Cozy Reader Club Reviews May – August 2017

It’s time for Cozy Reader Club reviews again! If you have been here before, you already know that this is my favorite book box in terms of quality. Every month I am absolutely GIDDY when it arrives! If you want to peruse my previous reviews on this subscription, go here.

The Cozy Reader Club is what I consider a “Luxe” (luxury) Book Box. They curate a truly beautiful subscription box with high quality items that I am consistently impressed with. They are also one of the more expensive book boxes, but totally worth it IMHO. The cost is $64.95 per month, with a slightly lower cost for longer subscriptions. You can skip a month, too, if you like! Each month you will receive 4-6 items including a recently released hardcover women’s fiction novel, artisan beverages such as coffee, tea or hot chocolate, beautiful handmade items and delicious gourmet handcrafted treats. The boxes feature handcrafted, artisan goods from local small businesses throughout the USA. There is also a book discussion available now each month to discuss the current read, and they host a blog with great “Me Time” articles.

The reviews today are for the May, June, July and August 2017 Cozy Reader Club boxes. I am not a Cozy Reader Club affiliate, and I pay for my subscription. Please note that I *never* accept compensation in exchange for a positive review. All of my reviews are my honest, personal opinions and contain my own photography (unless otherwise stated). Note, if you sign up for their newsletter with your email, you can get $5 off your first box!

Cozy Reader Club Review, May 2017

This is my favorite sight each month!  That white & orange box on my doorstep!

I’m guessing the beverage this month is tea…

Look at the beauty!  Lots of big stuff this month!

The lovely insert card.

Total Retail Value this month is $90.24!  That’s awesome for a book box – I’m telling you!

The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer – Retail Value $26.99 (Amazon $17.62)

Amazon excerpt:

“Will remind historical fiction readers of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander and Tracy Chevalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring…Lovers of meticulously researched historical fiction and time-travel narratives will be swept away by the spell of medieval Siena” (Library Journal, starred review).

“Winawer’s debut is a detailed historical novel, a multifaceted mystery, and a moving tale of improbable love…Winawer has created a prodigious, vibrant tale of past and present that transports readers and fills in the historical gaps. This is a marvelous work of research and invention” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

Equal parts transporting love story and gripping historical conspiracy, debut author Melodie Winawer takes readers deep into medieval Italy, where the past and present blur and a twenty-first century woman will discover a plot to destroy Siena.

Accomplished neurosurgeon Beatrice Trovato knows that her deep empathy for her patients is starting to impede her work. So when her beloved brother passes away, she welcomes the unexpected trip to the Tuscan city of Siena to resolve his estate, even as she wrestles with grief. But as she delves deeper into her brother’s affairs, she discovers intrigue she never imagined—a 700-year-old conspiracy to decimate the city.

After uncovering the journal and paintings of Gabriele Accorsi, the fourteenth-century artist at the heart of the plot, Beatrice finds a startling image of her own face and is suddenly transported to the year 1347. She awakens in a Siena unfamiliar to her, one that will soon be hit by the Plague.

Yet when Beatrice meets Accorsi, something unexpected happens: she falls in love—not only with Gabriele, but also with the beauty and cadence of medieval life. As the Plague and the ruthless hands behind its trajectory threaten not only her survival but also Siena’s very existence, Beatrice must decide in which century she belongs.

The Scribe of Siena is the captivating story of a brilliant woman’s passionate affair with a time and a place that captures her in an impossibly romantic and dangerous trap—testing the strength of fate and the bonds of love.

I’ve just recently started reading the “Historical Fiction” genre, and it’s really cool!  It wasn’t something I was previously interested in, but I’m expanding my horizons and I’m so glad.  The Amazon excerpt said that if you like “Girl with the Pearl Earring” and “Outlander”, that you would love this book – so score, because I loved those books!!

Don’t you love it when the author of the book you are reading is a Superwoman?!?  A Yale graduate, a professor of neurology AND she’s multilingual???  Wow, I’m impressed!

Beautiful Book.

