Hi friends! It’s that time of year again! Welcome to Asian Pacific American Heritage Month!
Like previous years, the upper list is “North American” Romance Authors … which sure SAPAHM/APIAHM is for the USA but … I’d posit someone living in Canada [maybe? generally?] has a closer cultural experience than someone who has never lived in N. America? And for the latter, diversity in reading is always good, yeah?
*EN: Aidee sent this list on January 5, all delays are my fault.
Anticipated Books of 2023
First, this list is late because I was struggling to track down books I was truly excited about. However, it was like a slow snowball, because I now have more than ten books I’m looking forward to, and I’m sure there will be many more I grab throughout the year that aren’t on the list. As always, these books are not in order of how thrilled I am about them, but they are loosely in order of when they are supposed to be released into the wide world (presuming nothing funky will happen that affects release dates).
Bradley Graeme is pretty much perfect. He’s a star football player, manages his OCD well (enough), and comes out on top in all his classes . . . except the ones he shares with his ex-best friend, Celine.
Celine Bangura is conspiracy-theory-obsessed. Social media followers eat up her takes on everything from UFOs to holiday overconsumption—yet, she’s still not cool enough for the popular kids’ table. Which is why Brad abandoned her for the in-crowd years ago. (At least, that’s how Celine sees it.)
These days, there’s nothing between them other than petty insults and academic rivalry. So when Celine signs up for a survival course in the woods, she’s surprised to find Brad right beside her.
Forced to work as a team for the chance to win a grand prize, these two teens must trudge through not just mud and dirt but their messy past. And as this adventure brings them closer together, they begin to remember the good bits of their history. But has too much time passed . . . or just enough to spark a whole new kind of relationship?
A forbidden love between a Mexican heiress and a shrewd British politician makes for a tantalizing Victorian season.
Ana María Luna Valdés has strived to be the perfect daughter, the perfect niece, and the perfect representative of the powerful Luna family. So when Ana María is secretly sent to London with her sisters to seek refuge from the French occupation of Mexico, she experiences her first taste of freedom far from the judgmental eyes of her domineering father. If only she could ignore the piercing looks she receives across ballroom floors from the austere Mr. Fox.
Gideon Fox elevated himself from the London gutters by chasing his burning desire for more: more opportunities, more choices. For everyone. Now, as a member of Parliament, Gideon is on the cusp of securing the votes he needs to put forth a measure to abolish the Atlantic slave trade once and for all—a cause that is close to his heart as the grandson of a formerly enslaved woman. The charmingly vexing Ana María is a distraction he must ignore.
But when Ana María finds herself in the crosshairs of a nefarious nobleman with his own political agenda, Gideon knows he must offer his hand as protection . . . but will this Mexican heiress win his heart as well?
[Apologies if you already saw this – the original post went live while the host was moving things so the site was down for some time, so I’m re-upping it as new. Especially since I need a lot of help/lot more than I had anticipated.]
You may or may not know but … the site was down for a while – the hosting company had to make some changes and it was a big mess … and I’ve also got a lot going on.
It’s mostly explained in the GFM post and updates so … I literally cringe even asking this, but if you’re able to help at all, I’d really appreciate it. “Please help Limecello.”
Or buying actual items, I was advised to create a registry and I did once I found someone to collect and get things to me since I’ll be down for the count. You can find it here.
I really appreciate everyone’s generosity – Romanceland is so giving and wonderful – and the support. <3 People sharing the links to things directly for greater reach – all that helps if someone doesn’t have the budget to give money. (Which I obviously understand.)
So, thank you all for your patience.
As for a new/current update … I’d thought the robot wounds had stopped bleeding but they have not, unfortunately. My eye has been twitching for over two weeks now, and on average I’m getting about 3 hours of sleep a day. It’s rough going, but I’m trying. And I really appreciate everyone keeping me company and being so kind. Thank you. ❤️
Blurb: As a disciple of the Lei Clan, Lei Wu Jie can’t wait to prove his worth as a hero, but as a novice who has only just entered the martial arts world, the path to becoming a true hero is difficult, at best. Undeterred by the challenges that lay before him, Wu Jei makes his way to the great city of Xue Yue, certain that his time there will mould him into the hero he so longs to be. Unfortunately, his trip to Xue Yue is waylaid by an unfortunate mishap at the Villa of Fallen Snow.
As proprietor of the Villa, Xiao Se has all the looks of a wealthy innkeeper, but he can barely afford to keep the inn open. Struggling with his business, Xiao Se is less than pleased when his establishment is damaged by the antics of a young, wannabe hero. Demanding he makes amends for the damage he caused, Wu Jei can think of only one way to appease the grumpy Xiao Se, and that is to take him with him. With no other options, the two set off together without any idea of what fate has in store for them.
Befriending several people along the way, including Wu Xin, Sikong Qian Luo, Tang Lian, and Ye Ruo Yi, Xiao Se and Wu Jei soon find themselves caught up in an adventure far greater than any of them could have imagined. While facing countless dangers, the group stumbles upon a trail of clues that tie one of them to a battle for the throne that took place over a decade ago. The question is, is the intrepid hero ready and willing to take his rightful place as the leader of the people? And where will the brotherhood go from there?
