut Cake

Banana Walnut Cake - 'A true banana walnut cake. You can almost taste the brown sugar, fresh bananas, and freshly crushed walnuts.'


Another yum-tastic scent from Beezy.  At first I just kept thinking this was a really nice banana nut bread scent but when I would stop and focus a bit more, the cake note was indeed there.  This was a warm, comforting bakery scent.  The banana was there right away but it was not candy-like, and was not a summery fruity type scent.  The warm sweetness of the brown sugar mixed with the cake note, and the touch of nuttiness made this such a nice homey scent.  There even seemed to be just the teeniest hint of spice every once in a while.

I melted half of this scent shot in my tea light warmer and had nice strong scent.

Read - City of Heavenly Fire

City of Heavenly Fire
by Cassandra Clare
2014
725 pages

'Shadowhunters and demons square off for the final showdown in the spellbinding, seductive conclusion to the #1 New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

Darkness has descended on the Shadowhunter world. Chaos and destruction overwhelm the Nephilim as Clary, Jace, Simon, and their friends band together to fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell. Nothing in this world can defeat Sebastian—but if they journey to the realm of demons, they just might have a chance…

Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world will change. Who will survive the explosive sixth and final installment of the Mortal Instruments series?
'

*** MIGHT CONTAIN SPOILERS ***

This is the sixth and final book in the Mortal Instrument series, and ohhhh what a journey it's been.  I'd had sort of a love/hate relationship with the series.  I was definitely looking forward to the end, to reading this book, to see how things would be wrapped up.  I was not thrilled to see that this was a beast of a book, over 700 pages long.  I couldn't decide if that was good because there was a lot of story to tell, or bad because it was going to be dragged out with filler or side stories that didn't need to be added at this point.  Turns out it was a bit of both.

I'm a bit surprised at how much I liked this book.  It wasn't to the point of me loving it and not being able to put it down, but it was an improvement over how I felt about some of the others.  The author seemed to reel things back in and keep on track better this time.  The previous book seemed to venture so far out into more and more side stories, and into such farfetched plot lines that I had a huge fear this finale was going to be some completely horrid over the top mess.  What a pleasant surprise that it wasn't!

There were some things that didn't seem to really need to be there, like pretty much the whole werewolf storyline.  I realize she had to wrap up their part of the story but it just seemed weak and pointless.  I found myself skimming over a lot of that.  Also skimmed over some of the longer descriptive parts or the longer sappy parts.  At 725 pages, you get tired of reading and want to get to the end!  And the author did spend quite a chunk of this book setting up her next series, which I was a bit bummed about.  This book could have been a more manageable size without so much time laying the foundation for a new series.  (I'm not sure yet if I'll even read that series.)

I think things fit together nicely in this book.  There was the occasional 'Really?' *eye roll* moment along the way but overall I think most things kept on track and all roads led to the final battle.  I was glad to see that even that big climax was quite well done, quite tame actually.  Let's face it, we all knew Sebastian was going to die and that Clary would save the world.  It was just a matter of how.

And then the emotions came.  The last 100 pages or so . . . wow . . . I think I was in some form of sniffling or sobbing all the way to the end.  This was all the tying up loose ends, wrapping up story lines.  There were reunions, and coming to terms with things, and separations.  Alec and Magnus clinging to each other when it looked like their only hope was for Magnus to sacrifice himself.  Jocelyn crying as a cleansed Sebastian died.  Clary finally allowing herself to cry for everything.  And Simon.  O - M - G, how cruel is Cassandra Clare to do that to Simon and all who loved him?  That was heartbreaking, yet strangely awesome, somehow harder to deal with than death.  Although I'm somewhat happy with how his story eventually ended, it seemed like a muddy middle ground.  I was hoping it would have ended with just a glimmer of recognition, or maybe him being able to see Clary, Izzy, and Magnus standing there when they were glamoured.  Ya know?  End it with the reader wondering.

I was hugely disappointed that we still don't know what the deal is with Church, the cat?!

