3 Bookish Activities You Can Do With Your Family Over the Holidays (Reading Beverage Recipe Included)

The holidays can be a stressful time. Between buying presents, welcoming extended family into your home, decorating, holiday parties and huge meals, there is very little time to relax or time for yourself. And if you are anything like me, small talk and extended family is exhausting and awkward. Here are three book-related activities you can do with your family to break the ice and relax a bit.

1) Reading Party and Tea

One of the easiest ways to relax with your family is a reading party. This is when all of you get together in pajamas and lounge in armchairs and on the couch and individually read. This is a really good activity if you want to spend time with your family but don’t feel like talking. If you need a quiet night after a big dinner or you want to ease into Christmas with a relaxing morning, this is a great activity. You could all have your own books that you were already in the process of reading, or you could make it more festive by buying holiday books for the occasion. To make a reading party complete, make some homemade fancy tea to drink while reading. This Sweet Chai Tea Latte recipe by Equal Exchange is a perfect beverage to go along with it.

2) Storytelling

This is a great activity, especially if there are a lot of little kids around. While nowadays they might be able to preoccupy themselves with electronics, the holidays are still about spending time together as a family and storytelling is a great way to do so. Even if the kids are not so little, this is still a great activity to do, as long as you choose a book appropriate for the age group. Some of these kids might (erroneously) think storytelling is boring or only for babies, but hopefully, you’ll change their minds with some captivating stories to read, like Winterhouse by Ben Guterson, an urban fantasy mystery meant for 9-12-year-olds.

Listeners are more likely to be persuaded to sit still and listen if there is a special hot chocolate treat involved. Equal Exchange’s Peppermint Patty in a Cup is a quick and easy recipe that kids will love.

3) Book Drinking Games

If your entire family is bookish and over the legal drinking age, then book drinking games are a lot of fun and will allow you to have a great time with your family without feeling so exhausted. Find a bookish drinking game by searching your favorite genre+drinking game. Feel free to try LQ’s Smashwords Drinking Game If you want to be really fancy, make your own coffee liqueur for the drinking game.

What book-related activity do you do if any?

Also, the Indiebound link is an affiliate link, so if you buy from it part of that money will go to charity through Lover’s Quarrel’s Read for a Better World Program.

Equal Exchange did not give me compensation in any way for linking to their website. I am just a huge fan of their products and their mission. (However, if they want to sponsor me, I would totally be cool with that 🙂 )

 

Book Spotlight: Gabriel’s Ghost by Linnea Sinclair

0553587978-01-lzzzzzzzGenre: Science Fiction

Page Count: 447 pages

Average Goodreads Rating: 3.63 out of 5 stars

Award-winning author Linnea Sinclair brings her special sizzle to science fiction with this action-packed blend of otherworldly adventure and sexy stellar romance.

After a decade of piloting interstellar patrol ships, former captain Chasidah Bergren, onetime pride of the Sixth Fleet, finds herself court-martialed for a crime she didn’t commit-nd shipped off to a remote prison planet from which no one ever escapes. But when she kills a brutal guard in an act of self-defense, someone even more dangerous emerges from the shadows.

Gabriel Sullivan-alpha mercenary, smuggler, and rogue–is supposed to be dead. Yet now this seductive ghost from Chaz’s past is offering her a ticket to freedom– for a price. Someone in the Empire is secretly breeding jukors: vicious and uncontrollable killing machines that have long been outlawed. Gabriel needs Chaz to help him stop the practice before it decimates Imperial space. The mission means putting their lives on the line-but the tensions that heat up between them may be the riskiest part of all.

Support local businesses and struggling forests by buying Gabriel’s Ghost through this link. 

Remember, your purchase can also let you enter to win a $10 visa gift card if you email a screenshot of your receipt to loversquarrelbooks@gmail.com. Offer valid until December 31, 2017.

3 Romance Novels to Read in Bed

There’s nothing better than waking up feeling refreshed from a good night’s sleep. Of course, it’s impossible to feel that way when you’ve been tossing and turning, unable to stop thinking about an intense project or work or the dirty dishes piling up in the kitchen.

One good way to help clear your mind and prepare yourself for sleep is to put the phone away, shut down the computer and read before bed with a nice cup of herbal tea. Here are three romance novels that will relax you without keeping you up reading into the wee hours of the morning.

1) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows

the-guernsey-literary-and-potato-peel-pie-societyGenre: Historical

Page Count: 277

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.12 out of 5 stars

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb…. 

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all. 

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever. 

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

This book is like comfort food for the soul. I loved reading it so much that I rated it 5 stars on Goodreads. While it is entertaining and elegantly written, the action is subdued because it is told through letters and we do not see it first hand. That makes it easy reading to calm you down and help you sleep.

Buy this book at your local bookstore and save dying forests by supporting the Arbor Day Foundation.