And a secondary trailer because why not
I really enjoyed this show. I started writing this review when I was rewatching (again again) and on episode 6 where there’s a lot of great humor. The Blood of Youth has such a badass ending. The theme for the March TBR challenge is “baggage” and boy howdy does our (main) hero have a lot of it. The most eyebrow raising aspect is – and … get ready to mark your calendars because this is rare – ignore the “romance” in it. Truly it’s terrible. I recoiled from my screen during most the “romance” scenes 😅. I liked the great balance of this series between plot and serious matters and humor, as well as the great relationships that are displayed. Really in my opinion it’s a buddy epic, and a journey of the hero “re-discovering” himself. It’s a bit of a wuxia fantasy – there are a lot of suspension of disbelief elements (basically people flying, near sentient weapons etc), but just go along for the ride. It’s a good time. Continue reading →
Hi friends! It’s that time again! As you know the Smithsonian Heritage Month posts stopped working a few years ago so since then I’ve been posting lists of authors for most of the Smithsonian Heritage Months. I’m really excited to offer this updated and IMO extended list for 2023, and hope you all find a new author to love.
I compiled this list through the past year, so my apologies if there are any errors. Also, if you know of anyone to add, please let me know. (Or as always if someone wants to be removed from the list, let me know and I’ll be happy to do so.)
The subject kinda says it all but … like look – my life is a mess. I know in early January I was still recovering from surgery. (Which … 😐 stay tuned ….) I can’t recall what all I did – I’d thought it was February but also now I think it was January 2022 that I watched Schitt’s Creek in a week, and watched both seasons of Ted Lasso in something like 3 days. (I miss having Netflix access T_T) … and you do what you gotta do when your free trial of Apple TV is ending. 😜
I also don’t know the status of the HarperCollins strike – I think they’re in the process of negotiations? I also know there were a lot of suggestions/tips as to how to support the union. I truly didn’t have the bandwidth to check who published what from what I read – nor did I add “grades” this time for the same reason. Definitely I support the union though and don’t consider this reviewing or promoting – although I think the stikers said they weren’t asking for reviewers to stop? I’m not a good source for all this though – there are various places you can check.
ANYWAY. I truly don’t know how complete this list is … I also re-read a lot last year. And not just that, but I’d read the same book over and over. Especially audiobooks. As usual, the asterisk before the title means it’s a re-read. The “x#” after a book means how many times I read it in a row this time. I don’t think it’s all the books I read but it’s about as comprehensive of a list as I can get now.
It’s kinda funny/sad. You can kinda tell when I was depressed and in a slump. (When I’m really depressed there’s no reading at all. But also sometimes when I’m depressed it’s more reading. So … >.> levels?) As always, I apologize if there are any typos and such. And if you want more information/potentially any thoughts I jotted down, you can check my GR.
This list may have less romance than usual, but paradoxically more fluffy romance (think aliens and mythological creatures). It is, as ever, not in chronological order or any order denoting preference for particular books. Titles preceded by an asterisk are rereads; you may recognize some old favorites by this point. And this time, it is completely my fault this particular list is so incredibly late.
Hi friends! November is National Native American Heritage Month!
If you’re new to A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet (ALBTALBS) I used to have guests. Now, every year I post a list. I’m so excited to have a number of new names to added this year! Most of them have been published they’re [simply] new to me – though there’s nothing simply about it. I’m thrilled to see this number growing, and more books to look into.
As always if you fall under this umbrella and want me to add you, or know someone who could/should be added, please let me know! (And on the flip side, if you want to be removed, let me know that as well.) … Also I know at least one of the authors is Canadian – but you know, North America. (I’m still not quite sure how to split or not split international authors …)
Editor’s Note: Hi friends! So Dave actually sent me this post last year 🙃 but I didn’t get it posted prior to surgery, and … well, if you’ve ever recovered from major surgery I think you know basically continuing to breathe takes all your focus and energy. Anyway. Here we are a year later, and with Halloween right here, we’ve got some “scary” book recs for you.
This post is supposed to be about a book. Specifically, a collection of gothic horror. The New York Public Library defines gothic horror as “the battle between humanity and unnatural forces of evil…with an oppressive, inescapable, and bleak landscape.” It’s the stuff of haunted mansions (Shirley Jackson), ghosts (Susan Hill), and supernatural creatures (Bram Stoker). That wasn’t this book.
There was no sense of foreboding or dread. There were no chills or scares. But then I had to ask myself, “Is it me?” Would someone else who isn’t a fan of horror novels, comics, and movies enjoy this more? Perhaps. Or did I not enjoy it because the horrors we’ve faced for the past year and a half are far scarier than anything I could read? Perhaps. It’s for these reasons that I’ll refrain from naming the book.
