Currently Reading #FridayReads

By Tqwana B.

**Originally posted on Around The World in 80 Books**

Hello fellow book loving people! Happy Friday and welcome to this week’s edition of #FridayReads.

OITNB reading gifToday, I’m rec’ing my currents reads. I just received The Book of Harlan by Bernice L. McFadden, whom I have gushed about before here (more than once), from a Goodreads giveaway. I’ve also started reading The Brothers Sinister series by Courtney Milan. And by ‘started reading’, I mean consuming them all at a ridiculous pace, though I know I will hate it when I’m done and the series is over, but I can’t stop myself because they’re so good!

It just so happens that today’s #FridayReads are historical fiction. You know how those push all my happy buttons. So, check them out.

The Book of Harlan by Bernice L. McFadden – During World War II, two African American musicians are captured by the Nazis in Paris and imprisoned at the Buchenwald concentration camp.
The Book of Harlan opens with the courtship of Harlan’s parents and his 1917 birth in Macon, Georgia. After his prominent minister grandfather dies, Harlan and his parents move to Harlem, where he becomes a musician. Soon, Harlan and his best friend, trumpeter Lizard Robbins, are lured across the Atlantic Ocean to perform at a popular cabaret in the Parisian enclave of Montmartre—affectionately referred to as “The Harlem of Paris” by black American musicians.
When the City of Light falls under Nazi occupation, Harlan and Lizard are thrown into Buchenwald, the notorious concentration camp in Weimar, Germany. The experience irreparably changes the course of Harlan’s life.
Based on exhaustive research and told in McFadden’s mesmeric prose, The Book of Harlan skillfully blends the stories of McFadden’s familial ancestors with those of real and imagined characters.

The Brothers Sinister by Courtney MilanThis is the complete boxed set of Courtney Milan’s acclaimed Brothers Sinister Series – four full length books, three novellas – together, almost half a million words.
The Governess Affair
Miss Serena Barton intends to hold the petty, selfish duke who had her sacked responsible for his crimes. But the man who handles all the duke’s dirty business has been ordered to get rid of her by fair means or foul. She’ll have to prove more than his match…

The Duchess War
The last time Minerva Lane she was the center of attention, it ended badly—so badly that she changed her name to escape her scandalous past. So when a handsome duke comes to town, the last thing she wants is his attention.
But that is precisely what she gets…

A Kiss for Midwinter
Miss Lydia Charingford does her best to forget the dark secret that nearly ruined her life, hiding it beneath her smiles. But someone else knows the truth of those dark days: the sarcastic Doctor Jonas Grantham. She wants nothing to do with him…or the butterflies that take flight in her stomach every time he looks her way…

The Heiress Effect
Miss Jane Fairfield does everything wrong in society–intentionally.
Mr. Oliver Marshall does everything right. So why is it, then, that the one woman he can’t forget is the exact opposite of what he needs?

The Countess Conspiracy
Sebastian Malheur is the most dangerous sort of rake. Violet Waterfield, the widowed Countess of Cambury, on the other hand, is entirely respectable–and she’d like to stay that way. Their association would be scandalous even if someone suspected lies. But the truth about the secrets they share will bring England to its knees…

The Suffragette Scandal
A suffragette meets a scoundrel, and as scoundrels do, he lies to her, attempts to blackmail her…and falls in love with her against his better judgment. By the time he realizes that his cynical heart is hers, it’s too late. Once the woman he loves realizes how much he’s lied to her, he’ll lose her forever.

Talk Sweetly to Me
Miss Rose Sweetly is a shy, mathematically-minded shopkeeper’s daughter who dreams of the stars. When Stephen Shaughnessy, infamous advice columnist and known rake, moves next door, she knows she should avoid him. But you know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice and astronomers…


New Things, New Memories Part 2

Remember this post?

New Things

Well, I’ve been checking things off the list. Go me!!

