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Chocolate and Book: Subscription Box

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Sorry about the picture. The stamp is really beautiful but it was not very clear.

For June we’re exploring the book subscription box Chocolate and Book. Its slogan is simple: something to read, something to eat, and something to drink. I ordered it from CrateJoy, which is a great resource for subscription boxes. Chocolate and Book comes from England and it was worth the wait.

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The wrapping was so nice and very personal. It was as if I was getting a care package from my British grandmother. The book is there on the left wrapped in tissue and silk ribbon. Someone actually Scotch taped the book like a present.

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Opening the tissue further revealed the something to eat and something to drink. Puppy was not included in the box. The candy is a chocolate and cherry pudding bar and the tea is chocolate mint.
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There were also a few very nice, personal notes within the box. Click to enlarge.

 

The book that was included was The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox. On Goodreads it has a 3.7 star rating, so that’s  enough that I don’t feel worried about reading it and possibly hating it.

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I think this is my favorite box so far. I know the tea will be good, and the book is one I wouldn’t have picked for myself, which is fun. We’ll see how the pudding bars are. But for this box I feel like I could enjoy all parts of it without it feeling like someone threw a bunch of knick knack junk in a box with a book that I have to find a use for.

This is a box I would recommend, especially if you are a tea drinker. Get a taste of England with Chocolate and Book!

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BlogHer17 – Lazy River Prep

As I am packing my bags to go and mingle with the best of the best of bloggers this week in an attempt to grow my website and social media presence into something more, I’ve been thinking a lot about something professional women all over the world worry about: how I’m going to look.

I can do professional.                           I can do day to day.

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But what I cannot do is makeup. I can pluck my eyebrows, shave my legs, moisturize, and get my nails done but I couldn’t tell you what I might do for foundation (?) or maybe contouring, is that still a thing? So I’m going to rely on my outfits and my professionalism and not the latest “lippie.”

Here’s the thing though. I’m fat. Sometimes I feel okay about that, sometimes I let society get me down, but always I want to feel comfortable when I put anything on my body. So when I saw that the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek had an amazing pool and lazy river, my mind was reeling.

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I love pools and being in the water, but how can I go out in a bathing suit among all these beauty bloggers? All these super mom bloggers? Being there alone and as one of the very few bookish bloggers, and terrified and nervous to boot, one of the things that might throw me into an introverted tailspin would be side-eyes at my thunder thighs.

The cruelty launched towards fat women is a tragedy for the ages. That I am looking at floating around in the sun while relaxing and the only thing I can think is whether I’ll offend others with my appearance is really depressing.

So I sat down tonight and I decided that everyone can go jump in a lake. The beauty of this conference for me is that no one knows me. I can make myself into whatever I wish. If I want to be confident and powerful and awesome, I can be that. I’ve spent years and years bowing my head, trying not to make waves to survive in the jobs I’ve had. I need to go into this with my head held high to show the world that I am here and while I might be afraid, I am not weak.

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That’s me! I can do professional, I can do every day, and now I can do beach and pool! I am going to be brave and be awesome and bring this bikini with me to the Hilton! And because I want to feel comfortable walking about when I’m not in the pool, I ordered this from Swimsuits For All too!

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Not me. LOL.

I absolutely love the feel of it and it makes me feel like I have wings! #AngryAngelPoolside 🙂

Something that we’ve talked about here on this site before, but I want to continue to come back to is the idea that no matter what your size, no one has the right to shame you. You have the right to be happy. You have the right to feel comfortable and beautiful. This conference is a kind of rebirth of who I am and what I love, and that should be not only be about my mind and talents, but about my body as well. So I am going to bolster myself with optimism, reach out to my fellow lady (and some men!) bloggers and trust that we are all there to lift each other up and support the success of our community.

I leave in two days! Yikes! I’ll finish up my packing tomorrow, but not before I finish practicing for the lazy river. See you there!

pool pic

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The Secret Ingredient of Wishes

wishesI am a wicked sucker for stories about people who just leave everything they know and start fresh someplace else. One of my favorite books, Beachcombing for a Shipwrecked God is about a woman whose husband dies, and she takes the life insurance money and sells her house and goes to grieve someplace away  from all the old memories and finds new friends and a new life in the process. I absolutely love stories like this, probably because it makes me dream about what it would be like to do something like that myself. To have that kind of financial freedom and safety to go on that kind of a soul-searching adventure.

