Guest Author Stacey Agdern: Thoughts on History and Jewish American Heritage Month

Hi friends! Please welcome Stacey to ALBTALBS! She’s our first JAHM guest ever! This is really exciting. 😀

Thoughts on History and Jewish American Heritage Month:
By Stacey Agdern

Jewish American Heritage month was established in 2006 by presidential proclamation.  Which means that it’s the most recent of the heritage months, now sharing space with an already well established month.

Which means it’s hard to talk about it. 

It’s not that Jews aren’t proud of who we are. We are.  

It’s that we don’t want to take away from the important conversations that surround  AAPI history month. These days, as anti Asian prejudices increase, it’s even more important to focus on and celebrate the history and achievements of East Asians, South Asians, Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders. 

But at the same time, these days, a great deal of conversation in Jewish spaces involves putting ourselves back into the narrative and reframing conversations where we’ve been erased.  It’s happening in so many different spaces, for so many different reasons. Continue reading

A List of API[A] Romance Authors

Hi friends! So I did this for Black History Month – created a list of Black Romance Authors which I hope you found helpful. So I wanted to do it for APAHM too.
With SAPAHM months I’ve had some international guests, so the lists might be slightly off – so apologizes if they are, please let me know what to change. (If I couldn’t find a webpage I linked to their Amazon profile page.) And … some of these authors write YA but YA romance, so I added you know – “(YA)” after their names.

Bella Andre
Grace Callaway
Jax Cassidy
S.A. Chakraborty
Gloria Chao (YA)
Mary H.K. Choi (YA)
Sylvia Day
Sara Desai
Sonali Dev
Piper J. Drake
Pintip Dunn (YA)
Vicki Essex
Hafsah Faizal (YA)
Eilis Flynn
Jen Frederick
Jeanette Grey
Jenny Han (YA)
Karen Harbaugh
Farah Heron
Helen Hoang
Mia Hopkins
Amalie Howard
Uzma Jalaluddin
Julie Kagawa (YA)
Soniah Kamal
Coleen Kwan
Thien-Kim Lam
Ruby Lang
Jackie Lau
Loan Le (YA)
Jade Lee aka Kathy Lyons
Jayci Lee
Hudson Lin
Jeannie Lin
Marjorie Liu
Gennita Low
Tif Marcelo
Sandhya Menon (YA)

Courtney Milan
Tara Pammi
Suzanne Park
Sajni Patel
Cindy Pon
Tara Quan
Alisha Rai
Amara Royce
Sophia Singh Sasson
Nisha Sharma
Royaline Sing
Suleikha Snyder
Jesse Q. Sutanto
Cecilia Tan
Sherry Thomas
Melanie Ting
Julie Tieu
Gita Trelease
Jen Trinh
Lillie Vale (YA)
[Grace Wen]
Ekaterine Xia
Cathy Yardley
Jennifer Yen (YA)

International Asian Pacific Islander Authors
H. Bentham
Halina Cabrera
Catherine Dellosa
Carla de Guzman
Six de los Reyes
Mina V. Esguerra
Elizabeth Galit
Georgette Gonzales
Agay Llanera
Arlene Manocot
Chris Mariano
Nicola Marsh
Bianca Mori
Farrah F. Polestico
Kate Sebastian
Nalini Singh
Camilla Sisco
Marian Tee
Jay E. Tria
Celestine Trinidad
Ines Bautista-Yao

Have you read these authors before? I know there are names I’ve missed – so do you have anyone I should add? (And thank you!)
And as always – if you want to be removed, please let me know.

*ETA: and unlike the other list, the italicized names are ones from crowdsourcing. So I switched it up. Just keeping y’all on your toes. 😉
*ETA² – Clarification after getting numerous comments – mostly on Twitter – Jackie Lau is not the only Asian Canadian author on the list. I included Canada in the “American” list because it’s in N. America, and is closer/much more similar than say someone who lives in Malaysia and has only ever lived in Malaysia. We’ll see how things change next year.

Guest Review: Gilded Age Cocktails: History, Lore and Recipes from America’s Golden Age by Cecelia Tichi

Gilded Age Cocktails: History, Lore and Recipes from America’s Golden Age by Cecelia Tichi
Released by NYU Press on May 4, 2021

Gilded Age Cocktails book coverA delightful romp through America’s Golden Age of Cocktails

The decades following the American Civil War burst with invention―they saw the dawn of the telephone, the motor car, electric lights, the airplane―but no innovation was more welcome than the beverage heralded as the “cocktail.”

The Gilded Age, as it came to be known, was the Golden Age of Cocktails, giving birth to the classic Manhattan and martini that can be ordered at any bar to this day. Scores of whiskey drinks, cooled with ice chips or cubes that chimed against the glass, proved doubly pleasing when mixed, shaken, or stirred with special flavorings, juices, and fruits. The dazzling new drinks flourished coast to coast at sporting events, luncheons, and balls, on ocean liners and yachts, in barrooms, summer resorts, hotels, railroad train club cars, and private homes.