In the end, I think this was probably one of the better books in the series.  I'm both sad and relieved to see it end.  And I tell ya, it really makes me want to go back and watch the City of Bones movie again!

Have you read this book/series?  What did you think?  Will you read the next series?

Melted - Beezy Tarts / Orange Caramel Cake

Orange Caramel Cake - 'White cake with a dash of orange oil, covered in sweet whipped buttercream, drizzled with caramel sauce.

LOVED this one.  There was a definite, delicious cake note in this, maybe more like a pound cake in that it was not overly sweet.  The caramel note enhanced that cake note, both warmed and sweetened it.  And then the bit of orange brightened it all up a bit.  The orange was never really distinct enough on its own, but did lend itself nicely to the scent overall.  Ohhh, this was good.

I melted half of this scent shot in my tea light warmer and had nice strong scent with decent throw.

If I ever order from Beezy again, I hope this is available!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Melted - Beezy Tarts / Strawberry White Cake

Strawberry White Cake - [no scent description]

I got this as a freebie in my order and was excited to see it at first.  Once I sniffed it though, I was a little uncertain.  It seemed way more candy-like that I would have expected, with almost a powdery note.  I thought maybe the cake note would come through once it was melted, and sort of warm things up, but it didn't.  This was a very sweet strawberry scent, with some note that I can't quite pinpoint that sort of killed this for me.  I keep wanting to say it was like a 'sour' note, but I know that's not right.  I keep wondering if it's something like a cream cheese note?  I don't know but I don't really get any cake note, barely any type of bakery note at all.  This is much more a candy or maybe even jam type strawberry, verrrry sweet.

I melted this 1.2 oz. donut tart in my tea light warmer and had strong scent and throw.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Melted - BH&G / Brownie Pecan Pie

Brownie Pecan Pie - [no scent description]

Loved this on cold sniff, so rich and gooey and sweet, but once warmed I didn't care for it nearly as much.  I think maybe more of the chocolate scent came out, and I'm iffy on chocolate scents in home fragrance.  There is a deep, rich sweetness and the nutty note does come through.  It's very much a dessert-y scent. 
 
I melted two cubes of this in my tea light warmer and had strong scent.  Maybe it was a bit too rich to be so strong and that's why I didn't like it as much.  This is nice in small doses.  You have been warned.  lol

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Melted - Mainstays / Hazelnut Cream

Hazelnut Cream - [no scent description]

Way back when I first got into tarts, many years ago, before the wax world exploded in popularity, the first tart I had was hazelnut cream.  I wasn't quite sure what to make of these newfangled wickless candles but I knew I was frustrated with poorly performing candles and was willing to give that curious little piece of wax a try.  I was blown away by it, and have been hooked ever since.  I can't say for sure whether that tart was a Mainstays brand hunk of wax, but I do remember I'd found it at either Walmart or Kmart and it was a 'no name' type item.

Jump up to present time and Walmart's Mainstays brand introduced their own clamshell tarts earlier this year.  When I saw Hazelnut Cream scent, I knew that was the one I wanted to try first, for sentimental reasons if nothing else.  I automatically assume that hazelnut cream is a coffee scent.  The big ol' mug of coffee on the cover reinforces that assumption.  My brain is automatically telling me there is coffee in this scent.  But is there?  This is very heavy on the nuttiness of the hazelnut.  Could my brain be inserting coffee into that?  There is also a thick creaminess that adds warmth and a touch of sweetness.

I melted two cubes of this in my tea light warmer and was happy to have strong scent and throw.  Some time later I decided to melt the remaining four cubes in my Glade 20 watt hot plate warmer and let me tell you, I think there really is something to be said for 'less is more.'  I only seemed to get a medium scent that time, with lesser throw.  Still, this has given me a bit of confidence in this Mainstays line and I will feel free to try other scents now that I know they're probably not weak.

