Bookish Product Reviews: Stormteas from Adagio Teas

Book Product Reviews

I’ve been looking to start this portion of my blog and finally have the chance to do so with some of my more recent bookish purchases. The first review I have is for the fandom tea blend Stormteas from Adagio Teas based off of Cora Carmack’s newest novel, Roar. I actually created these blends myself and it was a fun process to figure out what flavors I thought would match the different storms mentioned in the books, as well as the artwork for the tins. Some of the storms are pretty destructive, but I didn’t want the teas to taste horrible. In all, it’s a pretty solid set blend. It is $24 for the set of 6 ($4/ea) or you can purchase single samplers of each for $5.
Purchase the teas here.


img_3727Skyfire Affinity

Teas: White Tangerine, Rooibos Lemon Cloud, Snowbud, accented w/ Safflower.
Steep Instructions: 190* for 4 minutes
Caffeine Level: Low
My Rating: Even though this tea has low caffeine, the citrus really energizes you. There’s a bit of a fizzy feeling from the taste, but it’s not carbonated – it’s a very light tea. I like that it has a yellowish color to it for lightning.


Twister Affinity

Teas: Chocolate Chai, Vanilla Green, Cinnamon, accented w/ Cocoa Nibs.
Steep Instructions: 205* for 3 minutes
Caffeine Level: High
My Rating: Fun thing about this tea is that it started steeping in a greenish color then turned into this darker brown. Smells chocolatey and earthy. This one I didn’t want to make super harsh, but it’s definitely got a spicy kick to it due to the cinnamon and chai.

img_3734Thunderstorm Affinity

Teas: Earl Grey Bravo, Ginger, Peach, accented w/ Cornflowers
Steep Instructions: 212* for 3 minutes
Caffeine Level: High
My Rating: the aroma of this one is quite strong in the leaves, yet mellows once steeped. I suggest adding honey to this one to really bring out the peach and ginger or the earl grey will overpower. Reminds me of summer thunderstorms in the south.


img_3742Firestorm Affinity

Teas: Gunpowder, Spiced Apple Chai, Blood Orange, accented w/ hibiscus
Steep Instructions: 205* for 4 minutes
Caffeine Level: Moderate
My Rating: I’m so glad the red came out in this tea (thank you hibiscus flowers). Firestorm is spicy, but the apple/orange flavors blend to create this cozy/warm taste…much like a fireside.


img_3757Snowstorm Affinity

Teas: Candy Cane, Vanilla, Cream, accented w/ Candy Canes
Steep Instructions: 212* for 3 minutes
Caffeine Level: High
My Rating: I’m only rating this as okay since I’m just not a personal fan of minty teas. I did enjoy it paired with a chocolate biscotti with some cream and honey. From the tin, the peppermint is rather strong, but when steeped it definitely is more subdued. I’d probably drink this tea if I was feeling under the weather since peppermint is good for upset stomachs 🙂

img_3758-1Fog Affinity

Teas: Snowbud, Decaf Earl Grey, Cream, accented w/ Lavender
Steep Instructions: 205* for 3 minutes
Caffeine Level: Moderate
My Rating: This blend definitely lives up to the way fog works in Roar – tastes mellow and calming, yet there’s a fuzzy/hazy feeling it gives. Pretty solid brew and even with the caffeine count in it, it would be a decent night drink.

If you end up purchasing these teas for yourself or as a gift, please come back to let me know what you think about them and be sure to give them a review on Adagio. If you would like a $5 off your first purchase on the site, drop a comment too so I can send you a gift certificate.
Happy Steeping!

Heather Signature

Coming Soon: “All Closed Off” by Cora Carmack


From New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack, comes the highly anticipated fourth standalone title in her Rusk University Series, ALL CLOSED OFF! A passionate story and journey, get ready to be mesmerized with Stella’s story! ALL CLOSED OFF is coming your way May 1, 2017!


Cover Design and Photography by Kelsey Kukal-Keeton at K. Keeton Designs

ABOUT ALL CLOSED OFF (Releasing May 1, 2017):

Stella Santos is fine.

Maybe something terrible happened to her that she can’t even remember. And maybe it drives her crazy when her friends treat her like she’s on the verge of breaking because of it. Maybe it feels even worse when they do what she asks and pretend that it never happened at all. And maybe she’s been getting harassing emails and messages for months from people who don’t even know her, but hate her all the same.

But none of that matters because she’s just fine.

