Sunday, April 14, 2019

WHERE PLEASURE READING & SOUL BLANKETING MEET - THE ESTATE SALE - NEW AUTHOR - JUNE CHAPKO





About a week ago, as some of you may recall, I blogged about a new author.  Well, “as way leads on to way”, a former teacup swap-partner (Hi Sam!) sent me an email and she said I might enjoy another new author and lover of all things tea and Jesus! She introduced me to June.  After looking up her blog and her new book I decided to take a chance and rather than just putting her book on my online “want to read” lists, I ordered the paperback, which I actually had enough Amazon points saved up to cover - YAY! I received it in yesterday’s afternoon post, bumped it to the top of my pile, brewed a cup of Teavana Youth Berry tea
and wandered into the garden to stage some pictures I hoped would complement the story. I kicked off my shoes and began as the breezes blew gently and the birds sang sweetly.

Friends, I cannot recommend this book enough, or rate it high enough!  This book fed my soul and should truly be sold with a box of tissues.  I read about two-thirds last night and then woke up and grabbed a cup of Harney and Son’s Chocolate Black Tea topped with Reddi Wip to finish the book smiling and crying throughout.

•°o•:*:•. The Estate Sale (The Legacy Series#1)  –  
by June Chapko  .•:*:• o°•
Click Photo to Enlarge

The story is richly woven and begins with 97-year-old Mary Ludwig who is not long for this world.  She has engaged her nurse and friend, Emily Tucker, to help settle her estate, planning a very special sale after she retires to be with the Lord.  She has also enlisted her trusted attorney Seth Gardley. Flyers are given to: Rita Crawford, a struggling artist who loves Chai, whom Mary enjoyed discussing art with; Sheila Jennings, a neighbor and garden pal of Mary’s deceased twin, Bertha; Blanca Moreno, a local bus driver and single mom to her daughter Briana who has struggled for over 20 years since her husband, Carlos, walked out on them.
Spotting the ads in the paper are: Betty Langley who collects vintage hats, has a large curio cabinet filled with teacups and other collectibles, age 48, never been married and has her own publishing company. 
Kathy Hills (Kat) is a college student and her dad, Brian, works for Boeing.  It’s just the two of them these days, since her mom passed away.
Prior to the estate sale, they had never laid on eyes on each other.  After, their lives will never be the same.  The sale brings them together in a very unique way and they begin “doing life together”. Sometimes that means celebrating.  Other times its supporting dreams or dealing with tragedy or even something sinister.  It is truly special, packed with emotion, love and friendship set mostly in and around San Antonio, TX.
Click Photo to Enlarge

Spiritual Moments: Well, this entire book is a journey filled with faith, but I did not find it to be in-your-face preachy.  Just comfortable, the way friends who love Jesus weave Him into their everyday lives.  I loved it. “When I was younger, and mom was alive, we had a rocking chair in a corner of the living room. Mom called it her prayer corner. She kept her Bible on the little side table and after reading a while she would rock quietly.”

Tea Moment (there are plenty throughout for this tea lovin girl): “Betty prepared a cup of Margaret’s Hope tea (which I learned is a Darjeeling tea – my favorite!) and slipped easily into her recliner, adjusting the doily that protected the arm.”

Modern story, told in third person. Also of note, the quality of the paperback is very nice. It’s rather heavy with 207 nice, sturdy pages. It would make a lovely gift and I am already making a mental list of who I will share it with!  Fun recipes in the back as well. 



Paperback and eVersions available on Amazon.

CLICK FOR LINK

(c) Oct. 1, 2018, Franklin Scribes Publ. 
5+ Stars
I purchased this book and am offering my opinions without any compensation or expectation.
Click photo to enlarge /
Click here for June's Website
Connect with the author at JunesTeacupTreasures dot com or on FB at June Chapko. Please join me in praying for June and her novel writing ministry/legacy.  

