Thursday, June 6, 2019

More than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer



Honey Grove, TX 1896
Click for Honey Grove Preservation League

Abigail Kemp is running a bakery with her pretty younger sister, Rosalind, as she has been doing for quite some time.  However, now that her father has passed, “somebody” has dug up an antiquated city ordinance that does not allow women to own a business. “These stuffy male councilmen might want to hold her down, but like a well-made bread dough, she planned to rise to the occasion.”


Zacharias Hamilton is finally free to do as he pleases.  He has fulfilled his obligations to his adopted siblings and moved away from near-by Pecan Gap to start fresh.  He has carved a niche at the local lumber mill and keeps to himself as much as possible, save for a corner table at the local bakery where he enjoys coffee and sticky buns every morning and the occasional run-in with his boss’s passel of kids. Life is pretty comfortable now.  Although his past deeds still haunt his thoughts. When Abigail approaches Zach with a proposition, he nearly chokes over her business plan.  But, after some thought, he might consider it, with a few tweaks to her contract.

This was a wonderful, feel-good read.  I really enjoyed getting to know Zach more.  He is somebody special. He’s a bit gruff, but he feels deeply.  He is a champion when needed and fights hard to overcome obstacles, even the unseen ones of foolish female hearts. I appreciated that Abigail was not the typical size 2, but a curvy, kind soul with a lot to offer.  Both characters came to know each other and fit so perfectly together, in a way only God could have orchestrated.

I also liked learning about how Davy Crockett was responsible for naming Honey Grove in real life.  Apparently, he set up a camp under the trees on his way to the Alamo and enjoying it so much, he carved his name in a tree along with the name Honey Grove, intent on returning there one day. Sadly, he did not survive the Alamo, but a friend, Sam Erwin purchased the land and honored the name.

DSC_0158Humorous Tea Moment: “One sat by the window. Bran muffin and tea with sugar. Man and muffin shared a remarkable resemblance – both a bit squatty and thick around the middle with smooth, round tops.”

I highly recommend this 5-star story and look forward to the next one.       Thank you to Bethany House Publishing who sent me a review copy.  My opinion is my own without expectation or compensation.

Award-winning & bestselling author Karen Witemeyer “writes historical romances because she believes the world needs more happily-ever-afters”. She is one of the sweetest authors you can connect with!  You may do so at: http://www.karenwitemeyer.com/ or at: 
The Posse FB group fan page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1839437643052460/ where the ladies in the group build community like no other group I have experienced! Truly a blessing.

Places To Purchase (click selection):


Patchwork Family Series:

1 - More Than Meets The Eye 6/5/2018 – 5 STARS
2 - More Than Words Can Say 6/4/2019 – 5 STARS
2.5 - Serving Up Love: A Harvey House Brides Collection - expected 11/5/2019
Until next time,
Hugs and a Cup of Tea!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Number of Love – The Codebreakers Book 1 Roseanna M White


The Number of Love – The Codebreakers Book 1 Roseanna M. White

***Hooray! Theme & Characters from ‘Shadows Over England’ Series Return ***

London 1917, WWI
Margot De Wilde has returned to us as a key player in this story featuring Room 40 and the life of Codebreakers whose sole job is to decode war messages in various forms day in and day out.
She has always seen life through numbers.  The Lord speaks to her in numbers.  She calculates every step and motion with the utmost effectiveness.  At 17, she is generally the most intelligent person in a room.  However, her intelligence and calculations leave little room for emotion.

Drake Elton is an undercover agent and a very good one.  His younger sister Dot struggles through life and he needs to see her settled with a job before he heads out on his next assignment.  In doing so, he meets a girl with “impossibly dark eyes” who challenges his thoughts. But, he has little time to delve into that while a war is raging and answers need uncovering.

Das Gespenst proves to be a mysterious villain and adds the necessary element of danger.  His character was interesting while trying to discover his “angle”.  He also brought a GO board with him, another attention-grabbing throw-back to the previous series.

The story is continually moving forward at a great pace as the players in the war, on both sides, do their parts. Reading about anthrax and the effort to uncover code books from U-boats, Zeppelins and Gotha bombers were very interesting.  

Tea Quotes: “Here you go.” Cheerful and smiling and utterly oblivious, she handed him a cup of steaming, fragrant tea. “Just the way you like.”
“And after another night shift, she was more than looking forward to a hot cup of tea, her clanking radiator, and maybe a not-warm-enough bath before she went to bed.”

Spiritual Moment: “Do not neglect your prayers, Drake. Neglect your chores, neglect your ablutions, neglect your mother, but never neglect our prayers.  They are what root you to the Lord.”

Wonderfully written as always.  While we do get to visit old friends, you do NOT need to have read the previous series as plenty of backstory is scattered within this book.  I would also add, that while the time frame is WWI, you are not dragged through the gruesomeness of war.  I very much appreciated that. I am looking forward to Phillip Camden’s future story.


Image of The Admiralty Office at Whitehall, 1760 (aka The Old Building) from an engraving by D. Cunego as found in the book Royal Navy Handbooks, Naval Administration, page 17, publ. 1896,by Sir Vessey Hamilton, G.C.B., Late First Sea Lord of the Admiralty. A copy of this book is in the public domain via Cornell Univ. https://archive.org/details/cu31924030895860/page/n37

Room 40 was on the first floor of the northern wing (right) of The Admiralty's Ripley Building (built 1726) in Whitehall. It was on the same corridor as the office of the First Sea Lord.