  1. Drink a whole beer 
  2. Finish this strawberry-basil lemonade 
  3.  Canada
  4.  Alaska
  5. See a Broadway show (dammit I WILL win a Hamilton lottery!!) 
  6. Painting (thanks, Heather!)
  7. Hiking (which means new hiking shoes!)
  8. Horseback riding (technically I’ve done this, but not the real thing. I was a kid and it was a pony on a leash, walking in a circle)
  9. Niagara Falls
  10. Watch The Flash 
  11. Color-correcting for dark spots 

It took longer than I anticipated, but I finally tried a beer. It did not go well.


My face says it all…

Luckily, my friends aren’t giving up on me and have sort of created a ‘TQ Beer Experiment’ to find the one true beer that I won’t think tastes like extra dry cheap champagne and dirty bath water.

barney gif

Also, this happened!!


Birthday event # 1. #LesMiz #Broadway It only took me 4 years to see a show.

Yes, the first Broadway show is in the books. I’m addicted now.

It’s not that I haven’t seen a show before. I did see The Lion King in Miami. But, a musical. On Broadway. In New York City. It’s magical!

Other new things have happened. New friends. New food spots. Working myself up to a new tattoo (it’s been 10 years since the last one and I’m nervous). Snapchat.

What else should I add to my list? I’m all about the adventure in 2016. Let’s do this!!

Yes, You Can Have Too Many Cupcakes #CupcakeCrawl2015


Sometimes I live such a tough life. We have an author event coming up next month at work, and we’ll need lots of cupcakes. The grave responsibility of finding just the right cupcakes fell on my shoulders. It’s a tough job, but I was willing to take one for the team.

I mean, imagine if we served sub-par cupcakes?! The horror!

So, I roped my friends into going on a cupcake crawl. They didn’t protest too much. In case you forgot, this is our second food crawl (we learned our lesson this time about not eating more than one at any restuarant). We really need to do more of these. I think someone suggested chocolate, or wine and cheese, or both for next time. Why are there so many wonderful restaurants in NYC?

Let’s get to the cupcakes….



  1. Molly’s Cupcakes – Salted Butterscotch Caramel
    I had every intention of trying only the mini cupcakes in classic flavors, since that’s what we’d be having for the event. But, salted caramel always calls to me. This cupcake is amazing. Moist, flavorful. Great filling. The frosting wasn’t too sweet. Actually it wasn’t sweet enough for me. But, the rest was so good, it wasn’t an issue. The top bakery of the day and the one we’ll be using for our event. Molly’s also gets points for a whimsical dining area, with swings at the counter, books and games you’re allowed to play with, and a sprinkle station for your cupcakes. Very adorable, fun area for the kid in all of us. Did I mention they won Cupcake Wars on FoodNetwork?
  2. Little Cupcake Bakery – Blue Velvet
    Presentation matters. We eat with our eyes before food even gets to our mouths, so these cupcakes were a bit disappointing from the beginning. This is supposedly a blue velvet cupcake, but there was hardly any blue color. We Southerners do not play about our Red – or blue – velvet cake. And this just didn’t live up to its namesake. I’m not sure it this was a cake or a muffin with frosting. Aside from said really sweet frosting, there was no flavor. I love sweet frosting, but not if it’s being used to cover up tasteless cake.
  3. Sweet Buttons Bakery – Marple Bacon 
    wpid-20151025_140907.jpgI finally had a mini cupcake like I originally intended. From a bakery that wasn’t part of our itinerary, but Sweet Buttons is a cute little place that caught my eye. And yes, that is bacon. Nice, salty smoky bacon. And paired with the maple frosting, it was delicious! The cake was another disappointment. A little on the dry side. Texture was a crumbly also. I’d eat this maple frosting with bacon sprinkles by the bowl-full though.
  4. Sugar Sweet Sunshine – Coconut Mini
    This was our last stop. Unfortunately, we had already reached our sugar limit by the time we got here. Maybe that contributes to why this was my least favorite of the 4. Maybe not. This one felt like something I could’ve done at home with a box mix, and with better results. It was very dry, almost to the point of stale. Nothing special about the frosting either. A completely unforgettable cupcake.

I hate sugar now. I don’t want to see anything sweet for the next two weeks at least. I feel totally drained and sluggish. Sugar is just evil, but so yummy.