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review 2017-02-28 09:53
One Sip at a Time- Keith Van Sickle

   This is a series of anecdotes, penned by an English-speaking American dabbling in life in France. It is an easy to read, short book with the capacity to raise a smile, if not to add a great deal to one’s own understanding of the entente cordiale. The author’s joie de vivre is infectious, even if one is sometimes left a little nonplussed about quite why.

   As the author points out himself, his and his wife’s, um- no actually, his, difficulties with a very different culture and language, provides the colour to this book. Note well, that the author declares himself as anything but some bilingual Québécoise superhuman. Van Sickle is the average, and more usually male, voyager who struggles in anything but a native lingo. Well, that’s the picture he paints. I suspect that in reality, he is the sort of person that brings enough of himself to any social situations to compensate for those that make little positive impact, whatever language is being manipulated. He certainly has the confidence to point out his insufficiencies to his reading audience, which does help draw one into his ‘sips’.

   In the connections that make up the thin thread of connective story we see the couple dip in and out of ‘francophone’ culture, in varying, if generally geographically close, locations. The book is not so very different from a couple of dozen books written by British and Irish individuals that have tried escaping the perpetual grey for the nicer bits of France. So this doesn’t add much in the way of knowledge to anyone that has read any of these, nevertheless, this book is well worth a read if one has any sort of interest in ‘French-English’ détente. This is lightweight draft, from a bonhomme raconteur that can only appeal to the many Anglophones that have faced the torture of trying to use school level French for real communication. So yes, definitely, this reviewer is amongst its natural audience.

   Van Sickle seems to be particularly keen on making the Swiss, the people of my adopted nation, the butt of several stories. He, and of course his misses, his linguistic enabler, lived for a while in the Swiss Romande Canton of Neuchâtel. While en Suisse, we are more inclined to find the butt of humour amongst the people of the ‘Hexagone’ that is truly French, and particular amongst thsoe fine residents of Paris that feel only they can speak la langue française. Certainly, in that superior capital, not even the people of the once officially independent province of Provence are recognised as speakers of anything close to acceptable French.

   Worth a read during the bon voyage.



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review 2016-10-15 15:15
Review: A Sip of Rio
A Sip of Rio - Teodora Kostova

This is a very hard book to rate. There were parts I absolutely loved and other parts I disliked.


What I liked:
- The guys. Liam and Blaine were sweet and I thought they were really cute together.
- The sexy times. The sex scenes were hot!
- Rio. I loved reading about Rio and I could almost imagine me being there. This had a very nice holiday feeling.

What I liked less:
- The insta-friendship at the beginning. I liked how these guys met, but after that the start of the friendship was off page. So when they went on holiday and they were already friends, I didn’t buy it. I just wanted a couple more pages in between, where I was there to witness the friendship developing. This felt rushed.
- I have no idea what Liam’s deal was when he turned Blaine down at the end of their holiday. He said he was afraid to get hurt in the beginning, but I never once read that from him when he turned Blaine down near the end. I just didn’t get where he was coming from (and I’m so fed up with the break-up near the end in. Every. Single. Book. I. Read).
- A travel blog? Really? I get that it could happen, but this was WAY too sudden. If someone sprang this on me, I would not have been happy. Why couldn’t they start a real relationship in London first before Blaine decides this is the way to go?
- The dog. Seriously, Blaine gets Liam a dog while they are supposed to earn a living traveling the world? Poor dog.

Overall, this was a nice book with a great holiday feel.


But the issues I had with it prevent me from rating this higher.

Thanks to Marte for the great BR!

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review 2016-10-15 15:01
Review: A Sip of Rio
A Sip of Rio - Teodora Kostova

**** 4 Rio de Janeiro stars ****


I promised you a sunset over Rio de Janeiro," Liam said. (...) "Here it is."




Liam and Blaine were characters I really enjoyed. I liked the reason for why they met up, and went on the trip to Rio together. I liked Blaine's easygoing nature, and quick smile. Liam was a sweetheart, adorable with his curls.


I loved how Rio de Janeiro was like a secondary, or almost main "character" of the book. The descriptions and feel of this big city made me want to go there myself. It's clear the author loves this city, and it shines through to the reader!


I loved Blaine and Liam in Rio. Their sightseeing and activities. It really made me feel the city. I loved their blossoming romance. They were so good together. The kissing scene, and sex scenes were awesome. The author knows how to write a great sex scene!



+++++++++++ slight spoilers ahead ++++++++++++++++


I have a niggle with Blaine not telling Liam about his bisexuality. I get that Blaine didn't want to put pressure on Liam to have a romantic holiday when they didn't know each other that well. What I didn't like was that I felt Blaine didn't tell Liam, at the same time as he relentlessly flirted with Liam, and constantly calling him "babe". I felt it was a confusion for Liam, that I didn't like. The story is so warm, happy and feel-good, the slight angst/issue this caused was unnecessary, and put me off.


I didn't like Liam's reaction to Blaine when he told him his feelings, how he shut him down after the wonderful time the had together. I liked the idea Blaine came up with, but I don't understand why it had to be the travel blog or no relationship at all. Why couldn't they have continued their relationship when they got back instead and see how things went from there? They met several times before they went, so I don't understand why they couldn't have just talked about dating and taken the idea of the travel blog from there. I get why Liam balked at the idea, it's a huge decision.

The grand gesture was totally swoon worthy!



The meaning of the balloon was totally fitting! It didn't bother me that it was Blaine who wooed Liam, after all Liam reached out first, didn't he? However, Blaine wooed Liam with shoving him he was serious about the travel blog. I don't get why the travel blog had to be entwined with their HEA. Also, the puppy? How can you with good conscience surprise someone with getting a dog, when their plans are to travel all over the world for their blog being their job? Poor doggie. :-/



++++++++++++++++ slight spoilers finished ++++++++++++++++



In all, though, this was a wonderful read. The writing was great! And Rio was even greater! I loved this warm breath of summer reading this story in cold October.



A review copy was given to me by the author.



Thanks to Susan for the buddy read!


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text 2016-10-14 16:06
Reading progress update: I've read 35%.
A Sip of Rio - Teodora Kostova

Oh my.. The sex scenes in this are smoking hot!

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text 2016-10-14 09:50
Reading progress update: I've read 1%.
A Sip of Rio - Teodora Kostova

Impromptu BR with Marte

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