6.22.2017

Degustabox June 2017 {Subscription Box Review}

Degustabox delivered a box full of snacks and pantry items perfect for summer!
{Many thanks to Degustabox for sending this box free of charge. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

THE BOX

Degustabox June 2017

THE COST (AND A COUPON CODE)

$19.99, first box 50% off and a bonus item through this link

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Degustabox delivered a box full of snacks and pantry items perfect for summer!
Degustabox includes 10-15 food items each month, from a wide variety of categories. Every month is a new surprise, but you'll find snacks, beverages, and pantry items, too.

REVIEW

Here's what I received this month! The whole box really shows the abundance that Degustabox includes each month.

Degustabox delivered a box full of snacks and pantry items perfect for summer!

Degustabox delivered a box full of snacks and pantry items perfect for summer!
Bibigo Go-Chu-Jang Barbecue Sauce ($4.99) - bold, smoky, and spicy! This will be perfect for Summer grilling.

Brooklyn Organics Craft Ginger Ale ($2.00) - USDA certified organic soda, sweetened with stevia.


Degustabox delivered a box full of snacks and pantry items perfect for summer!
Entemann's Minis Apple Snack Pies ($4.69) - individually wrapped with apple chunks and a light glaze! These will be perfect for our upcoming plane trip to amuse my children.

Julian's Recipe Waffle Thins ($3.99) - I received Meyer Lemon with Quinoa for some easy snacking.

Degustabox delivered a box full of snacks and pantry items perfect for summer!
Hodgson Mills Apple Cinnamon Muffin Mix ($4.49) - this gluten-free muffin mix can also be used to make pancakes.

Sir Kensington's Ketchup ($2.00) - Tomatoes are the first ingredient in this ketchup! It also has less sugar, less salt, and includes non-GMO ingredients.

Brianna's Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing ($3.99) - This new flavor can be used for a salad dressing, BBQ marinade, or tropical dip.

Degustabox delivered a box full of snacks and pantry items perfect for summer!
Navitas Naturals Snack Bar ($2.29) - I received the Maca flavor, which includes sweet maple, maca, and nuts. 

PopCorners Salt of the Earth Bean Crisps ($3.29) - These crisps are made with beans and corn, sunflower oil, and sea salt.

Degustabox delivered a box full of snacks and pantry items perfect for summer!
Ritz Crisp & Thins ($1.29 each) - Ritz now has thin and crispy chips, oven baked, with 50% less fat per serving than regular potato chips. 

Degustabox delivered a box full of snacks and pantry items perfect for summer!
Gift: Viter Energy Mints - Degustabox included these as bonus gift. The mints include 40mg of caffeine and B-vitamins.

Coupon: This box also included a coupon for Bibigo Sauce and the other side had a sample packet of hot sauce that I can't wait to try.

CONCLUSION

Degustabox delivered a box perfect for Summer this month, with great value. The price of the box is $19.99 (get 50% off your first box with this link), but the value this month was about $34. I appreciate getting a deal and the opportunity to try some new things. 

6.20.2017

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders {Book Review}

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders gave me goosebumps, made me gasp, brought tears to my eyes, and elicited laughter.
{Many thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Lincoln in the Bardo free of charge. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

THE BOOK

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

PUBLICATION DATE

February 14, 2017

PLAN TO HAPPY RATING



REVIEW

People are going a little crazy about George Saunders' Lincoln in the Bardo and I have to say I understand why. It was a singular reading experience and I now feel the need to read everything Saunders ever wrote.

Lincoln in the Bardo tells the story of the death of Willie Lincoln, which occurred within the first year of Abraham Lincoln's presidency and at the onset of the Civil War. Saunders imagines what happened when Lincoln went to visit and hold his son's body while it resided in a crypt in Oak Hill Cemetery. Willie does not immediately leave the earth, but instead is in the Bardo, a purgatory-like place with a diverse multitude of inhabitants who he interacts with.

This novel gave me goosebumps, made me gasp, brought tears to my eyes, and elicited laughter. I listened to a bunch of interviews with Saunders (including the Professional Book Nerds Podcast and Mashreads Podcast) and was struck by his statement that he wanted readers to feel speechless at the end, then emotional, then to start analyzing. This is exactly I experienced.

I want to tell you why this book was so different, but I also don't want to spoil it for you! Suffice it to say that I definitely recommend it.

