Monday 28 September 2020

Surprise Box: Five random things keeping me entertained during the pandemic

By Kristine Charles

Hello Romancelandia

It’s the four-hundred and thirty second day of who knows what month in the year 2032… no, seriously and, even as I sit to write this, I’m not sure whut iz wrds?

You all know what I’m talking about, right?

2020 has been a ride. 

And it ain’t done with us yet.

Borders are still closed, international flights are still grounded, people still aren’t wearing masks and washing their hands, and my employer’s just cancelled all of our end of year events (what a Grinch!)

And so, when I started thinking about the blog for this month, I started thinking about what might ease that slide into the holiday/New Year period. And I decided to share with you all the five random things keeping me going during the pandemic.

1. Spring has sprung

Sun. Pretty flowers. Daylight Saving. Bring it all on. At least I can shift the work desk in the backyard to work and not freeze my tail off! And I can head out into the yard with the Kindle and a coffee… see #2.

2. Books

So, the day job requires me to be on the computer, and the writing gig requires me to be on the computer, which means I’m often on the computer procrastinating on Amazon.

Some of my new finds are:

Naughty Brits

The idea for this anthology was, apparently, conceived by the authors while drinking in a hot tub while on a writing retreat.

That right there suggests quality content!

And the stories deliver. Connected through a one-night gala at the British Museum, each of the stories also stands on its own and progressively grow in heat level. This anthology also includes Sarah MacLean’s first foray into contemporary (and hopefully not her last).

Great, quick, escapist reads (my personal fave is #3 Not a Bad Boy by Louisa Edwards).

The One That Got Away

The latest from Karina Halle.

have to admit, I kinda wanted to grab Ruby (the heroine) and shake her until she grew up… but the story is quite the rollercoaster* and Luciano is quite lovely! And Karina writes beautifully (with some spicy sex). Worth a read (and her earlier novel, The Forbidden Man is also a fantastic read).

* I promise there is a HEA.

Katee Roberts’ Wicked Villians Series

This is a six-book, dark erotic romance series with the last book due out on 10 November 2020… and warning, this series is hot.

Set in and around a ‘neutral-ground’ BDSM club centred in a city run by different crime syndicates, all of the villians and other characters (loosely based on various Disney characters) are out for something. My personal fave in this series is currently A Worthy Opponent (Hook and Tinkerbell!) but, if you like your heat level set to scorching (noting that there are also some dark themes in these stories - but all consensual) this entire series is for you.


3. Silly Zoom backgrounds

If you’re spending a substantial number of hours every day on Microsoft Teams (or Zoom, or whichever platform you use) having video meetings with people you’re not allowed to be within 1.5 metres of… random and funny backgrounds make everything feel a little lighter.

Currently I'm working through a series of Hogwarts themed images, but every so often I throw up a padded cell, or a mug-shot background. Or the cover of Cosmopolitan. Or a picture of my office (that one feels very much like Inception!).

4. Gabriel’s Inferno

If you’ve not yet heard of Passionflix, you should. Passionflix is romance-movie-Netflix and they’re currently releasing a three-part film adaptation of the book Gabriel’s Inferno. The first two are currently available to watch and the third part is due for release on 19 November.

If you’ve not read Gabriel’s Inferno (and it’s sequels Gabriel’s Rapture, Gabriel’s Redemption and Gabriel’s Promise), do it! It's a great read (I love a Professor/Student romance). And then you can binge watch the first movie in its three part entirety in November. Passionflix is great because it works with the reader in mind -  the adaptations are really faithful to the books on which they are based - and they're always careful to include all the little romantic bits that other movie makers might miss (hands touching, toes curling etc!)

5. Memes

Finally, who hasn’t enjoyed the cornucopia of memes that have blessed us during the pandemic. Three of my faves are:

(Memes sourced from the interwebs)

So, tell me in the comments below, what’s keeping you going during the pandemic?

Kristine Charles writes sexy tales where coffee (and red wine) is abundant, designer shoes and handbags are cheap, chocolate has no calories and men always put the toilet seat down. Find her at or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I love to love… shirtless Jason Momoa (yes, I'm feeling just a little shallow!)

I love to laugh… at great memes.

I love to learn… about great new books.


  1. Hi Kristine! I've been doing a lot of reading and crosswords and bingeing on SBS on Demand. All stuff that I was too busy to sit and enjoy in my everyday life. (Of course, the fact that I am still learning to use my new hip has contributed to the stay-at-home mentality ;)

  2. Ooh, crosswords are good for the brain but I AM TERRIBLE AT THEM! The pandemic has certainly slowed us all down a bit - one of the positives!

  3. Covid, for me, brought a huge change that's really welcome. A shift in working hours from early Morning starts to late morning suits the night person I am so much better. I'm walking each morning, appreciating a lot more, taking care of my health. I have to thank Covid for showing me what's important.

  4. This year sure has been crazy. I always wanted to work from home (writing) but working from home has been a challenge and a blessing. I never would have thought I'd still be here in my home office in October. Crazy. I have a house full of people so I'm not ever going to get lonely and I have a lovely garden to sit and watch, even if it is covered in toys and bikes. History Chicks podcasts have kept me going and my playlist on Spotify. Recently enjoyed Enola Holmes on Netflix.

  5. Kristine, whatever gets us through this pandemic is a total win! Tell me more about Passionflix, sounds amazing!


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