Now here is a bit of teatime fun I spotted on Instagram! :)






Thursday, April 11, 2019

Rosemary Hibiscus Tea- Unicorn Donuts- Stations of the Cross- and Happy Mail!


Yes, that’s a whole lot of food for thought, but it was a wonderful bit of fun and blessings for us today.
I knew I wanted to go to one of our local churches again to share the “Stations of the Cross” with the daycare Littles (faces hidden for privacy) and today the discounted bakery items at WalMart included the prettiest lavender “unicorn donuts”, so I decided today was the day!

Of course, I wanted to make it more special with tea!

I had recently purchased some Hibiscus Tea on sale and knew I wanted to add my fresh Rosemary to it, because that is a blend I had tried from another vendor before and really enjoyed.

If you are not familiar with all the health benefits of Rosemary, I found a great article here: https://www.organicfacts.net/rosemary-tea.html that shares “drinking rosemary tea include optimizing digestion, increasing cognitive function, preventing cancer, treating skin conditions, reducing inflammation, and easing the pain associated with it. It also aids in eliminating anxiety, improving liver function, and boosting hair health, among others. However, there are some [possible] side effects – see article. Rosemary tea is made by brewing the leaves and stem of the rosemary herb, which has the taxonomic name Rosmarinus officinalis.” Read even more at the above link.
Click to Enlarge
Traditional Medicinals always has fun quotes on their teabags.  They are individually wrapped as well, which makes for great "tea mail" tuck-ins to friends!
I brewed my stem along with 2 teabags and a heaping tablespoon of local orange-blossom honey in a thermos, for probably around 3 or 4 minutes then removed the stem and bags.  It was quite strong and the Littles absolutely loved it!  So did I.  We had it warm this time, but I love this one over ice in the summertime.

We enjoyed our tea-time outdoors near the water fountain before heading inside.  

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Each year the artists never fail to amaze me! It was such a blessing to read the full story of Holy Week to the Littles and look over each art piece. At the end, they were invited to stamp a block on a giant wall indicating one of the following: light green – I am inspired to tell others about God, orange – I feel closer to God, dark green – I learned something about God.  The littlest one choose dark green. The middle one choose orange. The eldest choose all 3 colors and carefully stamped them into a square.  So precious!
 
In addition to all this April is National Card and Letter Writing Month.  I take the Littles to the Post Office often, and each time I ask them to lay hands on the mail and pray over it. We pray that it travels safely along the way and that the Lord would bless the hands that touch it (postal workers) and the hands that receive it (happy mail recipients).  It is one more way I can instill Godly values and practices in their little hearts.  Why not send some happy mail this month and pray over it too?  I know it will bless your heart!


Until next time,
Hugs and a cup of tea,

This is some "animal tea" that the boy made me today! ;)


Monday, April 8, 2019

Giveaway - Emeralds and Envy Murder Mystery by Angela McRae

About a week ago I was approached by longtime blogging friend/fellow tea enthusiast, Angela McRae, to see if I would be interested in reviewing her first novel. Well, what an honor to be asked!  I wasn’t sure I could commit before release day, but she assured me anytime was fine.  However, after checking my schedule for another book due to release, I still had plenty of time for that one! So, I am happy to say I enjoyed reading it in time for its upcoming release.

I personally enjoy reading (in my head) in the correct accent the characters are speaking in.  However, I was unsure of a proper GA accent.  Checking You Tube, I found this fun example (view in blog).  I certainly NEVER heard that when it's raining and the sun is shining it's called: The devil is beating his wife. Hahaha! Good stuff.



It occurred to me to review the back section of the book first because sometimes you find great tidbits there before starting a book which I did! There are two recipes related to the story, as well as a warm greeting from Angela reminding her readers to cozy up with a cup of tea.  I set my book (phone) aside and went to grab a pot of Titanic Tea by Harney and Sons ((smile)).