About the Book:
Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren’t enough.
Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy that just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the too-intelligent Margot, but how to convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life’s answers lie in the heart?
Amidst biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them, but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save them all from the very secrets that brought them together.


It is my privilege to share my opinion without expectation or compensation. I received an advance copy without charge from BETHANY HOUSE PUBL. 

(5 stars)
SERIES: The Codebreakers
The Number of Love –  Book 1 June 4, 2019
Wings of Devotion – Book 2 tba


Author Bio:  Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award-nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.
Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2WdRsY0
Christian Book: https://bit.ly/2U3x4LB
Roseanna’s Shop (Signed): Click Here






Some of my other reviews for Roseanna's books (click beneath photos):
A Name Unknown 
A Song Unheard


An Hour Unspent












Until next time,
Hugs and a cup of tea!


National Iced Tea is coming up! JUNE 10th

Monday, May 20, 2019

Tea Themed Soap and Tea Themed Book

I was gifted this soap for Natl. Child Care Provider's Day (always the Friday before Mother's Day) and thought some of you might enjoy it as well.  It has a sweet floral fragrance and can be found at Bath and Body Works.  It is also available as a candle.


Tearoom for Two – Tearoom Mysteries 1 – Susan Page Davis
***An Enjoyable Cozy Mystery with NO Murder ***

I received the first three books in this series as a gift from my mom because anyone who knows me is well aware of my love of tea!  These books have actually been in my Amazon wishlist for quite some time!

What I find particularly interesting is that each one is written by a different author so we shall see how well they do maintaining the original feel of the characters in the other books.

I was so happy this mystery did NOT have a murder in it.  In fact, there are two mysteries happening simultaneously!
Middle-aged cousins (clapping hands for real-world people, not just pretty, young things), are ready for new chapters and decide to start a tearoom together.  We go along for their moving in together to flea market shopping, meeting the neighbors, returning to the church of their youth, trying new recipes for the tearoom and uncovering historical treasures.  Each has her own characteristics whether shy or apprehensive, or outspoken, but through it all, they balance each other and support each other.  It was nice not to have to read about griping or rudeness from these two, but the kind of friend you would actually want to move in with.  Prayer is offered up when needed and plenty of cups of tea are poured.  A sweet kitty starts visiting the back porch who earns a tea themed name (which I will not spoil).

Tea Quotes: 1. They had come prepared for this moment and went back out to the driveway, where Elaine unlocked the trunk of her car. Jan managed two folding deck chairs, while Elaine took in a box holding her own Nanking teapot, a small copper teakettle of Jan’s, a pair of bone china cups and saucers, two spoons, linen napkins, loose Lady Grey tea in a tin, a tea ball, honey and creamer.
2. “You’ll have to stop in,” Elaine said. “Uh…what if I’m not a tea drinker?” “Oh, we’ll provide coffee and lemonade for those who refuse to be civilized.” J (hahaha)

Spiritual Moment: “Let’s pray together,” she said to Elaine. “You know - for the business.” “Yes, let’s.” They sat close together on the couch and clasped hands. Jan closed her eyes. “Lord, thank You for bringing us here and letting us have this house and the tearoom.” Please let everything we do here honor You,” Elaine added.

I appreciated how chapter numbers included a pretty teapot and point of view changes were indicated by a cup and saucer.

An enjoyable and easy read that I would recommend. (3 to 4 stars)

It is my privilege to share my opinion without expectation or compensation.  

Published 2016 by: Guideposts

SERIES: Tearoom Mysteries
Apparently, there are 25 books in the series published between 2016-2018 (holy moly!) available in hardcover or eBook.


Until next time, 
Hugs and a cup of tea!
Teatime by Albert Lynch

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Pink Bonnet 2 Stars

•°o•:*:•. ***TRAUMATIC STORY*** .•:*:• o°•

Summer 1933, Tennessee
I'm not sure why anyone would want to write a gut-wrenching story about kidnapped children and the horror of a mother's quest to find her stolen daughter. This was a very difficult read. I gave it 2 stars (vs. 1) because it was well written despite my lack of enjoyment of it. This is certainly not what one could call entertainment.
There are strong thematic elements including physical abuse, so caution is advised.
This story is based on real-life events involving the kidnapping and selling of thousands of children by one woman (Georgia Tann) and a slew of corrupt politicians, which is awful, but having it rewoven into a semi-fictional tale for entertainment purposes is not my cup of tea.

Incidentally, after reading book one, I requested a copy of book two and three without knowing the background of the book. I kept my commitment for this book, but sadly after reading what book 3 is about, I will contact NetGalley to see if I can skip it. Can you say aaaawwwkkward? :(

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.

This book is part of 6 in a new series by 3 authors. Go to True Colors Crime dot com to read more.
True Colors Books/Barbour Publishing:
March 1, 2019 The White City by Grace Hitchcock (5 stars)
June 2019 The Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma (2 stars)
August 2019 The Yellow Lantern by Angie Dicken
January 2020 The Gray Chamber by Grace Hitchcock
And two more tba


Definitely needing tea!
tea-hee! j/k




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.  

Click to Enlarge
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!