But will someone tell me if there really is coffee in this scent?  LOL

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Melted - BH&G / Orange Buttercream Cupcake

Orange Buttercream Cupcake - [no scent description]

A couple years ago this was considered a dupe of the Fruit Loops scent that was all the rage at the time.  I'd sniffed it in stores and yeah, it was like Fruit Loops, but I was never into it enough to buy one for myself.  Well, a few months ago I received this as a part of a gift from a waxy friend and I have now finally melted it.  It's not a horrible scent but I still just don't get into the Fruit Loops craze.  And all I could think about while melting this was . . . Fruit Loops.  When I did stop and force myself to focus, I could detect a cake note, but mainly it's an almost overwhelming candy-like sweetness.  I know tons of people still love the Fruit Loop type scents but I'm just not one of them.

I melted this whole pack at once, using various warmers in various rooms.  I got strong scent and throw from both tea light and Glade 20 watt hot plate warmers.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Haul - Beezy Tarts

Although I've had Beezy tarts to try through the generosity of my waxy friends, this is my very first actual order from this vendor.  I placed just a small order, sort of just to be able to say I've ordered from Beezy.  I also didn't want to get too much because I knew I'd be placing big fall/winter scent orders in the coming weeks.  But even with this small haul, it's fun to actually order for myself again . . . finally.


So let's see what I got!

Banana Walnut Cake - [no scent description]
I knew I should have saved the scent descriptions back when I ordered, because the site is closed now and I can't get to them.  *grrrrr*  Well, this one smells like banana nut bread right now on cold sniff.  There is a slight cake note in there.  Cold scent is deep and strong and rich.

Orange Caramel Cake - [no scent description]
Ooh, this is good.  There is a strong cake note, and a fairly strong orange note but the caramel tones the citrus part of it down so there is no zing.  It's a warm scent with a touch of brightness from that orange.  Nice and strong on cold sniff.

Watermelon Cake - [no scent description]
I must have been on a cake kick, huh?  I don't get a distinct watermelon note at this point.  There is a nice cake note with some juicy, sugary sweetness in it but not quite identifiable as watermelon.  Should be interesting.

Pumpkin Pecan Waffles - [no scent description]
This is a Bath & Body Works dupe that seems to be all the rage right now.  I'm not ever sure if I really like it, but felt the need to grab it while it was there.  LOL!  The official B&BW description is 'Indulge in delicious, warm pumpkin pecan waffles drenched in pure maple syrup and sprinkled with brown sugar.'  It's a sweeter, perkier type of pumpkin scent.  I do get the waffle note in there but I don't get any specific maple note.  This will get tucked away into my fall scents stash, and will be fun to melt sooner that we realize.  Yay!

Sugared Spruce - [no scent description]
I took a chance with this one.  I remember deciding last year that among the evergreen scents, it was spruce that I liked the least.  I thought maybe the other notes in this would make it ok, but of course I don't remember what those notes were now.  And I'm not sure how I feel about this.  I'm immediately getting an inyerface spruce note that makes me automatically curl my nose.  There is something 'moist' about the scent too though, like maybe one of those other notes might have orange?  I don't know, I might pass this on to someone else.

Strawberry White Cake - [no scent description]
I received a freebie tart, which is always greatly appreciated, especially when the order was as small as mine was.  And for it to be a cake scent made me chuckle because of all the other cake scents I'd gotten.  Actually, I think this was in my cart at one point and then I dumped it just to bring my cost down.  So I'm extra glad to have this cute little freebie donut!  I get a very sweet, almost powdery-candy strawberry note on cold sniff, with just the tiniest hint of cake deep down.  I don't know if I like this one, at least not right now.  I'll let it sit for a the recommended five days and then come back to it.

It was also really cute to get a little treat bag full of different candies.  I've had other vendors include a couple pieces of candy here and there but this was quite a little candy haul!  I've passed it all on to my sons, who like these chewy things like Laffy Taffy and Air Heads.

