Share-A-Tea: T(ea) is for TARDIS

In honor of the new season of Doctor Who, Adagio.com had a short promotion where you “spun” a virtual wheel, and a sample tin TARDIS-themed fandom blend popped into your cart for free. This is the tea I got.

Name: T(ea) is for TARDIS
Source: Adagio (free sample)

Description from Vendor: A famous time machine and space craft that does wonders, also known as Time and Relative Dimension in Space. This rooibos tea is filled with the sweetness of Earl Grey and warm delicious vanilla and green tea. Touches of rose hips, hibiscus, blueberries and apple pieces add great flavour to this blend. Cheers!

My Preparation: Steeped 3 minutes at 190 degrees Fahrenheit

My Impressions: This tea has a really lovely aroma, thanks to the fruit and floral ingredients. It’s sweet enough for me to enjoy without adding sugar or honey, which is saying something, considering my sweet tooth. All of the flavors blend together really well, making a soothing, sweet drink that I think would be very nice over ice, though I haven’t tried that yet. Since I’m not generally a blueberry fan, this isn’t a blend I would have selected on my own, so I’m grateful to Adagio for sending it my way!

Ingredients: Green tea, rooibos tea, rose hips, hibiscus, apple pieces, natural vanilla flavor, orange peels, blue cornflowers, natural blueberry flavor, natural bergamot flavor, blueberries

Suggested Preparation: Steep at 200F for 4 minutes.

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Down the TBR Hole #15

Down the TBR Hole was originally created over at Lost in a Story.

Most of you probably know this feeling, your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when you’re scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well that’s going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10, if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
  • Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next week!

Visit my to-read shelf to see how very far I still have to go!

The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail – But Some Don’t by Nate Silver

Published: September 27, 2012
On TBR Since: October 9, 2012

I’m pretty sure I started this at some point, and then had to return it to the library before getting back to it.

Stay or Go: Go

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Published: November 27, 2012
On TBR Since: October 24, 2012

Just not feeling this one anymore.

Stay or Go: Go

Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm by Thích Nhất Hạnh

Published: January 1, 2012
On TBR Since: October 24, 2012

I think I may need to read this one as soon as I’m done with the Woodward book.

Stay or Go: Stay

The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? by Jared Diamond

Published: October 19, 2012
On TBR Since: October 24, 2012

The moment has passed.

Stay or Go: Go

Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version by Philip Pullman

Published: September 27, 2012
On TBR Since: October 24, 2012

I’m considering making this part of my Classics Club adventure.

Stay or Go: Stay

Bringing Home the Dharma: Awakening Right Where You Are by Jack Kornfield

Published: December 6, 2011
On TBR Since: October 29, 2012

Oh, man. I tagged this for a task in the 2016 Read Harder Challenge and still didn’t get to it. Time to let it go.

Stay or Go: Go

Reflections: On the Magic of Writing by Diana Wynne Jones

Published: May 3, 2012
On TBR Since: November 7, 2012

I had totally forgotten about this. Now that I’ve been reminded, I still want to read it.

Stay or Go: Stay

The Myths of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky

Published: January 1, 2012
On TBR Since: November 26, 2012

There are other, similar books on my TBR that I’m more interested in.

Stay or Go: Go

The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought by Susan Jacoby

Published: December 3, 2012
On TBR Since: November 26, 2012

This one still sounds interesting, and it may dovetail with some Classics Club reading.

Stay or Go: Stay

Alone on the Ice: The Greatest Survival Story in the History of Exploration by David Roberts

Published: January  21, 2013
On TBR Since: November 30, 2012

I actually listened to the audiobook of this a while ago, though I never recorded it in GoodReads. I’d still like to give it a re-read.

Stay or Go: Stay

The Last Explorer: Hubert Wilkins, Hero of the Great Age of Polar Exploration by Simon Nasht

Published: September 6, 2006
On TBR Since: December 14, 2012

Me and my polar explorers. What can I say?

Stay or Go: Stay

Scott of the Antarctic: A Life of Courage and Tragedy by David Crane

Published: January 1, 2005
On TBR Since: December 14, 2012

Same as above, really.

Stay or Go: Stay

Half and half – 5 going and 5 staying this week.

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The Classics Club

While watching the first episode of Jamestown, my wife made a comparison to Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.

“I haven’t read it,” I said.