From New York to San Francisco, celebrity bartenders rose to fame, inventing drinks for exclusive universities and exotic locales. Bartenders poured their liquid secrets for dancing girls and such industry tycoons as the newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst and the railroad king “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt.

Cecelia Tichi offers a tour of the cocktail hours of the Gilded Age, in which industry, innovation, and progress all take a break to enjoy the signature beverage of the age. Gilded Age Cocktails reveals the fascinating history behind each drink as well as bartenders’ formerly secret recipes. Though the Gilded Age cocktail went “underground” during the Prohibition era, it launched the first of many generations whose palates thrilled to a panoply of artistically mixed drinks.

Lime asked me to review this book because vintage cocktails have been my pandemic quarantine project. I have amassed a collection of books on the subject, and I am happy to add this one to my bar shelf.

The subtitle of this book says a lot. It contains more history and lore than recipes, and I found it fascinating. As Tichi writes in the introduction, “the Gilded Age might also be known as the Golden Age of Cocktails” (p. 3), especially in the pre-Prohibition USA. She explores some of the reasons for that early in the book, and then she goes on to take a closer look at individual people, groups and places that were particularly significant and influential in cocktail culture from 1870-1910. Continue reading

SAPAHM Guest Author Cathy Yardley on being Asian-ish

Hi friends! I’m so happy to welcome back Cathy Yardley. I really hope you read her post – I’m grateful for what she has to say, and that she was willing to share it with us. Thank you, Cathy. <3

Asian-ish

When Lime asked if I could write a guest post for APAHM, I was thrilled. And then I was sort of terrified. Because I have a very complicated relationship with my own Asian heritage.

So I was talking with my (white) father last month, and I mentioned something – don’t remember what exactly– that my brother and I had been talking about. I think it was being Asian parents. How funny it was that, now that we had kids of our own, a lot of Mom’s habits had stuck despite out best efforts. Hovering about grades, especially.

And my father said, “It’s not like you’re really Asian, though.” Continue reading

Happy APAHM + An Ending

Hi friends! It’s May 1, which means APAHM has rolled around again! What is APAHM you might ask? It’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Sometimes you might see AAPI – especially more recently in articles, or being said, and that’s Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

It seems fitting for me to say this during APAHM – I have slightly mixed feelings about it – I’m not happy about it but … I’m pulling the plugs on Smithsonian Heritage Month (SHM) posts in 2022. If people want to guest post they’d be more than welcome to. In fact, I hope they do. But I’m not going to keep trying for nothing. Putting out calls, seeing all the people who see it and just don’t care.

The attitude “oh Lime is just doing this to pander and we aren’t welcome any other time” which is patently untruePretty much anyone is welcome to guest at ALBTALBS at any time – it’s just for the SHMs we really tried to find highlight and celebrate people who fit under the umbrella of that particular month. It’s become more of a burden than a recognition – depressing and discouraging, and that’s … just not good. So I’m calling it quits on that. We’ll see where and how  everything else goes.

So uh – on that downer, especially looking at all the hate Asian Americans have gotten for the past year+ … whoo?

😐

Kindle Book Promo + Deals

Hi friends! If you follow me on social media you might’ve seen me share a bunch of deals before. I asked if anyone might be interested in a blog post listing them and people responded positively, so here we are! Enjoy!

First of all, Amazon is currently running another promotion where if you spend $25 on ebooks, you’ll get a $6 credit. Click here: amzn.to/3aKlw7a  – make sure it tells you the deal is activated first before you start buying! It ends tomorrow, April 28, 2021.

Now, all the deals are priced as listed at the time of this post so I’d encourage you to double check because if you read/buy kindle books you’ll know pricing can change very quickly.
N.B. I haven’t read all of these books. Some I’m sharing because it’s a good deal, some I’m sharing because the deal but also I know others liked them. Or, I think people might enjoy the book. For ones I really liked I’ll sometimes comment or highlight it.

