OTP: My Favorite Couples

It’s the last day of February, so I wanted to get one more post up to celebrate the month of luuuurve. Love stories can be a hard sell, especially if they contain any of the trends I mentioned in my post about things I love and loathe about romance in books. But, I’m not a curmudgeon all the time. Here are my top of OTPs (one true pairings) of all time:

Amy and Rory from Doctor WhoAmy Pond and Rory Williams

I don’t care if this is an unpopular opinion. The eleventh Doctor is my favorite, and Amy and Rory’s love story is my favorite. Never has a TV show made me feel so many ups-and-downs. Laughing and cheering one episode and sobbing the next. There were a couple of times I didn’t think they were going to make it. Amy was so preoccupied by adventure and Rory was so insecure. But then I saw The Angels Take Manhattan, and I ugly cried because it was an all too perfect ending for Amy and Rory.

Holly Marten and Douglas FargoDr. Holly Marten and Fargo

The best TV show you’ve never watched is called Eureka, and I talk about binge watching the series on Netflix from time to time on Books & Tea. It is my absolute favorite TV show because it balances nerdiness and science fiction and drama and comedy and romance. And it’s perfect. (In fact, I might watch an episode or two after I publish this post). It also has the best theme song. Check it out:

Okay, but this isn’t about my love for the show (not entirely). It’s about my love for my favorite Eureka power couple, Dr. Douglas Fargo (yes, I did name my cat after this character), an accident-prone junior scientist who later becomes head of GD in an alternate universe and Dr. Holly Martin (played by Felicia freaking Day), who is a socially awkward rocket scientist and assists on Eureka’s mission to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. Dr. Parrish can suck it!

ron and hermioneRon and Hermione

I don’t care what J.K. Rowling said. And I don’t care that Harper Honey has really sound arguments regarding the Romine Controversy. Ron and Hermione was the first ship I ever cared about.

Tidus and Yuna from FFXTidus and Yuna

There are usually some great love stories in the Final Fantasy games. Cloud and Areith/Tifa/Yuffie or Rinoa and Squall or Selphie and Irvine. The sort of love stories that seem to cross time and space, kind of like Rory and Amy. Yuna and Tidus from Final Fantasy X is my favorite couple, even if they are a little star-crossed. I think that’s what makes it so much more emotional.

jackie and jonJon and Me!

As if I would think of ending this post any other way? A year ago, I never thought I would be where I am today. Even four months ago, when this picture was taken (don’t mind my crazy hair! It was windy), I never thought I would be where I am today. “Blessed” is not a word that is usually apart of my vocabulary, but that’s how I feel with Jon in my life. I get to wake up next to someone who still thinks I’m lovely with sleep in my eyes, and I get to share dinner with someone who thinks my cooking is delicious even though the steak is a little too salty. I feel like we’re constantly encouraging each other to be better people, too. Don’t get me wrong, we accept each others “flaws”, if that’s what you want to call them. But, he brings me out of of my shell and makes me feel less cold, more human.

Who are your OTPs?

My Favorite Fandoms

I recently read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, which was fantastic, and it got me thinking about the different fandoms I fangirl over. Here are just a few of my favorites:

Harry Potter

Doctor Who


There were so many great mugs to choose from! I love the simplicity of the Hufflepuff Tie mug, but I also adore the Doctor Mew mug because I’m a crazy cat lady.

I had a hard time picking my favorite fandoms to showcase in this edition of Just My Cup of Tea because I embrace so many fandoms. These were the first that came to mind because they are the most current. I’ll definitely have to create another post so I can show case some of my other favorites like Sailor Moon, Borderlands, Final Fantasy and more!

Which mug is your favorite? Are there any fandoms that you embrace?

Breaking the Spine

The way I treat my books would horrify most book bloggers, who have shelves lined with pristine book spines and pages that have never, ever been dog-eared. The books on my shelf have a lifespan because I’m guilty of folding the corners of pages to mark where I left off. I write in the margins and underline passages that are meaningful to me. And the condition of the book cover and spine is a reflection of how much a love a book; the more I love a book, the more worn it will become because I’ve read it so often– that’s why pages fall from my copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read that book. I feel no shame about this, and expecting books that I love to remain flawless is impractical to me. But then, my mom bought me replacement copies for all of my Harry Potter book this Christmas…

Harry Potter covers

The book spines have not a single crack and the edges are not at all torn or worn. Most importantly! They still have the artwork on the front. My old copies are hardback and I seem to have lost all of the dust jackets. It’s been so long since I’ve seen the cover art that I have forgotten what some of it looks like. Yikes!

These books are beautiful…and suddenly I feel afraid to read them because I don’t want to tarnish them. I find that I’m holding the books delicately, I’m not opening them all they way, and I’m using a book mark…well, I’m using a receipt…Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Cover O

When will this madness end?! I’m half-tempted to just crack the spines. Get it done and over with so I can read on without anxiety.

For those of you who prefer flawless books, how do you keep your books in good condition when you read them? For those of you who don’t mind that a book looks well-read, have you ever come across a book that suddenly you were afraid to handle?