She’s often surprised by what I haven’t read. My reading history has the strangest gaps in it. Many of the books commonly assigned in high school were somehow never assigned in my classes. When I was approaching the end of high school, the school’s College Counselor suggested St. John’s College in Annapolis might suit. The school offers a single program, called the Great Books Curriculum, in which students study Greek, French, and a course of classics of Western thought; at the end, they earn a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts.

This idea was vetoed after family discussion, as I was expected to major in something more career focused.

The joke was on me, though, since my degree is a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences (my final major was actually Rhetoric, which sounds fancier than “Creative Writing”), and I still haven’t read The Odyssey. Or Animal Farm. (I read 1984 on my own the summer before I started Library School.) Or, as I’ve mentioned before, any Austen at all.

I’ve read two books on this Bustle list of 14 Classic College Books You’ll Want to Read Again as a Real Adult: Wuthering Heights and Frankenstein, both of which I read on my own sometime after finishing grad school.

I see Camus’ The Stranger on lists of “classics you should read” all the time. I haven’t read it. But I did read The Plague for AP English. I have a vague recollection that I read it over Winter Break in order to be able to discuss it as soon as we came back in January. Festive, eh?

Actually, speaking of vague memories, I think I may have read part of Frankenstein in college, along with “selections from” Homer. I did take a pair of classes to satisfy a Western Civilization requirement, but as with many survey courses, we read bits and pieces of lots and lots and lots of things, never really getting to delve into the nuances of any one.

I’ve toyed with the idea of working through the St. John’s Reading List as a way of filling in those gaps. While I was trying to figure out a couple of unfamiliar names (there are quite a few science essays in there), I stumbled on the Classics Club Blog.

I love this.

From the site, the club basics (short version):

  • – choose 50+ classics
  • – list them at your blog
  • – choose a reading completion goal date up to five years in the future and note that date on your classics list of 50+ titles
  • – e-mail the moderators of this blog with your list link and information and it will be posted on the Members Page!
  • – write about each title on your list as you finish reading it, and link it to your main list
  • – when you’ve written about every single title, let us know!

They also have some mini-challenges and games, like the Classics Club Spin, to shake up any reading ruts.

I have been working on my list, with a start date of January 1st, 2019. And, yes, The Scarlet Letter is on there.

Are there classics you wish you’d read? What’s on your Reading Bucket List?

This post is part of the 2018 Book Blog Discussion Challenge hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight!

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Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Last year, the Los Angeles City Council voted to replace the official City holiday of Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. In honor of the day, here are some books by and about Native American people that I am looking forward to reading. For more suggestions, please see the Best Books page at American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL). While you’re there, be sure to take a look around – the site was established in 2006 and contains a wealth of information!

#Notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale

Whether looking back to a troubled past or welcoming a hopeful future, the powerful voices of Indigenous women across North America resound in this book. In the same style as the best-selling Dreaming in Indian, #NotYourPrincess presents an eclectic collection of poems, essays, interviews, and art that combine to express the experience of being a Native woman. Stories of abuse, humiliation, and stereotyping are countered by the voices of passionate women making themselves heard and demanding change. Sometimes angry, often reflective, but always strong, the women in this book will give teen readers insight into the lives of women who, for so long, have been virtually invisible.

 

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich

Nineteenth-century American pioneer life was introduced to thousands of young readers by Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved Little House books. With The Birchbark House, award-winning author Louise Erdrich’s first novel for young readers, this same slice of history is seen through the eyes of the spirited, 7-year-old Ojibwa girl Omakayas, or Little Frog, so named because her first step was a hop. The sole survivor of a smallpox epidemic on Spirit Island, Omakayas, then only a baby girl, was rescued by a fearless woman named Tallow and welcomed into an Ojibwa family on Lake Superior’s Madeline Island, the Island of the Golden-Breasted Woodpecker. We follow Omakayas and her adopted family through a cycle of four seasons in 1847, including the winter, when a historically documented outbreak of smallpox overtook the island.

 

Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot

Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman’s coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder and bipolar II disorder; Terese Marie Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a memorial for Mailhot’s mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners; a story of reconciliation with her father―an abusive drunk and a brilliant artist―who was murdered under mysterious circumstances; and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone while dragging the long shadows of shame.

 

Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World, #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse

While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last—and best—hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much larger and more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

 

Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith

When Louise Wolfe’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, the ambitious new photojournalist, and in no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. From the newly formed Parents Against Revisionist Theater to anonymous threats, long-held prejudices are being laid bare and hostilities are spreading against teachers, parents, and students — especially the cast members at the center of the controversy, including Lou’s little brother, who’s playing the Tin Man. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey — but as she’s learned, “dating while Native” can be difficult. In trying to protect her own heart, will Lou break Joey’s?