Came with a bit of denting at a corner, but it happens.  I’m not surprised, actually, since some of the boxes I get look like the mailman played football with it.

Wooden Bookmark by Night Owl Paper Goods – Retail Value $5

This is a cute bookmark made with real wood.  Wood is a bonus for me because I tend to spill and I’m kinda klutzy, so paper bookmarks don’t last with me.  I need metal or wood.  LOL!

Looks mighty handsome, no?

Soul Reading Journal by Soul Librarian – Retail Value $35

This is the most luxurious reading journal I’ve ever seen!  It’s the hero item in the box this month! I have yet to be consistent with reading journals, but if anything is going to inspire me, it’s this one.

Really super nice!

“Pen Seeks Paper” Pen by Night Owl Paper Goods – Retail Value $5.25

It’s always nice to get a pen with a notebook or journal of any sort, and if you are weird like me, I *have* to use the pen that the notebook/journal came with. I don’t know why.  It was just a meant-to-be thing in my mind.  Don’t be separatin’ my shit!  Oh, and the quote? SO TRUE!

English Breakfast Tea by Nunshen – Retail Value $13

This is a robust tea with aromas of caramel and cocoa – and it’s NUMMERS!

Meyer Lemon Moravian Cookies by Salem Baking Co. – Retail Value $5 (Note: The website has them listed at $5.49)

These are tasty, but I have a complaint.  They are small and there aren’t enough of them!!!  I sat down and ate the whole fucking tube in one minute flat. I didn’t want them to go stale, you know?

So there’s May!  This month felt a little different than the usual beauty stuff, and I really enjoyed it!! Yay Cozy Reader Club!

Cozy Reader Club Review, June 2017

Yes, I really must post a photo of the same box over and over again with every review. It’s an anal retentive thing. The review feels incomplete without it!

June’s Theme: “A book and a beach is all I need!”

Summer colors! Colors and textures (to me) send a vibe – and give ‘feeling’ to a box.  Yes, I know I sound like a freak, get over it.

Perfect way to start my summer!

Yes!  I agree!  That’s why I moved to Southern California and subscribed to 25 book boxes!

Ready for the grand (retail value) total?  $81.93!  Not as good as last month, but still a great value for a $64.99 book box!

The Gypsy Moth Summer by Julia Fierro – Retail Value $26.99 (Amazon $17.49)

Amazon excerpt:

ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2017
The Huffington Post: 2017 Book Preview: 33 Titles To Add To Your Shelf
The Week: 28 books to read in 2017
The Millions: The Great 2017 Book Preview
Nylon Magazine: 50 Books We Can’t Wait To Read In 2017
Read It Forward: 17 Books We’re Excited to Read in 2017

“Fierro doesn’t just observe, she knows. Like all great novelists, she gives us the world.” – Amy Bloom, bestselling author of Away and Lucky Us

It is the summer of 1992 and a gypsy moth invasion blankets Avalon Island. Ravenous caterpillars disrupt early summer serenity on Avalon, an islet off the coast of Long Island–dropping onto novels left open on picnic blankets, crawling across the T-shirts of children playing games of tag and capture the flag in the island’s leafy woods. The caterpillars become a relentless topic of island conversation and the inescapable soundtrack of the season.

It is also the summer Leslie Day Marshall–only daughter of Avalon’s most prominent family–returns with her husband, a botanist, and their children to live in “The Castle,” the island’s grandest estate. Leslie’s husband Jules is African-American, and their children bi-racial, and islanders from both sides of the tracks form fast and dangerous opinions about the new arrivals.

Maddie Pencott LaRosa straddles those tracks: a teen queen with roots in the tony precincts of East Avalon and the crowded working class corner of West Avalon, home to Grudder Aviation factory, the island’s bread-and-butter and birthplace of generations of bombers and war machines. Maddie falls in love with Brooks, Leslie’s and Jules’ son, and that love feels as urgent to Maddie as the questions about the new and deadly cancers showing up across the island. Could Grudder Aviation, the pride of the island–and its patriarch, the Colonel–be to blame?

