Mug Monday & Tea Talk

Mug

Glass tea cup

Book

The Brother´s Grimm Fairy tales

 

Happy Mug Monday! ( okay, fine. Happy belated Mug Monday )

For years I´ve been listening to my friends rave about tea.

“The health benefits!”

“It´s better than coffee.”

“There´s nothing better than having a cup of tea while reading a good book.”

 

 

I have no doubt that tea has great health benefits. And, I´m sure it´s better than coffee, too ( although, I wouldn´t know. I don´t drink coffee ). But the point about tea and books being a fab combo? That, I wasn´t so sure about.

The truth is- Tea never did anything special for me. Which led to me being a non tea drinker.

Even my best friend, Mirjam, who also happily considers herself to be a tea nazi, tried to convince me about the perks of tea. ( I said she´s my best friend. I didn´t say we always share the same sense of humor )

“Come on over tomorrow and I´ll make you the perfect tea.“, she said. So, I went to her house the next day and tried her tea. Mind you, I never tried black tea before. It always had an odd smell to me but she promised me she´d be careful and teach me how to “water” my tea down with milk and sugar.

tea three
Mirjam & Morgana´s Afternoon Tea Party

An hour and 1 cup of black tea later I ran home with massive stomach cramps. To this day I´m convinced she wanted to poison me with her version of the perfect black tea.

After that fateful day I decided to never drink anything tea – ish ever again.

Until a new tea shop opened in the nearby village.

While I´m anti – tea, my daughters….aren´t. Both love their fruit tea ( a blend of forest berries and green tea ).

Anyway- My oldest spotted the new tea shop and before I was able to protest she was already inside the shop, looking around. Just my luck.

To make a long story short, I spent half a fortune on 6 different loose teas.

tea two

My senses were clouded by a wonderful mixture of fruity / herbal smells, plus the tea lady gave me a full-blown lecture on ingredients and benefits and water temperature and and and…. I had no other choice but to cave.

Here are the blends my daughters picked.

 

Eve & Lillian´s Tea

tea

White Peach

( Apple, pineapple, rose hip, peach, lemon, rose blossom, Columbian blossom )

Berry Power

( Apple, rose hip, white hibiscus, chokeberry, blueberry, Columbian blossom )

Peach Garden

(Apple, hibiscus, rose hip, peach, redbush, rose blossom, cinnamon )

Pina Colada

( Coconut, pineapple, passionfruit, blackberries, lemon, rose blossoms, orange )

Hibiscus

( cranberries, hibiscus, lemon, cinnamon, rooibos )

 

The stuff I bought isn´t even worth mentioning but I´ll still add my pathetic Peppermint and Chamomile loose tea, just for good measure. Oh, and the chocolate powder, as they had a new blend of cocoa from Spain. How can I resist a new brand of cocoa?

 

The Sum Up

I dared myself to try some of my daughter´s tea. Pina Colada spoke to me in my dark moment and… to tell you the truth? I didn´t suffer from stomach cramps! In fact- I actually like the fruity tea version of my favorite cocktail.

The spanish cocoa wasn´t for me, though.

I most definitely haven´t been turned into a tea drinker but thanks to my daughters I have a new-found appreciation for the subtle tasty water.

Do I think books and tea go hand in hand? After my pina colada tea, I´d say yes.

 

I´m pretty sure most of you aren´t like me and have already been drinking tea for the last few decades so my question is:

What kind of tea do you drink? What blends do you prefer? 

I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Much love,

Morgana ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 Irritating Things About New Adult Romance Books

It´s time to reveal the top 9 most irritating things about new adult novels.

But why New Adult? Why not chick – lit or just plain and simple romance? Because romance is a broad genre. If I want to criticize the romance genre I´d be busy for weeks trying to pinpoint what exactly it is that´s bothering me and possibly other readers.

Sure, there are plenty of annoying things about other genres ( especially with Young Adult, Mature Adult, etc ) and I will definitely tackle those points in the near / far future. For now, though,  New Adult is on the menu.

