3 Bookish Activities You Can Do With Your Family Over the Holidays (Reading Beverage Recipe Included)

The holidays can be a stressful time. Between buying presents, welcoming extended family into your home, decorating, holiday parties and huge meals, there is very little time to relax or time for yourself. And if you are anything like me, small talk and extended family is exhausting and awkward. Here are three book-related activities you can do with your family to break the ice and relax a bit.

1) Reading Party and Tea

One of the easiest ways to relax with your family is a reading party. This is when all of you get together in pajamas and lounge in armchairs and on the couch and individually read. This is a really good activity if you want to spend time with your family but don’t feel like talking. If you need a quiet night after a big dinner or you want to ease into Christmas with a relaxing morning, this is a great activity. You could all have your own books that you were already in the process of reading, or you could make it more festive by buying holiday books for the occasion. To make a reading party complete, make some homemade fancy tea to drink while reading. This Sweet Chai Tea Latte recipe by Equal Exchange is a perfect beverage to go along with it.

2) Storytelling

This is a great activity, especially if there are a lot of little kids around. While nowadays they might be able to preoccupy themselves with electronics, the holidays are still about spending time together as a family and storytelling is a great way to do so. Even if the kids are not so little, this is still a great activity to do, as long as you choose a book appropriate for the age group. Some of these kids might (erroneously) think storytelling is boring or only for babies, but hopefully, you’ll change their minds with some captivating stories to read, like Winterhouse by Ben Guterson, an urban fantasy mystery meant for 9-12-year-olds.

Listeners are more likely to be persuaded to sit still and listen if there is a special hot chocolate treat involved. Equal Exchange’s Peppermint Patty in a Cup is a quick and easy recipe that kids will love.

3) Book Drinking Games

If your entire family is bookish and over the legal drinking age, then book drinking games are a lot of fun and will allow you to have a great time with your family without feeling so exhausted. Find a bookish drinking game by searching your favorite genre+drinking game. Feel free to try LQ’s Smashwords Drinking Game If you want to be really fancy, make your own coffee liqueur for the drinking game.

What book-related activity do you do if any?

Also, the Indiebound link is an affiliate link, so if you buy from it part of that money will go to charity through Lover’s Quarrel’s Read for a Better World Program.

Equal Exchange did not give me compensation in any way for linking to their website. I am just a huge fan of their products and their mission. (However, if they want to sponsor me, I would totally be cool with that 🙂 )


Interview with Ivan Pozo-Illas, Aka Atrayo

Ivan Pozo-Illas is the author of Jewels of Truth: The Journey of the Soul Continues: Volume jewels_of_truth_the_journey_of_the_soul_continues-pozo-illas_a_k_a_atrayo_ivan_a-32850670-556066055-frntl3, which I reviewed in exchange for a donation to the Borgen Project. Jewels of Truth is definitely Reading for a Better World because it gives positive guidance and promotes tolerance and love for all and I was happy to review it, especially because Atrayo’s writing process is so intriguing and unlike anything I’ve ever heard of.

While I cannot say I completely understand the contents in Ivan’s books or his very unique writing process, I have definitely had a memorable experience working with him. I’m also extremely grateful for his extreme patience with the turnaround time for the review and my lack of understanding in spiritual matters.