But it got me thinking what is scary or frightening? What makes me turn on the lamp while reading or even makes me put down the book? It is of course different for every person. I have a friend terrified of clowns, my wife is petrified of snakes, I detest daddy-long-leg spiders aka cellar spiders. Vile long-legged ticks is what they are. But I digress. Whether it’s clowns or snakes or walking ticks we all have that thing that sends chills down our spine.
Here are ten books that might make you stop reading and put on a Hallmark Christmas movie because the book has begun to haunt you and you need a change.Continue reading →
To be honest, I had thought I had a review on hand for October … but it turned out to be not a review. And then I haven’t felt like I’ve been reading much lately. Some good books but more books that were just okay in that I wasn’t mad I read them but … I don’t know that I’d recommend them widely. I have however, but re-reading a lot of books this year … and recently began another binge re-watch of The Story of Yanxi Palace. This … very well may be my seventh (if not more) rewatch. Granted certain parts I forward through – but it’s an intensive experience.
Anyway, the October suggested prompt was “Flirting with Danger” … and I thought about it for a bit, and felt like the closest recent book I’ve read, or more accurately re-read would be Carter’s Flame by Tiffany Patterson. Although I think it’s more a straight contemporary romance than a romantic suspense. The hero is former special forces, and currently a firefighter working in the rescue squad. He meets the heroine when he rescues her from her car after a crash.
Carter and Michelle are great. Michelle is a single mother, and Carter goes all in on having a built in family. If you like really possessive alpha heroes, than Tiffany Patterson will be your new catnip. I personally love smitten heroes, so when I first discovered Tiffany Patterson’s book, I literally read her entire backlist in one go. (At the time it was a little over 30 books and I think it took me about three to four weeks.) What I like about her heroes is that they’re smitten and jealous, possessive but not controlling. They’re very “hey back off my woman, asshole” … but they don’t try to control her. For her part, Michelle “flirts with danger” because the father of her son is someone … well, it’s a spoiler but not a major factor – someone she thought she was in a relationship with, but she was actually his sidepiece. (She was only 19, he was a predator. She was vulnerable and obviously young. Thee ex provides for her son in paying for the tuition of his very expensive private school… and that’s it – however he threatens her with withdrawing that support or worse taking custody if she dates anyone else. This actually really annoyed me because it would be highly unlikely for a court to take away a child from his sole custodial parent, but it becomes a whole thing. I get the drama but I irked me. While this isn’t my area of legal practice, I know more about it than the average [legal] bear. Carter’s “flirting with danger” is pretty obvious what with running into burning buildings and such.
For the relationship itself, there’s very little danger. Like I said, Carter (and most Patterson heroes) are all in once they meet their loves/are ready for a relationship, and they will systematically destroy any barrier to it.
As for The Story of Yanxi Palace … it’s a Chinese historical drama set during the Qing dynasty. The heroine is a palace maid set on revenge, and honestly her entire life is just careening from one danger to another. She’s very bold, angry and petty in the best ways … and smart. She can’t stand injustice and is so steadfast. Yingluo is crafty but also lucky. Help comes when it’s most needed, but things are not easy for her – at all. It’s probably my favorite series ever though, so I’ve rewatched it a number of times since first seeing it. I watched it shortly after it first came out … I know Ilona Andrews watched it (I think some time in 2019 and blogged about it but for the life of me I can’t find details now…) Anyway the fact that it has a happy ending is a big part of why I like it so much. And I’ve a vengeful bitch so playing the long revenge game is something I respect. Fully.
Here’s the cover and back cover copy of Carter’s Flame if you’re interested.
I was born into a world of wealth and privilege. My birthright was to be at the helm of one of the world’s leading energy companies. But that wasn’t my purpose in life. Sitting behind a desk of a fortune 500 isn’t what gets me going. I’ll leave that life to my brothers. No. It took me years to find my true purpose. Saving lives. Walking into the depths of hell to pull out survivors. It’s what gets me out of my bed in the morning, and eventually, it’s what led me to her.
On a day that, to her, must’ve seemed like the wrong place and wrong time, is where I met my destiny. Michelle Clarke. Our worlds collided and I knew instantly that she was mine. Everything in my life up until this point has been preparing me for her.
The eight years I spent in special forces.
And the last six years spent as a proud member of the Williamsport Fire Department’s Rescue 4 squad.
All of it was preparation for her. And nothing, not her reluctance, not my brother, and not even her son’s father will stand in the way of what belongs to me. My job is to rescue people and put out fires, but I will set anyone who stands in our way, ablaze. I will happily pour the gasoline and light the match and set all of this shit aflame, just to ensure she is where she belongs … with me.
And if you’re interested …
Here’s a link to start you out on Yanxi Palace. From what I’ve seen of it the translations are overall quite good. This is actually my first time watching the series with English subtitles. There are a few things I’d quibble about but all told they aren’t that serious. And they’re much better than many others I’ve seen generally. (Definitely whatever was put up on Amazon Prime is some like terrible bootleg version.)
Anyway I’d love if more of you read Tiffany Patterson and watched Yanxi Palace because I have things to discuss.