Friday, July 21, 2017

24 in 48/2nd COYER Summer Read-a-thon Reading List

I think I am in the beginning of a summer cold, just in time for back to back read-a-thons. I am sipping some herbal tea (Twinings Lemon and Ginger and Twinings African Rooibos with Vanilla) in the hopes I can nip this cold in the bud.

So what am I reading for 24 in 48 (July22 -23) and the second COYER Summer (July 23 - 30) read-a-thons? Here's the list:

1. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
2. Chaucer's Major Tales by Michael Hoy and Michael Stevens
3. The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
4. The Son of Neptune (Heroes of Olympus #2) by Rick Riordan (adapted by Robert Venditti)
5. A Sultry Love Song by Kianna Alexander
6. Falling for the Enemy by Naomi Rawlings
7. The Soldier's Secrets by Naomi Rawlings
8. The Greek Tycoon's Green Card Groom by Kate McMurray
9. Secret Agent Under Fire by Geri Krotow
10. Killer Countdown by Amelia Autin

The first four titles are prompt fillers for the Pop Sugar Challenge. The other six are category length romances, four of those I got at RT in Atlanta. The rules for the second COYER read-a-thon is that you have to read physical books from your list only (I added the other four books to my reading list), so I just made that my rule for 24 in 48 too - that way if I was in the middle of a book read for 24 in 48 I wouldn't have to put it aside for a week to finish it.

Until next time, happy reading!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Summer Reading Lovin'

It has been a while, huh? Drinking a cupof Twinings African Rooibos, Strawberry, and Vanilla tea while it non-stops raining and cold here in east England. I recommend this tea, it is a perfect balance between sweet and spicy. So here is what I have been up to....

COYER Summer Vacation 2017
So I opted into the reading list part of this challenge. Out of the original 30 books on my list, I have read and reviewed 10 and DNF 1 (let's just say category romance from the 1980s DO NOT AGE WELL). As per the rules of the challenge, I added 10 books to the list and have already read 2 of the added books.

Highlights from the Reading List
1. Author Allie Pleiter - she can deliver in both contemporary romance and historical romance (inspirational in both genres). I have four of her books on my original 30 and have read and enjoyed 3 of them. The Bull Rider's Homecoming is the contemporary and although it is the third book in the series, you can read it as a stand-alone. Homefront Hero and The Doctor's Undoing are set in WWI era and can be read as stand-alones, but work better when you read HH first.

2. The Brides of Waterloo series
This was a little noticed series from Harlequin Historical that was published on the 200th anniversary of the Waterloo campaign. I highly recommend you read them in order, due to the different stories picking up along the same time line. I LOVED the first two books, but the third one left me disappointed (I didn't like the heroine).
3. The Soldier's Dark Secret by Marguerite Kaye
Continuing on the Britain is at war with France theme, this story deals with a long-time Army officer who resigns his commission after the Waterloo campaign and a French painter looking for answers to her parentage. So good! First book in two book series called Comrades in Arms.
Hey notice anything about the books highlighted? Yes, they are all from lines that Harlequin announced in May 2017 that are being shut down. Needless to say, I have many feelings toward that announcement, most that can be summed up as GRRRRRRR WHAT ARE YOU DOING?


 The Ripped Bodice Summer Bingo
Making my way through this challenge by only using what is on my COYER list. No bingos yet, stayed tuned. If you play, note that the rules set up that any book read starting June 1st counts.

24 in 48 Read-a-thon
I am all signed up and ready to binge read! This read-a-thon takes place at the same time that the second read-a-thon for COYER, so I will be reading my print books off my reading list for 24 in 48. I will be updating throughout 24 in 48 here and at Instagram. Sign up today!

Until next time, happy reading!


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Update on my Reading Life

Yes it has been a while since I posted...April 2017 is pretty much a blur for me. But I wanted to update my readers on what is going on in my reading and tea drinking life, so I thought now would be a good time.

Upcoming Read-a-thons
1. Dewey's 24hr Read-a-thon - happening this Saturday, April 29th about 1pm in my time zone. The goal is to make it to 12 hours of reading, the stretch goal is to make it to 15 hours. I don't really have a TBR set aside for this read-a-thon; I am just going to finish up any April reads or read a book for a book-related game I am playing with some online friends. I think there is still time to sign up and participate.

