Conjure Oils: Toby Daye Scent Collection sampler

For a while now, I’ve been curious about the Toby Daye collection from Conjure Oils. This is a collection of scented oils where the fragrances are inspired by the characters and writing of Seanan McGuire. If you read the Toby Daye series, it’s pretty common to read about the scent of a character’s magic, and there are some pretty out-there combinations.  The collection at Conjure Oils consists of 21 scents, from “Makeshift Morgue” and “Garden of Glass Roses” to “Toby Daye” and “May Daye”. It’s $20 for a 5ml bottle, and $35 for a pip selection of 7. I’ve always wondered what pennyroyal and civet musk smelled like…and this is totally book related… so might as well buy..
After checking out the selections and reading the comments on the collection in the forum, I decided to try a pip selection with:

(Each of the links above go to the forum post about that scent).
About a week later I got this small package:

And inside it was:

And inside that was:

My seven choices:

Plus two extra:

I am not really a perfume person (actually some can trigger migraines for me), but let me try to give you my impressions of these scents so far!

The Queen of the Mists – “Madness and the monarch by the sea.  The scent of frozen salt, as cold and unforgiving as the deep. “
Has a floral, soapy sort of scent. Fresh out of the bottle, it reminded me of green grass and the longer it was on my skin the more I smelled like.. the smell of the outdoors after rain, and soap.
Tybalt – “A cat may look at a King.  A King may look at anything he likes.  Pennyroyal, civet musk, leather and wild honey. “
I found this a strong smelling scent. A small dab goes a long way. But not a smell I liked really. Very spicy, patchouli/sandlewood/incense range of scent. Lingers for a long time.
Quentin – “The knight in waiting: noble wood, sweet blooming heather and the metallic tang of steel. “
Well this is another strong one. Has a sharp scent. Chemical. Then a floral mixed in there. Unfortunately, the combo of the two smells like mothballs to me.
Maye Daye – “The Fetchingly sweet smell of burnt sugar and ashes, like a bonfire on the carnival midway.  Have your ticket ready at the door. “
At first the smell reminded me of a coffee shop and then a smell I couldn’t place, then I realized that it was the burnt sugar. I’m not sure I smell ashes – I smell lighter fluid. Maybe that’s the smell of something burning. The combination makes me think of the smell of dessert flambéd at the table.
Dare: “Dangerous black amber and Pippin apples, still unspoiled. “
I smelled green apple jellybeans. Sort of a yummy apply smell, but it’s under this is other odor which is sort of musky and sour – it might be the black amber. Kind of an interesting scent. Unfortunately smells sort of musty on me after a while, like old dusty building smell.
Green potion – “The treatment is sometimes just as bad as the disease, but smells a lot sweeter.  Pennyroyal, cowslips, and wisteria.
Smells very flowery but my favorite. Has that high note you get when you smell jasmine or honeysuckle. Lovely.
Toby Daye – “Our heroine herself: the sweetness of newly-cut grass mingled with the bloody sharpness of copper, a changeling blend “
Something fresh & greenish (I guess this is the grass smell) and something that reminds me of bandages! Like the smell of the adhesive of a band-aid. Very interesting. Another favorite I think, although if I smell it too closely it’s a bit too chemical/sharp – but from afar it smells flowery and nice. The longer it’s on my skin, the more it smells floral instead of sharp.

** EXTRAS **

Gears of Imagination – “Stoke the boilers and get ready to take flight! A bold and adventurous blend of red amber, oak leaf, steeped black tea, amber musk, aged leather and a dusting of cacao powder. “
First smell – chocolate!!! Then a sort of smell of Boy (OK, “masculine scent”), which I think comes from the leather and black tea. The leather is there the most. Like it, but smells more like a man’s scent than a woman’s.
A Strychnine Kiss  – “Sparkling pomegranate wine, white patchouli, vanilla musk, pink gardenia and amber incense “
I smell something very sweet in this, like a fruity smell, not quite apple. And a lot of amber. I think it actually smells a lot like sandalwood on my hand. Just incense-y. Diffuses quickly. Not very strong.
At $35, this is on the high end for sample selections, but I think if you are a scented oil person it would be worth trying out the scents before buying the $20 5ml bottle. I was surprised by what ended up being my favorite (Green Potion) and least favorite (Tybalt and Quentin). I would buy Green Potion in a bigger bottle.  These scents diffused quickly so I didn’t have problems with headaches for most of them. I had a headache on the day I tried Dare and Maye Daye but I couldn’t say if either of the scents were a trigger.