Happy Holidays

Merry ChristmasHappy Holidays from Jackie at Books & Tea!

This Christmas was perhaps my most bookish Christmas yet. My mother bought me the entire Harry Potter series (again) because my original copies were so heavily used, and Jon bought me the Harry Potter DVD collection because I left my original ones behind in a past life. If you follow me on Twitter (@books_n_tea), then you know he’s never watched the series, so we’re having a bit of a Harry Potter marathon this weekend. We made it through the first three movies in one day, and he seemed genuinely appreciative of the movies so far. He still seems up to watching more of them, too. I’m just excited that I get to share this with him!

I also received a bunch of gift cards to bookstores. I went on a spending spree on Barnes & Noble to buy e-books, but near the end I started to burn out. I have about $8.00, and I’ve suddenly become incredibly selective. You know how it is– you want all the books, but you only have enough money to buy one, so it better be the best one. In the meantime, I’ll be shuffling through the pages of these books– electronically of course.

Christmas Books(1)


Clearly, I was a little all over the place when I bought these books– non-fiction, YA science fiction, mystery, apocalyptic, fantasy for middle grade and YA, and historical fiction.

I guess I could just not spend my last $8.00 right away. I could wait until I come across something that really piques my interest. But…where is the fun in that?! Then again, when I say I’m down to my last $8.00, I mean on my Barnes and Noble gift card. I still have a gift card to Schuler’s to work my way through, but Jon and I will make plans to go to the brick and mortar to do a little shopping. He really has no idea what he’s in for. I spent over an hour at that store just buying one book. Imagine what it’s going to be like when I have $50.00 to spend!

What books did you get for the holidays? I could use a few fresh ideas!

Just My Cup of Tea: Christmas Mugs

Tonight is Christmas Eve, and instead of dreaming of sugar-plum fairies, I’ll be dreaming of drinking mint tea from one of these festive mugs:

Christmas mugs

There were so many fantastic Christmas mugs to choose from, so it was difficult to narrow it down to these nine. Of course I adore the Twelve Doctors of Christmas and the Harry Potter Mischievous Magical Merriment, but the Muppet’s Tiny Christmas Carol takes the fruit cake. The Muppet’s Christmas Carol is one of my favorite movies of all time, and it is a must-watch during this time of year.

Which Christmas-themed mug is your favorite? Do you have a must-watch film that gets you into the holiday spirit?

Wintertime Reads

Winter officially started this week, but the cold and blustery weather settled in long before December 21st. I was not prepared for this, especially after last winter, which was the coldest and snowiest and most icy and generally most uncomfortable that I’ve ever endured. I’m not certain I ever thawed out this summer, which was particularly mild. If there is one thing about winter that I can appreciate though, it’s that winter is the perfect season for reading. The world seems quieter and slower, so I’m less distracted. I’m also certainly not going anywhere because I’m not comfortable driving on snow-covered roads, and leaving the comforts of my cozy home means I have to change out of my thermal long-johns– no thank you! Truly, I make like a bear and hibernate for six months, and by hibernate, I mean bury myself amongst blankets and pillows with a good book (wearing previously mentioned long-johns).

Thick books

I Love Big Books & I Cannot Lie

Some of the best winter reads are thick, 600+ page novels that for some reason seem daunting in the summertime. A typical winter weekend may go like this:

  1.  Wake up
  2. Sip some coffee while updating Books & Tea or getting caught up on my Feedly
  3. Day dream about Fargo, my cat, being a lap cat
  4. Retreat to my bedroom around noon to start reading a chunky novel
  5. …fall asleep after 2.5 chapters
  6. Wake up and continue reading where I left off
  7. …fall asleep after 2.5 more chapters
  8. Wake up to Fargo, who is not a lap cat, terrorizing my feet, and continue reading where I left off
  9. etc…

Westeros Map from Game of Thrones

A Whole New World

I like fantasy novels, but I especially love them in the winter time. During the summer, you will most likely find me with a contemporary fiction novel or a non-fiction book. But in the winter, I prefer to be swept into a new world. One preferably not covered in snow. Then again, I would not turn my nose up at The Game of Thrones even though #winteriscoming. The dull grey afternoons and early nighttime beg for a little whimsy and magical adventure.

Harry Potter, Book 1

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Most of all, I love returning to books that warm my soul. I’ll often drag out all of my favorite books in the wintertime. This even includes all of my favorite picture books from when I was a kid, like Pig William, The Mitten, and Wednesday is Spaghetti Day. Of course, this means I drag out all of my Harry Potter books and give the series a re-read too.


What season is your reading season, and do your reading habits tend to change along with seasons?

