Saturday, May 18, 2019

The Scent Trail by Celia Lyttleton


Celia has decided to get her own bespoke scent created for her (seemingly for the purpose of writing a book about it, rather than actually wanting this just for herself?). She visits someone that helps her pick out the top, middle, and base notes of her scent, including a colour consultation as colour and scent play roles together. After this, Celia sets out to find the origins of each of ingredient.

While staring this book, I wonder how Celia can keep me interested in her travels to learn about 11 different ingredients. It was interesting to learn about how these items are turned in to scents, and in some instances the massive volume of ingredient that is required to make a small volume of oil for scent. It makes you wonder how the finances work. While perfumes are not cheap, they aren't super expensive either compared to how much volume some of the ingredients require.

It's also hard to read a book on scent when you can't smell everything she's talking about. I don't recognize some of those ingredients and it would have been great to know what they smell like and what her final scent smells like. Celia tried describing what those smells were like, but many of them were unique to her like the smell of her childhood in some specific place. How can I associate with that? In general, that was my problem with this book. I couldn't connect with anything because I didn't know what the smells were and couldn't connect with her or her descriptions.

First Line: "There are only a handful of bespoke perfumers in London, and Anastasia Brozler, the founder of Creative Perfumers, is one of them."


Sunday, May 12, 2019

A Thousand Naked Strangers by Kevin Hazzard


Kevin Hazzard re-started his career as an EMS, wanting to help strangers at possibly the worst time in their life. He starts with training and, once he passes, tries to find a job. Unable to find work for a hospital, he works at private company and the tales begin. Given that EMTs are stuck in a truck with another EMT/medic for an entire shift, this book is as much about the people Hazzard works with as the calls he goes on. The two taking all the calls need some level of trust and connection to make it bearable to get through the day.

Of course, having been an EMT, Hazzard has seen some crazy shit. He takes the reader through some of those more crazy calls. Given that EMTs run calls along with firefighters and police, you would think that EMTs see the least amount of danger but it's still a pretty dangerous career.

While the individual stories were interesting, there was nothing that really tied it all together or made me care about Hazzard. He seemed like an adrenaline junkie that this career could suit. But it also made him feel a bit less compassionate than someone who you would want doing this job.

First Line: "I did nothing to save the first person who died in front of me."


Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Dragonwyck by Anya Seton

Historical Fiction

Young Miranda lives on a farm with her large family and one day her parents get a letter from a cousin that asks them to send their eldest daughter to Dragonwyck. The letter comes from Nicholas Van Ryn, socialite from the Hudson Valley. Miranda is super excited to leave behind her simple life and become more sophisticated.

Upon arriving, Miranda meets Nicholas' wife and daughter. The wife doesn't seem to want Miranda around and doesn't hesitate to make that known. Meanwhile Nicholas suffers from violent mood swings and Miranda never really knows what to expect from him. When the family suffers an emergency, Miranda's life changes once again.

I picked this book up because I enjoyed Seton's Katherine so much. Dragonwyck doesn't have the same magic that Katherine does. I didn't really enjoy any of the characters. Miranda was weak and annoying and even by the end of the book I didn't understand what was going on with Nicholas.

Everything just went on too long and all the characters were too annoying to enjoy this a lot.

First Line: "It was on an afternoon in May of 1844 that the letter came from Dragonwyck."