Thursday, June 30, 2011

James Rollins: The Devil Colony

I feel reviewing Sigma series novels by James Rollins no longer serves any purpose. They are all good. :)
Equally good. If I had to name one that was my favourite, I'd always go with the last one in the series because that one would be the most fresh and action-packed in my mind.

I might put some spoilers in this but they will be small ones.

What I admire about Mr. Rollins is the research that obviously goes into every one of his books and the fact that he comes across so many different intriguing ideas and puts them together into a fictional story that could so very easily be true.

I want to know why I can't read random facts and combine them in my head in such incredible scenarios?!
I mean, after reading how he combines them, it feels logical everyone should be able to. And that is in my mind a good sign that the research for the book and the writing were solid. Ok, that sounds lukewarm. They were more in the hot category than lukewarm.

I do wish I had more time on my hands so I could read the books recommended at the end of The Devil Colony. Those books were the basics from which this novel sprung.

And I'll give you a quick idea of what's it about. Again, the Guild and Sigma are opponents, Crowe Painter gets a more prominent role as this novel centers around Native Americans, Founding Fathers and nano technology.
If you can't imagine how nano technology combines with the first two, read the book. Although, you should start at the beginning of the series in order to get the right idea.
But, if you did read the series so far, I'd also suggest reading the short story featuring Seichan - The Skeleton Key - as it's a good lead into the novel.

And I finally got some answers about  Gray's love life I was wondering about in the last book. So, it wasn't Seichan in his bed by the end of the last novel (so mean of Mr. Rollins to tease us so) and the relationship between Gray and Seichan won't bloom suddenly as this book was want to show but something is building there.
And this time, the kiss was on Gray's initiative. Not that it counts a lot regarding the situation. (that was my spoiler for the day)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jardin du Poete - where summer's heat dissipates

Sometimes I wonder why I even try reviewing perfumes when my opinion of the same perfume tends to vary. OK, it's not like I go from liking something to hating something, but it's not rare for me to think I absolutely love something, then to testi it again and think, yes, it's ok, I like it, but why did I think I loved it so much?

Luckily for me, that part of it's good but not great didn't last long with Jardin du Poete. It was only a blip on the screen (or arm to be exact). :)

I find this to be invigorantingly refreshing. Not sweet in any context. Perfect for summer but also the thing I crave in the spring as it's green!
I mean, it smells green.
Green, grapefruity and well, cypressy, but in my case, every tree of the evergreen sort translates in my mind into fir-like. :) OK, so I still can't tell the difference. I'm learning...

This is also the perfume where it became obvious for me that I really work better with deciphering perfumes when I have no access to notes.
If I see the notes, then I keep trying to smell them and transfer my experience into them. When I don't have them, I write down what I can smell.
In this case, what I smelled was green, bitingly citrusy, I thought lemon peel, until I caught the grapefruit smell. And well, like I said, fir-like. Only the fir I smelled was actually a cypress. :)

It slowly loses the initial intensity while retaining the initial notes until it hits the real drydown where the warm, hay-like vetiver gets in.
It sort of fills the whole between what cologne should smell like if it were a perfume.
I love it for the freshness it brings. It instantly makes the heat back away and it lets you get some fresh air into your lungs.
It's perfect for the summer but in my case, it will also be perfect for my spring quest for greenery and freshness.

Notes: orange, grapefruit, basil, angelica, immortelle, pink pepper, cypress, vetiver, musk.

pic by:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Midsummer Night's Dream - Peaseblossom by Justine Crane

With this review, ends my participation in A Midsummer Night's Dream blog event. I had the greatest time reading the play and smelling the entries and I'm glad to be ending this with Peaseblossom.

Especially since it wasn't what I expected. Here are the notes I gathered from the list of ingredients (I love that I got the whole list of what is in there).

Notes: wheat grass, oakmoss, ambrette, oakmoss resin, enzoin, lavender, clary sage, carnation, tonka bean, vanilla bourbon, rose gulab otto, patchai ellai, tea rose otto, Mysore sandalwood, vetiver, honey, jasmine sambac, rose geranium, vintage tolu balsam, rose otto.

This is an edt and when you look at the notes, you cannot but wonder how Justine made them in such light and refreshingly warm perfume. The notes are so well combined and blended you cannot (well, I cannot tease them apart).
I can smell the oakmoss and lavender and rose and vetiver and resins but they are all light on their toes and they play around on this warm, sweet breeze.

Here is the inspiration:

Peaseblossom, quiet fairy be, shyly collects dewdrops
to steep the petals which he
On his merry way through the sylvan woods
A sweet perfume to present to his
Golden Fairy Queen.

What I found interesting was the fact that this perfume conveys to me the feeling of seriousness. Peaseblossom is going about his very fragrant business in a serious manner, after all, his work will get to be worn by the Fairy Queen (lucky her).

Btw, my notes ended with me calling this a meadow green perfume - more green than meadow, but that is the feeling I have when smelling it. And I love perfumes that are reminiscent of meadows. :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Midsummer Night's Dream - Night Queen by JoAnne Bassett

Night Queen isn't a perfume based on a character from a play but on the idea of what a night perfume would smell like - "unique fragrance of what night time scents are out there to fascinate your nose". (quote from JoAnne Bassett)

Well, if you ask me, night is obviously the part of day meant for easy seduction.
Just by reading the notes, I knew I was going to be seduced.