I placed my order during the restock on July 2 and received my package on July 11.  That is the kind of TAT I like, and that kind of TAT all vendors should strive for.  The candy was in a small treat bag and the tarts were in decorative cello bag, and it all came in a padded priority envelope.  Everything arrived safe and sound, in great condition.  I'm absolutely satisfied with my first Beezy ordering experience.  I don't like that he is an open/close vendor but his quick TAT helps make up for that.  Yep, I would probably order from here again.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Melted - BH&G / Perfect Corner Bakery

Perfect Corner Bakery - [no scent description]

The picture on the package shows various yummy bakery treats like fruity cakes and pies (tarts?) and glazed rolls.  What I got from this was pretty much just a straight up cinnamon scent.  Not that I'm complaining, since I do love cinnamon, but spice haters will want to be aware.  There was the slightest bakery note, and I do mean slight . . . just a tiny hint of something like cake or cookie.  The cinnamon was a warm, sweet cinnamon, not like a harsh straight spice type cinnamon.  This didn't really scream 'Fall scent!' but it would be a nice one during the cooler months.

I melted some of this in my tea light warmer and some in my Glade 20 watt hot plate warmer and had strong results from both.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Melted - BH&G / Raspberry Linzer Cookie

Raspberry Linzer Cookie - [no scent description]

As this was melting I kept picking up a note that had me wondering 'What IS that?'  So off to Google I went to see just what was all in a real linzer cookie, and found that almond and cinnamon can both be found in them.  Ah yes, that mystery note I'm getting is indeed almond and *maybe* just a smidge of spice.  The raspberry note is strong, but that almond comes in quickly to sort of sharpen it.  There is a soft cookie note in the background, keeping this a bakery scent.  This is quite a nice one if you're not an almond hater.

I melted this in my Glade 20 watt hot plate warmer and had strong scent and great throw.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Melted - BH&G / Warm Hazelnut Toddy

Warm Hazelnut Toddy - [no scent description]

I bought this one last fall and was so in love with it on cold sniff, yet somehow it kept getting pushed aside while I melted other things.  I'm finally (!!) getting around to it now as I madly work my way through my stash before it's time for new fall scents.

I never remember just what a toddy all involves.  I seem to always remember lemon being with it, and old ladies recommending it for colds or sore throats or something.  So I did a quickie Google search and found this on Wiki, 'Traditional Scottish preparation of a hot toddy involves the mixture of whisky, boiling water and sugar or honey. Additional ingredients such as cloves, a lemon slice or cinnamon (in stick or ground form) may be added.'  Going off that, there is no alcohol note in this, and I don't detect any lemon at all, but I do get the slightest hint of warm spices.  Mostly though, it is an almost creamy, rich hazelnut scent.  And I do seem to love creamy hazelnut scents!
 
I melted two cubes (about .8 oz.) in my tea light warmer and had strong scent and awesome throw.  Later in the day I melted more cubes in my Glade 20 watt warmer and again had strong scent and throw.

While I did enjoy this scent, I think it would be better in the cooler weather of fall or winter.

Melted - BH&G / Toffee Nut Crisp

Toffee Nut Crisp - [no scent description]

I've been plowing through my wax stash, excitedly working my way back to the Better Homes & Gardens goodies I've been hanging on to.  I'm well aware that people in the wax community scoff at "the Walmart tarts" but whatever.  They are affordable, convenient, and reliably strong . . . most of the time.  This one was on the lighter side, which surprised me.  This was a really nice scent though.  It's a nutty scent, but there is a nice buttery toffee note along with it, and even the slightest hint of possible spice.

I melted two cubes (about .8 oz.) in my tea light warmer and had light-medium scent, and seemed stronger in all other parts of the house away from the warmer.  I was surprised by that.  I'd switched back to my tea light warmer for this because I've never had to worry about the BH&G tarts in there.  Oh well, it was fun to be able to try this one since I have not ever seen it at my local Walmart.  If I ever do see it, I will grab a pack and see if it performs any better.

(These two cubes were part of a gift from a waxy friend.)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Melted - Sniff My Tarts / Caramel Cookie Latte

Caramel Cookie Latte - 'Caramel vanilla with a hint of cinnamon cream and coffee.'

