August BookCase.Club Review and Coupon

My August BookCase.Club cases are here! I love to read, so getting new books every month is such a treat. If you're an avid reader, too, then I highly recommend this subscription.

*Disclaimer: These boxes were sent to See, Shop, Love! in exchange for an honest review.

BookCase.Club sends two new, hand-picked books for only $9.99 per month, with $5 shipping. They have a bunch of different cases to choose from, plus a kid's subscription called BookCase.Kids. Here are the case options:
  • Thrill Seeker - mystery/thriller
  • Strange Worlds - sci-fi/fantasy
  • Teenage Dreams - young adult novels
  • Blind Date - paranormal romance
  • Booking for Love - romance
  • Quarterly Cook Books - two cook books every three months
  • Quarterly Military History - two military history books every three months
This is a review of the Thrill Seekers and Strange Worlds cases.

I love a good mystery/thriller and I've gotten some great books from BookCase.Club that I probably wouldn't have picked up before. I find myself getting overwhelmed by all of the titles out there, so having someone else make the decision is nice! This month's case featured The President's Shadow by Brad Meltzer and Pop Goes the Weasel by M. J. Arlidge.

Here's a synopsis from Amazon for The President's Shadow:
To most, it looks like Beecher White has an ordinary job. A young staffer with the National Archives in Washington, D.C., he's responsible for safekeeping the government's most important documents . . . and, sometimes, its most closely held secrets.

But there are a powerful few who know his other role. Beecher is a member of the Culper Ring, a 200-year-old secret society founded by George Washington and charged with protecting the Presidency. Now the current occupant of the White House needs the Culper Ring's help. The alarming discovery of the buried arm has the President's team in a rightful panic. Who buried the arm? How did they get past White House security? And most important: What's the message hidden in the arm's closed fist? Indeed, the puzzle inside has a clear intended recipient, and it isn't the President. It's Beecher, himself.

Beecher's investigation will take him back to one of our country's greatest secrets and point him toward the long, carefully hidden truth about the most shocking history of all: family history.

Pop Goes the Weasel by M. J. Arlidge:
A man’s body is found in an empty house. A gruesome memento of his murder is sent to his wife and children.

He is the first victim, and Detective Helen Grace knows he will not be the last. But why would a happily married man be this far from home in the dead of night? The media call it Jack the Ripper in reverse: a serial killer preying on family men who lead hidden double lives.

Helen can sense the fury behind the murders. But what she cannot possibly predict is how volatile this killer is—or what is waiting for her at the end of the chase....

The Strange Worlds case is also a lot of fun. I've gotten much more into the sci-fi/fantasy genres because of this case and am always interested to see what new tales will be included each month. The August box had Superposition by David Walton and Twelve Kings in Sharakhai by Bradley P. Beaulieu.

Superposition by David Walton:
Jacob Kelley's family is turned upside down when an old friend turns up, waving a gun and babbling about an alien quantum intelligence. The mystery deepens when the friend is found dead in an underground bunker…apparently murdered the night he appeared at Jacob's house. Jacob is arrested for the murder and put on trial.

As the details of the crime slowly come to light, the weave of reality becomes ever more tangled, twisted by a miraculous new technology and a quantum creature unconstrained by the normal limits of space and matter. With the help of his daughter, Alessandra, Jacob must find the true murderer before the creature destroys his family and everything he loves.

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai by Bradley P. Beauileu:
Sharakhai, the great city of the desert, center of commerce and culture, has been ruled from time immemorial by twelve kings -- cruel, ruthless, powerful, and immortal. With their army of Silver Spears, their elite company of Blade Maidens and their holy defenders, the terrifying asirim, the Kings uphold their positions as undisputed, invincible lords of the desert. There is no hope of freedom for any under their rule.

Or so it seems, until Çeda, a brave young woman from the west end slums, defies the Kings' laws by going outside on the holy night of Beht Zha'ir. What she learns that night sets her on a path that winds through both the terrible truths of the Kings' mysterious history and the hidden riddles of her own heritage. Together, these secrets could finally break the iron grip of the Kings' power...if the nigh-omnipotent Kings don't find her first. 