For Ryan Blake, Stella was always that girl. Vibrant and hilarious and beautiful. He wanted her as his best friend. His more than friends. His everything and anything that she would give him. Which these days is a whole lot of nothing. She gets angry when he’s there. Angry when he’s not there. Angry when he tries to talk and when he doesn’t.

When Stella devises an unconventional art project for one of her classes all about exploring intimacy—between both friends and strangers—Ryan finds himself stepping in as guinea pig after one of her subjects bails. What was supposed to be an objective and artistic look at emotion and secrets and sex suddenly becomes much more personal. When he hits it off with another girl from the project, Stella will have to decide if she’s willing to do more than make art about intimacy. To keep him, she’ll have to open up and let herself be the one thing she swore she’d never be again.




ALL CLOSED OFF - full cover wrap

Add it to your Goodreads


Don’t Miss All of Cora’s Standalone Rusk University Series Titles!



Amazon ** Barnes & Noble ** iTunes



Amazon ** Barnes & Noble ** iTunes


Amazon ** Barnes & Noble ** iTunes

Cora Carmack - author picAbout Cora Carmack:

Cora Carmack is a twentysomething New York Times bestselling author who likes to write about twentysomething characters. Raised in a small Texas town, she now lives in New York City and spends her time writing, traveling, and marathoning various TV shows on Netflix. She lives by one rule: embrace whatever the world throws at you and run with it (just not with scissors).

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Cora Carmack Goodreads



InkSlinger-Blogger banner-New

The Friday 56 [3]



The Friday 56 (with Instagram 56) – Hosted by Freda’s Voice is an easy prompt where you grab a book, any book, and turn to page 56 or 56% on your eReader. Find a sentence that grabs you and post it either on your blog or on Instagram tagged with #Friday56.


“Libraries were full of ideas – perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”

So I had seen this quote floating around the internet and I’m happy to see that it fell on one of my quote post days. It is true that books can help foster ideas which are powerful if you know how to use them. I will say that books have been a bit of my saving grace these past few months. I think my husband might have noticed a change too in how I’ve been acting. I received a diagnosis of depression back in middle school, along with ADD. Those paired along with the anxiety I have developed in college are a nasty combo. Books have been a great way for me to clear my head and to push the negative thoughts out the door. At least books are cheaper than therapy.

Do you relate to this passage in a way? Let me know in the comments!

 Heather Signature

Saturday Shelves 3.11.17

Saturday Shelves

Saturday Shelves – Hosted by me, Literary Alchemy
This is about what books/bookish items you’ve added to your bookshelf, physically or electronically.

Since I missed posting last week, I’ll compile all the books and items I added to my shelf this week.
belle book store

Physical Books:

  • Wintersong – S. Jae-Jones
  • Matched – Ally Condle
  • The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  • Cinder – Marissa Meyer
  • Scarlet – Marissa Meyer
  • Endgame: The Calling – James Frey & Nils Johnson-Shelton
  • Blackhearts – Nicole Castroman
  • Throne of Glass – Sarah J. Maas
  • A Great and Terrible Beauty – Libba Bray*
  • The Sweet Far Thing – Libba Bray*
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  • Witches of East End: A Novel – Melissa de la Cruz*
  • Trickster’s Choice – Tamora Pierce*
  • The Isle of the Lost – Melissa de la Cruz*
  • Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins*


  • 21 Ways to a Happier Depression – Seth Swirsky
  • Happy Pretty Messy – Natalie Wise
  • Geekerella – Ashley Poston
  • Batgirl and the Birds of Prey Vol. 1: Who is Oracle? (Rebirth) – Shawna & Julie Benson
  • Batgirl Vol. 1: Beyond Burnside (Rebirth) – Hope Larson
  • Harley Quinn Vol. 1: Die Laughing (Rebirth) – Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner

Bookish Things:

You may have noticed an asterisk * next to a few books I had picked up these past couple weeks. These are books I snagged from my local Goodwill and want to turn them into zippered book clutches. Some of the books I haven’t read, so I want to make sure that I read them before cutting the pages from the spine to make this IDY project. Feel free to check out my Instagram feed over at @literary.alchemy for any updates on this project.

Did you pick up any cool items this week?


