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text 2018-12-15 16:20
24 Festive Tasks, Door 13 - Advent UPDATED WITH PICTURES
The Sword Dancer - Jeannie Lin

Advent

 

Book: Since today is also the start of COYER Winter, I chose a book off my COYER reading list. I will read The Sword Dancer (Tang Dynasty #4) by Jeannie Lin.

 

Task #1

Here's a picture of my kids' advent calendars for this year.

 

Task #2

British Christmas traditions: going to house/castle/hall to see the decorations, caroling, and pantos!

 

Took the kids to our local National Trust site, Oxburgh Hall, to see the early Victorian decorations. The hall's volunteers get together in late August to rehearse for their free 20 minute caroling show; the last song, We Wish You A Merry Christmas, is a sing-along with audience participation. They put this show on 3x a day on Saturday and Sundays in December. 

 

Joshua went on his field trip to the Royal Theater in Bury St Edmunds and saw a pantomime production of Sleeping Beauty - his favorite part was the dragon (of course). He didn't care for the kissing part. Sophia was supposed to go with her class the next day, but that date turned into the National Day of Mourning, and with no school came no field trip. She is rescheduled to see it in early January. 

 

As a family, we went to see a local pantomime production of Snow White and the Dwarves of Foulden. My friend's oldest son was in the show as fox (woodland creature) and Dipstick, one of the dwarves. Here's a pic of the program.

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text 2018-12-05 21:24
24 Festive Tasks, Door 9 - Thanksgiving UPDATED to include Task 2
Amelia: An Autumn Bride - Hildie McQueen
To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 - Adam Hochschild
Hamilton's Battalion: A Trio of Romances - Alyssa Cole,Rose Lerner,Courtney Milan
Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story - Kurt Eichenwald
The Lotus Palace - Jeannie Lin
The Jade Temptress - Jeannie Lin
Once Upon a Spine - Kate Carlisle
Bitch Planet Volume 1 - Kelly Sue DeConnick,Robert Wilson IV,Valentine De Landro
Bitch Planet Volume 2: President Bitch - Kelly Sue DeConnick
Nightingales Under the Mistletoe: (Nightingales 7) - Donna Douglas

Thanksgiving

 

Book: Today, I read Amelia: An Autumn Bride (Brides for All Seasons #7) by Hildie McQueen (autumn colors).

 

Task #1

The three books I am most thankful for reading this year are:

 

1. To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 by Adam Hochschild

          This is what I would recommend to anyone, but especially non-history readers, if they wanted to read one book about World War I. 

 

2. Hamilton's Battalion: A Trio of Romances by Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan, and Alyssa Cole

              I'm not a fangirl of Hamilton or his musical (although I do listen and enjoy the soundtrack), but getting new material from these authors was enough for me to buy it. Courtney Milan's story was my favorite, but Rose Lerner's and Alyssa Cole's stories were wonderful as well. 

 

3. Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story by Kurt Eichenwald

             This book was a door stopper, but read so much like a novel that it didn't feel over long at all. This is the true story of the rise and fall of Enron.

 

Honorable mention: The Lotus Palace and The Jade Temptress (Pingkang Li Mysteries #1 and 2) by Jeannie Lin.

 

Task #2

My perfect meal, created by a chef and his/her/their team, is inspired by my Italian heritage. It would be time and resource intensive, ergo I would never make it for myself.

1. Starters - Caprese salad and friend calamari

2. Main - Zuppa di Pesce e Frutti de Mare (just a ton of seafood in a clear broth)

3. Sides - Baked Fennel with Parmesan and Mushroom risotto

4. Dessert - Tiramisu

 

Task #3

The book I read this year with the most "stuffing" was Once Upon a Spine (A Bibliophile Mystery #11) by Kate Carlisle. Details about the most mundane things with boring vanilla characters and constant wedding talk - and the murder mystery was an afterthought until the very end. 

 

Task #4

Honestly, I can't remember all the freebies I download in a single month, let alone in a year. So here is what I bought this month:

 

1. Bitch Planet Volume 1 and 2 by Kelly Sue DeConnick et al (from Foyles)

2. A Nightingale Christmas Carol and Nightingales Under the Mistletoe by Donna Douglas (from a charity shop)

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review 2018-08-11 20:34
The Lotus Palace
The Lotus Palace - Jeannie Lin

This needs to be said first. A historical romance NOT set in England or during the Regency! And the main (and I should say all) characters are not white!
I enjoyed this one. A bit slow at times. I found the romance a very nice, slow burn. Yue-ying and her sister Ming-yu were sold as children into slavery. Ming-yu was beautiful, so she became a courtesan. Yue-ying has a red birthmark on her left cheek. This marked her as unlucky and people would stare at her. As a result, she was forced into prostitution. In this world, a courtesan is educated and her patrons are wealthy, well known. 
Ming-yu is able to find and buy Yue-ying. Yue-ying becomes her maidservant. At the beginning, I really didn't care for Ming-yu. I thought she was cold. IMO, she did a complete 180 and her coldness was a result of the events that were unfolding. 
Bai Huang was from an old, rich, well known and respected family. He made many bad mistakes and choices. Having conquered (mostly) and learned from his mistakes, he spies for his father, playing the idiot. He notices Yue-ying and very gradually empowers her to come out of her shell and speak her mind.
I don't think the mystery/murder was the strongest aspect of the story. What made this excellent IMO was the romance, acceptance, and trust between Yue-ling and Huang. I was also wondering how J.L. was going to pull off the HEA. Nice.
Looking forward to Ming-yu's story.
For Ripped Bodice Bingo: the pre-renaissance square!

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review 2018-06-05 15:13
You Send Me - Jeannie Moon

You Send Me by Jeannie Moon
Love hearing about connection with the compass-we have many in our possession.
Jordan is about to get married but...she had found him with another woman...
Story also follows Nicky who's staying at his grandparents house at the beach who also rent out the house Jordan lives in. She found her new pet helped fill the void.
He's recuperating from surgeries to his hip and there are more to come.
Love the very descriptive details of the area-love the ocean and water scenes.
He, an ex Navy doctor came to her resuce during the storm when she had just left her car with supplies to help make her better, when the oak tree fell on the car.
She not only had a chest cold but bronchitiis. He helps take care of her and her dog during the storm.
Love how she treasures her dog and father and allows Nick to help her out with both.
There is a lot to this story! Such tender caring moments shared. Major misunderstandings occur after Nick's visit with her father...he's attracted to her and she to him but they are still hiding things from one another.
She wants her father in hospice to die happy and to show him how she will be loved after he's gone. Adult situations, swearing and sex scenes. Love how realistic this is, the location and learning new things. Would love to read more from this author. Love hearing of the connection the compass has to this whole story-priceless! Funny scenes and hilarious ones when she meets his whole family for dinner and she stays longer...and yes very tragic teary eyed scenes as well.
Other works by the author are highlighted at the end along with 'about the author'.
Didn't realize this was a series because I read it as a stand alone and it was perfect. Will probably get my hands on the first book.
Received this review copy from Tule Publishing via Negalley and this is my honest opinion.

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review 2018-05-27 00:00
You Send Me
You Send Me - Jeannie Moon You Send Me has just enough angst to draw readers in and the perfect pitch of heart to never let go. Moon is a soul whisperer. Her tales of bruised hearts move me to tears, even as they uplift my heart. Jordan and Nick could be anyone. The ever winding road has not always been kind to either, yet it manages to guide them to each other. At their most vulnerable, they have much to teach each other. She has to find the strength to be weak and he has to find the courage to heal. You Send Me is about accepting weakness and gaining strength because not despite of it.
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