Books, so many books! Recent buys and books to be reviewed

Inspired by this post by need-tea with all its pretty pictures of books, I thought I’d show you pictures of books I have bought in the past month.. Some of these I have posted on twitter, but not here.

Crown Duel and Court Duel by Sherwood Smith: I have read (and own) this duology (I also have the eBook!), but I don’t ever see the hard cover versions of the books where they are actually separate. Plus they were $1 each at a library sale in Kennebunkport, ME. Soo… I have rescued them.  Consider this post as evidence of my book addiction!

Speaking of library sales and books I’ve already read.. there was a 5 paperbacks for a dollar sale at my local library, and I couldn’t resist getting copies of old-school versions of books I already own: Beauty by Robin McKinley (with $1 B&N sticker still on it!), War For the Oaks by Emma Bull, and Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones. Linnets and Valerians by Elizabeth Goudge was an impulse buy based on its cover. I actually can’t remember what I got as book #5..

.. but I think it was this Kristan Higgins book, Fools Rush In. In another used bookstore I got me some Jennifer Crusie since I haven’t read anything but Bet Me. I bought Charlie All Night and Manhunting there.

Speaking of used bookstores, I got the above in AZ used bookstores. Gentleman Takes a Chance by Sarah Hoyt, The Goblin Wood by Hilari Bell, Amazon Ink by Lori Devoti, and Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale.

And then I just bought stuff online, like these two British Chick Lit books, From Notting Hill With Love.. Actually by Ali McNamara and Chasing Daisy by Paige Toon (unfortunately I am not loving them now that I started them, but that’s another post).

And more stuff bought online. Oh Bookcloseouts and your sales! Feeling Sorry For Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty, Hero by Perry Moore,  The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting, Need by Carrie Jones, Mistwood by Leah Cypress, Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer by Laini Taylor (not included because I’m reading it and forgot to put it on the pile is Coronets and Steel by Sherwood Smith).

And even more stuff bought online. Kitty Goes to War by Carrie Vaughn, Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott, Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty, As You Wish by Jackson Pearce, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride, Dull Boy by Sarah Cross, and Pink by Lili Wilkinson.  Hmm, I’ve been buying lot more YA than I used to!

These pictures do not include the few ebooks I have also downloaded.. *shifty eyes*.

Oh so my to-be-reviewed list is long now. It’s killing meeee. Yes, I don’t have to review everything I read. But! I want to.

I am also considering reviewing these but they didn’t leave much of an impression, so I might not:

Literary fashion: Kate Spade classic clutches

Does anyone have $325 to spare somewhere? Because that’s how much these book clutches are going for at Kate Spade. I never seem to care about purses, but the Emma clutch is doing something for me. Be still my beating heart!

Also, they have A Tale of 2 Cities, The Importance of being Earnest, and Romeo and Juliet:

Gift Exchange Swag

When I started working with Anna/_ocelott_ of genrereviews on this whole Book Geeks Gift Exchange thing, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into.  But Anna seemed very confident so I said “What’s the worst that could happen?” and dove in.  I have to say – doing stuff like this with Anna is awesome.  She’s organized!  She emails back really fast!  And she’s the easiest person to work with.

ALSO.  She’s really freaking sneaky (in a good way).

Even with me emailing half of the people who signed up, Anna switched things around in secret to be my Giftee.  She totally threw me off her track!  I only cottoned on when I actually got these books and the note inside said it was from Anna.  She’d even sent me an email telling me that “your Santa wanted me to let you know you get two packages”.

Uh huh.  🙂

I finally got the third book yesterday. Here they are:

  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  • Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
  • Northlander by Meg Burden

Bookish Gifts

This is a post that I wanted to do last year, but I got lazy. Seeing as it’s November, and the Book Holiday blogger swap has begun again, I finally got around to showing you some shiny pretty bookish things. Really, it’s an excuse for me to window shop on the web. (Click on images for bigger versions).

