French Press Classics

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Its talk like a pirate day, what better way to celebrate then with a few swashbuckling mini beans.

These french classics have it all; heroes, adventure, duels, the high seas, and well even a bit of love. Their literary mastery are well admired. I have a soft spot for epic tales and romanticism, and I hold these three among favorites.

Here are my favorite French presses:

The Count of Monte Cristo

by Alexandre Dumas
Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantes is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration.

Dumas’ epic tale of suffering and retribution, inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment, was a huge popular success when it was first serialized in the 1840s.
Rated: 4.6 on amazon.com

p1000324.jpgBook Bean: Chocolat l’ancienne
Rich and decadent melted dark chocolate poured into cups, and served alongside it’s own separate dish of fresh whipped cream. So thick and creamy, I’ll have mine with Un café please!


Le
s Misérables
by Victor Hugo
Published in 1862 and considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century. Within this dramatic story are themes that capture the intellect and the emotions: crime and punishment, the relentless persecution of Valjean by Javert, the desperation of Fantine, the amorality of the rogue Thénardier, and the universal desire to escape the prisons of our own minds.

A beautiful and haunting story that many can relate to and easily fall in love with. It is a richly complex emotional tale of good vs. evil and true redemption.
Rated: 4.7 on amazon.com

coffee


Book Bean
: Un café
A coffee, plain and simple, but not as we would have in the U.S. Order “Un Café” and you will get a small cup of plain strong espresso.


The Three Musketeers

by Alexandre Dumas
An adventurous tale of the young man d’Artagnan. Leaving home to travel to Paris, d’Artagnan wishes to join the Musketeers of the Guard. He is not one of the musketeers of the title but befriends Athos, Porthos and Aramis (inseparable friends who live by the motto “all for one, one for all.”) This motto which is first put forth by d’Artagnan, has become a most well known and loved signet.

This historical fiction is full of memorable characters and adventure, and laugh out loud wit and humor that had me completely entertained.
Rated: 4.4 on amazon.com

caffecoffea-comBook Bean: Cafè au Lait A coffee with hot milk added (In comparison to the Itallian caffè latte.) In the U.S. a café au lait is a drink of strong drip coffee or French pressed coffee, to which steamed milk is added.


Auguste Maquet
was a French author, best known as the chief collaborator of French novelist Alexandre Dumas, co-writing such works as
The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.

Fun Fact: Les Misérables as a whole is one of the longest ever written, with approximately 1,500 pages in unabridged English-language editions, and 1,900 pages in French.

Do you have a favorite french classic, and/or a favorite french author?

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Mochas and Musketeers

tumblr_npiufvXZkL1tz1jmlo1_1280Flamboyant heroes, adventure, riveting duels, and of course romance.

Alexandre Dumas
and his swashbuckling  Musketeers have fascinated for ages!
To honor Dumas on his birthday today
July 24th 1855, I wanted to share his many works featuring the most beloved comrades The Musketeers.

Here are the D’Artagnan Romances:

 The Three Musketeers
An adventurous tale of the young man d’Artagnan. Leaving home to travel to Paris, d’Artagnan wishes to join the Musketeers of the Guard. He is not one of the musketeers of the title but befriends Athos, Porthos and Aramis (inseparable friends who live by the motto “all for one, one for all.”) This motto which is first put forth by d’Artagnan, has become a most well known and loved signet. This a historical fiction full of memorable adventure and characters.

Rated: 4.5 on amazon.com Trucos-para-preparar-un-café-5-estrellas-en-casa

Book Bean: Un café
A coffee, plain and simple, but not as we would have in the U.S. Order “Un Café”  and you will get a small cup of plain strong espresso.

Twenty Years Later
Two decades have passed since the musketeers triumphed over Cardinal Richelieu and Milady. Time has weakened their resolve, and dispersed their loyalties. However, treason and stratagem still cry out for justice: civil war endangers the throne of France, while in England Cromwell threatens to send Charles I to the scaffold. Dumas brings his immortal quartet out of retirement to cross swords with time, the malevolence of men, and the forces of history. But their greatest test is a titanic struggle with the son of Milady, who wears the face of Evil.

Rated: 4.5 on amazon.com 

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Book Bean: Chocolat l’ancienne
Rich and decadent melted dark chocolate poured into cups, and served alongside it’s own separate dish of fresh whipped cream. So thick and creamy, I’ll have mine with Un café  please!