Rachel is what we might call a witch, but with very specific magical powers. She can grant wishes. If someone wishes for something close enough to her, a small piece of paper will appear nearby and if she reads it and even thinks the wish, it will be granted. When she’s young without understanding how her ability works, she wishes her brother would “get lost” when he destroys her Lego castle – and he does. No one remembers he existed and she is sent to therapy and the psych ward at the local hospital for being so insistent that he did exist. She experiences very negative consequences at a very young age, and so develops the belief that her ability is dangerous and tries to squelch it.

After a long time without seeing any papers, she accidentally grants the wish of her best friend’s daughter on her birthday, Rachel decides that she would rather leave than hurt anyone she cares about, and ends up in the magical town of Nowhere. Her car suddenly runs out of gas and she is taken in by Catch, a local piemaker who has magical gifts of her own. She takes Catch up on her offer of staying in the attic, beginning a months long stay which will change her life and the lives of the people in that town forever.

This book had everything I love: redemption, discovery, hot make-out sessions, friendship, forgiveness, in-depth pie smell descriptions, new beginnings, and above all understanding and acceptance for who a person is. The kind of relief that comes from someone loving you for who you are, being able to be yourself without hiding or holding back, that’s relief that touches deep in the soul. I love reading a story that shows me that this kind of love or friendship might be possible. It’s like watching a flower unfurl, feeling safe to open up toward the sunshine.

I loved this book, and to be honest I was reading it at a time when I needed to see these things happening for someone, even if it was in a fiction novel. If you need redemption, if you need hope that you can start anew, if you need to believe that wishes can come true, pick up Susan Crispell’s The Secret Ingredient of Wishes. You will not be disappointed.

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Wonder Woman

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I was not looking forward to this movie. DC and I have been in a “fool me twice shame on me” kind of situation and I was hesitant to touch the hot stove again. You can’t give me Green Lantern like that and not expect me to have trust issues. But then the reviews began to roll in and I let myself get excited. This was DC’s saving grace, supposedly, and so I thought, “okay, I will give it a chance.” If this sucked, I was NOT going to see the Justice League movies, I don’t care how amazing Jason Momoa looks as Aquaman.

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The movie didn’t blow my socks off but it was definitely an improvement on the other DC stories (I’m looking at you, Green Lantern). Diana’s history on Themyscira is a cute story, and the interaction between Antiope and Hippolyta concerning her future is so nice. Destiny plays a huge role in this story, and discovering Diana’s is one that takes the entire movie to reveal, with a cute little twist you may or may not see coming. I only did because as I’ve written about before, my brain seems to seek out where people or things might be trying to trick it with a vengeance.

There are spoilers after this so stop here if you don’t want them.

I have a few squabbles about the movie. First, Diana is SUUUUUper wide-eyed about the real world, like she’s never worn a dress before? Granted she is very sheltered and has never left the island, so I guess I have to give this issue a pass, but I wish she had been more in control in the movie instead of being portrayed as a bumbling, ignorant, naive child.

Ares. We need to have a short talk about the god of war. I get that we needed a British actor and Benedict Cumberbatch is taken by Marvel but did we really need to pick the super lovable werewolf from Harry Potter? The story was good, but I was distracted because I was looking at Lupin and not a god. David Thewlis is not really god of war material. So, casting has some ‘splainin’ to do on that one.

There was so much I liked though. The story was very solid. The doctor that made all the poisons was 100% terrifying. And Chris Pine can just keep on keeping on playing the plucky, arrogant, determined hero in as many movies as possible.

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Someone told me once that when you shop for an engagement ring, the salesmen are trained to sell you using the Goldilocks technique. They will show you something AMAZINGLY EXPENSIVE then something way under your price range, then something a teeeeensy bit above your price range and guess which one you’ll accept? This was a good movie, but with Marvel showing out and DC giving us scraps, this is a movie that we are excited about for many reasons, one of which is probably that it wasn’t horrible. Luckily it was also good on its own. I look forward to seeing more from Gal Godot and the Justice League.

 

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An Angel Gets Its Wings

I am taking a moment today to welcome all new followers to Angry Angel Books, and to thank all the followers that have been here since the beginning. This was a tough week for me and as I sit here this morning I am so excited that more and more people are joining our family here online. Your presence here brings me joy.