2. Bout of Books (Cycle 19) - happening Monday, May 8th through Sunday, May 14th. Again, no real TBR set aside, just the one big book I am reading for the Pop Sugar challenge (fills in the 800+ page prompt) and any book for the bookish game. My real goal is to really participate in the daily challenges - this is one area of the BoB read-a-thon I continually suck at. Sign ups are active; I've done the declaration post on my BookLikes blog.

Reading Challenges
1. Pop Sugar Reading Challenge 2017 - 29/52 prompts filled. Starting in May I will be reading London by Edward Rutherfurd, and 829 page historical fiction about my favorite city. This is to fill in the prompt for 800+ page book. It will take me all of May and June to read it while I also read other books for the online game. If I don't get this prompt done before the first half of 2017 is over, I won't get to it in the second half due to procrastination and lack of enthusiasm for reading long books.

2. Library Love Challenge (OverDrive Junkie level) - 29/36 read; I don't count DNFs. Since I am close to finishing this one early, I might take the summer off from borrowing and picking up again in the fall. This will give me more room to read off my physical TBR shelf.

3. BookLikes/Good Reads Challenge - 57/150

Upcoming Events
1. RT Booklover's Convention 2017 - in just a few days I will be in Atlanta for my first RT convention! This has been on my bucket list for as long as I have known there was such a convention. And I have always wanted to visit Atlanta, so there will be some sight seeing as well as indulging in all things romance. I'm also excited for some warm weather - right now England is in a rain/cold snap weather pattern.

So that is what I have been up to. Can't wait to share my RT experience, my British Library experience, and more with you in May. Until then - happy reading!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Hey everyone! I know I have been majorly slacking here on my blog lately; it seems BookLikes is back up and running, so I have been reviewing and blogging there.

Today's topic is about the #trypod campaign - a hashtag that invites people to promote their favorite podcasts to friends, blog readers, family, etc. I am a big fan of podcasts; sorry not sorry but British radio really doesn't do it for me and the one American station here plays the John Tesh radio show for three hours every weekday morning....yeah so I have turned my iPhone into my personal talk radio station. I listen in the car, when I am cleaning the house, or at the gym; I use iTunes podcast app to listen.

So here is a list of my favorite podcasts, in no particular order:

1. Book Riot Media Group podcasts
    There is a group of podcasts from the bookish people at Book Riot. I listened to the Book Riot podcast, All the Books!, and Get Booked. The first and last podcasts are about a hour long; the second runs about 30-40 minutes. All of them release new shows once a week. Price: $Free, the shows are supported with advertisers.

2. Stuff You Missed in History Class
    My first podcast. I have only been listening to this since the current hosts have been doing the podcast. Each episode is about 30-45 minutes long and some topics take up two episodes. You don't have to be a history buff to enjoy this podcast - this podcast has the ability to make you into a history buff! The show releases two episodes each week; if the topic is a two-part subject, I wait until the second show is aired before listening to show number one. $Free, the show is supported with advertisers.

3. Disaster Area Podcast
    A relative new kid on the podcast block. Created, researched, hosted, edited - the whole enchilada is done by Jennifer M. who has a curious fascination with disasters, natural or man-made. There are no ads, so the host has a Patreon account if you want to donate some money towards the upkeep of the podcast. My favorite episodes are the movie breaks - they are hilarious! Episodes released when Jennifer has the opportunity to get them out. Price: $Free, no ads, donations welcomed!

4. Dirt Cast/Big Time Dicks
    The newest additions to my podcast listening, both podcasts are from the team at Dirt Cast is all about celebrity news and gossip, but they end up doing some really extensive journalism on some subjects; for example, their show on Scientology is a must listen to. Big Time Dicks is all about US politics and this new administration. Episodes release once a week. Price: $Free, no ads, no donations.

5. Throwing Shade
    I was recommended this podcast by iTunes as I also listened to Stuff Mom Never Told You (a now-defunct podcast). It took me a couple of episodes to get a feel for how Bryan and Erin work and interact, and then I went into the mother of all binge listens and listen to every episode in a matter of weeks. Hilarious, insightful, really great interviews - and cute dogs. Bryan and Erin also just finished their weekly television show (same name) and will be touring soon. Episodes release once a week. $Free, some ads, donations taken at the website.

6. Smart Podcast, Trashy Books
    My favorite romance book blog in podcast form. Sarah is a great host and Sassy knows her traditional Celtic music. My favorite episodes are All the Bitches Assemble (basically when all the bloggers get together and talk about a whole bunch of stuff, some not related to romance) and when the owners of The Ripped Bodice are on. Episodes release once a week. $Free, there are ads, but you can also send donations to Patreon.