Ten Years Later: The Vicomte de Brabelonne
In the English translations the 268 chapters of this large volume are usually subdivided into three, but sometimes four or even five individual books. In three-volume English editions, the three volumes are titled “The Vicomte de Bragelonne”, “Louise de la Valliere”, and “The Man in the Iron Mask.” Each of these volumes is roughly the length of the original
The Three Musketeers.

Here they are in Three Volumes:

The Vicomte de Bragelonne
It is May 1660 and the fate of nations is at stake. Mazarin plots, Louis XIV is in love, and Raoul de Bragelonne, son of Athos, is intent on serving France and winning the heart of Louise de la Valliere. D’Artagnan, meanwhile, is perplexed by a mysterious stranger, and soon he learns that his old comrades already have great projects in hand. Athos seeks the restoration of Charles II, while Aramis, with Porthos in tow, has a secret plan involving a masked prisoner and the fortification of the island of Belle-Ile.

4091536-late-coffee-with-chocolate-latte-coffee-with-white-chocolate-Stock-PhotoRated: 4.3 on amazon.com

Book Bean:
 Cafè latte au Chocolat
Espresso with steamed milk and drizzled with
chocolate on top.


The Musketeers are now in their late 50’s.
They are still vital characters but they are no longer young men looking for any excuse to duel with the Cardinal’s Guard. From this point on, there is a lot less sword play and campaigning (Sorry Swashbuckler fans.)

The focus of the story now shifts to the intrigues of Louis XIV court.

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Lousise de la Valliere
Devoted in large part to romantic events at the court of France’s King Louis XIV. It is filled with behind-the-scenes intrigue, the novel brings the aging Musketeers and d’Artagnan out of retirement to face an impending crisis within the royal court of France.

Chocolat-chaudRated: 4.3 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Chocolat chaud
Otherwise known as good old Hot Cocoa 🙂
The Man in The Iron Mask
Some thirty-five years on, the bonds of comradeship are under strain as they end up on different sides in a power struggle that may undermine the young Louis XIV and change the face of the French monarchy. In the fast-paced narrative style that was his trademark, Dumas pitches us straight into the action. What is the secret shared by Aramis and Madame de Chevreuse? Why does the Queen Mother fear its revelation? Who is the mysterious prisoner in the Bastille?

Rated: 4.3 on amazon.comcafe_au_lait

Book Bean: Cafè au Lait
A coffee with hot milk added (In comparison to the Itallian caff
è latte.) In the U.S.  a café au lait is a drink of strong drip coffee or French pressed coffee, to which steamed milk is added.

Fun Fact: Two further sequels to the D’Artagnan books — the novels The Son of Porthos (1883) and D’Artagnan Kingmaker (1900) — were written and published after Dumas’s death. D’Artagnan does not appear in the first novel, which, although written by Paul Mahalin, was published under the pen name “Alexandre Dumas” and is still sold as such. The second novel was supposedly based on one of Dumas’ plays (wikipedia)

Have you read any or all of these novels? 
Please share your thoughts.

Noteworthy Non-Fiction

I love reading great non-fiction books. I enjoy reading about historical events and people. I love memoirs and biographies of interesting and diverse characters. I also will read an occasional self-help book, if it’s applicable and not too overly cliche.

Here are some great noteworthy non-fiction books:

(Click any photo or title for more info.)

Diary of a Young Girl

If you haven’t already read this book I highly recommend it. This girl wrote so well in her journal, and told her story so exceptionally. – semi-spoiler alert! – For her to be able to tell her story in the midst of such hardship and have it survive in her place, is beautiful. It’s a bit haunting knowing that she wrote this leading up to what was likely a very horrendous end. I felt a bit of a knot in my core that was hard to shake. I tend to get very attached to the lives and stories of protagonist in books, and
it’s always very difficult when bad
things happen. The eeriness with this book was that I couldn’t tell myself
(it’s just a book.)

Rated: 4.6 on amazon.com
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Book Bean: 
Simple Tea
You may not feel like spoiling yourself with anything decadent while reading about such hardship.

The Funny Thing Is

On a much lighter note there is this delightful book about the real life happenings of one Ellen Degeneres. Now, I am a fan of Ellen’s, I love the style of her humor and wit. So I am quiet a bit biased going into this little mini review. This book is a breath of fresh air. It is pure Ellen genius, and I sped right through it. At the end I was sad it was over, the light-hearted gentle humor was such an endorphin rush. I don’t know if other people will feel as I did reading it,
but I sure hope so. 🙂

Rated: a shocking 3.9 on amazon.com
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Book Bean: Alppuchino
I know I’m not Ellen, I need to drink more Iced Green Tea.

