11.23.2017

Scratch And Sniff Books For Grown-Ups

This post originally appeared on Book Riot in 2014.


Every November I find myself getting incredibly nostalgic for the one Thanksgiving book I remember reading as a child: Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry DevlĂ­n. The really great thing about this particular picture book wasn't the scruffy, gruff captain or the prim, uptight grandmother- it was the scratch-and-sniff aspect. In retrospect, I'm fairly certain our copy was a second-hand edition that probably mostly smelled like paper, ink, and mild mildew by the time it came our way, but I loved the interactive quality of the scratch-and-sniff. Scratch-and-sniff is an underutilized gimmick when it comes to books, but they do still exist, though mostly for children. But they're not all intended for the kiddos. I've rounded up some of the best PG-13 scratch-and-sniff titles for your olfactory pleasure.




DK has put out a their fair share of scratch-and-sniff board books over the years, generally aimed at the still-in-diapers set. But nine-year-old boys, and far more overgrown children will surely appreciate the grosser-than-a-bogey-flavoured-bean The Truly Tasteless Scratch & Sniff BookThis book is disgusting, fascinating, and nauseating. Scents include feces, vomit, halitosis, and gas and are all accompanied by the science behind their foulness. Proceed with caution with this one.




Backstage with Beth and Trina: A Scratch-and-Sniff Adventure by Julie Blattberg. Because who doesn't want a scratch-and-sniff representation of their bad decisions? These scents aren't all pretty; strawberry lipgloss and leather compete with stale beer, smoke, and vomit. No guarantees you won't experience a major, and possibly traumatic, flashback from this one.



My First Book of Smells and Colours: Garden by Orianne Lallemand might be intended for kids, but with clean, poppy design and authentic herb and veggie aromas, wouldn't it make a lovely gift for the home gardener in your life? The smells include rose, lilac, fir tree, onion, strawberry, lavendar, and mint. Other titles in this series are Fruit (strawberry, orange, cherry, apple, peach, banana, and coconut), and Kitchen by Zade Zade (chocolate, banana, onion, vanilla, grapefruit, mint, mango).
The Smelly Old History series by Mary Dobson takes an interesting approach to engaging the reader with history. The series includes Victorian VapoursReeking RoyalsMedieval MuckWartime WhiffsGreek Grime, Mouldy Mummies, Tudor Oudors, Roman Aromas, and Vile Vikings, among others. These books are heavier on text and actually history than on scratch-and-sniff panels, but the combo of history and grotesque aromas is so appealing in its weirdness.




The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert: Take a Whiff of That by Richard Betts is one of the most practical uses of scratch-and-sniff technology I've ever seen. This is just brilliant. You can learn genuinely useful skills from this book! It uses the scents to walk your nose through the basic noses: the woods, the fruits, and the earths allowing you to impress people right out of their pants at your next party.


Instant Touch: A Tropical Scratch and Sniff by Belly Kids features some stunning upcoming illustrators' interpretations of your basic fruits (grape, cherry, watermelon, etc.) along with the accompanying aroma. This is as much a piece of sweetly-scented art as it is a children's book. Whether coffee table or nursery bound, it's a multi-sensory experience worth having.






Finally, Harley Quinn Annual #1. It's been dubbed rub-and-smell instead of scratch-and-sniff for legal reasons, but I think it comes off as uber creepy, so I'm henceforth refusing to ever use the term rub-and-smell again. This reboot of Punkin's psychotic right-hand gal is centered around Harley attempting to jailbreak Poison Ivy out of Arkham when she is taken down by a powerful hallucinogen. An Ivy/Harley comic heavy on the nonsense and with scented, fourth-wall-breaking asides from the anti-heroine.







5.18.2017

Nancy Drew Review: The Message In The Hollow Oak


It's time for another installment of the Nancy Drew Review project. The Message in the Hollow Oak was my third reread of the 64 original titles. For those of you intrigued by Carolyn Keene not being real, since I keep bringing it up, here's a nice chart that goes over the ghostwriting process for these 64 books. 


  

Side note: Anybody have any recommendations for me for easy-to-use video editing apps or software? Preferably free. Preferably. 



5.11.2017

Nancy Drew Review: The Spider Sapphire Mystery


Okay, I'm back with another video in my Nancy Drew Review project. Apologies for the handheld shakiness, I wanted to sit in my comfy chair and still have good light. I'm going to be a pro at these videos by the time I finish all 64 books!



5.05.2017

Nancy Drew Review: The Bungalow Mystery


Introducing the Nancy Drew Review Project. For the next few months - assuming it takes that long - I'll be rereading my way through all of the classic Nancy Drew stories.




I've decided to do a short(ish) video review following each one where I go ever my thoughts on the books, characters, and series as a whole. I'm a terrible rambler, so I'll apologize in advance for that. Below is my first video for the project.





Since I won't be creating a book style for each of these, you should really check out my Book Style for Confessions of a Teen Sleuth by Chelsea Cain.


1.25.2017

Book Style: 1984

This post originally appeared on Book Riot in 2015.

When I wrote this post 1.5 years ago, I was fresh off of laughing at the absurdity of Donald Trump throwing his hat into the election ring. Now we have President Trump's staff offering blatant lies "alternative facts"during press conferences. We have scientists being silenced. We have women's reproductive rights being stripped away. This might not be as fictional of a work as it used to be, sadly.