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Down the TBR Hole #14

Down the TBR Hole was originally created over at Lost in a Story.

Most of you probably know this feeling, your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when you’re scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well that’s going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10, if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
  • Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next week!

Visit my to-read shelf to see how very far I still have to go!

Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture: What the World’s Wildest Trade Show Can Tell Us About the Future of Entertainment by Rob Salkowitz

Published: May 17, 2012
On TBR Since: August 22, 2012

This is more of an academic business book than popular non-fiction, which is not what I’m looking for.

Stay or Go: Go

Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep by David K. Randall

Published: August 6, 2012
On TBR Since: August 23, 2012

There are several books on sleep hanging out on my TBR, so I can let this one go.

Stay or Go: Go

The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean

Published: September 1, 2005
On TBR Since: August 28, 2012

Not to be confused with David Grann’s The White Darkness, which comes out this month. And which is also on my TBR. One word: Antarctica.

Stay or Go: Stay

Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children’s Literature by Philip Nel

Published: January 1, 2012
On TBR Since: August 28, 2012

This one falls under Professional Reading.

Stay or Go: Stay

Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren’t the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room by David Weinberger

Published: January 1, 2012
On TBR Since: August 31, 2012

“Now that the facts aren’t the facts”… and this book is from 2012. Still feels important.

Stay or Go: Stay

The Well at the World’s End: The Epic True Story of One Man’s Search for the Secret to Eternal Youth by A.J. Mackinnon

Published: July 28, 2010
On TBR Since: September 12, 2012

I might come back to this one eventually, but it goes for now.

Stay or Go: Go

The Story of Ain’t: America, Its Language, and the Most Controversial Dictionary Ever Published by David Skinner

Published: October 9, 2012
On TBR Since: September 26, 2012

This book got a mention on the Dictionary War episode of the Annotated podcast. I went to add it to my TBR and discovered it was already there.

Stay or Go: Stay

Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans by David Niose

Published: July 17, 2012
On TBR Since: September 26, 2012

I think too much time has passed on this particular one.

Stay or Go: Go

The Year of Learning Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling by Quinn Cummings

Published: August 7, 2012
On TBR Since: September 26, 2012

Another stunt memoir that I’ve kind of lost interest in since I put it on the list.

Stay or Go: Go

The Impossible Rescue: The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure by Martin W. Sandler

Published: February 14, 2012
On TBR Since: September 27, 2012

Hey, an 1890s Artic expedition sneaked into the list!

Stay or Go: Stay

Half and half – five going and five staying – this week.

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R.I.P. (Readers Imbibing Peril) XIII

You know what I really (don’t) need? Another reading challenge.

But I’m going to do one anyway.

I heard about Readers Imbibing Peril XIII on the latest episode of the For Real podcast. I am, as ever, late to the party, since the challenge started at the beginning of September.

And what is this challenge, you ask? From the site linked above:

The purpose of the R.I.P. Challenge is to enjoy books that could be classified as:
Mystery.
Suspense.
Thriller.
Dark Fantasy.
Gothic.
Horror.
Supernatural.

I think I can make that work. In fact, since I’m so far behind on my personal challenge of reading my entire Doubleday Sherlock Holmes this year, I’m already planning on reading both Hound of the Baskervilles and Valley of Fear this month, so there are two books already. (Yes, I am counting them as two separate “books” even though they’re both in my one massive volume, since I think that’s in the spirit of the challenge.)

I’d also like to read Jeanette Winterson’s The Daylight Gate this month, for my extremely neglected TBR Pile Challenge. Also on that list is Shadows over Baker Street, another seasonally appropriate choice.

That makes four books, which qualifies as “Peril the First”. Because why not aim high?

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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest TrailWild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
by Cheryl Strayed
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was alone. I was barefoot. I was twenty-six years old and an orphan too. An actual stray, a stranger had observed a couple of weeks before, when I’d told him my name and explained how very loose I was in the world.

Cheryl Strayed’s story is pretty well-known at this point, since her memoir was an Oprah Book Club pick, a #1 New York Times Bestseller, and NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE, as the cover of my paperback edition proclaims. In her early 20s, she lost her mother to cancer; after that, what was left of her family drifted apart, and then her marriage ended. In the depths of a Minnesota winter, she happened upon a guidebook to the Pacific Coast Trail. With seemingly nothing to lose and nowhere to go, she made an impulsive decision to hike the trail that summer in an effort to rebuild herself.

