Monday, August 29, 2016

Life By The Cup By Zhena Muzyka

There is something so wonderful about the gift of the perfect book from a friend. My friend Lisa K sent me Life by the Cup a memoir and self-help motivation book by Zhena Muzyka, founder of the Zhena's Gypsy Tea Company.  This lovely gift arrived a week ago and it took me not time to inhale this book, something that I reserve usually for cozy mysteries. I loved the way this book is laid out and layered with personal history, struggles and strategies used to lift the reader and motive a new perspective on life. There is fascinating and practical advice, something for everyone in this book.
I very much appreciated the raw emotional journey as well as the powerful suggestions and themes of perspective taking, calming strategies and ways for personal growth.
"[Zhena] Muzyka's charisma leaps off the pages of this unconventional, touching, and personal guide to success" ("Publishers Weekly"), featuring seventeen soulful lessons and simple rituals for finding your life's purpose, improving your relationships, and becoming healthier--all in the time it takes to drink a cup of tea. Drawing on lessons she's learned throughout her amazing and sometimes difficult life journey, the social entrepreneur and founder of Zhena's Gypsy Tea shares seventeen soulful lessons to help you overcome obstacles, clarify your purpose, and bring awareness to each moment of your life. An inspiring roadmap for discovering the secrets of happiness and success for yourself at any stage in life, "Life By the Cup"'s message is that, no matter where you are, you can change your circumstances and live your dreams. As a twenty-four-year-old single mom, Zhena had an infant in need of life-saving surgery and only six dollars in her wallet. She also had two other powerful motivators: hope and a passion to share her unique tea blends with the world. Combining her kitchen hobby of blending tea, her knowledge of herbs and aromatherapy, and her gypsy grandmother's wisdom, Zhena started selling custom teas from a cart on California street corners. Now, over a decade later, her son is healthy and Zhena's Gypsy Tea is a multimillion-dollar brand. Zhena's insights and gentle guidance will inspire you to increase your compassion toward others as well as yourself. You'll also gain wisdom on how to hone your intuition, ask for help, and live out your true purpose without drastically changing the way you live. Discover your calling, bolster your courage, develop your own flavor of success, and you'll see your own passion make a meaningful difference in the world.

The tea line is delightful! My personal favorite tea from this line is the Raspberry Earl black tea. Last year I tried this line of tea's while I was at a camping retreat about 90 mins from here. The camp mess hall had the entire line and the teas were fantastic. Organic and Ethically sourced these teas were creative and delightful to the palate. My morning go to at camp was the Raspberry Earl. I found myself looking forward to it in the crisp morning air. I was pleased to see I could find the tea at Whole Foods near where I lived. In Canada you can also order it on line from Well.ca in the USA you can find it at World Market and on line by clicking here.

To learn more about this tea line please visit the Zhena's Tea website by clicking here.
To order a copy of Life By The Cup with free shipping from the Book Depository please click here.
To order it from Amazon please click here.
Thank you for joining me today for a tea book and tea review! I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Flanagan's Dolls by Warren Adler

Tuesday night I read Flanagan's Dolls by Warren Adler. As a doll lover I jumped at the chance to read this book by acclaimed author Warren Adler, with a cover like this who could blame me! I did not know what to expect with this cozy and I will admit the cover of the book both intrigued me and scared. Not the normal cozy covers I am used too. The story however is a good one. The mystery behind the dolls and the family that owned them was complicated and well layered. I found myself constantly questioning motive and opportunity along with Flanagan himself! The characters are well developed and interesting. I have been asked on social media is this really a cozy mystery, and yes it is, though the main character is a male, it still has the feels that cozies create.  I love the dog companion in this story and of course as a doll lover, the healing power of doll play. Even if you are not a doll lover but a mystery fan you will be delighted with Flanagan's Dolls.


Josh and Emily Flanagan return to their hometown in upper Michigan where they open a funky antique shop which they hope will provide a sane and comfortable retirement. Both have pursued successful careers in Manhattan, she as an appraiser of antiques for an auction house, and he as an insurance adjuster in the field of art and antiques. But when a man arrives seeking to purchase an antique doll for his ailing grandchild, the Flanagans unintentionally open up a Pandora’s Box of hidden family secrets and intrigue that results in bitter hostility and murder. Josh and Emily, through brilliant deduction and imaginative enterprise discover the clues that lead to the solution that lies at the heart of this mystery.