Taking His Shot (Hot Jocks Book 7) by Kendall Ryan is on sale for $0.99  (kindle)
Marry in Haste (Marriage of Convenience Book 1) by Anne Gracie is on sale for $1.99
Sorcerer to the Crown (A Sorcerer to the Crown Novel Book 1) by Zen Cho is on sale for $1.99
Problem Child (A Jane Doe Thriller) by Victoria Helen Stone is on sale for $0.99
Jane Doe: A Novel (A Jane Doe Thriller) by Victoria Helen Stone is on sale for $1.99
The Last One Home by Victoria Helen Stone is on sale for $3.99
The Vanishing (Fogg Lake Book 1) by Jayne Ann Krentz is on sale for $2.99
A Lie for a Lie (All In Book 1) by Helena Hunting is on sale for $1.99
Unbreak My Heart by Lauren Blakely is on sale for $1.99
Rookie Move (A Brooklyn Bruisers Novel Book 1) by Sarina Bowen is on sale for $2.99 
His Immortal Embrace by Hannah Howell, Lynsay Sands, Sara Blayne, and Kate Huntington is on sale for $1.99
A Heart of Blood and Ashes (A Gathering of Dragons Book 1) by Milla Vane is still on sale for $1.99
Lover Mine (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 8) by J.R. Ward is on sale for $1.99
Not the lowest price, but A Court of Thorns and Roses is on sale for $6.65  (kindle) – and you might want to snag it now because it seems the other books in the trilogy are now $10.
Someone to Watch over Me (Bow Street Series Book 1) is on sale for $1.99
Dreaming of You (Gamblers Book 2) by Lisa Kleypas is still on sale for $2.99 – And if you’ve never read it and don’t understand the “DEREK!!! SARA!!!” tweets and the “debates” … well here’s your chance to get it at a bargain 😉
Romancing the Duke: Castles Ever After by Tessa Dare is on sale for $2.99
Say Yes to the Marquess: Castles Ever After by Tessa Dare is on sale for $3.99
Catch Me If You Can by Christina C Jones is on sale for $0.99
Finding Forever (Friends and Lovers Book 1) by Christina C Jones is on sale for $0.99
Only For A Night (The Lick Series Book 1) by Naima Simone is on sale for $0.99
Only For Your Touch (The Lick Series Book 2) by Naima Simone is on sale for $0.99
Only For You (The Lick Series Book 3) by Naima Simone is on sale for $0.99 
(There are even more Naima Simone books on sale for $0.99-$1.99 so enjoy! You can check them out here.)
A number of Tessa Bailey books are on sale from $0.99 to $2.99 here.
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love by Numbers Book 1) by Sarah MacLean is on sale for $3.49
A number of Grace Burrowes books are on sale for $1.99 here (kindle)
Duchess in Love (Duchess Quartet Book 1) by Eloisa James is on sale for $1.99
Much Ado About You (Essex Sisters Series Book 1) by Eloisa James is on sale for $1.99
Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James is on sale for $1.99
The Bachelor (Duke Dynasty Book 2) by Sabrina Jeffries is on sale for $0.99
Mistress By Mistake (Courtesan Court) by Maggie Robinson is on sale for $1.99
Badger to the Bone (The Honey Badger Chronicles Book 3) by Shelly Laurenston is on sale for $0.99
The Unleashing (Call Of Crows Book 1) by Shelly Laurenston is on sale for $1.99
Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles Book 1) by Ilona Andrews is on sale for $1.99
Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, Book 1) by Ilona Andrews is on sale for $2.99
Heiress for Hire (A Duke’s Heiress Romance Book 1) by Madeline Hunter is on sale for $0.99
The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen is on sale for $2.99
A number of books by Beverly Jenkins are on sale from $1.99-$2.99 (here) and if nothing else you should really get Destiny’s Embrace which is $1.99 right now.
Crossing The Line (Wilde Ways Book 7) by Cynthia Eden is on sale for $0.99

So! Did you find this helpful? Would you be interested in me noting if the books are in KU too or no? Please let me know!
And 😅 finding all these deals etc does take time so if you’re so inclined … buy me a cup of coffee? *angelface*
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Spoof Review: Dreams of the Past by Laura Hunsaker

Dreams of the Past by Laura Hunsaker
Contemporary romance published by Laura Hunsaker on January 12, 2021

She needs rest, he needs relaxation…

Jenny Travers wants a fresh start. Leaving the nightmares of her past behind her, she heads to Last Chance Beach. Renting the Sea Glass Cottage sounds peaceful and relaxing, which is exactly what she needs.

What she doesn’t need is a man.

Lieutenant Commander Scott Gordon was injured by an IED on his last mission, and while his leg has healed, it’ll never be strong enough to stay on his SEAL team. Renting the Sea Glass Cottage sounds like the perfect place to figure out how he’s going to handle his new normal.

He never expected to find a woman in his bed.

A mix-up at the rental agency means Jenny and Scott are both renting the small cottage. Sharing a space with a stranger should be hard, yet they both feel more at peace than they have in months.

Will their summer romance last, or is the magic of Sea Glass Cottage all they’ll have…

I mean OMG there’s only one bed. ONE BED!

