Category Archives: General

SBHM 2020 & Generally re: the SHMs

Hi friends! Indicative of how 🤦🏻‍♀️ is for me I accidentally first put “2019.” …

SBHM stands for “Smithsonian Black History Month.” To be honest, so far we have nothing lined up – for any of the months. Everyone’s exhausted, and I definitely understand Black [romance] authors (always, but especially with this RWA shit show) feeling exhausted and Some Type of Way.

To explain the Smithsonian Heritage Month posts… ANYONE now is welcome to write posts for ANY months. International friends, regardless of race/background. It just has to be relevant to the month (unless you fall under the umbrella month). So if you’re white I welcome you to step up to the place and research a person, an event, celebrate someone, whatever, and write a guest post for either Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Pride, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Latinx Heritage Month, or Native American/First Nations Heritage Month.

I’m hoping to line something up – but also to maybe feature previous posts which you might have missed. Through the years if you’ve followed the Smithsonian Heritage Months you might’ve noticed really interesting and different tones to posts and months too.

Anyway, today is obviously the the start of Black History Month – and it so happens to also be the sesquicentennial of the 15th Amendment and the centennial of the 19th Amendment. Thank you to the SPLC for bringing that to my attention – and they can say everything much better than I could ever hope to, so I hope you check out their article:

2020: African Americans and the Vote.

And this. February 1 is a truly historic day.

Guest Author: Stephanie Burgis Discusses Her Upcoming Release, Moontangled

Hi friends! Stephanie Burgis reached out to me about reviewing her Hardwood novella – and I asked if she’d be willing to grace us with a guest post! I’ve read the prequel novella to the Hardwood Spellbook series, Spellswept, and really enjoyed it 🙂 So without further ado, Stephanie!

Stephanie Burgis on Moontangled

Snowspelled by Stephanie Burgis book coverIn the world of 19th-century Angland, no extravagant Prince Regent or parliament of gentlemen rules the nation. Instead, a group of hard-headed and pragmatic women politicians form a ruling Boudiccate, leaving all irrational magic—by tradition—to the more “naturally” emotional and irrational gentlemen.

It’s the way that society has been divided ever since Boudicca first expelled the Romans with the help of her second husband, a mage. Even now, every ambitious young politician is expected to take a mage for her own spouse if she hopes to ever rise to the Boudiccate. Of course, because of all of those ingrained social rules, mages can only ever be male…

Until now. The formation of Thornfell College of Magic for Women (founded by the first known woman mage, Cassandra Harwood, in the novel Thornbound) means that every unthinking social rule is suddenly open to question. Society at large is reeling with the impact—and two young women are hoping to finally seize their chance.

Caroline Fennell has been in strict training to become a member of the Boudiccate ever since she was eight years old, under the patronage (and control) of her famous and powerful aunt—who has ordered Caroline to follow the expected path by marrying a gentleman mage no matter what her private inclinations may be.

Juliana Banks spent her own youth forced to hide all of her brilliance and natural gifts as her family was horrified by her forbidden magic. Finally, as a student at Thornfell College, she’s found a home where she belongs and she can shine. As soon as she graduates, she’ll be a certified mage and thus—if the rest of the nation will accept it—a suitable spouse after all for Caroline Fennell…who’s been her secret fiancée for years, unbeknownst to the rest of the world.

Everything seems to be on track for all their years of passionate hopes and dreams to come true…except that ever since the events of Thornbound, Caroline has suddenly gone strangely distant. Now, as Thornfell College prepares for a magical outdoor ball to be held on the edges of their enchanted woods, Juliana is determined to win back her secret fiancée—but Caroline is equally determined to break her own heart by giving up Juliana for Juliana’s own good…and no one has ever accused Caroline Fennell of being easy to dissuade from any of her principles.

When they sneak into the fey-ruled woods together, every one of their plans will be thrown into turmoil. They’ll need all of Juliana’s magic and Caroline’s tactical brilliance to save each other and their love by the end of the evening. Continue reading

What I (Limecello) Read the Second Half of 2019

Hi friends! As you may know, here at ALBTALBS we try to provide comprehensive lists of what we’ve read during the year. (Some of us split  the year in half, some of us do it in one go.)

ICYMI there was a lot of health stuff for me this year, and my brain is pretty broken, so if things don’t make sense I apologize.

