Book Recommendations, Book Talk

The Audiobook Experiment: Addendum

Yes, I know I said the audiobook experiment was concluded, but I have a short update I want to share with you, so bear with me 🙂

When I started my audiobook experiment, it was because I wanted something to entertain me while I mowed the lawn, which in reality meant gardening work in general. And now I’m moved into the new house (LOVE IT!) and have done some garden work (even if my plan isn’t to do too much this year, but weeding still needs to be done. Stinging nettles need to be eradicated!) and decided to test my theory.

Is gardening work more fun while listening to audiobooks?

I put on my headphones and started listening to Assimilation, Love, and other Human Oddities by Lyn Gala (because John Solo is my most recent audiobook narrator crush and because Liam and Ondry are fan-fucking-tastic) and went to work.

And let me tell you; battling the stinging nettles with my handheld trident gardening tool thingy (yes, that’s the official name of this thing) as Liam attacked the kawt (Rownt predator creature) with the reialet (Rownt club) was fun. I felt fierce as hell, and the more Liam fought, the more I attacked. Listening to a book while doing it gave me energy and stamina and I kept going for hours.

So I’d say that the experiment was a smashing success!

Also: something I didn’t know when I started the experiment was that I was going to apply for a job, get said job, and start commuting an hour in the morning and and an hour back in the evening Monday through Friday. And listening to audiobooks while on a train, makes the commute much more bearable. Especially considering I’m commuting at the same time as kids going to school, and the one morning I was forced to listen to four teenaged girls arguing about homework for 20 minutes straight taught me to always always bring my headphones on the train.

One more thing before I conclude the experiment again: I mentioned that I listened to Assimilation, Love, and Other Human Oddities, which is the second book in Lyn Gala’s Claiming series. I also listened to the first book, Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts, which made me happy because the short prequel Prelude to Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts (that I hadn’t read before) was included in the audio. I loved hearing how Liam and Ondry met the first time and traded.

I’ve read books 1 and 2 before, a long time ago, before book 3 was released, and I really loved them, so when I saw that John Solo was narrating them, I decided that a re-read (re-listen?) was in order. And gawd, John Solo does an amazing job; I love his voice for Ondry, I love how he infuses so much sensitivity into Liam, and I adore how he narrates the grandmothers.

If you haven’t read these books, you really should. They’re awesome. And I say this as someone who

  • doesn’t read sci-fi
  • doesn’t really like series
  • definitely doesn’t like series that follow the same couple over several books

But Liam and Ondry are the exception to the rule, they’re just that fabulous…which is why I’m going to listen to book 3, Affiliations, Aliens, and Other Profitable Pursuits, too. It’s included in my Nextory subscription, but even if it wasn’t, I’d spend an Audible credit on it. That’s how much I like them.

And this is the conclusion to my audiobook experiment.

…I think 😁

Book Recommendations

Friday Book Recommendation

The weekend is here and everyone knows that weekends are for reading! So I thought I’d tell you about a book I’ve read recently and loved, if you need a recommendation, I mean.


It’s the summer of 1967 and the Sexual Offences Act has just decriminalized consensual gay sex in private between two men over twenty-one. Percy Wright and his friend Les Barker have both taken temporary jobs teaching English as a foreign language in London during their long summer break from teaching at a rural boarding school near Oxford.

Thirty-three year old Percy is keen to soak up some theatre, music and general culture, whilst the younger Les is also keen to experience the varied gay social scene. When Les picks up a man called Phil at the box office of the Albert Hall when he goes to buy tickets to a Promenade Concert, Percy inadvertently gets thrown together with Adrian Framlingham, Phil’s friend.

Adrian is all the things Percy likes in a man…funny, kind and steady. When Les gets hurt, Percy turns to Adrian for support, but as the end of the summer looms it seems as if their affair will come to a natural end.

What will happen when Percy goes back to his everyday life as a house-master? Will he and Adrian stay in touch? Does he even want a long-distance relationship when arranging to meet someone for sex is still illegal, even if the act itself is not?

A 20k novella that’s set five years before Taking Stock. Stand alone.

If you’ve followed me for awhile, you know that Taking Stock by the same author was one of my favorite books in 2020, so this book was an auto buy for me. And it didn’t disappoint! I devoured Eight Acts one Sunday afternoon accompanied with a cup of tea and it was lovely. It has the same feeling as Taking Stock, the feeling that made me fall head-over-heels for it. The quiet romance, the ordinary guys falling in love in a down-to-earth kind of manner. It has no grand gestures, no over-the-top moments. Just two men, meeting and falling in love, being there for each other, supporting each other when times get rough.

It’s honestly my favorite kind of romance.

Adrian emerged from the box with a triumphal expression, clutching a half-open pack of digestives. “Here! I knew I’d seen them!” he said.

“I think I’m in love with you,” Percy said, apropos of completely nothing.

Quote from Eight Acts.