LQ: Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

Well, from a Florida native having lived in Miami my hometown for about 24 years and another as a transplant in Sarasota, Florida over 22 years now. I’m single no kids no pets, however, deeply spiritually versus being deeply religious. It’s par for the course for me since I have spent 22 years doing clairvoyant automatic writing on and off. Back in 2015 when this third volume was published by Iuniverse. I came out of the psychic-medium closest since up until that time my family hadn’t the faintest clue. Glady, my parents, siblings, and some cousins have been open-minded at least on a minimal basis.
I also live like a monk although unaffiliated to any one faith tradition in particular. God in the plural sense is my inclusive universal faith. The closest to my faith tradition I suppose could be the Persian Ba’Ha faith that is also inclusive of all religions as well. But, that doesn’t necessarily make me a follower of Ba’ha.
(In Clairvoyan automatic writing) one simply steps away from the ego mindset and expands the horizon to what would be considered as inspirational. Much like when an Artist as a Performer or an Athlete enters the zone on a consistent basis.
LQ: You say you use clairvoyant automatic writing. What does that mean exactly? 
Clairvoyant Automatic writing is when one enters into a semi-trance in terms of unconscious writing. One simply steps away from the ego mindset and expands the horizon to what would be considered as inspirational. Much like when an Artist as a Performer or an Athlete enters the zone on a consistent basis. I can enter such a zone at will with our without meditations and/or with prayer. Although the latter exercises as forms of worship improve somewhat the quality what I channel in benevolent spiritual wisdom writings.
The automatic writing traditional received a major revival during the Spiritualist movement during the Victorian 19th century period. Now it’s one clairvoyant technique for disseminating information from a spiritual source. Be it the Angels or some other entity. Sorta like an Ouiji board but in this case, it is with a pen and paper or a typing keyboard.
LQ: How do you incorporate spirituality into your daily life?
As you alluded to in your book review of “Jewels of Truth: The Journey of the Soul Continues, Volume 3”. My brand of spirituality is part self-taught and otherwise under the tutelage of the Angels as a psychic-medium. Not all psychic-mediums wear their faith on their sleeve like myself many are very secular in nature. However, doing automatic writing for over 22 years now it has transformed me on purpose and probably by a higher design. I’ve become a Sage with a Mystical Angelic bent that has had a profound way how I see our crazy world and now interact with it.
I worship God be he, she, it is monotheist or polytheist. Whatever inspired benevolent faith in the world there is that God or Goddess is as the feminine side of the Creator. I cherish all benevolent religions, spiritual traditions, and secular philosophies.
LQ: In your Goodreads biography, you say you’ve adopted an inclusive interfaith view of the world. Can you explain what an inclusive interfaith view of the world means to you?
 I may have slightly covered this in my initial question about myself. However, an Interfaith inclusive view of the world. I worship God be he, she, it is monotheist or polytheist. Whatever inspired benevolent faith in the world there is that God or Goddess is as the feminine side of the Creator. I cherish all benevolent religions, spiritual traditions, and secular philosophies. Some would say by following all these traditions I would stand for nothing. The beauty of being so spiritually forthright reveals to me how I practice living by a Holy Paradox. What appears like a Void of Nothing is quite the opposite paradoxically as the Absolute Totality of everything or the Omnipresence of the Creator. People that say they do not see God are looking through the wrong organ. God is experienced through the Heart first and not the eyes.

Another point this last 3rd volume of the “Jewels of Truth” series of channeled angelic wisdom is like a time capsule of my writings. From the span of 2011 to 2015 it marks the evolution of my heavenly inheritance from God as my divinity in action. My 1st book of the series “Jewels of Truth: A Soul Odyssey Within, Volume 1” published in 2007 and the 2nd volume as “Jewels of Truth: The Wayfarer of the Soul” published on 2011 also by Iuniverse. Each is like stepping stones although you have rightly stated my Christian roots. I started off as Roman-Catholic as Cuban American but the Church, in my opinion, lost me since all I witnessed were politics and scandals.

LQ: What else would you like to share?
My blog site of now 12 years online at http://atrayosoracle.blogspot.com has over 500 of these spiritual wisdom statements as angelic channeled content freely available. To date, I have written over 3000+ of these statements and they keep on pouring out of me. I also channel solutions based conceptual designs as innovations for businesses, charities, governmental policy, and even some military technologies. Over 200 in these 12 years time are also located at “Atrayo‘s Oracle” blog site freely available as abstract summary statements. I often state in my biography paragraph that these inspirational Muse like gifts is for the next society to come. I also have a YouTube channel of “Atrayo‘s Oracle” with over 50 Vlog videos of the angelic channeled spiritual wisdom writings I do as well. https://www.youtube.com/c/ivanpozoillas

Perhaps when the Millennials take over the reigns from the Baby Boomers and the Gen X’ers that sold us out collectively in the 2nd Gilded Age on Earth to date. The Millennials are like the population rebirth of the Greatest Generation of the 20th century that survived the Great Depression and fought in War World 2. The Millennials have now survived the Great Recession with over a million American children in poverty to date. The Wars of the Middle East and elsewhere in succession military campaign after campaign is like one drawn out World War. The Greatest Generation after World War 2 rebuilt America and the World the Millennials will do in like kind during this Rennaissance of Global Technologies.

If you are an author or blogger and would like to be interviewed on Lover’s Quarrel, find out how here.
Also, be on the lookout for a special Lover’s Quarrel giveaway coming up to finish off 2017.

My Hurricane Irma Reading List

I hope everyone got through Irma safely. My family and I were extremely lucky and didn’t have any major damage. We did lose power, but only for about 24 hours, which was extremely fortunate. There are still a lot of people without power or running water and suffering from major damage, so if you can, please donate to help those in need.

Even though my family and I got through Irma without a scratch, the day without power and the week I had off from school was enough to make us a little stir crazy. I did a lot of reading to keep my sanity, and this is my Hurricane Irma reading list.

97815011211731) The Revival by Stephen King

Genre: Supernatural

Page Count: 416

Stephen King novels are very fitting when the weather is bad. The Revival was really good and I enjoyed it. It’s not as scary as the reviews said it was. More than anything, it’s sad.