As you may have figured, I’m a major mood and comfort [re]reader. I tried to denote re-reads within the [same month] with an asterisk after the author name. (That’s what that means, I think.) If there’s an asterisk before the title, that means it’s a general re-read. [I know, even “tricked” myself with this damn system/had forgotten about it, because I couldn’t figure out why my numbers were off. Anyway, without further ado … my 2019 Part II list! (The list might be slightly off, because my computer is ancient and wants to die – if I leave it unplugged overnight it goes from 100% charge to 0%. And my internet connection isn’t great either. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ We’re struggling over here, kay?) The vast majority of the books I read are from the library. And if you’re familiar with KU, you can probably tell the periods where I took advantage of a promotional [membership] :P. Continue reading

HNY: Welcome 2020! ALBTALBS Is Old As Shit!

… So that title is pretty indicative of my mood.

But! Before we get there – Happy New Year, Lovelies! <3 🎉🎊🍾🥂

ALBTALBS turns 9 this year. (I guess there are a few posts from December 2010 but … whatever those were kinda tacked on I think so we’ll just go with January 2011 being the official start so I can [hah!] perhaps plan some sort of big blogiversary bash for next year. >.>)

It’s been kinda a rough year for Team ALBTALBS, and Babs is our (only) rockstar reviewer. Shout out to Babs, who is the absolute best.

The rest of us are, uh, gonna try to do better. (Honestly our baseline shouldn’t make it that difficult … >.>)

And now … I didn’t talk about the Cristiane Serruya plagiarism mess last year because I felt like so many other people had covered it better. And I believe it was right before I was put out of commission for a few months. There was the “Cocky”™ mess … as well as a number of other trademark messes … But if you don’t know about what’s happening with RWA … the last time I read it (last week?) Claire Ryan had one of the best timeline/summaries. I’d also like to note – I’m not calling it “drama” or a “kerfluffle” because this isn’t some whatever shit. It’s serious on multiple levels – the racism, the implosion of a major professional organization … the multiple (unending it seems) levels of bad actions and bad actors…

So yeah. We’re just gonna truck along. Hopefully blogs make something of a comeback. And hopefully A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet is along for that ride.

Thanks so much for sticking with us! <3 I often wonder if I should just shutter the whole thing. But for now … we’ll be here. I’d love to know if you’re still here with us too. <3

SHM: Native American Heritage Month and “Behind the Scenes”

November is Native American Heritage Month. This is a hodgepodge post of … the update, information, etc. I’ll try to keep it upbeat.

One interesting thing I saw and will hopefully remember to follow is this:

The Cherokee Nation says it has a right to a congressional delegate. Now it wants Congress to fulfill its promise.

I saw on twitter that a congressional representative had been selected – we’ll see what the legislative body does. I don’t know if it’s more prevalent, or my timeline, or what, but I’m seeing more and more from Native/First Nations people and I’m glad. The US (and various other countries) have a lot to apologize for, and make up for. 

Compounded by the attitude of this current administration and probably the less I say here the better.

Anyway, I had at least one post lined up but the author has gone MIA – so if you or anyone would like to write a guest post for the month I’d be very very happy to have you. If you don’t know, the Smithsonian Heritage Months – Black History, Women’s History, Asian Pacific American Heritage, Pride, Latinx Heritage, and Native/First Nation Heritage Months are what we try to celebrate here at ALBTALBS. It used to be “limited” to USians who fall under the umbrella category, then to anyone who fell under the umbrella category, and last year or so I opened it to ANYONE who wanted to write a thing. 

We do have a few Native American romance authors out there, and you can see guest posts from years past in the archives

We could probably do with some tag clean up/better tagging but … 🤷🏻‍♀️ this is a money pit pet project, so you get what you see. 😛 Truly though – thanks for sticking with us <3

Oh! And – if you’re interested in more information and education, personally I’ve been checking tweets Rebecca Nagle’s timeline.

Lastly if you or anyone would like to write a guest post for any of the Smithsonian Heritage Months in 2020, or if you’d like to step up and shout out own voices individuals in the community and run the celebrations for any month … please. Do – I’d love to have you. Let’s talk.

On Sportsball/Social Media for Social Good, and Latinx Heritage Month

Hi friends! If you’re a longtime reader you might maybe have thought “hey I wonder what’s up with SMSG this year?” Well … it’s like this – if The Ohio State University Buckeyes break 70 points and win their game, I’ll donate $10 to a non-profit charity. (This seemed like something that might happen a few times at the beginning of the season … but so far it’s only happened once. Fingers crossed they do more.)

ANYWAY. I kept meaning to throw this post up, but life and such and ALBTALBS is clearly on a bit of a hiatus, and the only “good kid” of the crowd is Babs – who is the hero of the site. (I’m definitely in the “bad child” camp myself :X) Continue reading

Guest Author: Nina Bocci on Disregarding the Advice to “Keep Politics Out of Your Books”

Hi friends! So Nina Bocci‘s newest book just came out this past Tuesday! On the Corner of Love and Hate has such an interesting premise, and I’m about to start reading it soon. 😀  It’s also the first of the “Hopeless Romantics” series. Anyway, Nina is a delight, and I hope you enjoy this post, and pick up her newest book! So without further ado … Nina!

