Zanini Box Unboxing – The First One Ever!

You know what’s an absolute ton of fun to say? Zanini. I just wanted to get that out there, because I get a kind of childish giggle in the back of my head every time I say or read it. Zanini. Come on, try it. It’s such a great word!

But what’s even greater is the subscription service that bears that name! Zanini Box is a brand-new service focused entirely on cool, exclusive, pop-culture-related enamel pins. There are three tiers for the subscription, ranging from 3 to 5 pins per month, at a cost of between $7.99 and $11.99 per month. And if you happen to be an enamel pin collector, you know already that that is a pretty incredible deal. Depending on the company a single pin can cost $12, so to be able to get five of them for that price? You have to admit that it sounds almost too good to be true!

You also wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that the price must be a reflection of the quality of the pins, but I promise you now, these pins are well-designed, well-made, and look great. Don’t believe me? Check out the vid to see the first three pins ever created for this new sub-box, and then let me know what you think! And if you want to check out the service for yourself, don’t forget to use coupon code “TRACEY” at checkout to get 10% off your first order!

Goals 2019: Week 24 in Review


Oh, hey, is it that time of the week again already? Man, you guys have no idea how scatterbrained I’ve felt lately! That’s not to say that things have been going poorly or that I’m failing to get anything done. I just feel…I don’t know…like I can’t keep track of things or something. Thank goodness for the little day-planner I write everything down in or I wouldn’t even know what to talk about on these weekly posts!

A few non-goal-related things before I get into it:

  1. The dieting and exercising is still going well, and I have to be perfectly honest and say that I’ve been feeling great. (Aside from the aforementioned brain-fuzz, of course.) I’m down approximately 11 lbs, my clothes are fitting better, I’m not having any of that frustrating knee pain anymore, and I’ve found that I have a lot more physical energy. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to keep up this particular plan once I’m working out on the oil sands, but I’m going to keep it up for as long as I can, because I’ve been extremely happy with the results, both physical and mental.
  2. Speaking of working out on the oil sands, I got my call today for my official start date, which is in about two weeks. I’m extremely excited, you guys. It’s going to suck to be away from my family for so long, but after spending the last eight months at Walmart and practically living on credit cards, it’s going to be an absolutely huge thing to have a decent income again.

Goal #1: Write half a million words.

To start off, I have to say that I honestly thought I did better with my word count for week 24. Somewhere along the line I feel like I lost some words somewhere. But that’s probably just my scatterbrained-ness, and anyway, it’s not as thought I did poorly. My total word count for the week was 5009. That’s still a far cry from the 11739 my account wanted me to write, but it’s definitely moving forward from the previous several weeks.

Sidenote: speaking of, I’m not sure what on Earth happened to it, but after I fixed the login issue I mentioned last week, the numbers didn’t seem to match up, so I went through it entry by entry and found a ton of stuff missing. The fixes didn’t make a huge change to what it’s asking me to write for this week, but it still struck me as odd. Has anyone else had similar issues with the site?

  • Goal #1a: Write at least a quarter million fictional words. Unfortunately I don’t have much to report here, but unlike previous weeks I do have something to report. I wrote a whopping 270 fictional words this past week, while scribbling down a scene for the children’s chapter book I’ve had in my head. It’s not much, but at least it’s not 0 words, like the previous few weeks.

Goal #2: Read at least 50 books.

As mentioned last week, I recently finished Bonfire, by Krysten Ritter, which was amazing. I also quickly plowed through a Batman graphic novel I recently got in a Threads subscription box. But the big news is that I’ve started into Stephen King’s “It”. And may the book gods save me, because damn this is an enormous book! It’s hard to even hold when you’re trying to read! That said, I’m a little less than 200 words in and loving it so far. King has this really strange way of being able to spell out for you exactly what’s going to happen later on in the book, and yet somehow he manages to make the lead-up to it still be suspenseful. It’s really quite astounding. As a reader, I love it to death, and as a writer it vexes me in ways I can’t describe.