•°o•:*:•. Clean, Cozy Murder Mystery
 in Small-Town, GA .•:*:• o°•
Modern story, told in first person, past tense.

After leaving the newspaper business a couple of years ago, Emma Madison and her Siamese kitty, Miriam Haskell, enjoy a quiet, small-town lifestyle, designing jewelry and hunting for more unique pieces in local shops and yard sales. 

On a particular spring day, she scored a great find and headed for her friend Carleen’s shop to double check the maker.  However, her plans are quickly dismissed when the shop is crawling with police.  After discovering the body of a friend, Emma vows to utilize her reporter skills and dig up any help she can to find the killer!  But, that decision lands her in all kinds of hot water over the next couple of weeks.

As with any small town, there are many characters, and gossip abounds!  Detective Alan Shelton is a thorn in Emma’s side, but I quite liked him.  He is diligent and concerned. I enjoyed the introduction of fellow artist Justin Hayes and found him to be a particular sweetheart, but naturally, in a murder mystery you can never be sure, so I kept my guard up regarding him.

There are lots of artists and art details throughout, including specific jewelry makers I found fun to look up such as a Tank-Style watch by Cartier, first issued in 1917 and Trifari and Hollycraft Christmas tree pins. When googling Bakelite era teapot pins, the only one I found took me to, of all places, Angela’s website and a June 29, 2010 post she shared on her “Tea With Friends” blog. How fun is that?  You should see ALL the pins in her collection. Stunning!






Spiritual Moment (not too many, but Emma does attend church on Sundays): “The pastor’s hopeful message about the coming of Easter was exactly what I needed to hear.”  I liked that I was reading the story just before Easter in real life (smile).

Tea Moment(s) (Emma seems to favor more coffee than tea, but there were some): Ch. 18 features a lovely description of a 3-tiered tea platter with salmon pinwheels, cucumber sandwiches, egg-olive salad, cranberry scones with clotted cream and jam, etc. all served in a friend’s home which I personally appreciated as I find home tea parties to be the best tea parties! There is also a hole-in-the-wall restaurant called Mama’s place featuring sweet tea, fried chicken and heavenly treats, such as fried peach pie which I had never heard of, but a quick google search shows it’s like an empanada and I am certain I would love to visit and try it all!

Funny Moment(s): “The cowbell on the door made its customary clanging sound as I entered, and I got a nice whiff of Eau De Musty Antique Mall as I stepped inside.”

I DID NOT figure out who the killer was, which was refreshing.  If you enjoy clean murder mysteries set in a small town, I recommend this one as your next treasure!

© April 16, 2019, Red Adept Publ. - 4 stars

I was sent an eVersion of this book by the author in the hopes of a favorable review with no fee and no compensation. My opinion is entirely my own.
Author: Angela McRae
Connect with the author at Angela McRae dot com or her blog TeaWithFriends dot blogspot dot com.
“Angela McRae began her writing career as a newspaper reporter, initially covering the police beat and then moving on to features. In a small local bookstore, Angela came across Laura Childs’s Death by Darjeeling, a tea shop mystery set in Charleston, SC. As a longtime tea lover, she had to try it, and she’s been hooked on cozy mysteries ever since.
Angela currently lives with her husband in Georgia. When she’s not writing, she enjoys traveling, cooking, going to afternoon tea with family and friends, and “junkin’” at flea markets and antique malls, where she often finds inspiring artifacts that wind up in her stories. She also writes a monthly cooking column for a local publication, the Coweta Shopper, and enjoys connecting with readers who love to cook.”



 ENTER TO WIN a signed copy by clicking the link by 7am EST, Friday, 4/12/2019 over at Angela's website.
Good luck!

Click to Purchase Here
If you don't win, purchase a copy here:





Until next time, 
Hugs and a cup of tea!