On cold sniff the coffee is strong in this one, but when warmed the other notes become the main scent.  I kept thinking butterscotch for some reason while melting this, even though I knew dang well it was caramel.  Must be something in the other notes that make me think that.  Although cinnamon is listed in here, I really didn't notice any spice note.  This is another deeply rich and creamy scent, with the coffee just beyond the sweetness.  A rich, warm scent. 

I melted this whole tart in my Glade 20 watt hot plate warmer and had strong scent.

Melted - Sniff My Tarts / Sprinkled Sugar Latte

Sprinkled Sugar Latte - [no scent description]

I don't know what the 'sprinkled sugar' part of this is supposed to be but I really wish I knew.  When it started melting I thought it was interesting, sort of a sweet, rich note with coffee in the background.  As the melt went on though, the coffee note got stronger and the sweet part got more sickly sweet.  It was like a thick sugary syrup in coffee.

I melted this whole tart in my Glade 20 watt hot plate warmer and had strong scent.  I did turn the warmer off only a few hours into the melt though because the scent became just a bit too syrupy rich for my liking.

Melted - Sniff My Tarts / Coconut Creme Latte

Coconut Creme Latte - [no scent description]
There have definitely been some interesting blends in the coffee sampler I ordered.  I already melted blackberry, and orange, and now I've experienced coconut coffee.  Well, ok, latte.  I mainly got a toasted coconut scent from this.  The coffee note was very soft in the background, and most of the time I didn't even notice it.  This was a warm coconut scent, more of a foodie type, not like a juicy tropical summer type coconut.
I melted this whole tart in my Glade 20 watt hot plate warmer and had a lighter medium scent.

This was a nice enough coconut scent, but if you're looking for coffee blends there was not much coffee to it.

Melted - Sniff My Tarts / Orange Danish & Coffee

Orange Danish & Coffee - [no scent description]
 
After the weirdness of the blackberry latte, I was leery of another fruity coffee scent.  Turns out this one was a little easier to take, but still dances on the edge of weird.  Orange is the strongest note in this, but the coffee morphs it and it often seemed almost like a chocolate scent to me.  I think a bit of the danish part might have been showing up in there somewhere, but mostly it was a somewhat bright orange scent with some warmer weirdness in tagging along.
I melted this whole tart in my Glade 20 watt hot plate warmer and had medium-strong scent.  It did seem to fade quite a bit after a couple hours but still had noticeable scent.

While this wasn't a horrible scent, I don't think I'd ever choose it again.

Melted - Sniff My Tarts / Caramel Latte

Caramel Latte - 'Caramel vanilla blended with rich cream and coffee.'

This was a freebie in my order and ohhh my was it good.  It was such a deep, rich, full creamy caramel coffee scent.  The coffee note was soft and somewhat mellow, not bitter like in strong black coffee type scents.  The caramel note was sweet and warm.  Yummy yummy yummy!

I melted this whole tart in my Glade 20 watt hot plate warmer and had lovely strong scent.

If I ever order from Sniff My Tarts again, I would definitely look for this one.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Melted - Sniff My Tarts / Blackberry Marshmallow Latte

Blackberry Marshmallow Latte - 'A blend of blackberry, marshmallow, coffee and cream.'

This one kinda made me laugh.  I wasn't noticing any coffee note at all but hubby walked through the room and asked "Do you have a coffee one going?"  He said it smelled like burnt coffee, and didn't like it.  I showed him the name of it and he shook his head, insisting it only smelled like a weird burnt coffee to him.  And that's funny because to me it was just a weird fruity scent, that blackberry note coming through loud and clear but with something attached to it.  Only if I was far away in a different room did I pick up the slightest coffee note, and a bit of creaminess that must have been the marshmallow.

I melted this entire tart in my Glade 20 watt hot plate warmer and had medium-strong scent.

Neither of us cared much for this one.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Melted - 'iheartwax' / Pomegranate - Rosemary Mint

Pomegranate - 'Sweet pomegranate with hints of green.'
Rosemary Mint - 'Rosemary & spearmint leaves.'
 