(I was tempted to give this book five stars because it is unlike anything I've ever read. I withheld that last star as a one woman protest of literary fiction's tendency to ALWAYS include a completely unnecessary sexual reference in effort to shock the reader. If you read Lincoln in the Bardo, you'll know exactly what I'm referring to.)

6.10.2017

All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg {Book Review}

In All Grown Up, Jami Attenberg looks at life in NYC for a woman not interested in a husband or kids.
{Many thanks to the publisher for sending me an eARC of All Grown Up free of charge. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

THE BOOK

All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg

PUBLICATION DATE

March 7, 2017

PLAN TO HAPPY RATING




REVIEW

I don't think it's controversial to say that not every book is for every person. Having heard wonderful things about Attenberg's previous books, I was excited to get the chance to read her newest novel - All Grown Up, but it just wasn't for me. I should have known when I was only lukewarm about Saint Mazie, but the prospect of a woman living in New York City and eschewing the expected path of husband and children sounded interesting. You can't win them all.

I can deal with unlikable characters like the book's narrator, Andrea, but she is next level unlikable. She is listless, lazy, uncaring, and prone to drug addiction, casual sex, and abandonment. She careens from one bad decision to the next, seeming only to care about moving her body to the next hour of the day.

Attenberg's writing is tight and sparse with some hilarious one-liners, a style I love, but I kept thinking that instead of writing Andrea's story, she was focused solely on writing a story about a woman in NYC that was the antithesis of chick lit. It felt more like form over substance and the story suffered for it.

While I can't recommend this novel based on my own tastes, it would be good for those enjoy a darker look at a woman in mid-life. The pervasive negativity and near absence of anything redemptive in the story made it a miss for me.

6.02.2017

Gilded Cage by Vic James {Book Review}

How about a dsytopian Downton Abbey? Gilded Cage by Vic James is just that!
{Many thanks to the publisher for sending me an eARC of Gilded Cage free of charge. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

THE BOOK
Gilded Cage by Vic James

PUBLICATION DATE
February 14, 2017

PLAN TO HAPPY RATING


REVIEW

Gilded Cage by Vic James is the first in a new fantasy series called Dark Gifts. (The second installment, Tarnished City, is due out this September.) The premise is difficult to summarize, so I'll do what the publishing world does and say it's a dystopian Downton Abbey.

Gilded Cage is set in a seriously twisted world. The Equals (who possess magical powers) have taken over the government after a violent overthrow of England's rulers. In order to maintain their rule, they imposed a 10-year period of slavery for all those who do not have magic. I warned you it was twisted.

We join the story of a family just as they are embarking on their 10 years of slavery as a family. They are sent off to live as servants on one of the ruling families' estates. As a result, they are privy to the lives of the most elite of the Equals and to the machinations of their politics.

Given the fancy estates, courtly manners, and horses, I had a little trouble remembering that the story was set in the current day/near future, which jolted me out of the story now and then. Even with that hiccup, I will definitely be continuing to read this series. I found Gilded Cage to be richly imagined and just creepy enough to keep me on the edge of my seat.

5.31.2017

Reading Bug Box {Subscription Box Review}

The Reading Bug Box is curated by an indie bookstore and personalized for your kid's interests!

{If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

The Box:

Reading Bug Box

The Cost:

Starting at $19.99, get $10 off your order with code MADMIL

What's Included:

Books and gifts for kids, personalized for age and interests

Reading Bug Box Review:

This box is such a treat for my kids. I tell them when I get the notification that it is on its way and they wait with eager anticipation for it! I get the Reading Bug Box for Two, so this box is a double dose. Each kid usually gets three books and some sort of little gift.

Here's what we received in our latest Reading Bug Box:

The Reading Bug Box is curated by an indie bookstore and personalized for your kid's interests!

The Key to Extraordinary ($6.99) - 4.5 Stars on Amazon

The Menagerie ($3.94) - 4.5 Stars on Amazon

The Reading Bug Box is curated by an indie bookstore and personalized for your kid's interests!

Ollie's Odyssey ($7.05) - 4.5 Stars on Amazon

Charlie & Mouse ($8.47) - 5 Stars on Amazon

The Reading Bug Box is curated by an indie bookstore and personalized for your kid's interests!