1984

1984, or Nineteen Eighty-Four depending on which edition you have, is one of those novels I would’ve read even if it wasn’t George Orwell’s most famous, or assigned reading in the majority of U.S. high schools (an irony that is not lost on me). 1984 was the year I was born and I can’t not read a book that is named after the year I graced this fair planet with my glorious presence! All not-so-humble bragging aside, I really enjoy good dystopic fiction and satire and Orwell is the king of that genre. Without 1984 and its predecessor, Huxley’s Brave New World, there would be no Hunger Games, The Giver, Divergent, Maze Runner, or their ilk. 1984 brought the concepts and vocabulary of Newspeak, Big Brother, and Thought Police into the public consciousness. If you have ever uttered the phrase “Big Brother is watching you” and haven’t read this novel, shame on you. Fix that nonsense now.

Doing a Book Style for The dystopian novel wasn’t easy. None of these personality-filled wardrobe items would be acceptable for any of Oceania’s residents, but dammit I would try! I’m in the mood for casual weekend wear, so that’s what I focused on here. If you’re reading a novel as cynical and foreboding as 1984, you need to be relaxed and comfy. We have “1984” boyfriend jeans whose tie to the novel should be fairly obvious and a “Gin” sweatshirt tee for Winston’s “Victory” branded gin. A pair of “Julia” sandals, for Winston’s love interest, and a crisp white belt polish off the base outfit. For the accessories I included a “1984” tote bag, some “Propaganda” sunglasses, a “Big Brother Is Watching You” phone case, and two nail lacquers in “Caught Your Eye” (for the ever-watchfulness of the Thought Police) and “Private Weekend” (for Winston and Julia’s failed attempts to keep their affair private). Finishing it all off is the jewelry: an “Orwell” necklace, a “Big Brother Is Watching You” bracelet, an “Obey” cipher ring, and a pair of coral earrings for the shattered coral paperweight *cough* blatant symbolism *cough*.

Now stay aware, alert, and behaved. And remember, WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH!


1.21.2017

Book Style: Dracula

This post originally appeared on Book Riot in 2014.

Dracula

Dracula is THE classic monster novel. The salacious sexuality of the story and of the titular character have been drawing readers, and later moviegoers, by the hundreds for over a century now. While classically depicted in black and white with captivating touches of blood red, this edition from Penguin let me explore a more flamboyant costume for a Lady Dracula (with Winona’s Mina firmly in mind).

There’s a lot going on here, so let’s start with base layers. Sex appeal and vampires go hand-in-hand, so sumptuous lingerie was a must and this “Bat Your Lashes” bra and panty set is kind of perfect. Yellow tights for a kick of color and because, vampire or no, a lady does not expose bare legs to the public. Next up, a silky blouse with a necktie that evokes a gentleman’s cravat, and a flouncy bustled skirt – I know a proper Victorian lady would not be sporting anything above-the-knee, but when scaling buildings to assault woo your love, you need mobility. Some spiky “London” brogues and a lush, fur-collared “Mina” coat complete the main ensemble.

Let’s run through all of the blood-thirsty accessories, too: A Dracula necklace, stake earrings, fang knuckleduster ring, crimson “Blooming Love” engagement ring, “Paranormal” UV reactive nail lacquer, and a batty clutch polish off our Lady Dracula.


1.15.2017

Book Style: Heart Of Darkness

This post originally appeared on Book Riot in 2014.

Heart Of Darkness

Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness has proven to be perpetually controversial, first for its chastisement of colonialism and native subjugation and exploitation, and later for stereotyping race. Personally, while horribly racist in his description and treatment of native characters, I applaud Conrad for trying to bring attention to a horrible system, even if it focused a bit too much on the plight of the white protagonists/antagonists. A book like this will never be written again, for a variety of reasons, and, thanks in part to Apocalypse Now’s enduring popularity, it will continue to be read for years to come.

I wasn’t channeling a particular character this time around. This outfit is mostly inspired by this epically haunting cover design and the West African setting of the novel. The key elements of this outfit are an ethically sourced: an “Africa” print jacket and an easy, travel-friendly jumpsuit. Some “Congo” sandals and “Arrow” purse add the necessary (in my book anyway) gleam, while a silky scarf adds some warmth (or additional protection from mosquitoes). In the jewelry category, we have a pair of ivory skull studs, Africa earrings, an ivory bangle, a rifle necklace, and a “Slave Chain” ring. A pop of “African Violet” nail lacquer finishes up this look.


1.14.2017

Book Style: One Kick

This post originally appeared on Book Riot in 2014.

One Kick

I fell in love with Chelsea Cain’s work back when I discovered her Nancy Drew parody, Confessions of a Teen Sleuth, which is now sadly out of print. While I never became as impassioned about her Heartsick series as some of her fans, I’m incredibly thrilled with the launch of her newest novel and series. One Kick is the first of the Kick Lannigan series and if you’re a fan of thrillers you better get off your butt, run out to your local bookstore, and bring one home now. To paraphrase The New York Times review, Kick is comparable to Lisbeth Salander (you know, of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo fame), but way more relatable. She’s a survivor of kidnapping and child pornography. Almost a decade later, Kick is presented with an unprecedented opportunity to help rescue other children from the same circumstances.

I gave my best effort to keep this outfit fairly true to Kick’s in-novel attire (even when faced with an incredibly sepia-colored cover). She’s a tomboy who lives in denim and hoodies when she’s not training in the dojo. Her tragic tale made her into a celebrity, something her mother continues to exploit, and Kick often sports a cap and glasses to avoid the curious stares of her neighbors. The puppy dog socks aren’t something Kick would let show to many, but they accurately reflect her undying affection for her dog, Monster. The handcuff bracelet is symbolic of her imprisonment as well as her hobby of lock-picking. The tennis ball watch is a bit kitsch but it’s also a nod to Monster and the events that get the plot rolling. The final touch is the Scrabble tile necklace. I’m not going to tell you how that ties in! I don’t want to spoil the suspense.