Bottom Line: The August Thrill Seekers and Strange Worlds cases had another great assortment of books! I'm especially interested in getting started on Pop Goes the Weasel and Superposition. I love how affordable this box is; they really do have something for everyone!

July Sports Crate Spoilers - Box #3 "Round Tripper"

Thanks to MetsHotCorner on YouTube for this unboxing video!

It looks like Cardinals and Mets fans have been receiving their boxes. I haven't gotten my Cubs Crate or a shipping notification email yet.

Book Review: The Tunnels by Greg Mitchell

My favorite subject in school was history and I love a good historical nonfiction book. The Tunnels by Greg Mitchell is an excellent read about events that took place in Berlin during the Cold War.

*Disclaimer: This book was sent via Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.

I have to admit that the Cold War is not a conflict I know much about. Of course, I know the basics and the things you learn about it in school, but I never delved deeper into it beyond that. The Tunnels was a great read because I learned about something I didn't know of previously, and any book that teaches you something while still being entertaining and interesting is my favorite type to read.

The Tunnels begins in the summer of 1962, the year after the Berlin Wall was constructed. A group of West Germans risked prison (or worse) by digging tunnels under the wall to help liberate friends, family, and strangers from East Berlin. It also talks about two documentaries funded by NBC and CBS about these daring escapes, and how President John F. Kennedy wanted to silence them so as to not spark any kind of confrontation with the Soviets.

What I loved most about this book is that even though it's nonfiction it read like a fiction story. By that I don't mean it seemed fake, but just that author Greg Mitchell did an amazing job of weaving the facts into a captivating narrative. I felt invested in the stories of the people who were involved with these tunnels and enjoyed learning about them, their motives, and their lives under Communist rule in East Berlin.

The book also had maps of Berlin and the tunnels at the beginning, as well as a section in the center with black and white photographs of the people involved. It was a fascinating read and really comprehensive.
  • Learn more about The Tunnels and purchase a copy here
  • Learn more about Greg Mitchell at his author page
Bottom Line: The Tunnels is an excellent book for history buffs and newbies alike. I think it was an accessible read and it really pulled me in from the get-go. If you're looking for a great story of real-life events, definitely pick this book up!

August PostBox by Postmark'd Studio Review and Coupon

The PostBox by Postmark'd Studio is a new stationery subscription and I'm totally charmed by their boxes! August's box is Farmers Market themed and has so many cute items.

*Disclaimer: This box was sent to See, Shop, Love! in exchange for an honest review.

PostBox costs $25 per month with $5.95 shipping for four handcrafted artisinal cards, one postcard, stamps, and an "artsy doodad," which may be a pen, pencil, or other knickknack. Each box is curated around a theme.

There are discounts for longer subscription lengths (these prices include the $5.95 shipping):
  • Three months at $85.35 prepay
  • Six months at $163.20 prepay
  • 12 months at $240 prepay
There is also a reward for 12 month subscribers, you'll receive free shipping and a free 13th box. The 13th box ships upon payment of the 12 month subscription.

The July box shipped in a cardboard mailer, but this month's box was packaged in an actual box. The packaging is beautiful and simple, as you can see from the photos above.

All of the items are neatly packaged with string, which adds to the handmade charm of the box. The Farmer's Market theme is apparent right away!

Postmark'd Studio took the "farm to table" concept and adapted it to "letters to mailboxes" for this box! I think it's such a cute idea and the cards and postcards are equally adorable. I love how bright and colorful everything is.

  • Everyday I'm Brusselin' by Meeschmosh - Artist Michelle LaRocca is a graphic designer based in Long Island, NY whose inspiration comes from random thoughts and everyday life. I love the wordplay on this card!
  • I'm All Ears by Farmwood Press - Farmwood Press is located in Atlanta, GA and is run by husband and wife duo Chris and Katie Torres. Their presses are an extension of them and their family and even have names! The whimsical corn design on this card is too cute.
  • A Bushel & A Peck and A Hug Around the Neck by 1canoe2 - Fellow musical theater fans will recognize the Guys and Dolls reference here. 1canoe2 is located in Fulton, MO and is n illustration and letterpress studio that roots their work in life's natural beauty and a pursuit of curiosity.
  • You Are One in a Melon by Alexis Mattox Designs - Husband and wife team Paul and Alexis from Springfield, UT created their company after meeting their first day in college. Their works showcase their passion for design, laser cutting, and paper.
  • Tomato and Carrot Seed Packet Postcards by Found Image Press - Found Image Press from San Diego, CA carries over 35,000 images derived from vintage postcards, photographs, and illustrations dating from 1890 to 1945. The seed packets pictured in these postcards are from the Card Seed Co. from Fredonia, NY and were originally printed in my hometown of Rochester, NY by Genesee Valley Litho Co! I love the hometown connection here.
Bottom Line: I'm again impressed by the high quality, beautiful cards and postcards in the PostBox from Postmark'd Studio! Everything matches perfectly with the theme, which is a great one for August. I especially love the Found Image Press postcards.