Ballpark Mysteries, The World Series Curse ($5.73) - 5 Stars on Amazon

The Dino Files, A Mysterious Egg ($4.99) - 5 Stars on Amazon

The Reading Bug Box is curated by an indie bookstore and personalized for your kid's interests!

This was a cute poster and two packs of colored pencils (one for each kid).

We have loved the books we've read so far, partly because The Reading Bug Box consistently pay attention to the survey we filled out about my kids' reading preferences.  I also love supporting an indie bookstore, especially since there aren't any anywhere close to my house.

If you give The Reading Bug Box a try, make sure you go here and use the code MADMIL to get $10 off your first box!

5.30.2017

Takeout Kit {Subscription Box Review}

Takeout Kit is a meal kit with a two month shelf life. They send you everything you need to make an outstanding takeout style meal at home.

{Many thanks to Takeout Kit for sending me this box free of charge. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

The Box:

Takeout Kit

The Cost:

Starting at $35 a month

What's Included:

For only $8.75/serving, try a new global cooking adventure every month. Kits include all the ingredients needed to make a 4 serving meal in 30-60 minutes (no grocery shopping required!). Try Spanish Paella, Burmese Curry Noodles, Indian Tikka Masala, Argentinian Empanadas, Thai Crab Curry, Korean Soft Tofu Stew, Sichuan Mapo Tofu, Ethiopian Spiced Lentils & Injera (Misr Wat) and more.

Review of Takeout Kit:

I'm not going to bury the lead here. My husband said this was a 5-star recipe! I completely agree. The cooking process was unbelievably easy and the flavor delivered. 

Takeout Kit sends everything you need to make the recipe, but I added some chicken because my husband wasn't going to be eating the rice. Here's the whole process from opening the box up through cooking, including the finished product!

Takeout Kit is a meal kit with a two month shelf life. They send you everything you need to make an outstanding takeout style meal at home.

Takeout Kit is a meal kit with a two month shelf life. They send you everything you need to make an outstanding takeout style meal at home.

Takeout Kit is a meal kit with a two month shelf life. They send you everything you need to make an outstanding takeout style meal at home.

Takeout Kit is a meal kit with a two month shelf life. They send you everything you need to make an outstanding takeout style meal at home.

Takeout Kit is a meal kit with a two month shelf life. They send you everything you need to make an outstanding takeout style meal at home.

Takeout Kit is a meal kit with a two month shelf life. They send you everything you need to make an outstanding takeout style meal at home.

Takeout Kit is a meal kit with a two month shelf life. They send you everything you need to make an outstanding takeout style meal at home.

Takeout Kit is a meal kit with a two month shelf life. They send you everything you need to make an outstanding takeout style meal at home.

Takeout Kit is a meal kit with a two month shelf life. They send you everything you need to make an outstanding takeout style meal at home.

Takeout Kit is a meal kit with a two month shelf life. They send you everything you need to make an outstanding takeout style meal at home.
The instructions were easy to follow and the ingredients were clearly high quality. Including the after-dinner mints, which are very popular at Indian restaurants, was such a thoughtful move. And man, the meal was just so good! I can wholeheartedly recommend Takeout Kit.

5.28.2017

Friendship Socks {Subscription Box Review}

{Many thanks to the Friendship Socks for sending me socks free of charge. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

The Box:

Friendship Socks

The Cost:

Subscriptions starting at $9

What's Included:

A pair of socks for you and/or a pair of socks for a friend.

Review of Friendship Socks:

There are, well, a ton of sock subscription boxes, as you can see in the Directory. However, Friendship Socks found a way to set themselves apart! Their great idea is that you not only purchase a pair of socks for yourself, you also can send them to a friend! (There's an option to purchase just a pair for yourself, too, if your friends aren't into socks.)

Can you tell how soft and cozy these socks are from the pictures? Because they are very soft and cozy.

Friendship Socks is a sock subscription box that lets you send a pair to a friend, too!

Friendship Socks is a sock subscription box that lets you send a pair to a friend, too!

Friendship Socks is a sock subscription box that lets you send a pair to a friend, too!

Friendship Socks is a sock subscription box that lets you send a pair to a friend, too!

Friendship Socks is a sock subscription box that lets you send a pair to a friend, too!

Friendship Socks is a sock subscription box that lets you send a pair to a friend, too!

I used to have blue and orange braces, so these socks really brought back the memories! I really love them and love the idea that people will be sending socks to a friend, too.