A dark and electrifying novel about addiction, fanaticism, and what might exist on the other side of life.

In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs—including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.

Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from the age of thirteen, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his family’s horrific loss. In his mid-thirties—addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate—Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings.


2) A Writer’s Guide to Nonfiction by Elizabeth Lyon

Genre: How-to

Page Count: 240

Don’t get lost on the publishing path. Just forge ahead with the Writer’s Compass. Drawing on decades of professional experience as an author, editor, writing instructor, mentor, and marketing consultant, Elizabeth Lyon helps you navigate the art and craft of writing—with clear, easy-to-follow directions.


Getting Your Bearings

Understand your purpose and your audience; learn to refine your ideas, select effective titles, and find the best method of organization for any piece



Use checklists and guidelines to spot weaknesses and problems in leads, organization, conclusions, and style—and find out how to correct them


Learning to Market

Map a successful cover letter, query letter, or proposal, and discover a four-step process to facilitate publication and sales


Refining Your Vision

Brainstorm to gain perspective on your writing—and how it fits with your values, goals, and dreams

Having the power out gave me some time without distractions to learn how to improve my writing. This is a really helpful book for anyone looking to do nonfiction writing.

Get A Writer’s Guide to Nonfiction at Your Local Bookstore and Support the Arbor Day Foundation. 


3) Jewels of Truth: Volume 3 by Atrayo

Genre: Spiritual

Page Count: 258

Once the power was back on I was able to use my electronics without worrying about the battery and I made a lot of progress on Jewels of Truth, which I plan to review on here soon. It’s been a very challenging book for me, which is why it’s taken me so long to read it. Luckily I’m almost done and I should have a review done soon.

Your spiritual journey of self-improvement continues in volume three of the Jewels of Truth series by Ivan A. Pozo-Illas, a.k.a. Atrayo. In this new compendium of 365 statements of spiritual wisdom, Atrayo shares daily inspirational tools to explore all of the must-haves in your life, including love, faith, forgiveness, and certainly, God(dess).

His daily statements get right to the heart of the matter quickly and efficiently, to inspire you that finding quiet time in your busy, stressful life is easier than you may think. From these poignant and concise statements, rather than lengthy diatribes, you can easily and quickly find the essential kernel of truth to help you on your journey today.

No matter your religious or spiritual traditions or background, this volume is written from an all-inclusive perspective. Jewels of Truth: The Journey of the Soul Continues is the sacred and uplifting result of clairvoyant automatic writing as the genesis motivation to reach the masses. The channeled spirit teachers are all angelic in divine nature. They are nameless as a united continuum of the Holy Spirit.

Spirituality has a core need in our lives. No matter where you are on your journey, these messages of hope are shared in love.

Get Jewels of Truth at Your Local Bookstore and Support the Arbor Day Foundation.

How was everyone’s week? Let me know in the comments.

Stay Safe, Everyone

Hi, everyone!

I’m not having a normal post this week because I’m currently in Florida. While I am safe in a no-evacuation zone with plenty of food and water I do not know how long I’ll have power.

If you are in an area that will be affected by hurricanes, then please stay safe. Too many lives have already been lost to hurricanes this year.

If you are safe, then please donate for hurricane relief. The devastation is catastrophic and it is only going to get worse. Donate to One America Appeal to help those affected by Harvey and Irma.

Please do what you can to help others in your area.  Between the destruction caused by the wildfires on the west coast, the hurricanes in the south, and the earthquake that struck Mexico, it’s looking like the end of days, but it’s not. It’s more important than ever that everyone does what they can to recover from the destruction and to prevent further destruction.

Even if you do not have the time to volunteer or the money to donate, you can still help. Download the app, Charity Miles.

Charity Miles works with sponsors to donate money when you run, walk, or bike with their app open. You can raise $0.25 for every mile you run or walk and $0.10 for every mile you bike.

Set your charity to Habitat for Humanity to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey and keep the app open when you hit the gym or all day to log all your walking. You can always do what I do and walk on the treadmill while reading 🙂 

Stay safe, everyone, and take care of each other. Happy reading.

Book Spotlight: Jewels of Truth by Atrayo


Buy Now on Amazon


Jewels of Truth: The Journey to the Soul Continues, Volume 3

by Ivan A Pozo-Illas AKA Atrayo

Your spiritual journey of self-improvement continues in volume three of the Jewels of Truth series by Ivan A. Pozo-Illas, a.k.a. Atrayo. In this new compendium of 365 statements of spiritual wisdom, Atrayo shares daily inspirational tools to explore all of the must-haves in your life, including love, faith, forgiveness, and certainly, God(dess).