Maple Holistics Tea Tree Oil Shampoo Review

I have a naturally oily scalp which means I have to wash my hair every day. So many people are quick to say, no! You shouldn't wash your hair every day! But I know my hair, thanks, and I do have to! Luckily there are gentle and effective shampoos like the Maple Holistics Tea Tree Oil Shampoo to keep my hair clean and healthy!

*Disclaimer: This product was sent to See, Shop, Love! in exchange for an honest review.

I've reviewed the Maple Holistics Witch Hazel Toner before (read that review here) so I was already familiar with this great brand. They craft all-natural, cruelty-free skincare and hair care that's made in the U.S.A.

I wanted to try their Tea Tree Oil Shampoo because tea tree oil is amazing for dandruff and oily scalp, of which I have both. This shampoo improves hair and scalp health while promoting hair growth and even slowing hair loss! It's suitable for men and women of all ages and is also free from GMOs, parabens, and gluten.

Here's a look at the ingredients list. Along with the tea tree oil, this also has jojoba, argan, lavender, and rosemary oils. The lavender and rosemary give the shampoo a soothing scent that I really enjoyed. I like to shower at night so a nice lavender lather to help relax me before bed is a nice little treat!

I used a dime-sized amount on my short hair and it lathered quickly against my scalp. After rinsing my hair felt clean and nourished but not overly-dry. My scalp felt clean as well. I'm definitely going to work this into my hair care routine and use it as my weekly clarifying shampoo.
Bottom Line: I love the Maple Holistics Tea Tree Oil Shampoo. It smells lovely and lathers well and left my hair and scalp feeling clean and soothed. I'm looking forward to using this more and seeing how it works to balance my oily scalp.

August Degustabox Review and Coupon

Degustabox is a pantry/snack box that's always packed with great full-sized foods. The August box has a fun assortment of summer snacks!

*Disclaimer: This box was sent to See, Shop, Love! in exchange for an honest review.

Degustabox is $19.99 per month with free shipping for at least 10 full-sized items. The foods range from snacks like chips and cookies to other cooking items like sauces and spices.

I'm always excited to open up my Degustabox because I love food! I love what a great deal it is, especially since many of the items are ones that I'd pick up on my regular grocery trips. August's box had 11 items and one sample-sized gift.