Over the years I´ve been blessed with great NA reads and less great NA novels. But no matter how good or awful I thought the NA book was… They all felt very alike. They all somehow have the same irritating patterns, which is A.N.N.O.Y.I.N.G.

 

Here are the 9 irritating things about New Adult Books.

 

things

 

THE CHARACTERS ARE ALL WELL OFF

I have yet to read about some poor sucker who struggles financially.  They all have cars. They all have a roof over their heads and a bed to sleep in. They never seem to worry about how they´re going to pay next months rent or how they´re going to feed themselves until next pay-day. I´m not talking about college students.

 

 

BLINDING BEAUTY

“He was like a model from the GQ.” “He looked like a greek God.”

“She has thick, long wavy hair.” “Her eyes were the color of honey/the sea/the sky / chocolate.”

Immaculate skin. Beautiful orbs. Professional messy hair. Great style.

Since when have authors decided to create perfect characters when the world is clearly filled with all sorts of imperfect beauty? A guy with a crooked nose / tooth? That can be just as sexy as the sex God with the 8 – pack from down the road. And what about women with short hair? Big feet? A tooth gap? I´m just saying….

 

NO ONE SEEMS TO NEED GAS

Book characters sometimes ( if only rarely ) go grocery shopping. They even order takeout. They do all sorts of normal activities, such as driving aimlessly around town in their cars to “clear their minds” , but getting gas doesn´t belong to those day – to – day life activities. It´s as if their cars only run on love and air.
Or, maybe I got it all wrong and the characters went to the gas station before the book started. Yeah, maybe…..

No.

 

THEY HAVE MORE SKELETONS IN THEIR CLOSETS THAN A DEAD BROOKLYN MAFIA BOSS 

Secrets. They all have major secrets that are explosive and can threaten and effect the happiness of EVERYONE when they´re revealed. The thing that bugs me the most is that these “secrets” aren´t really worth being called secrets. NA readers usually deal with characters that have dealt with something in college or highschool and that… that causes a character to act as if they´ve commited a deadly crime.

 

 

LOVE: THE CURE FOR ASSHOLES

This might be the most unrealistic aspect of New Adult romances. Love conquers all. Love is the answer to all physical and mental illnesses. Love can even convert an asshole character into a soft kitty. Sure, I believe in the powers of love, yada yada yada. But I don´t believe that love can change characteristics. Some of these emotionally charged characters don´t need a girlfriend with whom they can snuggle up with at night. They need therapy. Anger management. A good beating with a frying pan? All is better than having a lunatic roaming the streets.

 

 

THE CINDERELLA MOMENT

The worst. Ever.

There isn´t a NA book I´ve read where the grey mouse ( female protagonist ) doesn´t get turned into a looker by the world´s best stylist ( female protagonists BFF ). I cannot stand these make – over scenes. There´s never anything wrong with a female lead´s wardrobe or sense of style until she wants to go on a date. THEN she´s this fashion mess that needs to be caked in make – up and dressed like a Christmas tree. Why this is necessary… I have no idea. It´s annoying, though.

If I were to go on a date with a guy then he´d have no choice than to accept my jeans and t-shirt and flip-flops because there is no way I would squeeze myself in a short red number for a date. It´s a ” take it or leave it, babe.” situation. And the thought of letting my BFF doctor on me is horrific!!

 

 

MID 20´S VIRGIN

I´m not saying this isn´t realistic because there are women who´re in their 20´s and are still happy virgins but it feels like the whole New Adult female character population are virgins. Why? WHY? Do authors believe this to be acceptable? We´re not talking Young Adults. We´re talking New Adults. It´s perfectly fine to have a female lead who´s already had her fair share of men without making her out to be the village mattress. Let the ladies shag, for crying out loud!

 

 

DRAMA 2.0

Drama is okay. In fact, I expect drama from people in their early – mid 20´s. It´s what they do. There´s not enough daily routine to provide a drama – free life so lots of things are quite dramatic for New Adults. Just don´t make characters over dramatic. That´s far from realistic and can be a turn off.

 

 

CHARACTERS HAVE MORE LIFE EXPERIENCE THAN GRANNY AT AGE 96

I 100% hate this.  I hate hate hate hate…..

