Saturday, May 29, 2010

Book inspired perfume

Not quite a book review this time but staying on the literary path I wanted to share these fun products I purchased on Etsy recently.  Latherati is a book inspired bath and body product store on Etsy. Selling soaps, artisan perfumes, lip lusters and body lotions scented and flavoured after well known works of literature.
I’ll confess straight off the bat I have a little problem with Etsy, a little can’t stay off it problem.  I have a particular fondness for all the cottage kitchen bath and body products on there. There are some high quality materials available for purchase to suit practically every taste, nose and skin type.  So imagine my delight when I fell upon Latherati, beautifully crafted body products bred with my other passion, books.
Take a look at some examples of the inspired scents Julie from Latherati has come up with.

CURIOUSER, inspired by Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll - sweet orange marmalade, white cake, tea and a hint of black pepper.

, inspired by Great Expectations by Charles Dickens - warm, tangy ginger and tart lemon with a bottom note of cedarwood.

LONGBOURN, inspired by Pride and Prejudice - Sweet honeysuckle with green leafy grass notes smoothly blended with zesty lemon and herbal undertones.

AVARICE, inspired by Wuthering Heights  - warm cedarwood, patchouli and black pepper with hints of raspberry and a lush green forest.

Quelling my natural impulse to buy one of everything I started with MILKMAID, inspired by one of my favourite novels Tess of the D’Urbervilles.  I chose the lip luster a moisturizing blend of coconut, castor & avocado oils, mango butter, vitamin e, beeswax and the delicate flavor of milk. It is really quite scrumptious the flavor reminds me of milk bottles, those soft chewy lollies that come shaped like old school milk bottles. Maybe they are just a New Zealand thing, I’m not sure, but the flavor is delicate and sweet and quite comforting. I can’t stop applying it, it glides on smoothly, isn’t heavy or sticky and is wonderfully moisturizing, which after all is the important thing.

I also purchased the matching roll on artisan perfume DAIRYMAID - a sweet blend of milk and honey and fresh butter cream. This scent is absolutely divine, if you love the foody smelling oils from more well known artisan perfume makers like Bpal then you’ll love this. A deliciously soft scent that evokes feelings of comfort and warmth. Sweet sugary vanilla tones married with a lighter  floral note I can’t quite place, sweet peas maybe? This has been my perfume du jour all week. It lasts very well too, not quick to fade plus the roll on applicator bottle makes it cake to apply. No spills.

I read on the front page of her shop she’s running a competition on her blog for ideas for a new perfume based on a Gothic novel.  Naturally I ran right over to suggest my all time favourite’s like Northanger Abbey, Mysteries of Udolpho and Jane Eyre only to discover plenty of others had the same idea as me. Are my choices that predictive? So I dug deeper and came up with another The Masque of the Red Death, Edgar Allan Poe, after all you can’t get much more Gothic than Poe.
Why don’t you pop over and suggest your favourite Gothic novel, you never know, you might just be applying it as a perfume soon.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Review: The Dark Divine

Title: The Dark Divine
Publisher: EgmontUSA
ISBN: 978 1 6068 4057 3
Category: Paranormal Romance
Rating: YA

The Dark Divine is a paranormal romance in which our protagonist Grace must decide between loyalties to her pious god-fearing family or her growing feelings and desire to help her estranged childhood friend and one time foster brother, Daniel. Daniel has had a tumultuous and painful life for one so young and he parted with his foster family and best friend Jude, Graces brother, in an abrupt and savage way.

Graces family refuses to discuss the events that led to their estrangement with Daniel and throw themselves subsequently into church and community work for God. Daniel returns to Graces life under the pretence of wanting to get into a coveted art programme and needing to take an AP art class, at Graces religious Holy Trinity school, to qualify for entrance. It soon becomes evident there is more to Daniel and his history with her brother than meets the eye. Secrets are being kept on both sides and Grace sets out to uncover them.

First of all just let me say the protagonist of this story has a great name. Grace Divine. For a story with strong undercurrents of biblical doctrine this is about as apt a name as one could hope to devise for a heroine.

Grace is the child of a pastor; this plot point is used to set up Graces world and her character. She lives in a religious home where common place teenage ways of life are eschewed for a more wholesome church centered life style. An over bearing, slightly neurotic mother has a no cell phone rule for Grace along with a no hooking your computer up to the internet in the bedroom rule. I have to say the whole computer thing gave me a case of twilight déjà vue. There was one scene in The Dark Divine reminiscent of Bella’s internet search on her old computer for Vampires the night after she had dinner with Edward Cullen. Thus went a similar scene in which Grace searched on her old computer for her monster.

Grace attends choir and bible study instead of the hanging out at the mall, and instead of kicking back with friends at the weekends she helps out at her dad’s church sorting boxes of food and clothes for charity. Some may find this goody good persona a little hard to stomach; I’ll admit to rolling my eyes in a few places at how prudishly boring Grace came across as in some places. Despain however manages to keep Grace a relatable character by giving her common ground with her target audience, providing her with moral and ethical dilemma that’s common to all. Honour thy father and Mother as an absolute or pull away from them and make choices for your own life and the possible betterment of others. Do parents always know best? And what of parents that are abusive to their children, do they deserve any honour at all? Grace learns there are no absolutes; life isn’t black and white despite what the bible says. Sin and forgiveness have a sliding scale and that slider sits at a different place for every one of us.

Despain manages to make her supernatural universe fairly believable; she created a plausible background story and incorporated fictional historical letters into the story that lent it a credible twist as well as filling in gaps to the story our narrator and main characters weren’t aware of. The supernatural monsters in Despain’s universe and called Urbats, Hounds of Heaven… or Dogs of Death according to other transcriptions. Created long ago to be god’s watchdogs and fight the forces of hell. Over time they gave in to their human emotions, acted on their desires until eventually their beast side took over and they became what we know today as werewolves.

Despite some excellent foreshadowing clues, which were obvious in retrospect, I was actually caught off guard by the ending. It’s not often a book blindsides me with its ending but this one succeeded. I can say with complete honesty I didn’t see that one coming so well done to Despain.

This was another book with another beautiful cover that had absolutely nothing to do with the story. I mean I like the pretty covers, don’t get me wrong, an attractive cover will get me to buy your book nine times out of ten. But how hard is it to make your pretty cover have at least some connection to the story?

3.5 out of 5
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