This Slacker Reviews Nadine West: June-August

I know, I’ve been awful. Part 2 of my summer break started today and I’m free from schoolwork until the 21st but I’ve still be incredibly busy bridesmaiding. I have so many posts that I need to make- I’m awful! Here’s my review of June, July, and August’s Nadine West shipments, plus a little update on the company itself.

Nadine West continues to be my favorite subscription service- though there are some changes I need to mention. But first, let’s look at two months worth of goods.

June was a pretty decent month for Nadine West. I almost kept everything!

Unfortunately this killer black necklace didn’t hold up superbly in shipping and a few of the rings holding it together had fallen out. Couldn’t justify keeping it with that knowledge.

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I have a silver bracelet very similar to this one… but I still kept this one because I think it’s such a fun design and I love a good bracelet.

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I also kept my first Nadine West top! It’s not work appropriate but it’s fun and comfy- plus it fits great!

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July was my first month dealing with Nadine West’s customer service. It was a positive experience that we’ll get to in a minute.

First, these earrings are adorable! I decided to keep them and have gotten so much wear out of them already. Arrows seem to be “in” right now, and blue is my favorite color. Adorable and perfect!

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This necklace ended up being sent back but it was a toughy. I loved the ancient, hammered gold look. I seriously felt very Mesopotamian trying this on and I did love it. But even with an adjustable chain it didn’t quite hit at a good spot for me and since I was hemming and hawing about it and not going “YES!” I decided to send it back, though I kind of wish I hadn’t.

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If this top had been a scarf I would have kept it. Alas the pattern was gorgeous but this cut was just NOT flattering. I carry my weight in my midsection, I don’t need to draw any more attention to that.

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As to why I contacted customer service… there were two tops listed on my invoice, and I had only received one. Since they bill on what is NOT sent back to them, I did not want to be charged for “keeping” an item I didn’t receive. So I emailed customer service with a picture of the top I did get and a picture of the invoice. Less than 24 hours later I had a response telling which top it was I had received and assuring me that I wouldn’t be charged for the one I didn’t. Awesome!

The pictures from August are exceptionally bad because my phone was in the process of dying and I had to send the package back before I got my new one.

August had a blue tank top that would have been much more fitting for the beginning of summer as opposed to the end. It was also an awkward cut. I was also trying to photograph it on my old phone and couldn’t get a decent picture of it.

The hammered metal bracelet was nice but I didn’t love it, especially having just kept another Nadine West bracelet, it didn’t seem justified.

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The necklace was glitzy and awesome (made me feel kind of like a sorority girl,  don’t know why!) and I was going to keep that but I didn’t think I’d wear it enough to justify $25. So this month was all returns.

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Which brings me to Nadine West’s new policy. Before, the shipments were free, you only paid for what you kept. Now shipments will be $7 which can be deducted from anything you plan to keep (so for a $10 you’d pay the $3 difference). I understand why they do this, and on the months when I decide to keep something then it’s totally whatever- I’m not actually paying any more money. But months like August where there’s nothing I want to keep I’m out $7- which is reasonable compared to most other subscription services but given how tightly I’m pinching my pennies because of vet bills…

I will probably stick with Nadine West because it brings me joy. If you’re interested even though it’s no longer free you can use my referral link to check it out!

Blogging for Books: The Library at Mount Char

House of Leaves is an experimental novel that plays with the reader psychologically creating a masterpiece of slow-burn horror. It is one of my favorite books. It is perhaps unfair to compare The Library at Mount Chato House of Leaves but I think if you’ve read both books you’ll have some idea of why I’m drawing a comparison between the two. But while House of Leaves kept me up all night pondering the great ‘what-ifs’ of having a closet Minotaur Mount Char was a page-turner that just left me asking “the fuck did I just read?”

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The fuck indeed.

Let’s talk about the author, Scott Hawkins. Hawkins is a prolific writer who has published 7 books. And with the exception of The Library at Mount Char they are all computer manuals. Isn’t there some stereotype that the super technical among us can’t write decent fiction? Not Hawkins. No matter what I end up saying about this book the technical (haaa) aspect of the writing is impeccable. It’s tight, it’s well-plotted. In some ways it feels like it’s trying to be “experimental” the way House of Leaves was, but it still follows a much more linear, standardized format (not a negative, just a comment). The plot is certainly imaginative and unique, something really unexpected even though it draws for a lot of established tropes and themes. It’s a book about a library- it would be wrong if it weren’t alluding to a lot of things!

So what’s my problem?

Well one thing I feel confident in saying is that this book has an audience out there that will appreciate it for the whole picture it presents. I am not sure that I am that audience. This is a fantastical horror novel with a lot of blood and a lot of death. Things that are shocking are incorporated well into the mythos of Mount Char (so it doesn’t feel as though they are happening just for shock value), but if you are squeamish stay away. Honestly I can think of more people for whom this book is “not” for than “is” for. I guess I would say it has a niche audience.

Let me try explaining the plot: In 1977 Carolyn and her “siblings” are adopted by “Father,” a god-like figure with immense powers over time and space who acts as teacher as he molds the children into “librarians.” Each librarian is given a specific “catalogue.” Carolyn studies all the languages, Margaret studies the dead, David learns war, and Michael animal husbandry. Then Father disappears and the now-grown children are forced out of their library and into main stream America, which they are incapable of living in anymore, while they try to figure out what happened. As they quest for answer they bring in reluctant accomplice Steven, war vet Erwin, and a couple of lions. Chaos ensues and no one is exactly who you think they are (except maybe the lions). Hawkins has created a very complex version of modern earth and does a skillful job of tying everything together.

Mostly.

At one point the whole book takes a sharp turn towards “Cthulhu fanfiction” and then drops it. There are other little things that feel kind of like plot holes. Perhaps it’s because Hawkins is toying with (but not committed to) the idea of writing more books set in the Mount Char world. At a certain point I felt more confused with the text then just baffled by my feelings (and the quick pace!).

I have to assign this book a certain number of stars when I upload it to Blogging for Books and I am honestly not sure how many stars I want to give it. On technical merit alone it deserves more than one star- and I certainly didn’t hate the book the way I did Ballad of a Small Player. But I also didn’t 5-star love it. 3.5? 4?

I will sum it up as this: I cannot think of a single other book like The Library at Mount Char and so if you’re interested in the weird and wholly different, this is where you want to turn.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.