So do yourself a favor and check out this book; it’s great. And if you still haven’t read Taking Stock (buy link), you definitely should. (Taking Stock and Eight Acts are only loosely connected and both can definitely be read as standalones.)

All the heartwarming stars from me. And Ally, if you read this: now I wanna read Les’s story! 😍

Book Recommendations, Book Talk, Meet Cute Chronicles

International Tea Day

Today is International Tea Day! There are some weird “holidays” floating around, but a day celebrating tea? I can get behind that!

Here on the blog, I’m celebrating with tea (duh!) and books where tea features prominently. Let’s start off by pouring a cup of our favorite tea. Here’s mine.

My favorite tea: matcha genmaicha. Look at that color! 😍

Many of my characters drink tea, because I’m a tea lover and I project that onto my MCs. But no one but Viggo in They Met in the Woods makes their own tea. No wonder Måns falls for him, right? I would, too, if I lived in that world 😁

Måns Elemander had A Plan. A researched and well-thought-out one, devised to help him avoid getting lost while foraging for mushrooms in an unfamiliar forest. But his cell phone battery didn’t get the memo, died unexpectedly, and thwarted The Plan, leaving Måns with a basket full of mushrooms, but no idea where to go. Until the sounds of someone chopping wood reaches him.

Måns follows the sound and finds a quaint cabin…and its owner, Viggo Moberg. Viggo is kind, understanding of the situation, and willing to help. He’s also smoking hot and their connection is instant, threatening to ignite and burn down the woods. Will the sparks burn fast and fizzle out, or will the attraction grow roots, just like the trees in the forest?

M/M Contemporary / 17 388 words

But wait. I know I write pretty short books, so if you still want more after finishing They Met in the Woods, if you’re in the mood for a really long and cozy tea-drinking and tea-reading session, I’ve got you covered. Here are three more books featuring tea.

Amy Tasukada’s Blood Stained Tea isn’t a romance, unless you count the relationship between Nao and his tea. But if you’re in the mood for a bloody thriller about crazy, murderous yakuza and excellent tea descriptions, Blood Stained Tea is just the book for you.

Tattoos & Teacups by Anna Martin: if you’re in the mood for opposites attract, age gap, and a charming relationship-focused book. I haven’t read it in years, but I remember loving it. Maybe today is the perfect day for a re-read?

Taking Stock by A.L. Lester might not have the word “tea” in the title, but it’s full of the stuff. It’s a book set in Britain, written by a British author after all, so tea is expected. And it’s there, in every little aspect of daily life, and as a tea lover myself, this is something I really appreciate. But it’s the quiet, lovely romance between the two men that’s the real star of this book, despite all the tea goodness.

Nao took the cup and let the tea warm his hands. The astringent oolong filled his nose with an undertone of plum from that particular blend. Tea always calmed him, and he was more thankful than ever that Father had called for it. Nao pressed the cup to his lips and drank. Bitter, probably from too many leaves stuffed into a tiny infuser.

After making tea in my only, beautiful teapot and finding proper teacups and saucers to drink it from, I loaded up a tray with the tea-making paraphernalia and some proper Scottish shortbread and joined Chris under the duvet that he’d brought through to the sofa.

Laurie was thin under the soft cotton. They stood for a while, doing nothing but breathing and looking out the window. Gradually, Laurie relaxed and as he did, he swayed back, just a little, until some of his weight was resting on Phil. It felt nice, to take the weight for someone else.

Eventually, Laurie dashed his good hand over his face. Wiping his eyes, Phil thought. “Tea’s getting cold,” Laurie said.

Tell me; which is your favorite book where tea features prominently?

Book Recommendations

Sunday Book Recommendation

It’s Sunday, and Sundays are for reading on the couch (or in the garden now that it’s spring), shushing anyone who tries to disturb you unless it’s asking if you need more tea, and relaxing. And if you need a reading recommendation, I’ve got you covered.

I’ve read three books by K.L. Noone lately – and if you’ve followed me for a while, you know how I feel about K.L. Noone by now – that I want to tell you about. Three books that were as great as every other book of hers I’ve read. She really is one of my absolute favorite authors, and sometimes I get upset that I don’t see more people talking about her books. That’s so unfair; her stories deserve praise and recognition.

Do you have a favorite author who doesn’t get the recognition they deserve? If yes, tell me about them in the comments, please.

Anyway: I’ll start with the shortest and most recent of the books I read:

Ellis retired from a pirate’s life to settle down with Tom, the man he loves. But when a fever nearly claims Tom’s life, Ellis faces a foe he can’t fight, and though Tom’s recovering, the ordeal’s left Ellis shaken. On a stormy afternoon, can Ellis and Tom face the tempests of their emotions and find safe harbor together?

Gay Historical Romance / 3202 words

If you only have a few minutes, this is the book for you. And if you like pirates! I don’t; I’ve never understood the attraction to pirates, but after reading a huge chunk of what K.L. Noone has written, I knew that she wouldn’t disappoint me even with pirates, and I was right!

