July turned into another of those months for the book club. The Collapsing Empire didn’t arrive until almost the end of July.

Yep, you read that right, those of you keeping score at home. The Collapsing Empire. “Weren’t we supposed to read Shades of Milk and Honey?” you ask? Well, yes. We were. Unfortunately, it’s on backorder, and we’re not entirely sure when all copies will arrive. So, we traded July’s book for August’s.

As of July 31, only one copy of Shades of Milk and Honey have arrived, and so the decision has been made to read November’s book, The Historian, in August and cross our fingers that this allows all backorders to be delivered. September, October, and December’s books remain unchanged.

The Collapsing Empire was generally enjoyed by the group, with a huge acknowledgement that Scalzi was heavily influenced by Dune, Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel. There are a lot of similarities between the idea of the Flow and Spice, and how the guild system is set up and works in The Collapsing Empire. It’s a good framework, and it worked really well for the story that Scalzi is telling. And because you’re probably wondering, now: no, the plot is not Dune’s plot. Elements of the world-building were, again, heavily influenced by Dune, but that is all. I know I’m ready for The Consuming Fire, which is set to be released in October.


This is the time of year when all of the best summer reads lists come out. So naturally, this has me thinking about what’s on my to-be-read pile. And by pile, I mean the main screen of my kindle app on my phone. Thanks to the wonders of Overdrive and the Libby app, I can borrow the ebooks I want to read but don’t necessarily want to buy. I’m running into a problem, though. I put holds on books, thinking that it’s going to be a little while before they’ll be available to be.

I was wrong. I’m always wrong when I think this. I now have 7 of my 20 total loan spots used. I have 20 because the two libraries I have linked to my Overdrive account allow me to check out 10 ebooks each. It’s pretty awesome. But still, I feel a bit overwhelmed with books to read. Which isn’t a terrible problem to have, honestly.

Anyway, on my current TBR pile:

Mary B., by Katherine J. Chen. This is a book about Mary Bennet, sister to Elizabeth Bennet of Pride and Prejudice fame.

The Long Earth, by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter. It’s sci-fi by Terry Pratchett, and the first in a series.

The Obesity Code, by Dr. Jason Fung. I need to get my health under control. I’m hoping that this sets me on the path to doing just that.

Cleopatra, by Stacy Schiff. A biography of one of Egypt’s most famous queens.

Jane Austen at Home, by Lucy Worsley. I have been wanting to read this for at least a year. It’s a biography of Jane Austen, by one of my favorite historians.

Radiance, by Catherynne M. Valente. Valente’s writing is haunting and beautiful and it’s DecoPunk. I am in love.

So that’s what’s on my current reading list. I’ll let you know in next month’s blog post how I did with it. And yes, I’m only listing six, because by the time this publishes, I’ll have been done with the seventh. Which was a Regency romance by Sarah MacLean.

What’s on your reading this this summer? Let me and everyone else know on Facebook, in the Tea and Shenanigans Book Club group!


As stated above, our book for August is Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian. In this book, Kostova explores the ties between the very real Vlad Țepeș and the fictional Count Dracula. It’s a fresh take on the vampire legend, and so, so good. We’ll let you know when the books are ready to be sent out or picked up from the shop!

Jessica Marcum

Captain’s Note: The Rogue Crusade’s Loremaster’s Guild is a super fun “not-so-secret-society” of people near and far who thrive on hot beverages, stories of all kinds, and witty shenanigans! Join us today for $15 a month to get a new fictional tale each month, journal prompts, and other fun challenges at RogueCrusade.Com! – ♥


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