Notes: night queen oil, rhododendron, peru balsam, rosewood, damask rose oil, neroli, tuberose, vintage jasmine sambac, frankincense, yuzu, clove bud, tulsi, frankincense noir, vetiver, violet leaf, ylang-ylang.

It starts off refreshingly warm and sweet. There is that light pepperiness to tease your nose and make you lose track of the sedcution in the air following close behind.
The opening is at the same time refreshing with the yuzu, clove bud, neroli and rosewood but you can smell the sweet flowery and jasmine hints underneath. The thing is, even though you'd think the opening notes would make it a light-hearted thing, to me it smells serious. And I keep wondering how do you manage to convey that through a perfume?

So, while your nose is being teased by the refreshing notes, the creaminess of the white flowers sort of creeps upon you and gets you to relax and let go. The night has you and you are enjyoing its warm, creamy and flowery tendrils while the starry night settles around you.
This is the part where it smells most tropical to me, with unbelievably but very true to my nose, a creamy, Thai rice note waving through the perfume. And believe me, it smells incredible.

The Night Queen seduced you and you didn't even know it was happening.

And even though you're seduced, the night doesn't end for you. You might be enjoying your night amid sweet creamy florals but the morning will come, the fragrant and warm night air will start cooling and when the morning comes, the night air will no longer be warm and sweet with flowers but cool with remembered hints of the beginning of your night's adventure.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Midsummer Night's Dream - Titania by EnVoyage

I thought the best way to review the perfumes for this blog project is by the order I received them.

So, I'll start with Titania by Shelley Waddington of EnVoyage perfumes.

I've had some problems putting my thoughts on Titania in order as each time I smell it, it seems to behave differently. I love that it keeps me interested in smelling it again and again and finding something new each time.
I have to say, it seems a lot of thought went into this perfume. I kept enjoying the opening with its piney, summery, and lighty sharpish feel and wondering how much of that fits into the idea of the play. Here is the referenced part:

"I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine."

 - Oberon, describing Titania's bower, where she sleeps

I'm glad I decided to read the play otherwise I wouldn't have known it's taking place in and around Athens. And Athens being Mediterranean, pines abound, as well as fragrant shrubs, plants and well, the air around Midsummer's Eve is probably saturated with the fragrances of the plant world.
I think this perfume gets it great.

It's not really a straight feminine perfume but then again, Titania sleeping in such a fragrant corner of the world would be hard to distinguish from the nature. And her corner of the world is dark green, deeply hidden in the forest and mossy as well. There is an underlying warmth and femininity in this but it's just out of your reach, teasing you through the canopy of fragrant air.

I can't really say I smell all the notes, I never can, but pine, lavender and geranium are hard to miss. And the underlying warmth achieved by aromatic woods, nuts, wild rose and honey isn't distinguishable by note but by their warm presence throughout.
Truly a delight to smell as it must have be a delight to see Titania sleeping in her bower.

Top notes: fir needles, spice and citrus
Heart notes: basil, mint, geranium, lavender hidcoat, ylang-ylang, wild rose and heliotrope
Base notes: juniper, Ho wood, aromatic woods and nuts, moss, fern, savory leaves, iris and honey

Pictures and notes were provided by Shelley Waddington except for the first picture by Amanda Feeley.

P.S. I forgot to include a link where you can follow what's happening on other participating blogs.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Midsummer Night's Dream Blog event

It finally arrived!
The next 10 days (but I guess it won't take us all so long as the perfumes are very interesting) several bloggers will talk about different perfumes that were sent to us as creations based on Shakespeare's play.

Here is where you can see who already talked about which perfume.

This is where I'll add I am very happy I'm participating as I got to smell perfumes from perfumers whose work I never tried before and I finally read the play (watching movies and plays doesn't count if you don't read the original).

Here is the list of participating blogs:

Bloody Frida



Perfume Smellin’ Things

Feminine Things

Perfume Pharmer

Le Parfumeur Rebelle

Scent Hive

The Windesphere Witch

Fragrance Belles-Lettres: The Magazine

And here is the list of participating perfumers:

Charna Ethier ~ Providence Perfumes

Lisa Fong ~ Artemisia Perfumes
Yuko Fukami ~ Parfum Phyto

Shelley Waddington ~ Envoyage Perfumes

JoAnne Bassett ~ JoAnne Bassett Perfumes

Ambrosia Jones of Perfumes by Nature

Libby Patterson of Libby Patterson Organics

Ane Walsh ~ Artesã Perfumista

Justine Crane ~ The Scented Djinn

Lisa Abdul-Quddus ~ Blossoming Tree
Ayala Moriel ~ Ayala Moriel Parfums

Ankica Milic ~ Be-Bellatrix

Tanja Bochnig ~ April Aromatics
Alfredo Dupetit ~ BioScent

Jane Cate ~ A Wing & A Prayer Perfumes

Amanda Feeley ~ Esscentual Alchemy

I'm looking forward to reviewing mine very soon!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lois McMaster Bujold: A Civil Campaign

I feel so pleased with myself for deciding to re-read the Vorkosigan saga, this time in English. I don't mean to say anything bad about the Croatian translation but original is still original.