Unfortunately, “It” is definitely going to slow down my Goodreads challenge progress, since it’s going to take four times as long to read as most of my other books, but I’m hoping to bang the rest of it out before I leave for my new job so that I can take some smaller, more reasonable books out there with me. And that shouldn’t be a problem since the book is incredibly addictive.

Goal #3: Build my social media communities…EVERYWHERE!

I’m still a little in-and-out with the social media, although I do feel like I’ve got a decent stride happening. The weekends, strangely, seem to be my weak points. I think I just get distracted with family stuff and/or trying to relax and forget about it. But overall I’ve been doing okay, and the numbers show that.

Last week’s numbers are as follows:

  • The YouTube channel gained 14 subscribers
  • The YouTube Twitter account went up 2 followers
  • The YouTube Instagram account went down 4 followers
  • The Snapchat account’s score went up 15 points
  • The Author Twitter account stayed the same
  • The Author Instagram account went up 13 followers

The only probably is that pesky YouTube Instagram account. If it weren’t for that one I’d have an all-positive week. Damn you, Instagram, and your flaky users! I have no idea why I seem to hit random unfollow pockets sometimes, but it can be extremely frustrating, especially when you feel like you’ve been doing better.

Goal #4: Play more (proper) video games. 

Psh. Let’s just more-or-less forget about video games for a little while, shall we? I’ve popped on to Tetris a few times recently, just for a few minutes, but that’s been about it. There just hasn’t been the time, or when there is time I’m trying to use it to focus on other things (like the reading and writing). I expect once I’m back out at work I’ll probably spend some of my evenings playing with my PS Vita or Nintendo DS, but until then I’ve just got other stuff I’d rather be focusing on.

Goal #5: Put more time, focus, and energy into the YouTube channel.

Well would you look at that! Things are starting to move forward! Last week I filmed three videos, two of them with Jason, and all three have been published since then. They were the easier types of vids (unboxing subscription boxes isn’t particularly complicated), but it’s definitely a step in the right direction! And now that Walmart has cut my hours so that they’re practically non-existent, and the upcoming new job is ready and waiting for me, Jason and I will be using the next week-and-a-half or so to film as much as we can before I go. At least, that’s the plan. Fingers crossed!

So that was my week! Overwhelmingly, successes all around, although I do wish I’d gotten more writing done. But let’s not linger on that! Wheels are moving, gears are grinding, and things are getting done. That’s a lot more than I can say for, well…a good chunk of 2019 so far. So let’s keep moving forward, doing what we can, and see where we end up!

How was your week? Did you accomplish any goals? Make any new ones? Do anything else that made you feel awesome and accomplished? Feel free to share in the comments!

Threads Box #2: Effigy Box!

What’s this? Another Threads box already? Well, yes! Due to circumstances of which I am not a party, we got two Threads boxes within a week of each other, and I’m okay with that!

This second box contained another awesome shirt design that I am totally not going to let Jason get his hands on, as well as a one-shot graphic novel called “Effigy” that sounds incredibly interesting. Both items gave me a huge smile and are definitely well worth the subscription price of £10!

So again I say: go check out the vid, and when you’re interested in checking out Threads for yourself, click the link in the description box to get £5 off your first box. You can’t beat a deal like that, you guys!


Book Review: “Bonfire” by Krysten Ritter [SPOILER-FREE]


It’s been a while since I’ve written a book review, which is a sin since I’ve actually been reading a good bit lately. So I thought I’d dive back into it with one of my favorite books of 2019 so far, and that is Krysten Ritter’s debut, Bonfire.

Wait…Krysten Ritter as in “Jessica Jones”?

Before I get into the actual review, I feel the need to address the fact that, yes, the author of this book is also the actress who portrays “Jessica Jones” in the Marvel series of the same name. I don’t bring this up because I think it should matter who, specifically, the author is. I bring it up because while I was reading the book I had absolutely no idea. It just never occurred to me when I saw the name “Krysten Ritter” on the front of the book that it was the same “Krysten Ritter” who is an actress. After all, it’s not as though there are no other Krysten Ritters in the world.