In Dreams of the Past, we have your typical forced proximity story of two strangers and one bed. Now we all know that either stranger could walk out of the building at any time. I mean they aren’t snowed in, they’re stubborn. Continue reading

Team TBR Challenge Review: The Vampire’s Cursed Kiss by Kristen Painter

The Vampire’s Cursed Kiss (Shadowvale book 2) by Kristen Painter
Paranormal romance released by Kristen Painter on June 24, 2019

Shadowvale isn’t your typical small town America. The sun never shines, the gates decide who enters, magic abounds, and every resident bears some kind of curse.

Vampire Constantin Thibodeaux was cured of his sun “allergy” when he moved to Shadowvale. Now he runs the local bookstore, which is really just a sideline to filling his own library. Books, unlike people, are far more forgiving of his prickly nature. But he doesn’t care if people don’t like him. He is who he is. And he’s happy. Well, he’s content. Okay, he’s…fine.

Sprite and all around party girl Andromeda Merriweather loves her carefree life – or at least she did until her sister cursed her into a magical time out. Thankfully, she’s just been set free by a totally hot, but kind of grumpy vampire. Too bad this handsome grouch now holds the key to her freedom, something she’ll only get if he agrees to abide by the rules of her curse.

Constantin isn’t interested in the terms and conditions Andromeda gives him, until he needs her to be his temporary girlfriend to shut his brother up. Then Constantin agrees. But what happens after a surprisingly fun evening creates brand new problems for both of them. Sure, two opposites can attract, but will that attraction last? Or are they both too cursed to give love a chance?

I adore paranormal romance (PNR). Now, I started reading romance when I was a young thing, maybe 11 or 12. I cut my teeth on Harlequin and Silhouette category romances, dipping my toes into the waters of historical romance. Think Bertrice Small, Judith McNaught, and Johanna Lindsey. I also read horror and especially loved the now defunct Twilight: Where Darkness Begins imprint. Sprinkled in were SFF books by Anne McCaffrey, Robin McKinley, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Douglas Adams. It’s no wonder that when I stumbled across PNR in the late 90s that I read almost everything in sight. PNR can be a wonderful blend of SFF, contemporary romance, and horror. It’s amazing!

I  purchased the fist two books in Kristen Painter’s Shadowvale series because I was going to be traveling and was loading up my kindle with  books that would be quick reads. A friend had recommended Kristen’s books, and these two seemed like they would make great car reading. I know I read the first book in the series, The Trouble With Witches, but for whatever reason, The Vampire’s Cursed Kiss sat on my kindle until recently, when I was dealing with vaccine brain and once again needed something light to read. Continue reading

Guest “Lightning Reviews”: The Billionaire’s Kittens by Karen Booth & Piper Trace

With a little sweet and a lot of heat The Billionaire’s Kittens series offers up gorgeous billionaires, spicy happenings in the boardroom and bedroom, and lots and lots of cute cuddly kittens. For those unfamiliar with the series here’s a quick recap in time for book eight which releases today.

The Billionaire's Kittens by Karen Booth & Piper Trace coverThe Billionaire’s Kittens – He wanted her body but he fell for her kittens.

Thurston Howard knew he was in trouble the first time he saw the little furry kitten in the lobby of the building he lived in and owned. The kitten looked exactly like one he owned as a child. He wasn’t prepared for the kitten’s owner to be even cuter than her furry feline companion. 

This book is told in alternating POVs of Thurston and Amber Darling who owns her own feline rescue, Amber’s Darlings. It works well here since they are so different but it’s those differences that make this book work. This is a friends to lovers romance that will find you rooting for the couple to realize that friends do indeed make the best lovers. Plus who can resist a man who loves kittens? Continue reading

Team TBR Challenge Review: Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

Act Your Age, Eve Brown (The Brown Sisters #3) by Talia Hibbert 
Contemporary romance published by Avon on March 9, 2021

Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong – so she’s given up trying. But when her personal brand of chaos ruins a wedding, her parents draw the line. It’s time for Eve to grow up and prove herself – even though she’s not entirely sure how…

Jacob Wayne is always in control. The uptight B&B owner expects nothing less than perfection from his employees, so when a purple-haired tornado of a woman applies for his open chef position, he tells her the brutal truth: not a chance in hell. Then she hits him with her car – supposedly by accident.

Now his arm is broken, his B&B is understaffed, and the dangerously unpredictable Eve is fluttering around, trying to help. Before long, she’s infiltrated his work, his kitchen – and his spare bedroom. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else…

Act Your Age, Eve Brown is a great conclusion to The Brown Sisters trilogy (I reviewed Get a Life, Chloe Brown here and Take a Hint, Dani Brown here). This book delivers the same funny, sexy beats as the prior books in the series. Eve and Jacob quickly develop this beautiful relationship where they can be themselves with each other and not second guess how they’re coming across or put up a front. It’s just lovely (and super hot!).

(Note: Please read the Author’s Note at the beginning of the book for content warnings.) Continue reading