1. Tillybloom bookmarks ($13 each) 2. Miniature books 3. Book Journal ($15) 4. Penquin Hardcover Classics ($20 ea) 5. Jane Austen action figure ($8.95) 6. Spineless classics (from £39.99) 7. Sterling silver block letter initial necklace ($72)

8. read sign ($42) 9. Penguin Classics mug (£7.95 and up) 10. Oh for a Book print ($25) 11. I like Big Books bag ($14.95) 12. Eat, Sleep, Read shirt ($29.99) 13. Barnes and Noble Leatherbound Classics ($18 ea) 14. Penguin Threads ($16 ea)

15. Pride & Prejudice vintage subway print ($50) 16. Book Book case ($79.99-$99.99) 17. A Book Lover tee ($20) 18. Kindle/nook cases (from $45) 19. White Rabbit ring ($7) 20. Nook Tablet ($249) 21. Kindle Fire ($199) 22. We’re All Mad Here necklace ($22) 23. Books tote bag ($16)

Book Sale Haul

I don’t usually do posts about books received in a week, but since I scored very nicely this weekend at a library book sale, I thought I’d show my spoils. Greenburgh Library hosted an annual book sale with paperbacks for 50 cents, trade paperbacks for $1, and hardcovers for $2.

Although I already read Song of Scarabaeus, I bought another copy. I felt like I needed to “save” it.. I held myself back from also saving a copy of Tithe by Holly Black and War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. Also bought: Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer, Rampant by Diana Peterfreund, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart, Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey (I may already own this book.. TBR is getting to that point), A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn, Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork, and Midwinter by Matthew Sturges. Total for this pile = $9, all bought on Saturday.

I may have gone to the White Plains Library on Sunday and checked out their book sale area and bought these three for a dollar. Warlord’s Daughter by Susan Grant is SFR. I will check it out. Kiss of Death and Fade Out by Rachel Caine are from the Morganville Vampire series that I need to catch up on. Usually quick reads, although I’m beginning to wonder when this series is ever (?) going to end.

Then I MAY have gone BACK to the Greenburgh library sale. And they had a buy 4 paperbacks, get 5th free deal on Sunday, so I just HAD to get 5.. for $2. And one TPB for $1. Mercy Blade by Faith Hunter (I’m wary because I got tired of her Rogue Mage series after book 2, but I hear her UF is very different and good), Irreversible by Liz Maverick (mostly because I just want to get to all the Shomi books one day, this is the sequel to Wired which I’ve already read), Crocodile on the Sandbank and The Curse of the Pharaohs, by Elizabeth Peters (recommended by the Book Smugglers. Wish the books indicated what the book order was), To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (recommended by calico_reaction), and A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb (recommended by everybody).

So in total, 17 books for $13. Not bad!

By the way, do people know about It’s this website (US & Canada only I’m afraid) where you can look up whether there are any book sales in your area. I am signed up with their Sale Mail which emails me once a week about sales near my zip code. Usually I do not go, but it’s nice to know I could. You know.. in case the TBR mountain range needs more friends.

Mini-title trend: Riffing on “Eat, Pray, Love”

Part of me does a little groan when I see this, but this year the title Eat, Prey, Love has had at least three books play off its popularity. What do you think of this? I guess at this point I’ve only seen the three, but three may be my limit. If I see another one I’m seriously going to eyeroll.

Are there other popular titles you can think of that have had a similar “remixing”?  I feel like I’ve seen similar things done before but my mind is blanking.

Book-related vacation photos

I’m back!  There was internet on the cruise but unfortunately it was very expensive, and there was no “unlimited” option. The most we could get was 500 minutes for $150 (!!!), so we said no. I did a lot of good reading so there’s 4 reviews I need to write/finish:

  • A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
  • Spellbound by Barbara Ashford
  • The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen (borrowed from the cruise ship’s library!)
  • Forget You by Jennifer Echols
  • and I started River Marked by Patricia Briggs on the plane ride back, so that review should be coming soon

I did do a lot of sightseeing, but since I’m a book nerd, I also peeked at some bookstores in different lands and took pictures. This is an image heavy post. Click to embiggen.

Here’s a book display in Tallinn, Estonia. Lots of fairy tales. I didn’t go into this bookstore. Kind of wish I did.

I was particularly intrigued by this storybook that seems to be very specific.

I mentioned the cruiseship’s library right? I totally got a room RIGHT NEXT TO IT. 🙂 Yes, on purpose. Thought it would be quiet. Sadly it was also right above the nightclub area and they played music till the wee early morning hours. I got used to it but night one I entertained thoughts of murder.

This is the inside of the cruise library. Quite swanky no? These 3 bookshelves were the fiction section in english. I was impressed by the book selection – only books released in the past 3 years, but some books were mid-series.

Lots of large comfy chairs but strangely really close to the bookshelves so it was hard to maneuver around and look at the books.

