Sunday Sum~Up

Sunday Sum_Up (1)

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer that I am linking my Sunday Sum-Ups with. Stop by and say hello!

I have found that I appreciate my weekends more and more lately. I did not know this was possible! But those small moments of downtime and peace are becoming more and more necessary to recharge. I also realized this past weekend that I need to stop pressuring myself to be “more” social. Regardless of what others believe would be best for me, it is okay to just be happy. With that said, we are shifting gears here in the home. We are making huge lifestyle changes involving how we eat and tackling physical activity. While there is no “fix” for me, I am noticing benefits. I have slept better, dropped some weight and feel more motivated. It makes it easier to combat the hard days ❤ Side note: 3 ingredient banana and oat cookies are not so great, but edible.

The poor nonhubs had to travel to multiple places this weekend to pick up a copy of The Shape of Water for me, but he succeeded. Hopefully, I will have or be watching it by the time this posts. My TBR took a detour, but it was due to some unexpected but very welcomed book mail that I could not wait to tear into. So far, I am only off by two titles, so not too shabby!




2 for 1 Review

the hazel wood

The Hazel Wood




30339493The Isle of Blood and Stone
By Makiia Lucier
Available April 10, 2018


Elias reached across the table and flicked aside two shells with a fingertip. The map curled into itself. “It’s bound to be a goose chase. You know that?”

“Or a treasure hunt,” Ulises countered, “and you’ve always been good at those.”

Nineteen-year-old Elias is a royal explorer, a skilled mapmaker, and the new king of del Mar’s oldest friend. Soon he will embark on the adventure of a lifetime, an expedition past the Strait of Cain and into uncharted waters. Nothing stands in his way…until a long-ago tragedy creeps back into the light, threatening all he holds dear.

The people of St. John del Mar have never recovered from the loss of their boy princes, kidnapped eighteen years ago, both presumed dead. But when two maps surface, each bearing the same hidden riddle, troubling questions arise. What really happened to the young heirs? And why do the maps appear to be drawn by Lord Antoni, Elias’s father, who vanished on that same fateful day? With the king’s beautiful cousin by his side-whether he wants her there or not-Elias will race to solve the riddle of the princes. He will have to use his wits and guard his back. Because some truths are better left buried…and an unknown enemy stalks his every turn.

happenings (1)

What I am watching this week:


Guillermo del Toro! I have been on a book buying ban, so now I obviously need to invest those funds into my bluray collection 😉 I picked up The Orphanage and The Devil’s Backbone.

What I am listening:



I finally found a copy of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake on vinyl that I wanted!


How has your week been? Did you find time to manage a good book or two? It always feels like work picks up significantly as Spring moves in.


“A book, too, can be a star, ‘explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly,’ a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.”
~Madeleine L’Engle


Danielle ❤

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Upcoming April Releases to Watch For!

There are an incredible amount of promising titles being released in 2018. I was hoping to share a list of the titles I am anticipating for this second quarter in Spring, however, it would be terribly long. So today I have chosen to highlight a few of April’s releases I am looking forward to.


Space Opera

Space Opera
By Catherynne M Valente

April 3, 2018

Promising The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets Eurovision in what looks to be if anything one very eccentric “space opera”, this is a no-brainer. I have been meaning to explore Valente for some time. I have already pre-ordered 😉

The Oracle Queen (Three Dark Crowns 0.1) & Queens of Fennbirn (Three Dark Crowns 0.5) by Kendare Blake – April 3, 2018

30223025Dread Nation
By Justina Ireland

April 3, 2018

This YA Historical Fiction is high on my radar for so many reasons. Just click the link above and read that blurb!


Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2)
By Mark Lawrence

April 3, 2018

If I am trying to explain why this is a must read, then you need to stop what you are doing and pick up Red Sister. The first book in this series was one of the most sophisticated fantasy titles I have ever encountered.