Characters I’d Love to Dress Up as for Halloween

Halloween used to be one of my top favorite holidays. Dressing up and going door-to-door begging for candy with friends was the perfect way to spend a crisp, October evening. But, the excitement for this suger-infused holiday sort of fizzled out when I realized that as an adult, I had to buy my own candy (and worse, share it with all the kids in the neighborhood. Puh!). I haven’t really had an excuse to dress up since college (and even then I just alternated between a fairy and a zombie). If I had an excuse to dress up for Halloween this year, these would be my top five choices:

Zoey Left 4 Dead1. Zoey from Left 4 Dead

Finding a playable, strong female character (who is not sexualized) can be challenging to find in video games, so when I discovered Zoey in Left 4 Dead, I fell in love. She’s a horror film nerd, who wears comfy sneakers, jeans, a pink track jacket, and her hair tied back. She doesn’t have cleavage spilling out or a bare belly because that’s not really practical during a zombie apocalypse. Zoey just seems real. Aside from being able to assemble the costume out of clothes already in my closet, I would just need two cap guns and a bright red first aid pack!

shepherd2. Commander Shepherd from Mass Effect

Now, my Commander Shepherd had short black hair styled into a bob, but like the Commander Shepherd above, she totally kicked butt and saved the universe. Well…maybe. I never got to finish Mass Effect 3. Honestly, I try not to think about the Mass Effect series because I’m trying to save money. The more I think about how amazing the games are, the more likely I am to go out and buy an XBox 360 just so I can play these games.

Lilith as "the Siren" from Borderlands3. Lilith as “the Siren” from Borderlands

The only games I could possibly love more than the Mass Effect games are the Borderlands games. I love both Siren characters– Lilith from Borderlands and Maya from Borderlands 2. But, I was unstoppable as Lilith wielding a Maliwan Hellfire (we don’t need no water…). How could she not make this list? Actually, I’m pretty sure dressing up as Lilith for Halloween won’t be satisfactory– can I just be her?

Hermione4. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter

Not everyone on this list wields guns. Hermione relies on her smarts, her books, and her wand to fend of evil. She’s been my hero since I was ten years old, so it’s no surprise she would make it on this list.

Eowyn from the Lord of the Rings5. Éowyn from the Lord of the Rings

Éowyn– she casts aside her nobility and becomes a shieldmaiden. And then. AND THEN! She killed what no man could.

This post is so full of girl power. I feel like starting a riot.

What characters would you like to dress up as for Halloween?


The Nerdy Girlie and Super Space Chick host Five Fandom Friday. I totally didn’t know it was a thing until today, which is why I’m posting this on a Sunday.

The Weekend Review

1. Have I told you that I’m re-reading the Harry Potter series? Again? These books have cast a spell on me (har har har!).

2. Fitocracy.com is a cool website and iphone App that marries physical activity with the level-up systems of RPGs. I get to burn calories while simultaneously satisfying my nerdy desires to gain experience points. Currently, I’m a level five paladin fitocrat, and I only have 864 points to earn before I level up.

3. The office staff had their monthly meeting, and our manager bought everyone Panera’s. In the past, we were allowed to customize our orders to our hearts content, but that took a long time, and it cost a lot of money. Now, our manager just buys a bunch of turkey sammiches and asiago steak sammiches for everyone. Except for me. I just found out that she orders the Mediterranean Veggie sammich special for me. It is a small gesture, but it actually made me feel appreciated.

Coffee and Mango
Coffee and Mango

4. Mangoes. I’ve never been a mango fanatic before, but now I cannot get enough of them. I eat them plain, I eat them along side homemade coconut rice pudding, and I eat them on top of steak salad with homemade honey lime dressing.

5. Three Day Weekend! Thanks to Memorial Day, I get one more day to really mess up my sleeping schedule.

Is it possible to re-read a series too many times?

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

I’ve mentioned before (here and here), when the seasons shift from Summer into Autumn, I re-read the Harry Potter series. The crisp air, the Fall colors, and the overcast skies make me think about feasts in the Great Hall, trips to Hogsmeade, and mugs of butterbeer. This year, the hankering to re-read Harry Potter has come two seasons early. I blame it on Al Roker, who has been reciting Harry Potter-themed trivia on Comcast On Demand for the chance to win tickets to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. After hearing Hedwig’s theme for the umpteenth time, I could resist no longer, and I decided to hunt for my books. You’d think I wouldn’t have to “hunt” for something I cherish and read so frequently though. Alas! I am dreadfully unorganized.

I embarked on another re-read around midnight on Saturday. After cracking open the cover of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the 8th time, at least, I was struck by a memory of my first, true re-read. My final semester at college, right before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part one) hit theaters, I decided to re-read the series from start to finish. I picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the first time in probably 10 years, and I was flabbergasted by how much I forgot. I had become so accustomed to the introduction in the movie that I forgot all about Vernon Dursely’s uncomfortable day at Grunnings and the shower of shooting stars over Kent, which was probably bewitched by Dedalus Diggle. Since then, it’s been a rare occasion that more than a year should pass before picking up at least one of the books to read (last year was one such occasion), and I feel I could practically recite parts of the series.

I wonder if there is such thing as reading a book (or in my case, a series) too many times. Is it possible that one day, the spell these books have cast on me will run its course? …Naaaaaah! Surely not. That’s kind of like saying one day I will stop craving my mom’s homemade chicken noodle soup!

What book(s) do you frequently re-read? Have you ever felt like you read a book too many times?