2) Gabriel’s Ghost by Linnea Sinclair

0553587978-01-lzzzzzzzGenre: Science Fiction

Page Count: 447 pages

Average Goodreads Rating: 3.63 out of 5 stars

After a decade of piloting interstellar patrol ships, former captain Chasidah Bergren, onetime pride of the Sixth Fleet, finds herself court-martialed for a crime she didn’t commit-nd shipped off to a remote prison planet from which no one ever escapes. But when she kills a brutal guard in an act of self-defense, someone even more dangerous emerges from the shadows.

Gabriel Sullivan– alpha mercenary, smuggler, and rogue–is supposed to be dead. Yet now this seductive ghost from Chaz’s past is offering her a ticket to freedom– for a price. Someone in the Empire is secretly breeding jukors: vicious and uncontrollable killing machines that have long been outlawed. Gabriel needs Chaz to help him stop the practice before it decimates Imperial space. The mission means putting their lives on the line-but the tensions that heat up between them may be the riskiest part of all.

While this book has a lot of action, the sexual tension between Gabriel and Chaz will give you some very sweet dreams and certainly chase thoughts of dirty dishes away. The love and devotion Gabriel has for Chaz will comfort and relax you as you prepare for sleep.

Buy this book at your local bookstore and save dying forests by supporting the Arbor Day Foundation.

Born in Fire by Nora Roberts

nora-roberts-born-in-fireGenre: Contemporary

Page Count: 416

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.21 out of 5 stars

The eldest Concannon sister, Maggie, is a reclusive, stubborn and free-spirited glassmaker—with a heart worth winning.

Margaret Mary is a glass artist with an independent streak as fierce as her volatile temper. Hand-blowing glass is a difficult and exacting art, and while she may produce the delicate and the fragile, Maggie is a strong and opinionated woman, a Clare woman, with all the turbulence of that fascinating west country.

One man, Dublin gallery owner Rogan Sweeney, has seen the soul in Maggie’s art, and vows to help her build a career. When he comes to Maggie’s studio, her heart is inflamed by their fierce attraction—and her scarred past is slowly healed by love…

Nora Roberts always has cozy romances will put a smile on your face before you fall asleep. While Maggie has a fiery temper, she will not keep you up at night. The action is subdued with the main story being the love story between Maggie and Rogan. This book will leave dreaming of Ireland and local artists.

Buy this book at your local bookstore and save dying forests by supporting the Arbor Day Foundation.

What are your favorite nighttime reads? Let me know in the comments. Also, don’t forget to like my Facebook page so you won’t miss an exciting giveaway I’m announcing on November 1st.

3 Romance Novels That Are Perfect For Public Transportation Entertainment

Public transportation is a great way to save money and save the environment. But it’s also boring as hell and takes forever compared to cars. Instead of stalking your middle school bully online, take some time for yourself with one of these 5 romance novels perfect for commuting. Not only will they leave you thoroughly entertained, but you will be supporting your local community when you buy them at your local bookstore.

waiting-for-the-bus-2961284869843atzv

Public transportation is a great way to save money and save the environment. But it’s also boring as hell and takes forever compared to cars. In my town, taking the bus is equal to driving a car two miles an hour.

It’s really tempting to pass the hours mindlessly scrolling through your Facebook feed, but should you really spend more time in front of an electronic screen when your work day probably already forces you to spend hours on a computer? Not to mention it drains your phone battery, eats up data, and isn’t so much fun so much a way to numb the discomfort of sitting next to someone who smells like an ashtray.

Instead of stalking your middle school bully online, take some time for yourself with one of these 5 romance novels perfect for commuting. Not only will they leave you thoroughly entertained, but you will be supporting your local community when you buy them at your local bookstore.

1) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

outlander-by-diana-gabaldon-mass-market-paperback-freeScottish Highlands, 1945. Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach–an “outlander“–in a Scotland torn by war and raiding clans in the year of Our Lord . . . 1743.

Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of a world that threatens her life, and may shatter her heart. Marooned amid danger, passion, and violence, Claire learns her only chance of safety lies in Jamie Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior. What begins in compulsion becomes urgent need, and Claire finds herself torn between two very different men, in two irreconcilable lives.

Buy at your local bookstore and support struggling forests through the Arbor Day Foundation.

Even if you watch the TV show, you should still read the books. Outlander is full of plot twists, action, and steamy sex scenes that will keep you entertained no matter where you are. The book is also really long so it will last you for several commutes before you have to choose another book. However, the paperback copies are still small enough to fit in your backpack, briefcase, or an oversized purse. The Outlander books are my go-to for traveling.

2) The Princess Bride by William Goldman

eeb51ecbd4f1fc7c33532166674f8a55William Goldman’s modern fantasy classic is a simple, exceptional story about quests — for riches, revenge, power, and, of course, true love — that’s thrilling and timeless.