Would you mind lifting up a prayer for Angela and the success of her first novel? Thanks ever so much!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

THE NOBLE GUARDIAN - MICHELLE GRIEP

Book 3 - The Bow Street Runners
•°o•:*:•. Highwaymen, Coaching Inns, 
Peril & Romance .•:*:• o°•

Southampton, England, 1815
Author's Choice
for heroine
Abigail Gilbert is an outsider in her own home.  Her family has managed to marry her off to a prestigious baronet she met once at a dance, which will boost their own names in society, practically shoving her out the door into a carriage headed for Penrith with only a ladies maid to aid her on the difficult journey. They make plans to go abroad before she is actually even wed.  But not without one final slap from her always angry stepmother.

Author's choice for hero
But, she looks to the future with Sir Jonathan Aberley and her chance for love and belonging at long last, despite the arduous journey ahead of her.

31-year-old Captain Samuel Thatcher patrols the highways of the rugged heath. “Shankhart Robbins was out there, all right. Somewhere. And worse –he’d be back. Evil always had a way of returning bigger and blacker than before, singeing any soul it touched.”
May I just say, Shankhart- what a villainous name!

Samuel is forced to help Abagail when her carriage is accosted and see her safely to Sir Jonathan, who is not at all what was expected.  The dangers and surprises abound which make for a most enjoyable read for lovers of mystery and historical romance.

Spiritual Moment: “She pushed the last hairpin into place then bowed her head. She’d learned long ago while enduring the hurts of her stepmother that only through prayer would she find peace.”

Tea Moment(s): “The servant appeared with a thick slice of pastry and a steaming pot of bohea.”
That was a new one for me, so in looking it up I found “a black China tea that comes from the last crop of the season and is typically regarded as of low quality. Early 18th century named after the Bu-yi (Wuyi) hills in China, from where black tea first came to Britain”.
“The woman wasn’t old, but neither was she young. Rather, she was timeless, her apron holding in an eternity of love and life and laughter. She was the kind of woman with whom you could share a pot of tea and your deepest secrets.”

I downloaded a copy of this book through Net Galley via the publisher with no fee and no compensation in the hopes of an honest review. My opinion is entirely my own.
Michelle Griep
Connect with the author at Michelle Griep dot com.


© June 1, 2019, Shiloh Run Press/Barbour Publishing 

The Bow Street Runners Series
Until next time,
Hugs & Cuppa

Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Golden Bride Daughters of The Mayflower 8



•°o•:*:•. COULD NOT FINISH .•:*:• o°•
When a book becomes too monotonous and no longer enjoyable, I have to admit defeat and lay it aside over forcing myself to plod through it.  I normally finish a novel in 1-2 days, but with this, I keep looking for excuses to lay it aside and do something else.

The story feels forced and the subject matter is depressing. 1849 Gold rush period of California territory set in San Francisco when it is still primarily a tent city and debauchery reigns supreme.  A yet unnamed villain (I have completed 41% of the book at this point) wants to appear good and decent, but is secretly vying for power and money and now kidnapping legal, Chinese immigrants for slave labor. "The fortune to be made was in gambling, liquor, and women."

Our heroes are a sister and brother (Olivia and Daniel) and rich, recently come-to-Jesus gold mine owner (friend of the brother), Joseph Sawyer, who all want to see the town grow and succeed and direct the people towards God.  The young sister has made some bad choices and chapter after chapter laments those choices and cannot forgive herself.  While I appreciate the continued Christian theme, it seems forced rather than natural.  Also, I noted that while reading her relative's journal from the 1700s the entries were quoted in today's modern English.  I found that frustrating.
Of practical note, I highlighted: "the woman studied God's Word on her own and wrote down her thoughts and life applications in the journal."  Good advice for any of us.

A quote I liked written by her mother about the women in her ancestry: "My sweet Olivia, it's important to remember the hardships of those who have gone before us and to see how they persevered and survived."