Empire of The Summer Moon

This is a fantastic book. I purchased it because it was inviting and looked really interesting. It is about chief Quanah Parker and the rise and fall of the Comanche tribe. Being of Native American heritage myself, I am drawn to historical books such as this. What I love about this book is that it reads like a novel. The story is so engrossing and interesting. It was well written, informative, and entertaining as well. If you are interested in Native American Culture and/or History (or even if you’re not) this is a must read.
Rated: 4.5 on amazon.comHazelnutMochaTrailMixCup_thumb1

Book Bean:
Trail Mix Mocha Latte
Espresso with steamed milk, flavored with chocolate, almond extract, and cherry. Keep it natural for a better more earthy flavor.
Man’s Search For Meaning
 I know, another book about the Holocaust, but it is such an exceptional book. This particular book is written by Victor Frankl an Austrian Neurologist and Psychologist. He writes about the events that took place from a different point of view than other books I’ve read, which I really liked. He would break down the why’s and woes of each person’s action/reaction, and I  found that fascinating. This book is part Holocaust experience story, part “what I’ve discovered because of it.” It’s like getting a mini-documentary and a self-help book all in one.

Rated: 4.7 on amazon.com
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Book Bean: Plain Brewed Coffee

Again you won’t feel like indulging while reading this painful memoir.

Love, Lucy
And to end with another light-hearted note. Lucile Ball, the comic legend and genius. This autobiography was discovered randomly after her death. Again I am probably a bit biased here, because I ADORE Lucy. I Love Lucy was iconic. I grew up watching it, and to this day it is my favorite! Lucille ball and Ricky Ricardo are a match made in heaven (on screen at least.) I love the behind the scene detail, and the great pictures that accompany this book. I am so happy that this gem was discovered so that we could enjoy her legacy.

Rated: 4.8 on amazon.com
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Book Bean:
Vitameatavegamin!
But seeing as it’s so hard to find, how about a mouthful of
Truffle Cocoa, to get in the Lucy spirit 🙂

 

I know there are so many other lovely books that I’m leaving out. Books that I just haven’t read yet, or wasn’t thinking of. However, these are the ones that stood out to me. 🙂

What non-fictions book/s stand out to you?

Literature for Animal Lovers

Snip20140504_5“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend…” ~Groucho Marx

The Art of Racing in The Rain

by Garth Stein
Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life’s ordeals.
Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

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Dewey
by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter
How much of an impact can an animal have? How many lives can one cat touch? How is it possible for an abandoned kitten to transform a small library, save a classic American town, and eventually become famous around the world? You can’t even begin to answer those questions until you hear the charming story of Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat of Spencer, Iowa.
Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

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Saving Simon
by Jon Katz
In the spring of 2011, Jon Katz received a phone call that would challenge every idea he ever had about mercy and compassion. An animal control officer had found a neglected donkey on a farm in upstate New York, and she hoped that Jon and his wife, Maria, would be willing to adopt him. Jon wasn’t planning to add another animal to his home on Bedlam Farm, certainly not a very sick donkey. But the moment he saw the wrenching sight of Simon, he felt a powerful connection. Simon touched something very deep inside of him. Jon and Maria decided to take him in.
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Dog reading a book

A Wolf Called Romeo
by Nick Jans 
The remarkable story of a wolf who returned again and again to interact with the people and dogs of Juneau, living on the edges of their community, engaging in an improbable, awe-inspiring interspecies dance and bringing the wild into sharp focus. At first the people of Juneau were guarded, torn between shoot first, ask questions later instincts and curiosity. But as Romeo began to tag along with cross-country skiers on their daily jaunts, play fetch with local dogs, or simply lie near Nick and nap under the sun, they came to accept Romeo, and he them
Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

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Just Life
by Neil Abramson
Veterinarian Samantha Lewis and her team are dedicated to providing a sanctuary for unwanted, abused, and abandoned dogs in NYC. But every day it gets harder to operate her no-kill shelter. Sam is already at her breaking point when she learns of an unidentified, dangerous virus spreading through their neighborhood. The medical community can only determine that animals are the carriers. Amid growing panic and a demand for immediate answers, suspicion abruptly falls on dogs as the source. Soon the governor is for a quarantine.
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