Review: Ensnared by Rita Stradling

ensnared-cover-rita-stradlingTitle: Ensnared

Author: Rita Stradling

Published: Expected December 18, 2017

Genre: Romance, New Adult, Science Fiction, Retelling

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Kindle eBook, 380 pages

Source: NetGalley

Recommended For: Those who enjoy Beauty and the Beast with a futuristic/ science fiction twist

Goodreads Rating: 3.51

My Rating:✰✰✰

This was one of the first books that caught my eye when I had signed up for an account on NetGalley, it was definitely a cover buy. Though the second thing that had sold me on the story was that it was a futuristic retelling of Beauty and the Beast – which, as you can tell, is one of my favorite stories. I didn’t go in to reading the book with any expectations, but wanted to see who it would shape and mold the BatB story to this new genre. I’d honestly say that if I hadn’t been told that it was a retelling, it could probably stand on it’s own since a lot of the original was swapped in some way.

**Spoilers ahead**

Some of the differences I noted that were flipped were:

  • Plain, average girl VS. a brainy beauty.
  • Good-looking friend, who may have had an interest in Alainn VS. good-looking, hyper-masculine character fawning over said girl.
  • Cybernetic monkeys who stayed their form VS. magical, spell-bound household items who turned back into people.
  • Killer robot named Rose/Rosette who tries to “fix” humanity VS. magical rose that ticked down the remaining “humanity” in the Beast.
  • Scarred man, trying to understand human connections because he was deprived of them VS. man who had human connection, but lacked the empathy that mattered.

But there was so much more that stood out as unique to the story without the connection to BatB. I was happy to see that there was a backstory to the motivations in the main character, Alainn. I wish there had been more to the backstory of Lorccan because there were events in the story that didn’t seem too fleshed out and I needed to know more. It was also refreshing to see how Artificial Intelligence was portrayed in the book – each AI had their own personalities and it didn’t seem out-of-place in the story. This retelling had bits and pieces of the original but did a fantastic job (even if later on) fitting it into a complex, scientific setting.

But I have certain feelings about the book and some things that I need to know more. Such as:

  • They did a great job of making things scientific, but why wasn’t there more backstory on why Lorccan was holed up in his tower because of an auto-immune disease. At the end of the book, it seemed like the doctors at the hospitals thought he was making things up…did his parents just make him “think” he could die at any point because they were controlling/manipulative or did he REALLY have an issue.
  • What did Alainn’s father fraud-wise to get him into so much trouble? Even though he had a gambling problem, it didn’t seem like he didn’t deliver the goods.
  • The romance between Alainn and Lorccan – even though Alainn was “sent there” to be a test for Lorccan’s physical relationship with Shelly, he was under the impression she was a robot. What are the social implications of a human and robot having “relations” in this world? She literally becomes the one thing he clings on to and doesn’t care if she’s real or not and that just sits weird with me. Also, how in the world did he not KNOW she was a human. Being around robots all the time, he really believed whatever she said?!
  • The character names. Seriously…you have normal names like Colby, Terry, Shelly, etc. and the two main characters have the most complicated names ever. Alainn and Lorccan? Just because it is science fiction, doesn’t mean that the main characters have to have “unique” names to make them stand out.

In all, I enjoyed the story, but it didn’t WOW me like others I’ve read so far – the kind of WOW that causes a book hangover. I would recommend it to others based on interests or if they made specific requests on a recommendation.

*I received an eBook ARC of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest opinion/review. I thank the author for the opportunity to be able to do so.*


February 2017: Monthly Wrap


So I’m a few days late into writing up my February wrap-up. Honestly, I totally don’t know where the time went. Seriously, how in the world are we already into March?! Maybe it’s because it’s absolutely freezing up here in the New England and there is a possibility for snow in the forecast this weekend, that makes it seem like March and Spring is too far away. It’s crazy that I started this blog a month ago and have already started making friends in the book community and even made it onto a street team to promote a book! I’m really hoping that by keeping this blog, I can start using it as a jumping point for landing a job closer to my degree (B.A. English). I’d honestly love to work with publishers in any way and this feels like a step in the right direction.