Anyone who lived through the 1980s may find it impossible — inconceivable, even — to equate The Princess Bride with anything other than the sweet, celluloid romance of Westley and Buttercup, but the film is only a fraction of the ingenious storytelling you’ll find in these pages. Rich in character and satire, the novel is set in 1941 and framed cleverly as an “abridged” retelling of a centuries-old tale set in the fabled country of Florin that’s home to “Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passions.”

Buy at your local bookstore and support struggling forests through the Arbor Day Foundation.

The book that inspired one of the most quotable movies ever made has a slightly more serious tone but roughly the same plot, with lots of sword fights and true love. Its paperback version is travel size and the entertaining story will transport you off the loud commuter train and into the exciting kingdom of Florin.

3) The Bride by Julie Garwood

0671726978-01-lzzzzzzzBy edict of the king, the mighty Scottish laird Alec Kincaid must take an English bride. His choice was Jamie, youngest daughter of Baron Jamison…a feisty, violet-eyed beauty. Alec ached to touch her, to tame her, to possess her…forever. But Jamie vowed never to surrender to this highland barbarian. 
He was everything her heart warned against–an arrogant scoundrel whose rough good looks spoke of savage pleasures. And thought Kincaid’s scorching kisses fired her blood, she brazenly resisted him…until one rapturous moment quelled their clash of wills, and something far more dangerous than desire threatened to conquer her senses…

Buy at your local bookstore and support struggling forests through the Arbor Day Foundation.

Not only is this a romance, but it is also a murder mystery that will keep you guessing about who the killer is. The Bride is also one of my favorite romance novels. Garwood’s writing has a way of pulling you in no matter what your environment is. There are sex scenes, but none so hot they will leave you blushing and squirming on the bus. It is long enough to last a commute but small enough to fit easily inside bags or to just carry in your hand.

What are your favorite books to read on the commute? Let us know in the comments. Also, stay tuned for an exciting Lover’s Quarrel giveaway that will be announced on November 1st. Like Lover’s Quarrel’s Facebook page to make sure you don’t miss it.

5 African American Romances You Need to Read Right Now

32a4b0bc8611f8e4894dd05462c6adce1) Commitment by Nia Forrester

Genre: Contemporary

Page Count: 522 pages

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.42/5 stars

It was obvious to everyone but them they were all wrong for each other. Riley is a free-spirited boho writer and Shawn is a magnetic and charismatic rapper, riding the highest crest of his career. She doesn’t understand his world and he sure as hell doesn’t understand hers. And what’s worse, while he’s never committed to any woman before, she’s committed to someone else. Still, they can’t stay away from each other. Along with frequent clashes of their equally strong wills, Shawn and Riley will have to face down opposition from friends, family and one extremely motivated groupie, if they want to forge a commitment that will last the test of time.

Get Commitment at your local bookstore now.  Continue reading “5 African American Romances You Need to Read Right Now”

5 Romance Novels for Foodies

One of the best things that go together is food and romance. After all, what’s more sexy than having your partner cook (or buy, for those of us who are challenged in the kitchen) our favorite meal for us? So here are 10 romance novels for foodies.

1) New Free Chocolate Sex by Keith Lowe

cvr9780743482103_9780743482103_hrGenre: Contemporary

Page Count: 336 pages

Average Goodreads Rating: 3.14/5 stars

Can your sworn enemy become your romantic obsession? What lies between sugar and spice? Do personal tastes ever change? And when should we try something new? As this irresistible novel reminds us, sometimes love is the least predictable flavor in life’s box of chocolates.

Matt, the brilliant young marketing director of the confectionery Trundel & Barr, loves chocolate. To him it represents sensuousness and innocent joy; it is to be adored, worshipped — and exploited — at every opportunity. For Samantha, however, chocolate represents something more sinister: While researching for a television documentary she learns that there is a darker side to Trundel & Barr, in the horrendous conditions of its African cocoa plantations. So Sam sets out to expose Matt — until she finds herself locked up with him in his own chocolate factory. Stuck together, they are at risk of having a complete meltdown. But if Sam and Matt can find a way to confront their differences and learn to accept each other’s passion for chocolate, their bitter situation stands a chance of turning out sweet….

Buy this at your local bookstore now.

Continue reading “5 Romance Novels for Foodies”

5 Romance Novels to Read If You Like Netflix’s The Ranch

5 contemporary western romance novels to read if you like Netflix’s The Ranch.

Recently I started watching The Ranch on Netflix, mostly because Danny Masterson who played Hyde in That 70’s Show, who was the stuff of romance novels himself (Hyde, that is. Danny Masterson isn’t the stuff of romance novels. He’s kind of a douch.) While watching The Ranch, I’m usually laughing or being horrified by the amount of alcohol the characters drink. But there’s definitely a lot of romance in the show, from Colt and his high school sweetheart Abbey to Beau and his estranged wife Maggie.Here are five romance novels to read if you like The Ranch

Continue reading “5 Romance Novels to Read If You Like Netflix’s The Ranch”