I know I haven't been reviewing the books in the series but I just didn't feel like to - I enjoyed them immensely and just didn't feel I could do them justice in  reviews. It's one of the best science-fiction series out there if you ask me. The way Ms. Bujold writes is just incredible. She can convey everything through her words and honestly, I don't feel any translation can ever do her good unless done by an equally talented writer.

The reason I wanted to review this particular book, which is almost at the end of the series is because the whole series sort of coalesces in it. I've been having laughing fits over situations in this book which are the culmination of all the previous books and the fact that you got to know the characters so well that you can imagine completely the scenes that are happening.
So much irony, sarcasm, characters' characters clashing, funny scenes, it's wonderful how many situations that make one laugh ended up in this book. It's the book where Miles is wooing Ekaterine, without her actually knowing it's happening while everyone else does. Well, you can see where the funny  aspect can come from...
It was pure pleasure to read it. :)

I'm looking forward to other 2 novels left (and a novella) and then it's the end of my Vorkosigan jaunt.
There are other worlds that await me but Barrayar is the one I know I'll be coming back to.

Friday, June 10, 2011

I've been thinking

I'm learning to go with the flow.  I mean, I have so many things in my head I want to do but realization is dubious as I don't have enough time to do everything and get a good night's sleep (even not going through with everything I want to, I don't get enough sleep).

I don't really feel I accomplish much, I usually just feel lazy and therefore add more pressure on my already tired self. That is why I said I'm learning to go with the flow (but I still can't help but want to change it). :)

This of course applies to perfume reviews. I keep writing notes but I constantly feel I need to work more on them so I don't post anything. And then the longer I don't write, the more I feel like it's no good what I'll write so I just postpone it again.  Ok, this week even if I wanted to write, it would have been difficult.

That's why I get so jealous of Birgit of Olfactoria's Travels, she has 2 little children and manages to write each day (sometimes more than once!). :) I'm happy if I get 3 posts a week.

Anyway, I can see I'm rambling without any clear goal (I tend to do that sometimes).

My conclusion is this, I won't force myself to write but I will try my best at writing as often as I can because then it really flows easier. Because if I make a break, it's always hard to get back into writing.

And I'll leave you with a useful advice you don't need because you all probably already know this but I got a free sample so I tried it.
Lacoste's Joy of Pink (and it's NEON pink) is that terrible fruity-floral (more fruity than floral) synthetic musk concoction springing everywhere these days that just seems to get more force the longer you wear it.
So, I guess it will probably sell well.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Charlaine Harris: Dead Reckoning

I don't know what to think.
I love the fact that some of my favourite characters get to star in novel after novel but I also wish those novels would be on par with the beginning of the series.
I am not terribly happy with this installment of Sookie Stackhouse adventures, especially after having the series in my mind, which I have to admit that even though they don't really stick to novels, are very well done in my opinion.

The moment that made most impact on me in the whole novel was the part where Sookie thinks about sins and says that she doesn't think  a child molester and a person who doesn't pay taxes make for equal sinners and goes on to say that you can't choose what to obey when it comes to not sinning.
But I can't help but agree that not all sins are equal and you aren't supposed to choose yourself which sins you are going to commit, you're supposed to do your best not to make them.
This is all in deliberation of what she is about to attempt and there might be some who might not agree with her thoughts. I can't really say what my thoughts are on the subject as I'm having problems understanding Sookie's character as it is. Although I've known this for some time now, I just don't understand her frame of reference.

But that has nothing to do with how much I like the book. It's just feels like taking advantage of the fact that series is so well known (not a new thing in the publishing world to be sure). I can't seem to gather much enthusisasm about it. Yes, I read it as fast as I could as I love the series, and I will certainly buy the next one as soon as it's out but it didn't make me feel exhilarated and anticipating the next one as I feel good books should.

I sincerely hope this changes with the next one.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The smell of early summer rain

Tonight, I was going home with my boyfriend after a light dinner with friends (on his motorcycle) and that was after a short shower.
I'm aware it's not officially summer yet but you wouldn't be able to guess that here these days.

As I'm writing this, there's thunder outside but it's not raining at the moment.

The whole time we were riding home on his motorcycle, I couldn't help thinking how wonderful the city smells.
The trees all are in full bloom as officially, it's still late spring. It's very warm each day and the air is saturated with humidity.
And then it rains.

You can smell the wet dirt on the asphalt mixed with humid smell of all the trees and flowers blooming in the city at the moment. Especially when on a motorcycle after a late spring shower.
It's all there - the humid air, the ozone feeling of the approaching thunderstorm, the greenery of all the trees in the city, and the sweet smell of their flowers, the smell of dirt on the asphalt and eventually it hits you - the smell of budding optimism and well-being.

I wish someone would make a perfume out of this smell. Not the exact thing, but something evoking it. Because to me, it's one of the best fragrances in the world.