The library had big windows to look out. The air filter there is because the library doubled as a  cigar smoking lounge from 9pm to midnight. I was appalled. Books and smoke? The air filters do a good job though, the smoke smell was very very light. But still. This side had non-fiction and non-English books. The center bookshelves (not pictured) also had more non-fiction/non-English plus a book swap section.

Check out/in. Very informal – you write your name and the book. I saw people returning books from their “last cruise”!

  It was in Sweden that I popped into 3 bookstores and actually took pictures (I went to 2 bookstores in Copenhagen but didn’t take pictures… *hangs head*). This is one of them.

  Stephenie Meyer display in Stockholm

  Swedish covers of Nora Roberts books

  Bookstore #2 in Stockholm

  SF/Fantasy in Swedish. Hello, Graceling!

  I think this is Joe Abercrombie’s Heroes ? Not sure. Translates to “The Ultimate Argument”?

  YA books. Graceling with an alternate cover plus Alex Flinn’s Beastly, Meg Cabot’s Runaway, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

  Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

  Middle grade section. I see Harry Potter books there.

  In a very touristy section of town – randomly, a SF/fantasy specialty bookstore. They had a lot of U.S. versions of books in here.

  YA section of the SF/Fantasy store. Beastly again, plus a Swedish Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

  A bunch of fantasy books in Swedish. I see David Eddings, Robin Hobb, and P.C. Cast for starters.

Just not feeling it

Remember I wrote up a list of my favorite tropes? Well, earlier on this month I was talking to a blogger who isn’t so interested in the Jane Austen/regency-type books.  This is OK, we all have different things that work for us and things that don’t, but it got me thinking: what are those books that I have no interest in reading? I’m going to borrow a phrase from Angie, and call it “lacking a gene”, because these are tropes that a lot of people like, but when I see them, I’m making a face like when my mom tells me how delicious marrow or chicken feet or durian is and how I’m missing out. Pass.

These may shock you.

King Arthur/Camelot

Knights of the round table, magic, a young boy who becomes a king who unites the land. Sounds great in theory, but I don’t have the gene. I’ve read The Mists of Avalon, in high school. Granted my tastes may have changed since then, but as far as I recall, it was OK, but I don’t remember loving it. I remember that it was very long and I was making myself read it. And I think that’s the part of problem I seem to have: it’s never one book. It’s a SERIES. If it is one book, its a big tome. And King Arthur dies at the end, doesn’t he?  I read the books waiting for him to be betrayed and cut off from his men, get a killing blow, and then return to the lake, never to be seen again. The only book that worked for me in this category is The Once and Future King (also Cabot’s Avalon High, but that was a modern retelling so I don’t think it counts). Note that neither book deals with King Arthur’s death. Which is why when I read The Book of Merlyn, also by T. H. White, I didn’t like it as much.  I have no interest in the Merlin mini-series.


Out of all the supernatural beings, this is my least favorite. I’ll take mummies over zombies. I’ve read and reviewed books about zombies here, and I can objectively read a book with them, but mm, not my favorite supernatural creature. They’re dead and shuffle-y, and the eating brain thing is gross. The thing is, the past couple of years, they’ve become SO POPULAR (should I blame Shaun of the Dead?) that they make surprise appearances in books that don’t give you a clue that zombies will be in them. They’re trendy now! This is where I, as an old fogey, stamp my cane.

I am perfectly willing to be converted though. I remember that over ten years ago, I was a straight fantasy girl. I avoided contemporary fantasy like the plague, and I tried to read a book where an elf somehow through some inter-dimensionality was in New York City, and it was a DNF for me. That was my first foray into urban fantasy. Which I now love and read all the time, but I can’t seem to convert my brother, who complains that he doesn’t like “the real world in his fantasy books”.

How about you? Have any “just not feeling it” tropes?

Clever advertising for a book sale in SC

I saw this image of steps made to look like books on tumblr today, and I was so taken by the idea that I had to use my google fu to find out more!

Turns out this is the work of the bounce agency, an advertising firm which was tasked to drum up interest in a charity book sale for the Greenville Literary Association. They wrapped things like the stairs above, as well as junction boxes, elevator doors and a fountain around Greenville, South Carolina with images of books to create awareness for both donating and buying books for the sale. Click here for more images and video (be sure to keep clicking the arrows to see all the pictures).

I particularly love the idea of covering post-it notes with book jackets:

Video spots:

Ohh, book loving nirvana!

(more cute videos at slc33’s channel on youtube)