Young boy with no living family deals with anger issues. Runs away for years and magically pops back into the picture at age 23 and owns half a city / state / country.

Teenage girl- Physically and mentally abused by alcoholic adoptive parents.  By the sensitive age of 22 the young woman has had 8 jobs, has lived on the streets, has had no luck with men…..  throw in an abortion and more beatings from boyfriend #5…

Again, I´m not saying that isn´t realistic. I´m sure a few mid 20 year olds have been through Hell and back but…. I just can´t.  There are too many book characters going through the same shit over and over and over again. Not every character has to have such a heavily loaded life story.
I get the message. But we´re talking about New Adult romances here. WHY go to such extremes? Because we´re just not reading about over exaggeration here. We´re reading about extreme cases. It´s okay for a character to not have been through so much in their short lives.

 

In all fairness… I understand why authors include all of the points I´ve mentioned. Many of the above work perfect for certain stories in the New Adult genre. I mean- reading allows us to forget about our own personal exhausting lives. We get to live in another world, in a different place and accompany characters on their own crappy paths and find happiness when they do. Readers are able to have moments they probably wouldn´t have in real life.

It´s an escape.

But is the escape worth it? Do we really need another New Adult romance with too much drama? Do readers need to read about characters who have it all and have experienced the worst from the absolute worst?

Yes. In my opinion… it´s worth it… to some degree. As long as there´s a healthy balance in all areas.

Tone down on the drama. Give characters some realistic features. Hell, let them have a job as a barista. Just give them something readers can relate with.
Unfortunately, many New Adult romance novels lack balance and therefore offer little readers can relate with.

 

What are your thoughts on New Adult romance novels? Do you agree with the list or is there anything else you´d like to include? Let me know in the comments below! 

 

Hope you all have a great day!

Share the book love,

Morgana ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non Existent Reading List – June ´18

Morgana´s Book Box

presents

 

The non-existent June 2018 reading list

 

 

It´s true. I, the old and wise book blogger, don´t have any new reads to present. But I have a good reason. Or… let´s just say, reasons, as to why I can´t do new reads this month.

 

Time is my worst enemy.

 

I can´t find time. For once I would like to finally catch up on all the blog posts I´ve missed from fellow book bloggers. I would also like to squeeze in a few minutes to discover some new blogs. The second biggest reason as to why I won´t be reading is due to the 8 drafts I still haven´t finished. I have 8 blog posts waiting to be published. That, alone, is driving me absolutely nuts.

Then there are the reality reasons.

REASON #1: It´s summer. It´s flipping hot out ( around 36 °C ). How does one read when one´s eyelids sweat? A/C isn´t a common european standard so we do the stone age A / C: Wake up before the sun´s out and air out the house then make everything dark again and complain for 10 hours until humidity hits it´s peak and suffer. Repeat. I did manage to surprise the husbutt the other day when I built a swamp air cooler ( because sitting in the dark wasn´t an option anymore )

REASON #2: It´s really close to summer break for the girls so…. Teachers are picking up the teaching pace and shoving everything they´ve missed out on down the kids throats before they´re released into the world of sleeping in for 6 weeks.

REASON #3: And then there´s the bit where I tell you that I´m going on a vacation with the husbutt…. and WITHOUT THE KIDS!


Yes. I´ll be officially offline and childless for 5 days, as we´ll have no reception in the middle of Scotland´s wilderness. Phones off. Hiking gear on. Tent ready. Wool socks packed.

To be honest, I don´t know what the hell I´m doing or why I decided to convince the husbutt that wild camping is good for us but now Imma gonna go hiking and wild camping. Ignore the fact that I don´t like camping… We´re going and it´s probably going to be hell. And then the biggest challenge: Walking up Ben Nevis, Scotland´s highest mountain ( feel free to correct me if I´m wrong about that. Hubby did the fact check. I bought the tent so that means I´m safe.) All this is going to happen on the June 25th. I can´t wait to not burn in the sun and suffer from a 6 week sun allergy.

So you see? I can´t read this month.