Macbeth by Jo Nesbø – April 5, 2018

The Diminished (Untitled Duology #1) by Kaitlyn Sage Patterson – April 10, 2018

30238163Ace of Shades
By Amanda Foody

April 10, 2018

I do not even know where to start with this one! Promising a story full of illicit activity and fantasy, I simply cannot wait to pick this up. I am seeing some positive reviews that hint at fantastic character development.

Winter Glass (Spindle Fire #2) by Lexa Hillyer – April 10, 2018

Isle of Blood and Stone (Isle of Blood and Stone #1) by Makiia Lucier  – April 10, 2018


The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives
By Viet Thanh Nguyen

April 10, 2018

Because some books just need to be read, and I feel like this is one I need to read.

Ecstacy by Mary Sharratt – April 10, 2018

Circe by Madeline Miller – April 10, 2018

35274560Unbury Carol
By Josh Malerman

April 10, 2018

Because this writer blew me away with Bird Box (which I was thrilled to learn is being adapted by Netflix).

Noir by Christopher Moore – April 17,2018

The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan – April 19, 2018

What titles are you looking forward to next month? Planning to read any on my list?

Happy Reading!

Danielle ❤

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Friday Favorites: Tea Time!

new Friday fave
Friday Favorites is a post where I incorporate more of what I love into the blog. This includes films, anime, manga, music, you name it. Anything goes.  It will be an opportunity to share some of the things I love and discuss them briefly or at length, depending on my mood 😉

Okay, let’s be honest for a second, we knew that this feature could not go on forever without discussing tea.

Steeping Times

If you ask me or anyone who takes their tea even slightly serious, they short answer is yes. Steeping tea for the correct amount of time at the appropriate temperate greatly enhances the flavor and aroma. It took me a few years to grasp how much truth there is to this, but now there is no turning back. With my electric kettle and timer, I adjust the process for each cup. I keep a little cheat sheet handy for how I prefer to steep various blends. Keep in mind these are based on my own preferences.

Basic Steeping Times & Temps (1).png

A few things I have noticed are that green and white tea can easily be over-steeped, however, Roobios can steep all day and I still enjoy the flavor. When I am unable to control or measure my water temperature, I try to just keep it right below boiling for the green and white blends.

tea cup (1)

In the early morning, I really favor black teas and Oolong for the caffeine. I still prefer Twinings Earl Grey, but I continue to explore many options. Sadly my favorite Oolong is no more so I am on the hunt! London Fogs have been my latest go to.

London Fog
(I have honestly been making this so long, I do not remember the source)

Earl Grey Tea (loose leaf is preferred)
Pure Vanilla Extract
Milk (I use skim but any will do)
Lavender (Optional but a must for me)
Sugar (if desired, I do not sweeten my tea with sugar)

Brew the Earl Grey with a pinch of lavender flowers. I like to use these found on Amazon. While that is brewing, steam, and froth the milk. Strain your tea and add a splash of pure vanilla and sweetener if desired. Top with Steamed milk and enjoy!

Throughout the day, I try to stick with rooibos and herbal blends. I have been avoiding caffeine to help combat insomnia. I look for rooibos blends that are nutty and incorporate vanilla. Thanks to Liis at Cover to Cover, I have really been enjoying Java Republic’s Rooibos & Caramel Organic Infusion.

Favorite herbal blends:

Organic Serenity Now or Forever Nuts from DAVIDsTEA.
Night Time Tea from Pukka (Huge thanks to Claire from Brizzle Lass Books for my ongoing supply of this brand!).
Yogi Tea’s Honey Lavender Stress Relief.
Calm Chamomile 
by Tazo.


My go-to sweetener is a raw, organic wildflower honey. But I only use this with certain blends. I prefer most of my tea straight up.

Of course, this list could go on and on, but we will stop here. Do you enjoy tea? If so what are some of your favorite blends? Do you sweeten your cup or add milk?

Happy Friday,

Danielle ❤

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