So, that’s just an extra little bit of info that may (or may not) affect how you feel about my review. I had no idea who the author was, and therefore had no bias one way or the other as to whether her book would be any good. Just the way it should be, in my opinion!

The Plot:

Bonfire’s narrator, Abby Williams, works with environmental law and has been placed in a bit of an awkward position. She will be investigating Optimal Plastics, the company which is the beating heart of her hometown of Barrens, Indiana. It’s a sticky situation to begin with, without adding in the fact that Abby doesn’t exactly have fond memories of the town and the people there she grew up with. And just in case that wasn’t enough to be dealing with, emotionally, she soon begins to uncover a strange scandal involving a classmate who ran away from home immediately following graduation. Where all this will lead is down a rabbit-hole of declining mental and emotional stability the further Abby presses on.

First Impressions:

I’m going to be perfectly honest: upon first picking up this book I wasn’t sure if it was something I was going to be able to enjoy because it’s so different from the kind of thing I normally read. I tend to focus on supernatural and fantasy stuff, whereas Bonfire is very much focused in the realm of reality. Most of what I read is third-person, past tense, and Bonfire is first-person, present-tense. I’m sure these seem like small, insignificant things when concerning a well-written story, but I do tend to be picky. So when I began reading, it was with a sense of concern.

Second Impressions:

Luckily, my first impressions/concern were complete and absolute nonsense.

I very quickly got used to the present-tense style of storytelling, and before I knew it I’d fallen in love with Abby as a character. What’s wonderful about her is that she’s an incredibly complex character. She’s very clearly the “good guy” in the context of this story, but she has plenty of failings as well, as we soon learn. Expanding upon that, some of her failings are very clearly of her own making, while others are very clearly the result of a less-than-stellar childhood.

This aspect of Abby also makes her very easy for me to relate to. My own childhood may not have been as rough as what Abby describes, but I can definitely understand quite a lot of what she’s gone through, such as bullying and unhealthy relationships.

To put it simply, Abby is the kind of character you can absolutely imagine being a real person. She is absolutely believable and makes you feel like someone you could have grown up with yourself.

The Plot Thickens:

As the story moves on, we become engrossed in lots of twists and turns that, quite frankly, will break your mind. Abby, because of the emotional roller-coaster she exists on, is an unreliable narrator who regularly spins us off in confusing directions. It is rather difficult at times to tell what is really happening, and what is all in Abby’s head. Chapter by chapter little bits of information are mixed into her investigation, and we’re never quite sure what is really happening in the background. Oftentimes throughout the book I found myself thinking that I knew how things were going to turn out, only to have something get flipped around on me a few pages later. In the end some things did turn out how I was expecting, but not before I’d been fooled into changing my mind half a dozen or more times. In other words, I was definitely kept on my toes with this book.

Final Thoughts:

It’s difficult to say too much about a book like Bonfire without ruining the suspense and intrigue, so I’ve kept things very vague. But the fact of the matter is that within the first few chapters I was completely hooked and desperate to know what was going to happen next. I ended up being completely engrossed and I devoured the book as quickly as I was able because I needed to know how things turned out in the end.

Ritter’s debut novel was a breakaway hit, at least in my opinion. Her ability to tell a story has been cemented with this first publication, and I’m going to be very interested to see what she comes up with next.

I highly recommend this book and would love to hear what other readers think about it. Let me know in the comment section, or add me on Goodreads: Tracey Lynn Tobin!

Want to check out Bonfire for yourself? Click right here to order!
Already read it? Feel free to share your own thoughts in the comment section below!

Unboxing! Zavvi Threads Monthly Subscription Box

We’ve previously done unboxings of Zavvi’s geeky subscription box, ZBox. But now there’s another! “Threads” by ZBox is an offshoot service that focuses on wearables and readables. Each box contains a licensed shirt and either a book or a graphic novel, both for just £10. A heck of a deal, in my opinion!

Zavvi asked me if I’d like to check out this service, and I heartily agreed because I love reading, and I love geeky clothes. It’s a perfect fit! Take a look at my vid to see what it’s all about, and if you’re interested click the link in the description box to get half off your first box!