  • Pasta Snacks Meatball Parm Pasta Bow-Ties ($3.99) - I love these chips! I've had them before and they're so flavorful. The bow ties are light and puffy with lots of seasoning.
  • Goya Tostones Chips ($1.29) - These are crunchy like potato chips but made from tostones, or fried plantains. I haven't had these yet but I do enjoy plantains so I'm sure these will taste great.
  • Pasta Chips Rosemary Pasta Chips ($3.99) - These are made with real semolina flour and seasoned with fragrant rosemary. They're also non-GMO.
  • Sharwoods Indian Cooking Sauce in Creamy Coconut ($3.99) - This classic sauce has coconut with cream, tomatoes, and a hint of cardamom. I think I'll use this witch chicken.
  • Hummustir ($3.99) - This is an organic, preservative-free hummus that's uniquely packaged so that it stays fresh without refrigeration. Once you open it and stir it up, though, if you don't finish it it will need to be refrigerated.
    • Use coupon code FRESH020 on Amazon for 20% off Hummustir
  • Dole Gel in Peaches in Strawberry Gel ($2.79) - This has Dole peaches in a refreshing fruit gel. It's made with non-GMO ingredients.
  • Perky Jerky in Tasty Teriyaki ($2.99) - This is a turkey jerky that's high in protein, gluten-free, and 90 calories per serving. I've never had turkey jerky before so this will be interesting.
  • Welch's Fruit Rolls in Berry ($2.99) - These are a new product from Welch's made with real fruit. They're available in Berry, White Grape Strawberry, and Tropical Punch. The Berry ones are really good!
  • Sunspire Sun Drops ($7.69) - These candy-coated chocolates have no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. They taste great and are a nice alternative to more processed candies.
  • NuttZo (gift) - This is an organic hazelnut butter made with non-GMO ingredients. It's gluten-free and high in Omega-3 ALAs and protein. It's also vegan, non-dairy, and soy free. The flavor is Chocolate Peanut Pro.
  • Goya GOlden Maria Sandwich Cookies ($.89) - These cookies have a chocolate cream filling and are nice and light!
  • Nature's Bakery Fig Bar ($.67) - I got the Blueberry flavor. I've had these fig bars before and they're pretty good. They're non-GMO verified, vegan, and kosher-certified as well as free from dairy and soy.
Bottom Line: The August Degustabox had a good mix of sweet and savory snacks. I especially enjoyed the Sunspire and Welch's candies and the Pasta Chips!

  • Visit Degustabox to subscribe
    • Use this link and coupon code CJOFFER17 for 50% off your first box (valid through August 31, 2017)

July RamenPak Review and Coupon

Ramen has become pretty popular as more than just a broke college student food and I love it because it really is a great soup. RamenPak is a new subscription that sends ramen from all around the world!

*Disclaimer: This box was sent to See, Shop, Love! in exchange for an honest review.

RamenPak sends six delicious packs of ramen every month for $25. New flavors and brands are sent each month from Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and more! Shipping is free worldwide.

The box was much bigger than I was expecting, width-wise at least. It's a shorter box with a longer length and each ramen pack was lied flat in the box. It also came with a pair of metal chopsticks. I don't own any metal chopsticks so these were nice to have (I only have wooden ones).

Right away I noticed that all of the packages were bright and were (mostly) from brands I hadn't heard of before. I think everyone has had the standard brands you can find at stores like WalMart during college, so getting different international brands is a fun treat.

The RamenPak website says each box will have six packs, but mine had five packs of ramen and one pack of seaweed snacks. I love seaweed snacks so I didn't mind, but I'm not sure if everyone's box will have five instead of six for this month.

There was no info card included so I'm not sure exactly what the brands and flavors are here, so I'll describe them going clockwise from top left:
  • Jin Ramen Spicy: This was my favorite of the bunch! I call this "Asian spicy," aka spicier than your average "spicy" food. It had a spicy sweet flavor, which is my absolute favorite, and was really delicious.
  • Hot Chicken Flavor Ramen: I haven't tried this one yet but I'm hopeful that it will be nice and hot. Chicken flavor ramen is my preferred flavor. I can tell this one is Korean because I recognize the hangul, but I don't actually read the language so I can't tell you what it says.
  • Nomgshim Black Ramen: I ate this one first because Nongshim is the one brand I've had before. You can't really tell from the photo above, but they have these cute little characters on their packaging. This one also had great spicy flavor.
  • Mi Goreng: These are an Indonesian noodle and were eaten without broth. There were packets of chili paste, soy sauce, and another flavored sauce inside plus onion crunchies and the flavor powder. They tasted so good and I wished that the serving size was bigger.
  • My Kuali Penang White Curry Noodle: I haven't tried this one yet either but it sounds great. I've never had White Curry before.
  • Gourmet 555 Seaweed: Seaweed snacks! If you've never had them and think they sound weird I highly suggest you give them a try anyway. If you like sushi you'll like seaweed snacks. They're just dried pieces of seaweed with some flavoring added and are really good.
Bottom Line: $25 per box may seem expensive for ramen, but this isn't your standard ramen. Assuming future boxes will have six packs, that comes out to about $4 per pack, which I think is fair considering the flavors are different and are from international brands. Plus there was a nice set of chopsticks in the box, too. If you're a ramen enthusiast like me then you should definitely give this box a try!
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