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Of Orcas and Men
by David Neiwert
Orcas are one of earth’s most intelligent animals. Benign and gentle, with their own languages and cultures, orcas’ amazing capacity for long-term memory and, arguably, compassion, makes the ugly story of the captive-orca industry especially damning. In Of Orcas and Men, a marvelously compelling mix of cultural history, environmental reporting, and scientific research, David Neiwert explores how this extraordinary species has come to capture our imaginations―and the catastrophic environmental consequences of that appeal.
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

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41N472T1YZL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_Horse Heaven
by Jane Smiley
“It’s not true,” says a character in Jane Smiley’s funny, passionate, and brilliant new novel of horse racing, “that anything can happen at the racetrack,” but many astonishing and affecting things do. The strange, compelling, sparkling, and mysterious universe of horse racing that has fascinated generations of punters and robber barons, horse-lovers and wits, has never before been depicted with such verve and originality, such tenderness, such clarity, and, above all, such sheer exuberance.
Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

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The Zookeeper’s Wife
by Diane Ackerman
A true story in which the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo saved hundreds of people from Nazi handsAfter their zoo was bombed, Polish zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski managed to save over three hundred people from the Nazis by hiding refugees in the empty animal cages. With animal names for these “guests,” and human names for the animals, it’s no wonder that the zoo’s code name became “The House Under a Crazy Star.” Diane Ackerman combines extensive research and an exuberant writing style to re-create this fascinating, true-life story.
Rated 3.8 on amazon.com

amusing-animal-photos-reading-dog

A Dog’s Purpose
by W. Bruce Cameron
Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh-out-loud funny, A Dog’s Purpose is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog’s many lives, but also a dog’s-eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man’s best friend. This moving and beautifully crafted story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose.
Rated 4.8 on amazon.com

wishbone

Seabiscuit
by Laura Hillenbrand
Another true story; Seabiscuit was one of the most electrifying and popular attractions in sports history and the single biggest newsmaker in the world in 1938, receiving more coverage than FDR, Hitler, or Mussolini. But his success was a surprise to the racing establishment, which had written off the crooked-legged racehorse with the sad tail. Three men changed Seabiscuit’s fortunes.
Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

31bab74a6847ca20d0bc5e95124b46bd--read-books-adorable-animals

The Lion in the Living Room
by Abigail Tucker
A lively adventure through history, natural science, and pop culture in search of how cats conquered the world, the Internet, and our hearts. House cats rule back alleys, deserted Antarctic islands, and our bedrooms. Clearly, they own the Internet, where a viral cat video can easily be viewed upwards of ten million times. But how did cats accomplish global domination? Unlike dogs, they offer humans no practical benefit. The truth is they are sadly incompetent rat-catchers and pose a threat to many ecosystems. Yet, we love them still.
Rated 4.1 on amazon.com

58f4c780d4be98bb1eb38b9d4421182b--scottish-fold-kittens-big-cats.jpgWhat animal inspired books do you love?

One Book To Rule Them All

shutterstock_253710055-largeIn a poll I posted to help us all get to know each other I asked the question:
If you could only ever read one book forever, what book would you choose?

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Now many of you did say you’d rather not live, and though I’m sure many others felt torn between that option and having to chose, they did choose. Thanks to my fellow blogger friend Aurora who reminded me to share these wonderful choices with all of you, I have compiled the following montage.


There can only be one, one book to rule them all!

Part One of Three:


The number one answer given un-specifically to edition 8 times (12 total)

The Bible

This version is the most read and highly reviewed.

 

 The longest compilation of short storiesNow that was very hard to find out… So instead I just picked 10 famous short story authors and then found the one with the longest compilation, and the winner was…

Earnest Hemingway: The Complete Short Stories


Anything by Philip Roth

Well that leaves it pretty open, so here is one of Philip Roths most well read and a best reviewed books.

Nemisis


A Larousse Dictionary

Smart choice 🙂 but didn’t specify which, as it turns out Spanish is the most popular one. Great way to learn a new language, or get smarter at your own.


Swan Song 

by Robert R. Mc Cammon

This book is one of five that got 2 or more votes, looks like I may need to read it 🙂


The Game of Life and How to Play it

by  Florence Scovel Shinn

Another smart choice.


Absalom Absalom

by William Faulkner

I’ve been wanting to read this book

 

$_58

 

The General – William Booth

I had to guess at this one a little but I found this book:

The Authoritative Life of General William Booth

 

Ship of Brides

by JoJo Moyes

 

 

The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe

by C.S. Lewis

I would go for the complete Chronicles of Narnia set (I think that counts)

 

The Biggest fattest book I can get my hands on:
The World Record for longest novel is
“À la recherche du temps perdu” 3036 pages, but that’s in french, but it was not published in one volume so it wouldn’t technically count for this person choice. However this book was chosen in the poll say yay for Proust!