Angry Angel Books is always about books first, but no matter the topic, all of my posts are written with the goal of connecting entertainment and personal experience to the larger social world. My posts are not book reports, they are an emotional journey into the book, letting you know what your experience might be like, and why it would be important to indulge in that experience.

Something that makes this website very special to me, and I hope to you, is that it is a kind of chameleon. There are so many genres of books, so many stories to read and enjoy, that I can take you on a journey into fantastical lands, or I can ask important questions about women’s rights or representation. You can encounter knights defending the realm or a memoir about Scrabble tournaments. The world is our oyster, because the literary world is never ending, a many tentacled beast that stretches into our minds to teach, to inspire, and to delight our imaginations.

So welcome to this world. I will strive to teach, to inspire, and to help you imagine a world in which we can all come down from our respective clouds to get happy, get angry, get together around the comfort of a good book, a good movie, and hopefully, a good life.

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Have a great day, angels. Stay angry.

Amanda

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Pirates of the Caribbean

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Arrrr, there be spoilers ahead. No way around it, missy.

Pirates is always a fun movie to watch. Jack seems to be out of his depth or has no clue what is going on, and then somehow everything works out okay in the end and it turns out that he knew what was going on all along. This movie doesn’t stray too far from that formula with a few exceptions.

First, instead of Will Turner (who is now the captain of the Dutchman in place of Davey Jones), we have his son Henry Turner who is determined to free is father of the curse that is upon him. This alone is a weird thing, because I thought that someone had to captain the Dutchman to lead souls to the afterlife. If I remember correctly it wasn’t a curse, just a job, and Jack did it to save his life. Initially Jack was going to stab the heart and live forever but because Will was so badly wounded and wouldn’t survive, he took his hand with a knife and stabbed the heart instead. So curse? Not really. It’s an ancient agreement – that was my first big problem with the storyline.

Second was this situation with Barbossa’s daughter. UGH. U. G. H. So she holds the secret to some secret island that will reveal the location of the trident of Poseidon which, when broken, would also break all curses that have ever been cast by or apply to the sea. Ooooooookay. *rolls eyes* Now, I ~heart eyes~ Geoffrey Rush, so seeing him sacrifice himself for her was really sad, but then I was like, “No, you don’t get to pull in a daughter I have never heard of and try to twist my emotions, that’s bullshit.”

Lastly, the story follows Jack but he’s not even really the main character. He doesn’t really do anything in this movie, which is a sharp departure from the past movies. Javier Bardem is chasing him, similar to how Jack was being hunted by Davey Jones, but I just didn’t care about that so much because it felt so much like a rerun. Also why was Javier Bardem’s character cursed instead of just dead? To many new characters and backstories needed, and not enough time to help us understand.

This movie was fun, but it was also like watching a franchise die a very sad death, gasping for one last breath, one last money grab before we should probably put it out of its misery.

This movie gets 2 stars and 5 giant shrugs from me. But Disney got my money so everybody wins, I guess.

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Grit

Grit

This book was received as part of The Bookish Box subscription box for May. 

Does everybody remember my critique of The Hate U Give from last week where I said it was a good story but it seemed to want to cram in every possible aspect of the African American woman’s experience all into one book so it made the story seem…less? Grit does the same thing, only it’s gratuitously slamming in all the touchstones of a life in Maine. I get it, because I grew up in rural Maine. The references are not lost on me. But for someone who has never been to Maine or who has only been a tourist, there are a lot of things in this book that will fly right over their heads. I worry about this being too much of a niche read, but it has some saving graces.

The main character Darcy, her sister Mags, and her cousin Nell all are raking blueberries in the summer in Maine. We also have a small town beauty pageant that Nell is excited about but Darcy has been unwillingly nominated into. There is a mystery too, a girl went missing in the previous blueberry season and she has not been found. The story begins to allude to Darcy protecting something Nell has done, and with Nell being portrayed as “slow,” it begins to have a bit of an Of Mice and Men feeling, although not quite to that extreme. My mind couldn’t decide what I cared about: the disappearance, Darcy trying to be the top raker in the blueberry fields, the beauty pageant, the mysterious disappearance, the really obvious tension between townies and the immigrant workers (yes immigrant workers make it to Maine, mostly for blueberries or potatoes way up north), or the incessant reminders of home.

This is a cute book, but it’s also one of those books that tries too hard. There’s too much going on here. Despite that, it really is a nice book and if you’re looking for a quick easy read, take a trip into Grit and take a peek into a mystery in Maine.