Bah. Saying that feels like I´ve commited a bookish crime.

It also feels like I´m going to book hell for even typing this.

But hey, husbutt and I have a death wish ( no climbing or hiking experience, either. WOOP ) and death wishes come before books, apparently.

 

 

So, there ya  have it. Sweat, swamp coolers, tons of homework incl. elementary school graduation and a nice death wish vacay  in cold Scotland.

Fortunately, there will be some pre scheduled posts going up during my time in the wilderness fighting off ticks and whatever else that flies and wants to eat me alive.

I call that a successful month.

What I do hope is to convince my better half on going to a bookstore while we´re on vacation. Let´s keep our fingers crossed that I can manage to lose him for an hour. Lol.

 

What are your plans for the summer? Are you going on vacation or will you enjoy a nice stay – at – home relaxation time?

I would love to read your thoughts! ❤ ❤

 

 

 

 

Mug Monday & Re-read Talk

Hola and welcome to another glorious Monday!

Bah. * wave off * Who am I kidding? Monday´s suck big time and this Monday isn´t any different from any other Monday. Staying positive on the first day of the week is a greater challenge, for me, than being forced to read a book I don´t want to read. And we all know how that can ruin someone´s mood.

It´s not only Monday, though. It´s Mug Monday! I get to share another piece from my wonderful mug collection. In fact- I´ll be showing my newest purchase.

A beige short mug with black stipes. I cannot begin to tell you how much I love my new mug.

Mug Monday Q
Book: What He Doesn´t Know by Kandi Steiner

 

I´m in mucho love. So much so that I completely forgot where I got it. ( what I can say is that that´s my garden and the grass was ant infested )

Normally, I´d include a book feature from a current – haven´t – read – before read but… I´m in a re-read phase at the moment.

 

Due to a super busy schedule ( Yes. Life decided to show it´s cruel side again ) I can´t find it in me to start a new book and actually try to enjoy it.

So, what does a girl do? A girl re – reads.

Let´s face it… re-reading personal favorites is AWESOME. 

Some books are just so great that they deserve a re-read, a re-re-read and a re-re-re-read. And the best part about re – reads? You re – discover things you´ve forgotten or you suddenly realize things you weren´t aware of after the first reading round.

 

 

At the moment I´m falling in love with Kandi Steiner´s What He Doesn´t Know Duet all over again.

5 minutes here. 10 minutes there. Dramatic scenes after dinner and the heavy emotional stuff before bed. That´s what I call a perfect re – read session!

Of course, I don´t always read bits throughout the day and stamp that off as re – reading. Sometimes I do sit down and actually read from start to finish. Sometimes.

 

My personal favorite re -read book list

We all have that one book / series we always get back to once in a while. Here´s a small list of my all time – always within reach  favorite books I love to re -read ( links incl.)

 

Hands down,… this is my sacred reading list. My go – to books. The loves of my life. The books I keep in my bedroom because I´m afraid someone with breathe on them.

Granted, they´re all a tad older but SO WORTH IT!

 

Ladies and gentlemen….

What are your favorite re-reads? Do you prefer to re-read series or standalones? 

 

Hope you all have a wonderful day!  ❤ ❤

 

 

Mug Monday Instagram Feature

 

 

Hot Book Topic – Faleena Hopkins Trademark Escapade

 

And I thought I´ve seen it all. I guess I haven´t ( and I´ve seen some crazy stuff happening in the book universe ).

Faleena Hopkins. You´ve probably heard of the author of the `Cocker Brothers Of Atlanta series´… A contemporary romance that´s 17 books heavy ( Yes. A series with 17 books ). You´ve heard of her, right?

Well, to be honest… I haven´t, either.

 

But thanks to the little shitstorm the author created with her trademarking the word `cocky` I am now fully aware of the author and her books.

Opinions are split over the subject. Some people think it was a good call from the author to trademark a single word as a way to protect her books / the title or whatever. Some believe the author has done the unthinkable. Some think it´s a clever marketing strategy. And then there are those few who don´t give a flying f**k.