This was my one 'Be bold and adventurous!' blend from my tiny order.  After flinging that weirdly nasty marshmallow one (previous post) far across the room, I plopped this one into the warmer and waited nervously to see how it would be.  I kinda like it!  I admit I'm not familiar with pomegranate scents, and have had minimal experience with rosemary-mint scents, so I'm not sure how much of what I'm smelling here, but I think it's mainly the rosemary-mint with a bit of extra sweetness.  I seems almost like a sweet medicinal scent, but it's good.  I wouldn't like to melt a lot of this but it's quite a refreshing change of pace.
 
I melted this 1 oz. grubby tart in my Glade 20 watt hot plate warmer and had strong scent and throw.

Melted - 'iheartwax' / RC-VWC-Marshmallow

Raspberry Cream - 'Rich cool cream and tart summer berries.'
Vanilla Wafer Cookies - 'True vanilla cookie scent.'
Marshmallow - 'Sweet creamy marshmallows.'
 
Back in my haul post for this order I mentioned there was something really nasty smelling and that I'd eventually narrowed it down to this blend, probably the marshmallow part of it.  I'd sent the extras from this 4-pack to my waxy friends and one of them reported that the offending note went away.  I tried melting this, but in the end I just couldn't do it.  The tart was only about half melted when I raced back to the warmer to get it turned off.  There is just a really strong, weird, nasty note in this one!  It screams "Zucchini bread!" to me . . . toxic plastic chemical zucchini bread.  I just couldn't do it.  I don't even know if there were any other notes coming through or not.  Just couldn't do it!
 
If I ever order from this vendor again I will stay far away from anything with marshmallow.

Melted - 'iheartwax' / Vanilla Mint - Flip Flops

Vanilla Mint - 'Creamy, sweet mint.'
Flip Flops - 'Tons of coconut mixed into a creamy rich vanilla!'
 
When I placed my tiny order of custom blends, my waxy friends suggested that using these two components might equal something close to a certain uber-popular vendor's blend of coconut-peppermint-marshmallow that I love so much.  This version doesn't come close to that, but this is still a pretty nice scent.  The mint is soft and sweet.  The coconut has almost a dry, toasted note to it.  I think that warm coconut note is a little stronger than the mint but the mint is very distinct.  There is almost something cookie-like about this.
 
I melted this 1 oz. grubby tart in my Glade 20 watt hot plate warmer and had medium-strong scent.

Melted - 'iheartwax' / Strawberry Jam - Vanilla Mint

Strawberry Jam - 'Sweet strawberries in sticky syrup blended with vanilla and sugar.'
Vanilla Mint - 'Creamy, sweet mint.'
 
My only order from 'iheartwax' so far was me trying my hand at blending, and this is one of them.  Strawberry was the strongest note although it was like you could tell something else was going on in there but nothing was really distinct.  I think the mint note sort of turned this into a strawberry-and-greenery scent instead of a rich, sweet, jam scent.  There was a faint 'sour' note every once in a while.  It wasn't a bad scent overall, but not what I'd been imagining when I chose this blend.
 
I melted this 1 oz. grubby tart in my Glade 20 watt hot plate warmer and had light-medium scent at best.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Melted - Rosegirls / Caramel Dipped Pears

Caramel Dipped Pears - [no scent description]

Caramel pear scents seem to remind me of caramel apple scents, yet they don't really scream "Fall scent!" to me.  I had a caramel pear scent from another vendor not long ago, and that was the first time I was surprised.  Now that apple reminder has happened again with this Rosegirls chunk.  I think this one is a little more pear-like though.  This is about equal between the sweet, creamy caramel note and the bright, juicy pear note.  There is a bit of warmth, not just a super summery fruity type scent.

I cut this monster chunk in half and melted about 1.3 oz. worth in my Glade 20 watt hot plate warmer, and was happy to have a nice strong scent without it being overpowering.

This tart was part of a gift from a waxy friend.

Melted - Rosegirls / Caramel Dipped Marshmallows

Caramel Dipped Mashmallows - [no scent description]

Hubby got me a bag of this last Christmas and I've only now gotten around to melting it.  This is quite a yummy little scent.  A strong caramel note, rich and creamy, but then that marshmallow adds a bit of extra sweetness and a little more creaminess.  This is grand in its simplicity.

