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 🙂 )

 

Stay Safe, Everyone

Hi, everyone!

I’m not having a normal post this week because I’m currently in Florida. While I am safe in a no-evacuation zone with plenty of food and water I do not know how long I’ll have power.

If you are in an area that will be affected by hurricanes, then please stay safe. Too many lives have already been lost to hurricanes this year.

If you are safe, then please donate for hurricane relief. The devastation is catastrophic and it is only going to get worse. Donate to One America Appeal to help those affected by Harvey and Irma.

Please do what you can to help others in your area.  Between the destruction caused by the wildfires on the west coast, the hurricanes in the south, and the earthquake that struck Mexico, it’s looking like the end of days, but it’s not. It’s more important than ever that everyone does what they can to recover from the destruction and to prevent further destruction.

Even if you do not have the time to volunteer or the money to donate, you can still help. Download the app, Charity Miles.

Charity Miles works with sponsors to donate money when you run, walk, or bike with their app open. You can raise $0.25 for every mile you run or walk and $0.10 for every mile you bike.

Set your charity to Habitat for Humanity to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey and keep the app open when you hit the gym or all day to log all your walking. You can always do what I do and walk on the treadmill while reading 🙂 

Stay safe, everyone, and take care of each other. Happy reading.

Top 5 Romance Novel Pet Peeves

heart-1610858_1920I’m addicted to romance novels. I can’t get enough of them. A well-written romance novel with a good plot and love story is enough for me to daydream about, giggle over, and read for the seventh time when I really need to get back to work.

But there are more than a few things that keep turning up in romance novels that I absolutely hate.

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1) Insta-Love

This is so common in romance novels but as far as I can tell, nobody likes it. Why? Because it’s a cheat and ruins otherwise good books.

I want to see how the characters fall in love. I need to be emotionally invested in the characters before the moment of love for me to give a damn about them.

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2) Awkwardly Weird Sex Scenes

I must admit, I do enjoy snickering at watching the man go apeshit and penetrate the woman’s sex essence with his rod. But it’s a huge mood killer for me. Not just for that scene, but for the rest of the book. How am I supposed to take the guy seriously as he declares his eternal love when I’m still snickering about his essence-penetrating rod?

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3) Unlikeable Main Characters

This is a no-brainer, but unfortunately, happens way too often, especially when the characters to hate each other at first and then fall in love. The characters are so busy battling each other, they lose all redeemable qualities.

I’ve read books where the main couple pulls malicious pranks on each other, publically shames each other, and even hurts each other physically before falling in love. Call me crazy, but I cannot picture a stable relationship blossoming out of violent destruction like that.

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4) No Plot

There is no love story without at least some sort of plot. After all, the characters end up falling in love through events that happen, whether that is stopping a serial killer or running away from a smothering family. Without a plot, everything is boring, including the love story.

Sometimes romance novels fall really flat because not enough is happening and there is a string of conflict-free events with a dash of sweet nothings thrown in for good measure. Then I start hoping one of the main characters is used in a ritual sacrifice because then at least something is happening.

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5) Too Much Sap

Don’t get me wrong; passion, intense gazes, and declarations of love are my jam. But when the characters are constantly calling each other soulmates and moving each other to tears with purple prose every other paragraph, then I start throwing up a little. Romance novels are a type of fantasy for sure, but let’s not overdo it with the fairy dust.

What romance novel pet peeves do you have? Leave in the comments below.

Looking for free romance novels that rock? Get The Ultimate Lover’s Quarrel Reading List when you sign up for my newsletterThis reading list has only free full-length romance novels I’ve rated 4 stars or higher. It includes review highlights and links to my full reviews so you will know for sure if these books are for you.

5 Romance Novels I’m Kicking off 2017 With

We’ve now been in 2017 a little over a week and it looks like my reading list is not going to decrease any time soon. Right now I have 5 romance novels in my immediate reading list and I’m in the middle of 4 of them. So, here’s a quick peek at some of the reviews to come:

51m7qvaf84l-_sx322_bo1204203200_1) Grind by Edward Vukovic

Ziva’s love of coffee is double-edged. Throughout her life, she gives her talent freely to those desperate for a glimpse into destiny’s promise. Predicting the future with chilling accuracy, she understands the cost and has sworn never to divine her own truth. Having fled the economic aftershocks of the Balkan war, she struggles adjusting to her new life and clings to the remnants of her past, until she meets Isaac. Against her better judgement, Ziva ‘reads’ for herself and what she sees will change her life irrevocably.

Told from the perspective of multiple characters, Grind follows the plight of Ziva, an ordinary immigrant with an extraordinary gift, and highlights the impact we have on each other through the interconnectedness of chance encounters.

Buy it at your local independent bookstore now.

When Edward Vukovic approached me about reading and reviewing his novel, I almost said no. I haven’t been able fulfill review requests on a regular basis for a long time now. But he offered me a print copy of the book, and how can I say no to a print copy? So now I’m about halfway through, and enjoying the book. It’s not my usual read, but it’s great all the same.

97802639174202) In Debt to the Enemy Lord by Nicole Locke

Anwen, bastard of Brynmor, has fought hard to find her place in the world. But she’s forced to rethink everything when she’s saved from death by her enemy Teague, Lord of Gwalchdu. Instead of releasing her, he holds her captive… 

Teague trusts no one. So, with ominous messages threatening his life, he must keep Anwen under his watch, no matter how much her presence drives him wild. And when passionate arguments turn to passionate encounters, Teague must believe that the strength of their bond will conquer all!

This book is pure guilty pleasure. It was an impulse buy, thanks to its pretty cover, my love of historicals, and me actually opening an email from Harlequin. It’s very excellent so far well above Harlequin’s normal standards. The review from this one won’t be for awhile because, like I said, this book is pure guilty pleasure and it will be awhile before I can have a pure joy read.