My overall opinion at first? Who cares. Whatever floats a person´s boat is always fine by me. As long as something doesn´t affect others in a negative way then I don´t realy care.

That´s the problem, though. By trademarking a word for a book ( as the author so kindly did ) she prevented other authors from using that word for their own titles. In a way that´s harmful. Just as any other trademarked word would have been harmful.

cocky

The whole shitstorm then shifted and became worse. Not only did Faleena Hopkins trademark a word  she also felt the need to defend herself on Twitter, via video.

Faleena Hopkins Meltdown Vid

I´ve seen it and I can´t really decide if I desperately want to UNsee it or if I need to watch it again. It´s like a train wreck happening in slow – motion.

Faleena Hopkins, author of a book series I´ve never heard of before, was accusing others for cyber bullying.

Excuse moi?

Okay. Let´s take a moment for a quick breath and try to see this with a more clear mind by simplifying the whole mess.

Author trademarked a  word.

Outcome: She pisses off many authors + puts herself in a questionable light.

Author feels bullied because people are questioning her actions.

Outcome: She uploads a video and pisses everyone off.

Author starts suing people.

Outcome: She´s creating chaos and pissing more people off.

Sometimes it´s best to shut up.

 

I can´t say I blame the people for not agreeing with Faleena Hopkins. I can´t even blame the many so-called “attackers” for not accepting Faleena Hopkins actions or her attempt at acting like the victim, because her video displays exactly that: The author going against internet faces that don´t agree with her. It´s a war that shouldn´t even have started. But then again… an author shouldn´t trademark a word, either.

I´m not one to take sides, as I love to be the one sitting back and having an eye on things, thinking about how many questionable people are roaming the grounds of the world. But since this has escalated into a terrible soap opera I feel obliged to check the internet for updates now.

Personally, I belive you can´t piss people off by playing by the written and unwritten rules. That´s a given. If my neighbor doesn´t let his dog relieve himself on my doorstep then I don´t have a reason to be mad / sad / hurt / enraged. Neither does my neighbor, for that matter.

Ever since that long cringe – worthy and totally unnecessary meltdown  video there have been statements and documents released that have been even more wince – worthy. So much so that even I feel ashamed that one person has gone to such great lengths, as the author has already done, for something that could have been easily avoided in the first place.

BY PISSING PEOPLE OFF. 

And this is coming from someone who´s actually very debate – friendly. I love to have a great discussion. A decent, civilized banter. But I don´t appreciate people lashing out to such extremes, no matter what the topic is.

The author caused mayhem in a normally peaceful book universe. Who does that?

As far as I´m informed, the author has 3 trademarks already for the following below:

  • The Cocky series
  • Cocky
  • Cocky in the font on her covers

Dare I say that I find the second and third point a bit pointless? To some extent I can understand that the author would want to trademark her series ( keyword: to some extent ). But the rest? Unless the cover was done by the author herself ( which it hasn´t been ) then I see gloomy court visits ahead for the author.

Look. It´s different when you open a business and want to trademark a shop/store name. This just doesn´t apply for words on book titles. Who does that?! It doesn´t make sense.

And because I have no wish to be sued by the author I will say that I believe her intentions were good, but not well thought through… like, at all.

You just don´t do shit like that. But then again, what do I know? I´m just a poor book blogger with a little opinion. A tiny voice among a sea of other voices.

While I wish the author no evil I still don´t believe that all this ( basically the virtual hurricane she created ) will have a positive outcome for Faleena Hopkins.  Especially after the statements she´s made towards readers. How one author can degrade readers like she´s done… I can´t even wrap my head around that. I have no doubt her words have bitten the author in the backside and that her book sales have suffered.

Sure, all this talk has gotten people curious about the author and her books. I´m definitely guilty of being curious. Why wouldn´t I be? I´m a book blogger. I´m sitting here thinking “Well, she must be pretty damn special and must have written explosively good books to pull off a stunt like that. And she must have millions to be able to shit on readers.” It´s only natural that I start googling and looking all her books up on Goodreads. Check out what reviewers have to say on Goodreads

Despite this annoyingly good Author vs. The Rest Of The World issue having a negative effect on me as a potential reader I did find some things that were also a little off-putting for me.