“Speaking of, can I at least ask you to kiss me? Not too gently? Piratically, perhaps?”

Quote from A Sonnet for a Thunderstorm

Buy link: JMS Books

Aidan’s on what should be an easy Magical Enforcement Division case: stolen apples. But the apple-thief faerie-horse shifts into a gorgeous young man who doesn’t mind being captured. Ink left his herd to find adventure, and he has. He likes Aidan’s hands and that enchanted bridle on him. But ritual magic and complicated powers collide, and the family legacy Aidan’s been avoiding becomes important.

Gay Paranormal BDSM Erotic Romance / 20 205 words

If you like paranormal stories but have grown tired of all the wolves in shifter stories and crave something more unusual, may I suggest a faerie-horse shifter story? I admit I hadn’t heard about a “Pooka” before reading this story, but Google tells me it’s an Irish mythical creature, that “is a shapeshifter and can take any form it chooses. Usually, it is seen in the form of a horse, dog, rabbit, goat, goblin, or even an old man. Traditionally a Pooka is seen as a dark, sleek horse with a long wild flowing mane and luminescent golden eyes.” (source)

The day I read this book, I was so in the mood for an apple-thief faerie-horse and I was not disappointed!

He remained very, very unclothed: toes bare in long grass, ears up and shivering through dark hair, tail a starlit fall of onyx against pale skin and apple-tree bark.

Quote from The Pooka’s Share

Buy link: JMS Books

Raine’s an unconventional Cupid who dislikes his powers. He isn’t about to fall in love and wouldn’t trust someone falling in love with him. But the owner of his local coffee shop tempts him. Don’s a Frost who enjoys good coffee and overall cheer. But one gorgeous Cupid seems immune. Don’s determined to make Raine smile, and he learns Raine’s sarcasm hides a lonely heart.

Gay Fantasy BDSM Erotic Romance / 40 020 words

The word that best describes this story is probably “delightful,” and it left me with a wide, happy grin on my face. The characters, Don and Raine, are delightful, the coffee shop is delightful, the writing is delightful, everything is delightful. I probably looked like this 😍 the whole time I read this book. And it’s really creative: Raine is a divorce lawyer Cupid, who dislikes Valentine’s Day – “You mean the commemoration of commercialization and insincere affection?” (I couldn’t have said it better myself!) – and Don is a big-hearted coffee shop owner who can create frost and ice, who I’d like to know in real life.

He sent Raine, via the dependable Henry, his heart in the form of coffee: strong and bold, with a dazzling variety of beans and roasts.

Arabica. Robusta. Viennese. Italian. Complicated blends. Spices and smoke.

Quote from Frost & Raine

Buy link: JMS Books

Happy sigh.

I love K.L. Noone, have I told you that before? 😂

Book Recommendations

I’m Looking Forward to…

If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that the fabulous Addison Albright and I are friends and that I love her books. One of my favorites is The Best-Laid Plans (the second book in her Plans series, I raved about it here) and it was among my Top Ten books of 2019. I’ve known for a while that she’s planned on writing a third book in the series, called Change of Plans, and I’ve been waiting eagerly. But the wait is over; she’s spent April writing the story and it’s done. Finally the moment is here, the moment when I’ll get my greedy little hands on it! Because I’m honored to be one of Addison’s betas, which means I get to read the story before everyone else, and if you think I’m gonna take the highroad and not gloat about that, you’re wrong! 😁

[insert annoying sing-songy teasing here, along the lines of I’ll get to read it before you do or something equally smug that makes you want to punch me in the face 😁]

But while you wait for Change of Plans, may I suggest you visit Addison’s blog and check out the snippets she’s posting every weekend from the first chapter (link here). And if you need more incentive, she’s illustrated every single blog post so far and the illustrations are hilarious!! Want a sneak peak?

That glorious red hair on Prince Marcelo makes me love him even more 😍 And look how unhappy Prince Efren is!! 🙂

So fun and creative, and it makes me long for the book even more.

And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, here are books 1 and 2 in the series for you to check out while we’re waiting for the release of Change of Plans.

An untimely death throws a marriage arrangement, the final phase of a treaty, into disarray. Now the Crown Prince of Zioneven can make his own choice from among the princess’s younger siblings. As a royal son in the matriarchal sovereignty of Sheburat, Prince Marcelo grew up knowing Royal sons never married. Never. Period. Except Prince Efren isn’t from Sheburat, and he has other plans.

Buy Link: JMS Books

A death that wasn’t what it seemed… A kidnapping that isn’t what it seems… Time is running out. Enmeshed in political intrigue, death, and a kidnapping, will Prince Efren untangle the web of clues in time to save his naïve young husband, or will Prince Marcelo dig deep to discover a previously untapped inner strength and determination to facilitate his own survival?

Buy link: JMS Books