“Zettels Traum” is the longest recorded book every published in one edition 1536 pages… but it’s German so I gotta pick an English one as well.

“Sir Charles Grandison” 1647 The longest English one volume book.

 


The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh:
Tales & Poems

by A. A. Milne

A charming choice!

Don Quixote

by Miguel de Cervantes

One of five to get multiple votes.

 


Bellydance for Beginners

This is the all I could find, or the closest…

 

I’d continue to write my own books, so that I’d always have something new


War and Peace

by Leo Tolstoy

A great choice, a good way to insure I’d get through it 🙂

 

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A Prayer For Owen Meany

by John Irving

After reading about this book I am very interested in reading it myself 🙂

letters-to-a-young-poet-a-beloved-classic-of-writerly-wisdom-400x400-imad8qzugsbtfyr3


*
Letters to a Young Poet

by  Rainer Maria Rilke

 

*
*
Deadly Messengers

by Susan May

 


The Art of Happiness

by Dalai Lama

Very wise choice, but I think Pharrell would be infinitely stuck in my head 😀

 

The Lord of The Rings

by J.R.R. Tolkien

This book got 3 votes, one of only 5 to get multiple votes.

I can certainly attest to why, these are phenomenal books!

I just LOVE all the variety!

Some make sense, some are strange, some are very intriguing…
What do you think of these choices?
Find out more tomorrow in Pt. 2

What would you choose?


Beat The Heat Book Beans Pt.2

Continuing from yesterday here is Part 2 of 2. More yummy chills and book thrills to beat the heat with!

Simmer down with these cool books and icy drinks:

“Love in The Time of Cholera”

Gabriel Garcia Marquez
is a wonderful author, and I really enjoyed this book. It had a warm ambiance laced in it’s pages and left me with a feeling of nostalgia when I finished it.

“Set in a country on the Caribbean coast of South America, this is a story about a woman and two men and their entwined lives. From the author of the legendary One Hundred Years of Solitude.”

Rated 3.9 on amazon.com

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Book Bean: Raspberry Rose Ripple
Rose Tea Steeped rich and chilled. Add frozen raspberries to blender, add chilled rose tea, add a couple scoops of cool whip and blend. (you can also try this with ice-cream or fro-yo.)

Before The Fall

By Noah Hawley
On a foggy summer night, eleven people–ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter–depart Martha’s Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs–the painter–and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

GL0809_Papaya-Banana_Smoothie.jpg.rend.snigalleryslide.landscapeBook Bean: Frothy Tropical Frost
Prepare Hibiscus tea click for recipe, set aside 4 oz and chill. In a blender add a handful of frozen mango, a scoop of crushed pineapple, the 4oz of chilled hibiscus tea, half a banana, and a dollop of cream of coconut. Blend until smooth and frothy. Sip, read, chill, repeat.

“White Fang”

A great classic by Jack London. If you’d like to escape the heat and spend some time way up north in the wilderness of Canada, this is a book that makes a great escape.

“Half wolf, half dog, White Fang fully understands the cruelty of both nature and humans. After nearly starving to death during the frigid Arctic winter, he’s taken in first by a man who “trains” him through constant whippings, and then by another who forces him to participate in vicious dogfights.

Follow White Fang as he overcomes these obstacles and finally meets someone who offers him kindness and love.”

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com
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Book Bean: Maple Frozen Mocha
Brew espresso over 3 maple sugar cubes dissolve and chill. Add ice, drizzle ice with a little chocolate, add almond milk, and the espresso maple mix to blender. Blend  until smooth. You can double or triple this of course 😉

I’ll Give You The Sun

The New York Times Bestselling story by Jandy Nelson. A book about first love, family, loss, and betrayal. A great choice for fans of John Green, Jenny Offill, Emma Straub, and Rainbow Rowell

“At first, Jude and her twin brother are NoahandJude; inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them.”
Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

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Book Bean: Teappaccino
Steep you favorite herbal or white tea blend and chill (citrusy and florally ones are especially nice). Add tea, scoop of vanilla fro-yo, and a squeeze of lemon to blender. Blend and enjoy 🙂

Well that is my beat the heat chill out list, I hope you find something that you’d like to try. Please share your experience if you do.

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Check out my Saga Saturday List for even more great summer reads!