  1. I´m not one of those romance readers who´ll grab a book that has the word `Cocky`on the title. I know I shouldn´t judge a book by it´s title but… Meeh. That´s just not my cup of tea, if you will. Unless a “Cocky” book is recommended by my trusted reading hombre´s… I won´t consider reading a Cocky book.
  2. The `Cocker Brothers Of Atlanta` series has 17 books ( says Goodreads ). Now, while I´m aware that some readers LOVE for a series to continue on forever I´m not one of those readers. I often feel overwhelmed. I even become easily bored with an 8 book series. Seeing book #17 is a tad off-putting for me, even if each book can be read as a standalone.
  3. ” Don´t judge a book by it´s cover.” They said. I´m also guilty for doing exactly that. I´m not a fan of character images ( as faces on a cover could influence the image I want to create for myself when reading ). I prefer faceless.
  4. When all else fails I do give the synopsis a chance before I completely write a book off. I can´t say I was extremely tickled by those, either.
  5. The reviews, new and old. Normally, reviews don´t rattle my world as reviews are subjective. But the combination of the recent events and my dislike for title / cover image / synopsis… I can´t say that I want to rely much on the older 5 star reviews that have been published.

 

All 5 points above aren´t crucial and would normally never bring an author to weep ( at least not publicly ).  Take away the war Faleena Hopkins started and my points for not wanting to read her `Cocky` series would be fine on their own.

 

Now for my final, overall opinion:

( this might leave a bad taste in some author´s mouth )

There is no way to re-invent the wheel. There are countless books on the market from all genres. Any author will have a heck of a hard time coming up with a new story to write about. But it´s not really about coming up with something new. It´s what an author makes out of a story that has already made it´s rounds. Love triangles, roommates, love at first sight, FWB turned couple, baby billionaires, college bad boys…. it´s all been there before. But it´s about what the author does with certain topics. This includes title names!

If an author is afraid their book will be mistaken for another book that has the same title… Then my advice would be to do some homework and check if there´s been an over usage for a certain word in a title before staking a claim to the word. Maybe picking a different title could do the trick? It would certainly prevent shit from hitting the fan.

If an author gives in to drama ( drama said author has started ) and rides that drama wave for no greater purpose then said author should be prepared for the hate that´s attached.

Faleena Hopkins should have known how people would react. The author should have seen the outcome of her actions. No person is that oblivious.

If you become an author you automatically become a public figure. And when you make yourself available you have to think about your actions before you make a move.

The author is in no position to be a public figure when she can´t handle the heat. She´s not allowed to call herself the victim when she caused this mess in the first place. Unless…..

 

The author made a smart publicity move.

 

Now, I´m not accusing the author of being a marketing wizard because I can´t know what the author´s real intentions were but you have to admit that all this sounds like a clever marketing strategy. It´s not particularly nice but no one ever said everyone had to play nice when it came to personal goals.

Bad publicity is still publicity.

While the author hasn´t only  been bathing in the positive feedback tub from her little escapade she most certainly had / has people talking about her. The key is to get noticed. Some people don´t care how that happens, as long as it happens.

Personally, I think it´s a risk that can backfire easily. But then again… I´m just a book blogger with no wish to be on Faleena Hopkins list of people to sue so I´m just assuming all this and saying that it´s a possibility.

Let´s just assume the author did all this for marketing reasons.

 

Meeh. * wave off * Doesn´t make the situation any better, either. She´d still be in the wrong with her trademark thingy. And if not because of that then definitely due to her hurtful statements she´s made towards readers.

Now that we´ve got all this covered I can say what I really wanted to say from the start.

Ready?

Bullshit. Horseshit. What a complete crock of shit.

If you´re interested, you can check out the following hashtags on Twitter. There, you´ll find many authors fighting for the greater good. #cockygate #byefaleena #getloud and you´ll get some insights on the newest Faleena Hopkins happenings.

 

What are your thoughts on the subject. Should an author be allowed to trademark a single word in order to secure their book titles? Does any of this make sense to you?