The memoir unfolds in mostly chronological fashion, beginning with her mother’s illness and death and following Strayed’s trek up the trail. As she travels, though, vignettes of her past appear, doling out the details of her life before the PCT gradually. Strayed is an excellent storyteller, making what was largely an inner journey into riveting reading. She does not ignore the risks that come with being a woman traveling alone through remote locations, but while she has at least one scary encounter with a man on the trail that could have ended much worse than it did, most of the challenges she faces are the result of the mistakes of a neophyte hiker. She takes a wry tone in relating her misadventures, treating her younger self with humor and love.

I heard about this book a lot before I finally got around to reading it. Really, it wasn’t high on my list of things to read, probably because of an overdose of hype. One evening in May, Lil Miss and I were taking a walk to break in our hiking boots before our family trip to South Africa, and I found a paperback copy of Wild in a Little Free Library on our way. How could I resist a book with a hiking boot right in the middle of the cover? On our flight back to the States, the film version was one of the options, so I watched it while I failed to sleep in my seat. Once we got back, I picked up the book off my desk and read it in a day or two, and I really enjoyed it. Good call, Oprah.

Source: Found in a Little Free Library

Challenges: Counts for Read Harder 2018 (Task #13: An Oprah Book Club Selection)

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Share-A-Tea: Dusk

Now that it’s cooling off in the evenings here – it’s even supposed to rain later in the week! – hot tea is more appealing than during the summer heat. I’ve been winding down before bed lately with my Doubleday Sherlock Holmes and this relaxing herbal tea.

Name: Dusk
Source: Tea Runners April 2018 Box (purchased subscription)

Description from Vendor: A perfect after dinner treat, this unique beauty is a smooth, lemony brew with a hint of spice.

Turmeric, ginger, and fennel help the body’s digestion while tart lemongrass rounds everything out to a pungent and delicious finish.

A really nice way to end the day.

My Preparation: Steeped 4 minutes at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, added a small amount of honey

My Impressions: The aroma of this blend, especially straight out of the bag, is odd, and I’ll admit that the ingredients list gave me pause. After steeping, it turned out to be a delicious, slightly-spicy, slightly-lemony smooth drink perfect for the end of the day. Pretty much as promised on the packaging.

The packaging is the usual zipper-sealed pouch that Tea Runners includes in their shipments: a gold foil front with all the important information on a neat white label, and then a see-through plastic panel on the back that shows exactly what’s inside.

Ingredients: Lemongrass, ginger root, turmeric, fennel, and black pepper.

Suggested Preparation: 4-5 minutes at 212F

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Down the TBR Hole #13

Down the TBR Hole was originally created over at Lost in a Story.

Most of you probably know this feeling, your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when you’re scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well that’s going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10, if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
  • Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next week!

Visit my to-read shelf to see how very far I still have to go!

The Letter Q: Queer Writers’ Notes to their Younger Selves by Sarah Moon

Published: May 1, 2012
On TBR Since: July 4, 2012

There are some authors I already love in this, and I’m looking forward to reading a little bit from authors I’m curious about.

Stay or Go? Stay

Soundings: The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor by Hali Felt

Published: July 17, 2012
On TBR Since: July 5, 2012

I here for science history in general. Little-known women in science are even better.

Stay or Go? Stay

The Wild Princess: A Novel of Queen Victoria’s Defiant Daughter by Mary Hart Perry

Published: July 31, 2012
On TBR Since: July 5, 2012

This is the first in a series that I’m not really interested in anymore.

Stay or Go? Go

Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life by Gretchen Rubin

Published: January 1, 2012
On TBR Since: July 5, 2012

It sounds like a stunt memoir, but I think Rubin goes a bit deeper than just that.

Stay or Go? Stay

A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans

Published: October 2012
On TBR Since: July 5, 2012

This sounds very similar in concept to The Year of Living Biblically, but different in tone. While I do love a good stunt memoir, I don’t think this one is for me.

Stay or Go? Go

The Obesity Myth: Why America’s Obsession with Weight is Hazardous to Your Health by Paul Campos

Published: May 01, 2004
On TBR Since: July 12, 2012

The description of this is similar to the next book on the list, so I’m going to let this one go and keep the other.

Stay or Go? Go

Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon

Published: October 11, 2008
On TBR Since: July 12, 2012

Keeping this one and dropping the Campos book, though I’ve switched editions to the 2010 revised edition.