As the gypsy moths burst from cocoons in flocks that seem to eclipse the sun, Maddie’s and Brooks’ passion for each other grows and she begins planning a life for them off Avalon Island.

Vivid with young lovers, gangs of anxious outsiders; a plotting aged matriarch and her husband, a demented military patriarch; and a troubled young boy, each seeking his or her own refuge, escape and revenge, The Gypsy Moth Summer is about love, gaps in understanding, and the struggle to connect: within families; among friends; between neighbors and entire generations.

The synopsis sounds really interesting, and I totally remember the whole “Gypsy Moth Invasion” in the early 90’s!

Another beautiful book cover, too.  I’m a sucker for a pretty book for my bookshelves!

Zipper Pouch by Cara Kozik Designs – Retail Value $20

I love this little pouch!  It’s perfect for packing the essentials and stuffing into your beach bag or purse.  The following essentials for me: small suntan lotion, cigarettes/lighter, lip balm, cell phone, small charger and keys! What is really cool, is that is has artwork on BOTH sides and inside!

Ocean Tide + Sea Salt Soy Wax Candle by Paddy Wax – Retail Value $11 – I love the little jar this comes in –  it’s totally reusable, and the fragrance is amazing!  I love Paddy Wax candles.  The blue color of the jar is perfect for a beach-themed room!

Zambia Isanya Whole Bean Coffee by Paradise Roasters – Retail Value $14.95.  I love trying new coffee!  This has notes of pineapple, nuts and chardonnay; how unique!!  Can’t wait to brew a cup.

Cane Sugar Shapes by Artisan Sugars – Retail Value $1.99

Sugar flip flops!!  Awesome!  I’m gonna have trouble actually using these little sugars because they are so damn cute!

Strawberries & Cream Salt Water Taffy by Salty Road – Retail Value $7 (Website has them listed for $10)

Unfortunately I’m not a taffy person, but my man was more than happy to take them off of my hands!  They did smell pretty good, though.

So there’s June!  What do you think??

Cozy Reader Club Review, July 2017

The box. Again. It’s clean!

Pretty!  Always enjoy their packaging.

The goods! *claps hands*

There were a lot of items in this month’s box!

“One benefit of summer was that each day we had more light to read by.” – Jeanette Walls. Yes! That IS an advantage of summer. Although…more darkness outside means you get to cozy up and read, too, I’m just sayin’!

The total retail value this month is $85.93!  Super for a $64.95 book box! Be sure to look closely for the additional discounts listed for additional purchases from some vendors!

Hello Sunshine: A Novel by Laura Dave – Retail Value $25 (Amazon $14.02)

Amazon excerpt:

From Laura Dave—the author of the “addictive” (Us Weekly), “winning” (Publishers Weekly) and critically acclaimed bestseller Eight Hundred Grapes—comes a new novel about the secrets we keep…even from ourselves.

Sunshine Mackenzie has it all…until her secrets come to light.

Sunshine Mackenzie is living the dream—she’s a culinary star with millions of fans, a line of #1 bestselling cookbooks, and a devoted husband happy to support her every endeavor.

And then she gets hacked.

When Sunshine’s secrets are revealed, her fall from grace is catastrophic. She loses the husband, her show, the fans, and her apartment. She’s forced to return to the childhood home—and the estranged sister—she’s tried hard to forget. But what Sunshine does amid the ashes of her own destruction may well save her life.

In a world where celebrity is a careful construct, Hello, Sunshine is a compelling, funny, and evocative novel about what it means to live an authentic life in an inauthentic age.

I’m excited to read this one!  I dig an ‘everything falls apart in your life what are ya gonna do?’ kind of story! According to the reviews, it is a perfect summer read!

Calendula Rose Bath Tea by Benjamin Soap Co. – Retail Value $20.  That is some pricey bath tea IMHO!  But, that is the beauty of subscription boxes – I get to try it at a discounted price!  My problem is, though, the more expensive an item is, the more I seem to like it and have to have more of it.  I think that might be the point for the sellers – lol!  BUT, Cozy Reader Club subscribers get a discount for additional purchases – YES!  It comes with a little tea bag inside to stuff (small amounts) of the tea in – that you put in your bath.  Here is some info on Calendula, too, if you’re interested!  Note: the jar and the bag are both reusable!