On the Corner of Love and Hate by Nina Bocci book coverWhen Emmanuelle Peroni’s father—and current mayor of Hope Lake, Pennsylvania—suggests she help with Cooper Endicott’s campaign, she’s horrified. Cooper, one of her (former) oldest friends, drives her crazy in every way possible. But he’s also her father’s protégé, so Emma reluctantly launches her plan to help him win the local election.

It’s not as easy as it looks. Cooper’s colorful love life is the sticking point for many voters, and his opponent is digging up everything he can from his past. It seems that every time Emma puts out the flames from one scandal, another one flares up. Emma knows that if Cooper wants to win, he needs to keep his nose clean. The only problem? She might just be falling in love with the one person she promised never to pursue: the mayoral candidate himself.

Don’t write a book with politics.

You’re a debut (basically), you’re going to kill your chances of people picking it up.

My God, you’re an idiot, why didn’t you listen? Continue reading

ALBTALBS Shout Outs and Sponsors From 2018

Hi friends! Every so often I offer ad space at ALBTALBS. Really it’s supposed to be $15/month (for a static image), but I don’t make a big deal about it. If someone purchases ad space generally I do a highlight post on it as well – if you’re a longtime reader you may have a vague recollection of this. Every so often I’ll offer monthly ad space at a discount. Ads are never enough to cover costs, but it’s definitely better than nothing. This all comes to mind for a number of reasons. First of all … blog fees are due soon, and if I want to keep ALBTALBS, it’s hundreds of dollars. Considering I had to set up a Go Fund Me for medical expenses … yeah.

Even without the major surgeries etc … in an attempt to help with the costs it’s why I set up a Ko-Fi too, a year or two ago.
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Anyway! How the ads work is I put them as a widget in the sidebar, so ad blockers won’t remove them, and also so they’ll show on every page – the main one and specific posts. Please let me know if you’d like to be an ALBTALBS sponsor!

So … here are the ALBTALBS sponsors (people who paid for ads) from 2018 … and two shout outs which I’ll explain. (For the 2018 authors I went with their latest release that I could find.) That’s generally what I do too if someone doesn’t remember to let me know what image they want to run but have paid. Continue reading

[Adult] High Fantasy Romances: A Quest (+ Books I’ve Read in this Genre)

Hi friends! As you know, I’ve been on a big kick for adult high fantasy romances! I’m pretty sure I’ve explained “high fantasy” in previous posts … not sure about the other so … By adult I don’t mean “adult situations” I mean “the main characters are considered to have reached the age of majority in their world/culture.” (Although you know, adult situations are good too 😛 ) It seems this is still a genre dominated by YA but … you know. Also, one of my “quirks” is I hold off on reading a series until it’s finished. (Mostly because I’ll blow through an entire series in just a few days.) I do sometimes make an exception but … it’s rare. (And I also need to be assured each book can stand sufficiently alone/doesn’t end on a massive cliffhanger.)

Anyway, here’s my updated list! I would like to note… I’ve branched into YA. I mean – see above, right? I thought about trying to find some symbol to denote YA titles but … that seems too daunting. I periodically make these posts because I ask for recommendations on social media a lot, and a lot of people are always interested, so hopefully this helps us all out. 😀

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson book cover

Here’s what I’ve read: Continue reading

What I (Limecello) Read the First Half of 2019

Indicative of how things are going, for the year I first typed 2018, and then 2010 and … yeah. If you haven’t noticed we’ve mostly been on hiatus here at ALBTALBS, with only rockstar Babs being on point and writing all the reviews and such as expected. The Heritage Months … I so hate giving up but might be a bust. I joked about next year for APAHM and then Pride (being my birthday month) my “gift to myself” would be… totally taking both months off… BUT ANYWAY. You’re not here to listen to me whine. You’re here to see what I’ve been reading. And it didn’t seem like a lot but … I guess it has been! So whee! There have also been some gems in there that I really hope you’ll pick up!

The asterisk before means I’ve read the book in the past and re-read it this year. Or that I read it this year, and then have re-read it again since the first read. The asterisk after the author name means the book was new to me, but since reading it in 2019 I’ve re-read it. Close to one of those “I got to ‘the end’ and flipped the book around and started from page 1 and read it through all over again.” … Because yes some people do do that! … 😛 Generally not me but I’ve done something close! 😀 Continue reading