Stay or Go? Stay

The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It by Neal Bascomb

Published: April 2004
On TBR Since: July 26, 2012

Still interested in this bit of running history.

Stay or Go? Stay

A Race Like No Other: 26.2 Miles Through the Streets of New York by Liz Robbins

Published: October 1, 2008
On TBR Since: July 27, 2012

I definitely still want to read this, but it’s probably going to be a while.

Stay or Go? Stay

Astray by Emma Donoghue

Published: September 5, 2012
On TBR Since: August 22, 2012

I’ll read almost anything by Donoghue (still not reading Room, thanks very much), so this stays.

Stay or Go? Stay

Seven staying on the list, three going off. I’m never, ever going to reach the end of the list.

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A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals #1) by Alyssa Cole

A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals, #1)A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole
My rating:
4 of 5 stars

Dear Ms. Smith,

I hope that my letter finds you well. I, Likotsi Adelele, assistant to His Royal Highness, have sought you out high and low over the last few months, at the behest of the most exalted – and most curious – Prince Thabiso. He has tasked me with finding his betrothed, and I believe I have succeeded: it is you.

Naledi Smith lost her parents to a car crash when she was so young she barely remembers them. Without any other family, she lived in a series of foster homes until she aged out of the foster care system. Now in grad school and working multiple jobs to make ends meet, she has zero time for these weird emails that keep showing up, claiming that she is some sort of long-lost African princess, if only she will please send all of her personally identifying information to confirm.

Prince Thabiso grew up wondering whatever happened to the girl to whom he was betrothed when they were just small children. An only child, facing increasing pressure from his parents to settle down with a wife, he is extremely curious when his assistant believes she has tracked the woman down – and she lives in New York City, where Thabiso just happens to be headed on business.

A misunderstanding on first meeting gives Thabiso the chance to get to know Ledi personally before revealing his – and her – true identity. But will there be a way to finally tell her the truth without the betrayal coming between them?

Since this is a romance novel, you already know the answer to that: the happy ending is guaranteed. Oh, but the getting there. Ledi is the sort of character who is so real you would swear you know her. She hasn’t had it easy, and the walls she’s put up around herself are totally understandable. A scientist to the core, she thinks of the distance she puts between herself and others as a

social phospholipid bilayer: flexible, dynamic, and designed to keep the important parts of herself separate from a possibly dangerous outside environment. It had been working for the prokaryotes for eons, and it would suffice for a broke grad school student, which was only slightly higher on the evolutionary scale.

She is smart and funny, and a devoted friend, and she deals with everything that comes her way until her resilience is finally tested to the breaking point. She is a woman of color, working in a STEM field, and she has no family to support her. I loved getting inside her head and seeing the world through her eyes.

The third-person perspective shifts between Ledi and Thabiso, and Thabiso is also an absolute delight. He is honestly baffled by everyday things like taking the subway or cooking a meal from scratch, because he grew up having his every need or want taken care of without his having to even think about it. He so wants to step up and do the right thing… if he can only figure out what it is and how to do it. His assistant, Likotsi, seems to be the closest thing he has to a real friend. His parents are determined to see him married off and settled down to the business of managing the kingdom, navigating the complicated issues that come with the crown.

The kingdom of Thesolo comes across as something of a Vibranium-less Wakanda. It’s a gem of a country in the south of Africa that was never colonized, instead growing into a modern nation that maintains strong ties to its past. In my head, Queen Ramatla is totally Angela Bassett, and no one can convince me otherwise.

I enjoyed this book so, so much. There are elements of Cinderella and other fairy tales, but this is a thoroughly contemporary romance. Ledi and Thabiso have chemistry that leads to some very steamy scenes, yet Ledi is clearly aware of possible health risks (as an epidemiology grad student, one would hope so!) and how to be as safe as possible on that front. The dialogue is entertaining, even when it’s really only one-way, as when Ledi finally sends a two-word response to Likotsi’s “spam” emails. One of my favorites might be when the postdoc in Ledi’s lab approaches her, about to drop some more of his work on her. The entirety of the next paragraph reads: “This motherf***er, she thought.”

(I should note here that the redaction of the curse word is mine; the actual word appears in the book. If salty language and sexytimes on the page are not your thing, this is probably not the book for you!)

The next book in the series features Portia, Ledi’s best friend; the teaser chapter in the back promises good things. Personally, I’m hoping we eventually get a book about Likotsi. A girl can dream.

Source: Checked out from my public library

Challenges: It would qualify for Read Harder 2018 Task 10, but I’ve already completed that one.

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