Body Love by Cypress Skincare – Retail Value $20.  This is their body oil made with 100% organic hemp oil, cold pressed coconut oil, sweet almond, jojoba, olive oil and lemon essential oil.

Gotta tell ya, Cypress Skin Care products ROCK!  I adore their body oil and facial cleanser!  See the insert for a discount on their products! I’m big on skin care, but very, very picky too.  This company is right up there for me with it’s organic ingredients (love essential oils!) and cold pressed coconut oil. Also, this company is local for me!  Made right down the street from me at Laguna Beach! Hooray! I think I’ll go visit. 😉

Washable Facial Rounds by Marley’s Monsters – Retail Value $5

Love these!  They are eco-friendly, washable and the perfect size for removing makeup or applying toner.  If you go to their Etsy site, you can also get a wooden container that will hold a whole stack of these, and looks totally chic on your counter!  Must.Have.That.

Cherry BeeBee Lip Balm by Gypsy Soul Organics – Retail Value $2.99.  OK, when I first saw this “Cherry” lip balm, the song “Cherry Pie” by Warrant started playing in my head. LOL!  Great stuff – smells delicious!

Morning Mojo Whole Leaf Pu’Erh Tea by The Tea Spot – Retail Value $7.95

OK, maybe I’m just out of touch, but WTF is PU’ERH tea?!?  I had to look it up.

Pu‘er or puerh or is a variety of fermented tea produced in Yunnan province, China, and named after Pu‘er City. Fermentation in the context of tea production involves microbial fermentation and oxidation of the tea leaves, after they have been dried and rolled.

OK, makes sense now!  You learn something new everyday!  This is a black tea (caffeine!) with notes of vanilla and citrus.  It says it is ideal for hangovers! Nice!

I love the pretty tea pouches!  Oh, I’m sorry, tea sachets.  I have a feeling I’m gonna dig this tea.

Cinnamon Pecan Cookies by Grey Ghost Bakery – Retail Value $4.99

Grey Ghost – what a cool name!  And they have some addictive frigging cookies, too.  No Cozy Reader snack lasts 24 hours in my house. Ever. These are no exception.

Another really awesome month, don’t you think!!  I was SO THRILLED to get a Cypress Skincare Body Oil, but I truly loved every single item!! It isn’t just about the book in this box!  Most book boxes, yeah, it’s really just the book I care about – but not Cozy Reader Club!!  What a treat!

Cozy Reader Club Review, August 2017

Oh look – the Cozy Reader Box!  Familiar?  Hehe…

The SPECTACULAR packaging every month!  A friend of mine has been using the word ‘spectacular’ a lot lately, so he inspired me, here. 😉

My heart always skips a beat when I lift the tissue paper…

Wheeeee!  Pretty things!

“AND NOW IT’S ME TIME!”  I couldn’t agree more.  Although I have ME TIME pretty much everyday, cuz I’m me, and that’s what I do! No more are the days of putting everyone else above me all the time. ALL THE NOPE!  And I totally wish I had that swingy-looking net chair and a porch overlooking foliage like the photo – seriously!

This month’s retail value is $90.85!  WOW!!  That is super duper awesome for a $64.95 BOOK BOX, people! I think we should re-categorize this from a ‘Book Box’ to ‘Women’s Lifestyle Box with a Great Read’ – what do you think?

Young Jane Young: A Novel by Gabrielle Zevin – Retail Value $26.95 (Amazon $14.07)

Amazon excerpt:

From the author of the international bestseller The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry comes another novel that will have everyone talking.

Aviva Grossman, an ambitious congressional intern in Florida, makes the mistake of having an affair with her boss–and blogging about it. When the affair comes to light, the beloved congressman doesn’t take the fall. But Aviva does, and her life is over before it hardly begins: slut-shamed, she becomes a late-night talk show punch line, anathema to politics.

