Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Once Upon a Book Club + Pineapple-Kissed Smoothies #FoodieReads

Through one of my online book groups, I heard about Once Upon a Book Club. It sounded intriguing: you read a book and get to open little gifts to correspond with certain pages.

Once Upon a Book Club

I selected one of the previous months' boxes as a single purchase because I didn't want to get locked into a subscription without testing it out. As I mentioned, the concept was fascinating, but I wasn't sure about the implementation.

On the Page

I received The Deepest Blue: Tales of Renthia by Sarah Beth Durst* and four wrapped gifts with page numbers on them: 170, 237, 276, and 311. Okay, that seems fun. So, I dug in. Admittedly, fantasy isn't my usual genre of choice. And, even though it wasn't the 'young adult' box, the book felt 'young adult.'

Mayara, an oyster diver, marries the love of her life, Kelo, and plans to continue as a diver while he sells his art. That is until she reveals her power over the spirits, then she is forced to choose to become a Silent One or risk the trials of the island to become an Heir. Either way, she is looking at losing her new husband or her life.

Some Pros

  • well-written characters
  • strong female protagonist
  • vivid world building

Some Cons

  • pacing was uneven
  • writing seemed to decline as the book progressed
  • anticlimactic ending

I opened the gifts, as indicated, and was disappointed. First, they seemed chintzy; and, second, they didn't really add to the experience of reading the book. So, I won't be buying any more boxes. I loved the idea of the book club, but I didn't think it was implemented very well.

Pineapple-Kissed Smoothies

There were several foods mentioned that I toyed with creating: limpets cooked with goat butter and seasoned with sea salt, a shrimp buffet, mussels with mango sauce, and coconut milk. But I was inspired to whip up some pineapple smoothies to go along with these book comments. And R had found these cute little baby pineapples at the store. I had four, but kept one for the photos!

Pineapples appear several times throughout the book, but I liked this passage as it seemed to represent the give and take of marriage. Their marriage. Anyone's marriage, really.  "...[Kelo] always treated her cuts when she scraped herself on rocks and coral. He cooked her favorite spiced pineapple mash, and she reminded him to eat, even when he was in the midst of an all-absorbing project. ...We are a team" (pp. 91-92).

As we are in the middle of a heat wave here on the Monterey Peninsula, I didn't feel like turning on the stove to cook breakfast. So, we had cool smoothies on the patio before we all went our separate ways for summer school and work.

Ingredients makes 2

  • 2 C cubed pineapple + more for garnish
  • 2 C frozen strawberries
  • 1 C pineapple juice
  • 1 C coconut milk or any kind of milk
  • Also needed: blender or food processor, fresh strawberries for garnish, cocktail picks, straws


Place all the cubed pineapple, strawberries, juice, and milk in a blender. Process until smooth. Pour into serving glasses and garnish with spears of pineapple and fresh strawberries. Serve immediately.

*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.

Click to see what everyone else read in June 2019: here.


  1. I'm glad I let you check it out before I joined LOL. Thanks for taking the risk for us.

  2. I had heard about this subscription before too. That's too bad the gifts were cheap because the idea seemed so great.