51c2jlnk8il3) The Remnants by W.P. Osborn

Danny Pulbrook is a handsome and rebellious young man. Born the bastard son of a minor royal and orphaned at birth he is determined to find a new life far beyond his “pre-ordained oblivion”. His only way out – a forced enlistment into the army brings him to an inevitable confrontation with his own demons in the cauldron of the first world war.

Rose Quayle is a beautiful and confident hazel-eyed housemaid who, like her mother and her mother’s mother is employed in service at Meaford House – an expansive vice-regal estate near Tunbridge Wells. Like Danny she longs for a life beyond the tyranny of the rigid class system that defines her humble destiny.

Their chance meeting becomes the catalyst that changes both of their lives forever.

This is another paid honest review book. It’s not bad so far. It’s kind of a memoir, kind of fiction, and so far it’s very interesting. I’ll have a review for this book up soon.

bascomvillecover-finalred2_grande4) Bascomville by Mark A. Calde

Welcome to Bascomville, the singular domain of Max Bascom, the universe he has spun for himself from the raw materials of his surroundings.

This is Max’s journey from friend to lover.  From seducer to seduced.  From firstborn to prodigal. From betrayer to betrayed.
And finally, from child to man.

This was another review request that I almost turned down. Except Mark offered me a print signed copy. I have yet to start this book, but I’m looking forward to reading it.

 

51wuzpp2b40l5) Her Wicked Ways by Darcy Burke

Banished from London for her reckless behavior, Lady Miranda Sinclair is robbed by a dashing highwayman en route to the country. By offering him a kiss in lieu of the jewels she had to leave behind, she commits the very type of act that caused her exile. When her dour guardians extend her punishment to performing charitable work at the local orphanage, she’s further tempted by the home’s owner, a provincial gentleman who stirs her passion in a most wicked way.

Desperate to save his orphanage from financial catastrophe, Montgomery “Fox” Foxcroft leads a double life as a highwayman. The arrival of wealthy, well-connected Miranda, whose kiss he can’t forget, presents a lawful opportunity to increase his coffers. His problems seem solved—until she rejects his suit. Out of options and falling for the heiress, Fox must risk what principles he has left and take advantage of her wicked ways—even if it ruins them both.

Get it free on Smashwords now.

I’m actually re-reading this book. It’s a free book that I’ll be including in my upcoming ebook, Lover’s Quarrel’s Ultimate Reading List of Free Romance Novels, which is a list of free full-length novels that I’ve rated 4 stars or higher. It’s as good a book as I remember, and I’m happy to re-read it, and excited to include it in Ultimate Reading List, which will be a free ebook for everyone who subscribes to my newsletter. 

What are some books that you’re kicking off the new year with? Leave in the comments below.

Book Review: Hart Broken by Annie Arcane

31358357Genre: Contemporary

Goodreads Rating: 4.75/5 stars

My rating: 4/5 stars

Mickey Hart doesn’t do one-night stands. Until she wakes up in a luxury penthouse. With nothing but a t-shirt. And no idea who it belongs to.

Enter Cale Windermere. Driven. Ambitious. Successful. And so gorgeous he could’ve walked straight out of a romance novel…

Except he can’t walk. Not that it ever stops him from getting what he wants. And he wants Mickey. Even if she’s keeping secrets from him. 

 

 

This book…

Where do I even begin? It has a strong start and it stays strong. Mickey is awkward and funny. She starts out at the perfect chick lit character.

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5 Reasons Why You Should Read War Bride

256062181. It’s more than just a romance

War Bride by Elise Marion is primarily a romance, but it’s so much more than a love story. The book covers a lot of social issues today, even though it’s a medieval fantasy romance. Lady Emery Calliot fights for equal rights as a woman in a misogynist world. Leofred grieves over his brother’s death. Both of them have PTSD from a recent, brutal conflict between their kingdoms that almost turned into a devastating war. Even though this is book is a lot of fun to read, nobody can ever call it a piece of fluff.

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3 Free White Noise Apps For Reading

09806Reading a good book for a few minutes is the best and fastest way to escape the pressures and unpleasantness of life. It can help relieve stress and leave you feeling relaxed, happy, and refreshed. The atmosphere around you can be important for you to relax, which is why creating a reading corner is such a good idea. But obviously that’s impossible to do on your lunch break or riding the train during your commute. But you can control your atmosphere somewhat. What you hear is the easiest to control. Here are three white noise apps that will help you immerse yourself in your book.

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How to Create A Cozy Reading Corner Anywhere in 10 Minutes or Less

Cozy Reading Corner.pngThere’s nothing better than relaxing with a book in your own little reading space. It’s the perfect way to wind down from a stressful day, and it makes reading an even better experience (yes, it’s possible to make reading even better). With a scented candle, a roaring fireplace, a cup of tea, and a soft, warm blanket, you have everything you need to travel to other worlds through your pages.

However, most of us don’t have the space to have a designated reading corner. But what if you could make a temporary one with things you could find around your house, and in less than ten minutes? I’m going to show you how.

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Valentine’s Day Giveaway!

55b8ec90ac556422867ac9e81e5b9178Hey everyone! I’m doing another giveaway, this time for Valentine’s Day. All you need to do is answer this question: What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?

I know on Valentine’s Day I’m probably going to be doing homework. My boyfriend is coming down to Boston for that weekend, but he’s leaving on Valentine’s Day because he has work the next day (and we both have homework). My guess is my Valentine’s Day will involve a nice breakfast with my boyfriend, a tearful goodbye, and (in an unromantic turn of events) a major study session in the library wearing my shabbiest yet most comfortable clothes and toting a travel mug and thermos of tea as well as a water bottle. Oh yeah. I live the high life.

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