I melted whole chunks each time (usually around 1.5 oz.) in my Glade 20 watt hot plate warmer and had nice strong scent.  It was not overpowering, but it was easy to detect.

Read - Empower

Empower
by Jessica Shirvington
2014
473 pages

'It's all come down to this.

The final battle between Angels and Exiles is about to begin in this stunning conclusion to the must-read series Entertainment Weekly calls "addictive."

Two years ago, Violet Eden walked away from her home, her friends, the Academy, and hardest of all, she walked away from her soul mate, Lincoln.

But it's time to stop running.

Violet must find out who she really is—and exactly what she is capable of—before the abilities the angels gave her are turned against them. She is all that stands between the forces of good and evil...

It's time to make a choice.
'

*** MIGHT CONTAIN SPOILERS ***

I was so anxious for this book to come out.  It is the fifth and final book in the Embrace series, a series that I absolutely loved way back in the beginning.  While I was a bit more disappointed in each new book that came out, I still had high hopes that finale would swing things back around to how great it all was in the beginning because I knew it would be wrapping things up.  

No such luck.

I was soooo disappointed in this book!  I'm tempted to say I hated it.  While I wasn't totally thrilled with the previous book, I think that one would have made a much better finale than this one.  The thing that kills me most is that this book became everything I was so glad the first book wasn't.  In the first book it was refreshing to see relationships that were real, without cheesy melodramatics that all YA books seem to have.  It was great to have a fairly straight forward plot that kept on track and kept a good pace without a lot of fluff and filler.  It was just all . . . good . . . back in the beginning.  This final book is just dripping with sappy conversations and over the top proclaiming of undying love yadda yadda blah blah puke.  I *hate* the common tactic of people in love who decide it's best to not be together because one will get hurt.  I *hated* when author Jessica Shirvington ended the previous book with that cheap cop out tactic, but I knew this book would have to deal with them getting back together so I thought it might be tolerable.  I will say, I was glad to see all the characters in the book telling main character Violet exactly what I was thinking, that she's stupid for running away and trying to 'save' Lincoln by not being with him.

And Lincoln.  Ohhhhhh, Lincoln.  What have you become?  I used to love you for your calm bluntness, your quiet caring.  Now you've become the whiny, face touching, grand sappy statement proclaiming, pansy girl that I hate.

And Phoenix?!  What the heck happened to the hottest guy in all of YA literature???  You used to be so bold and cool and, and, and just . . . hot.  Now you've been reduced to a mopey, whiny, can't look anyone in the eye or do anything because it hurts to see the girl you love and know you can't be with her.  The old Phoenix would have kept pushing.  If Lincoln wasn't stepping up to the plate, the old Phoenix would have kept making himself known even if it was just to get Lincoln moving in the right direction.  No, now you're just some pathetic whiner who does nothing for me.

And once again there is some highly complicated, over blown battle looming that really didn't need to be anywhere near as complicated as it was.  Probably 300 of the 473 pages was researching, plotting, planning how they were going to deal with this latest threat.  Grigori from around the world were assembled.  Military was involved.  High tech teams and maneuvers and strategies in place.  And for what?  A two minute battle that covered maybe three pages?  

I don't know, everything about this book just failed for me.  There was only one part that I liked and that was way back on page 132 when a reunited but still not talking Violet and Lincoln were dueling to see who would command this battle.  She beat him in a physical match but he challenged that result, saying she needed to do it without her guards up.  (She can use her powers to sort of turn her emotions off, and these guards were cranked to the max now that she was back around him.)  He knew what he was doing to her but he forced her to do it anyway.  He wanted to be sure her true feelings were still in there.  And when he did beat her in this second round, he was also there to catch her as she collapsed and just like back in the first and second book, he quietly and simply instructed her to "Put them back up."  Ohhh, with that happening fairly early in the book I was so happy to have old Lincoln back and was so looking forward to the rest of the book.

But no, it just tanked from there.  And I was so bummed.