Atrayo got this spotlight by generously donating to end extreme poverty. Learn how you can take the same opportunity here. 

Top 5 Romance Novel Pet Peeves

heart-1610858_1920I’m addicted to romance novels. I can’t get enough of them. A well-written romance novel with a good plot and love story is enough for me to daydream about, giggle over, and read for the seventh time when I really need to get back to work.

But there are more than a few things that keep turning up in romance novels that I absolutely hate.


1) Insta-Love

This is so common in romance novels but as far as I can tell, nobody likes it. Why? Because it’s a cheat and ruins otherwise good books.

I want to see how the characters fall in love. I need to be emotionally invested in the characters before the moment of love for me to give a damn about them.


2) Awkwardly Weird Sex Scenes

I must admit, I do enjoy snickering at watching the man go apeshit and penetrate the woman’s sex essence with his rod. But it’s a huge mood killer for me. Not just for that scene, but for the rest of the book. How am I supposed to take the guy seriously as he declares his eternal love when I’m still snickering about his essence-penetrating rod?


3) Unlikeable Main Characters

This is a no-brainer, but unfortunately, happens way too often, especially when the characters to hate each other at first and then fall in love. The characters are so busy battling each other, they lose all redeemable qualities.

I’ve read books where the main couple pulls malicious pranks on each other, publically shames each other, and even hurts each other physically before falling in love. Call me crazy, but I cannot picture a stable relationship blossoming out of violent destruction like that.


4) No Plot

There is no love story without at least some sort of plot. After all, the characters end up falling in love through events that happen, whether that is stopping a serial killer or running away from a smothering family. Without a plot, everything is boring, including the love story.

Sometimes romance novels fall really flat because not enough is happening and there is a string of conflict-free events with a dash of sweet nothings thrown in for good measure. Then I start hoping one of the main characters is used in a ritual sacrifice because then at least something is happening.


5) Too Much Sap

Don’t get me wrong; passion, intense gazes, and declarations of love are my jam. But when the characters are constantly calling each other soulmates and moving each other to tears with purple prose every other paragraph, then I start throwing up a little. Romance novels are a type of fantasy for sure, but let’s not overdo it with the fairy dust.

What romance novel pet peeves do you have? Leave in the comments below.

Looking for free romance novels that rock? Get The Ultimate Lover’s Quarrel Reading List when you sign up for my newsletterThis reading list has only free full-length romance novels I’ve rated 4 stars or higher. It includes review highlights and links to my full reviews so you will know for sure if these books are for you.

3 Must Read Fantasy Romance Authors

I cannot get enough of fantasy romance novels lately. I don’t know what it is about mythological wars and magical powers that make me fall in love with the characters, but lately fantasy romance has been hitting the spot. Here are three must-read fantasy romance authors.

92000000341379241) Maggie Shayne

Author of the By Magic series, Maggie Shayne knows how to let you escape into fantasy. The love stories in both By Magic Enchanted and By Magic Beguiled were wonderfully addictive and deliciously sweet. By Magic Enchanted took me by surprise and became even better than I thought it would be.

Both stories feature two sisters, descendants of royal fairy blood. One grows up homeless on city streets The other imprisoned by an enemy prince. Their magic and their wits keep them alive as they try to reclaim their destiny and their place in their kingdom.

Read my review for By Magic Beguiled.

2940152405729_p0_v1_s1200x6302) Elise Marion

Elise Marion is an exceptional world builder and an amazing storyteller. She has the ability to sweep you into the world in Chained, where two very different regions are on the brink of war. Little do they know the war is orchestrated by a third party, one that is very dangerous.

I’ve read three books in the Chained series, and I loved all three. The characters are really well developed and the cultures well crafted. Marion is an amazing writer and I highly recommend them.

Read my interview with Elise Marion. 

btphcoveroff3) Chani Lynn Feener

Author of Bad Things Play Here, which tells the tale of Piper, a descendant of Pandora. Her family has been guarding Pandora’s box for millennia, but Piper wants to just have a normal life and more importantly a connection with someone, something she was denied her entire childhood. But when Pandora’s box is stolen by a malicious spirit, she needs to team up with Reece, the god of Lust, to stop more Sins from escaping. Reece wants nothing to do with Piper’s family, but Piper makes him feel things he had long forgotten. What starts out as one night of pleasant distractions from Pandora’s Box becomes something more. But as much as Reece wants to, could he really be with Piper, a mortal?

Disclaimer: the links in this post are affiliate links which means I get a small commission at no additional cost to you. Half of my commission from these links is donated to the Malala Fund to help women and girls get education. 

Want more romance? Sign up for my newsletter and get the Ultimate Lover’s Quarrel Reading List which features free, full-length romance novels that I’ve rated 4 stars or higher.