I was approached by Barbour Publishing and asked to review an eVersion of this book without fee, expectation or compensation.  My opinion is my own and offered freely.  Please read other reviews for a well-rounded purchasing decision.

© April 1, 2019, Barbour Publishing, 3 stars – writing is not horrible, simply not my cup of tea.


F. Earl Christy, 1909


 I saw this on FB and thought it was funny :)


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Dandelion Chai plus The White City

My chest cold has turned into a head cold thanks to ALL the daycare Littles being sick.  Well, that's caused more tea drinking and more book reading... so, not all bad, eh?

My local Sprout's was having a two-fer sale on Traditional Medicinals brand tea, so I decided to give this Dandelion Chai a whirl.

Ingredients: Organic: dandelion
leaf & root, ginger, rhizome,
cardamon seed, cinnamon bark
Bacillus coagulans

It's warm and comforting, plus caffeine free, which is great when you are sick and just want rest! I am generally not a fan of chai, but this has no added milk products so it's very pleasant.

For added fun, the tea tags contain quotes!

And now an exciting book!
Image borrowed from Author's Instagram Page - check her out and consider following this up-and-comer!

The White City –  by Grace Hitchcock

•°o•:*:•. Danger and Murder, Faith, Intrigue and Romance.•:*:• o°•

This is completely outside my preferred reading genre, but somebody on Instagram had great things to say about it and so I requested an eVersion.  I could not put this book down and stayed up well past bedtime to finish it! I had no idea it was based on an actual serial killer! Yikes!  There are details on that at the end of the book.

The story is well-written and told through the eyes of fictional characters who happen to be Christian.  I really enjoyed that aspect.  There are also fun quotes from authors of days-gone-by at the beginning of the chapters.
“If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.” Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey.

Art and Handicraft in the Woman's Building
of the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago,
1893 edited by Maud Howe Elliott.
Paris, New York: Boussod, Valadon & Co.,
1893
Chicago, July 1893 during the World’s Fair

Winnifred Wylde is and inspector’s daughter and has an eye for detail, thanks in part to her dad’s training and her love of dime novels, particularly those of Percival Valentine. Her wealthy aunt would see her married off to a proper gentleman before she becomes an old maid (ahem, she’s 19), but she has other ideas. “I cannot believe Aunt Lillian made me set aside my novel for this. She promised me a day at the world’s fair, not a never-ending monologue.”
When she tells her father of yet another crime she has observed he dismisses her, but just in case assigns newly transferred Detective Jude Thorpe to follow her and make sure she is kept safe.
Jude has requested a transfer from New York to secretly investigate his brother-in-law’s death, but now he has become tied up babysitting.  Perhaps it will simply be a good way to impress his new boss.  That is until he discovers the lovely Miss Wylde’s hunches tend to be correct and danger seems impossible to avoid.

Tea Quote: “Clutching the gold-rimmed china teacup, she averted her gaze to the front entrance of the Ceylon Teahouse…”

Spiritual Moment: “Oh, well then, I’m all ears after we pray, he said, taking his seat and reaching for his dinner napkin before bowing his head.”  I appreciated how these moments were natural and easily woven into the story as a way of life.  Not forced.

There is no gore in this story, but the danger does set the heart to beating faster at times.  The romance is a nice balance so you are not always focusing on the danger.  This book is part of 6 in a new series by 3 authors.  Go to True Colors Crime dot com to read more.  And seriously, with a last name like Hitchcock, it really is the perfect story!

I downloaded a copy of this book through Net Galley via the publisher with no fee and no compensation in the hopes of an honest review.
Connect with the author at Grace Hitchcock Books dot com.

Image borrowed from author to aid in promoting her book.© March 1, 2019, Barbour Publishing - 5 stars
Upcoming True Colors Books:
June 2019 The Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma
August 2019 The Yellow Lantern by Angie Dicken
January 2020 The Gray Chamber by Grace Hitchcock
And two more tbd


Until next time, hugs and a cup of tea!