So, here’s the wrap up for the month:
I was able to get through 6 books this month! You’d think this wasn’t a big deal with someone who had to read all the time for their degree, but when it’s for pleasure that’s an awesome achievement. I am nowhere near getting through all the books I need to review for publishers or that have been sitting on my shelf, but if I can keep pushing through at that pace or more I will totally hit my goals. Speaking of goals, I’m reading 50 books in 2017 as far as my Goodreads Challenge goes. As of today, March 7th, I’m two books ahead of schedule! Not bad, considering that I started reading at the end of January and was almost 3 weeks behind in the 2017 challenge. You can see what books I’ve read for the year here.
Out of the books that I have read for February, they all were fantastic. I have to give a shout-out to all the Bookstagrammers for posting such fantastic books to check out. I’ve been completely enraptured by the A Court of Mist and Fury fandom and CANNOT WAIT until May for A Court of Wings and Ruin. I need my Rhysand fix and my In The Wick of Time candle only does so much. You can get the candle for yourself here. Another surprising book that I was hesitant about amidst the praise, was Caraval. A lot of readers said that it was comparable to Night Circus – I wasn’t overly thrilled or majorly disappointed in the book, it was just okay for me. I didn’t realize it was a part of a series, so with the cliff-hanger ending of Caraval, I’m pretty exited to see what happens.
This month also brought with it a lot of access to Advance Reader Copies (ARC) of books not out to the public. I had never had the chance to ever get my hands on ARCs or really understood them until talking with a few friends and fellow bloggers about them. Now I have a full eShelf of them to work through reading and get feedback to the authors and publishers! One that I am so excited about being released this year is Roar. I don’t want anyone to think I’m biased (I’m on the promotional street team after all), but it’s such a great start to, what I’m pretty sure will be, an amazing series. You can read past blog posts that contain snippets in a few older posts of mine. I just cannot get over the concept of storm-welding in this book! I think, like a lot of people, we are always fascinated by storms/weather. There is some sort of magic to be had in them, even if we can explain how they’re formed through science. There’s a wonder to it when you see lightning jump from cloud to cloud or how destructively beautiful a tornado is. I could gush on and on about this book and the weather…but you’ll just have to keep an eye on my blog for the full review closer to it’s release, June 13th. Tor Teen, you definitely found something special for trusting in Cora Carmack with this story.

Can’t wait to see what March brings for the blog and what books I’ll read.

Have a magical day!


Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

caravalTitle: Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber
Published: January 31, 2017 by Flatiron Books
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, YA/NA, Fiction
Series Information: Caraval #1
Format: Hardcover, 407 pages
Source: February Owlcrate – Run Away With The Circus
Recommended For: Those who loved Night Circus and also enjoy darker themes in storytelling, a la Hunger Games (a bit).
Goodreads Rating: 4.11
My Rating:✰✰✰✰✰

I have seen this book so much on Instagram that I almost bought it before I had received my Owlcrate box, but I had a bit of a feeling that it might have been included due to the theme. A lot of reviews I had seen had mentioned that people who loved Night Circus would really enjoy this story, and even with seeing that (and my love-hate relationship with the aforementioned book) I went in a little skeptical as to how much I might like the story. I had read a couple of pages to get a feel for the story before settling into my reading room to really delve in and what I had read really piqued my interests to see what would happen.
I want to touch on the uniqueness of the pages in this book – There were gorgeous page illustrations for each day of the Caraval games, which you don’t see too often in books. Also, which I’m totally working to get my hands on, is that the UK versions of the books have different images embossed into the hardcovers under the dust jacket with symbols from the game (top hat, rose, clock, dress, and tent). I think that’s a clever way to market the book as buyers scramble to get the design they really want, which I hear the clock was the most popular. The handwritten notes that sprinkle the beginning and end of the book are a wonderful touch that really pulls you into the world.


Seriously, I need to get my hands on one of the UK editions!

Caraval was honestly a pleasant surprise to read. Looking at my Bookout app, I pretty much would have read it in a day and that’s not something I typically do. This book was also a little on the dark side of what you encounter with YA books – I could say that there are instances where there could be a little bit of a trigger warning on some of the actions that took place in the book, abuse and emotional manipulation being the two that I can think of easily. I was a bit shocked to read of the abuse that the Dragna sisters endured, but I am in no way saying that it shouldn’t be in a book because what happens to them happens to tons of women (and men) in the world today and we can’t shelter everyone from it. The rest of the story is full of danger, heartbreak, and lots of deception…even in the midst of what seems to be a fantastic, magical island.
There was a moment in the beginning where I really thought that one of the characters was the mysterious Legend, which was half-confirmed, then turned out to be someone completely different! There were a lot of twists that kept you guessing where the story would lead you next – I haven’t been this engaged in a story that involved a game since Hunger Games.

Have you read Caraval yet? If you haven’t, I HIGHLY recommend this book as your next read. I’m now anxiously awaiting the release of book two since the ending was a bit of a cliff-hanger.

Purchase a copy for yourself here: Caraval