She sees no way out but to change her name and move to a remote town in Maine. This time, she tries to be smarter about her life and strives to raise her daughter, Ruby, to be strong and confident. But when, at the urging of others, Aviva decides to run for public office herself, that long-ago mistake trails her via the Internet and catches up–an inescapable scarlet A. In the digital age, the past is never, ever, truly past. And it’s only a matter of time until Ruby finds out who her mother was and is forced to reconcile that person with the one she knows.

Young Jane Young is a smart, funny, and moving novel about what it means to be a woman of any age, and captures not just the mood of our recent highly charged political season, but also the double standards alive and well in every aspect of life for women.

So this book sounds very Monica Lewinski-ish to me; and if you’ve read HER book, you know it is very heartbreaking, really. We are all quick and willing to judge, aren’t we? Let’s not.  I’m looking forward to this read. I’m not much of a feminist, but I do hate double standards!

Great little book swag pin!

Silk Scarf by Thistle and Thread Design – Retail Value $30 (Note: I believe these scarves are now $22 on the Etsy site and $18 on their regular website)

This is a beautiful and very silky-soft scarf!  I love the neutral taupe color, too.

I never know how to wear scarves without looking awkward.  I usually have to get ideas from Pinterest, but their card gave a great link for ideas:  bit.ly/ScarfStyleGuide

All the scarves are hand-dyed, and can be home washed with care – no dry cleaning!

I tried a couple of styles with it on my head since I have a ton of hair.  All I have to say is – Thank God for digital filters!! LOL!

What do you think?  Can I pull it off?

Literary Necklace by Paper Heart Daily – Retail Value $15.95. Sorry for the out of focus shot! See below for more and better photos.

“Once Upon a Time…” – I love it!  You can see me sporting this above in one of the scarf selfies. Normally I don’t do costume jewelry; I at least wear semi-precious stones or gold/silver plated stuff, but in this case, being the total book nerd that I am (plus I’m a writer, duh!), I will be wearing this piece! I will probably layer it with a silver choker or something, knowing me. 😉

So cute with the flower details!

Jewelry and gifts for readers and writers – cool!

Tanzania Tarime Whole Bean Coffee by Voyage Coffee Roasters – Retail Value $13.95.  Yay! Coffee this month! Trying all kinds of different coffee beans makes me happy. 🙂  This one sounds de-LISH – caramel, red wine & chocolate! Doesn’t get any better than that!

Espresso Dulce De Leche Brownies by Whimsy & Spice – Retail Value $2 each.  OMG…these are WON.DER.FUL!  You need to peruse the products in their shop – holy crap!  I am going to gain weight this Fall…I feel it coming…

A very cool box this month!  I will use every single item per usual!!

On the Cozy Reader Club Blog (Cozy Reader Connection), they posted a 30 Day Meaningful ME Time Challenge for September 2017! The contest details will be announced August 30th, 2017, are you with me??  I’m totally doing it.

All done for now!! One last thing. I know it takes me a long time to put out a post. I’m so sorry for that, but here’s my explanation of why. I’m not complaining, because I love every second of what I do, but I want you to know the work that goes into it because, DAMN. This post in particular took 8 hours total. First, there is the photography, the photo editing and the naming and ‘tagging’ of the photos. Then, there is the blog setup (uploading photos, SEO work, and layout). Finally, there is the actual writing, testing and adding in the links. There is not much of a payout to do any of this, but for some reason I just really enjoy it. I hope you enjoy it too! I love feedback, so please don’t hesitate to drop me a line in the comments or in an email – that makes it all worth it for me!  🙂 Ta-Ta for now!

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Cheryl, a.k.a. "CrazyDogMama". Welcome to my blog! Anything and everything goes here - seriously. I'm a super laid-back, non-traditional, 40-something introverted writer. My language can get a little colorful, I love horror movies, I pretty much live on coffee, chocolate and cigarettes and I'm not above writing about uncomfortable subjects. So, if you're good with that, take a look around and get to know me! Even if you're not, I try my best to entertain and offer up good advice occasionally, so hopefully there is a little something here for everyone.

This is my life.

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