7. The Readers
    Simon from Liverpool and Thomas from D.C. are the best trans-Atlantic Odd Couple you could ever listen to. I'm not one for literary fiction, but no worries as these guys read across a wide variety of genres. Usually episodes are released once every other week. $Free, no ads, no donations taken.

Until next time, happy reading podcast listening!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Finished for Challenge

Book Review
Heir to a Desert Legacy
Harlequin, 2013
Read January 2017
1 star
I usually love Maisey Yates sheikh romances, but this one was a long slog to get through. It took me almost the entire month to read this less than 200 page book. The premise was different, but this was too stereotypical of the Presents line for my taste. The only reason I continued reading this to the end was that it filled a spot on the bingo card.
Sayid was a decent hero, but Chloe was all over the place mentally and emotionally and not smart for a doctoral candidate in physics. Their conversations were stilted when they weren't cringe-inducing. I could have done without the constant reminders that she had just given birth (yep, a virgin birth) and she was breastfeeding while sexy times were going on. And rocket scientist in training Chloe didn't realize breastfeeding was not a suitable replacement for birth control when she ends up pregnant at the end of the book (mere months after giving birth - which most medical doctors warn not to do, as it increases complications in second pregnancy and increases the chances of the mother suffering PPD or PPS). 

Damn Good Romantic Suspense

Another book for the Romance Bingo. Downloaded from OverDrive. New to me author that I will be putting on my list of authors to read more from.

Book Review
Harlequin, 2012
Read January 2017
4 stars
I haven't read a romantic suspense book in a long time. The author is one I haven't read before, but I was aware of her from an interview on a podcast I listen to and she seemed really interesting. I saw the book while browsing OverDrive and decided to give it a shot. I am so glad I did.
Aaron Bain is the hottest hero I have read in quite sometime. He has a healthy amount of brains to go along with his brawn, which a nice change of pace from the usual alpha-holes that dominated the subgenre. Risa Peters is smart, funny, and brave - she really was Aaron's equal even though she didn't have any experience in security or military. The two had a few dates prior to the opening of the story, but Bain hadn't called Risa to set up another date in weeks; Risa felt that any potential for a relationship was dead in the water. Until the two meet up when Bain rescues Risa from two hired thugs who were sent to kidnap "a brown haired young woman on the fifth floor" - which unfortunately for Risa, put her in the wrong place at the wrong time. Intense fighting scenes, escape plans, a bombing, and another attempted kidnapping of Risa makes this book 75% suspense, with the other 25%  all about the romance with adults actually talking to each other. The mystery is solved before the romance, which felt realistic. Overall, I want to read more from this author.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Tea Review: Twinings of London Christmas Tea

I picked a box of this tea at my base commissary every year around Christmas time. The cover art is full of holiday cheer without being overly fussy, so it can be used as holiday d├ęcor in most styles. When you open the box, you don't get a whiff of the tea due to each bag being individually wrapped, which I fill is a bit of a missed opportunity to sell the product.

This is a black tea, and therefore is at full caffeinated strength. Please be mindful if you are sensitive to caffeine. The strength of this tea is a little less than a full English Breakfast tea. There are also artificial flavorings, mostly of the spice variety. Check the box for an ingredients list.

First Impression: the color of the steeped tea is a reddish brown but the smell finally kicks in and is simply soothing and delicious. The scent more than the color is what is appealing about this tea.

First Sip Reaction: A beautifully balanced tea - neither too plain (such as normal breakfast teas) nor overpowering spicy. You can taste the holiday cheer on your tongue via the clove and cinnamon flavor.

Bottom of the Cup Reaction: Well, I wished I didn't put sugar in this tea. Maybe a little honey, but honestly this tea doesn't need milk or sugar - it stands on its own really well. The spice level is a bit lower than in the beginning of the drink.

Final Verdict: The caffeine in this tea didn't keep me awake, so it can be consumed at night if you aren't sensitive to caffeine (or I must have a high tolerance to caffeine....). I went without sugar for the remaining cups of tea and would recommend the reader do likewise. A really great tea to settle down with some cookies and watch a holiday movie.

If you would like to try some, check out Twinings; the tea is sold in boxes of 20 bags or 12 count K-Cup pods.