To learn more about Warren Adler please click here 
To order your own copy of Flanagan's Dolls on Amazon please click here.
Thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and a cozy mystery review. I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Saturday, August 27, 2016

On My Table And In My Cup August 20th-27th

Saturday and what a week it has been, I have actually been home now since Monday, what a great time I had! I love to go away but there is something about being home I think is fantastic and that I truly miss. My cat Squirrel seems to be the most put out by my leaving, though I hope she has mostly forgiven me now. We were in the State of Oregon, my husband and I. It was a great get away.  We left the boys and the cats at home and headed for the eclectic and fun bookstores, fresh air of the Pacific North West and even got to fulfill a life long dream of visiting and being inside a lighthouse.

 A dream trip for sure and only about 6 hours from my home. Quite a delight for sure. I also had the great fortune to visit the Stash Tea Store and now I am wishing I bought way more then I did. I can order on line but the shipping will kill me! The Portland loose leaf Stash Blend was way beyond my expectations and perfectly reflects the state. You can taste the culture and the communities, the quirkiness and the sweetness of great outdoors in each sip. Click here to see how you can order your own from the Stash Tea Website.
Monday we arrived home and waiting for me was Jessica Estevao's Whispers Beyond The Veil.  I am looking forward to reading this one.
Also waiting for me when I got home but on my Kindle App was Warren Adler's cozy mystery Flanagan's Dolls. This book is out now and as a Doll lover this book appeals to me.
Tuesday's mail brought some lovely treasures from my friend Lisa! I love the napkins and watching my TBR pile grow!
Wednesday the mail man dropped off 8 more lovelies to my pile. Not hard to dive into this bunch. I am so excited to read some familiar series and some that are totally new to me. So hard to know where to start! Great problem to have!

Thursday brought me my friend Lisa's suggestion of Susan Bernhardt's The Ginseng Conspiracy! Good friends, tea, pastries and set at Halloween this one looks really good! I hear it is also out in paperback now too!
Friday no mail came but that is just as well. I have a very full and thankful table at the moment. Thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and a cozy week in review. I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Friday, August 26, 2016

Meet Your Baker By Ellie Alexander, A Fantastic Book And Series!

I have been home now a few days and the second book I read while on vacation was Ellie Alexander (Kare Dyer-Seeley's) Meet Your Baker. If you read yesterday's post you know that I searched 6 book stores to find it and boy was it worth the search! This book first came out in 2014 and there are 4 current books in this series, one more coming out later this year.
I am so glad that my friends recommended this series to me and it was such a delight to track them down and read them. I am also thrilled that my trip coincided with meeting the author Ellie Alexander. Hearing her speak about her series was a truly special and unique experience for me.
The book it's self was absolutely charming. The realization that this series is based on a real place you can actually visit (though I was assured that the characters are purely fiction and that the lay out of the town differs slightly from the real Ashland Oregon) made this series just that much more real for me. Being in the state that the book was written about made it even more special. I loved the characters in this book, they are so well established, the back grounds, the history and the Shakespeare, along with the mouth watering food suggestions and recipes is more then endearing, it is exciting. Discovering this well written and well thought out series was a highlight of my summer. 

In this small town bakeshop, the sweets are to die for...Welcome to Torte-a friendly, small-town family bake shop where the treats are so good that, sometimes, it's criminal...After graduating from culinary school, Juliet Capshaw returns to her quaint hometown of Ashland, Oregon, to heal a broken heart and help her mom at the family bakery. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is bringing in lots of tourists looking for some crumpets to go with their heroic couplets. But when one of Torte's customers turns up dead, there's much ado about murder...The victim is Nancy Hudson, the festival's newest board member. A modern-day Lady Macbeth, Nancy has given more than a few actors and artists enough reasons to kill her...but still. The silver lining? Jules' high school sweetheart, Thomas, is the investigator on the case. His flirtations are as delicious as ever, and Jules can't help but want to have her cake and eat it too. But will she have her just desserts? Murder might be bad for business, but love is the sweetest treat of all...
I am so looking forward to reading and reviewing more of this series, I hope you will join me in read it as well! When I was in Oregon, I stopped by the Stash Tea store and picked up their special loose leaf Portland Oregon Blend. I wish I bought a case. This tea is fantastic and will always taste to me like a cup of vacation.
You can order your own copy of  Meet Your Baker from The Book Depository with Free shipping by clicking here.
Learn more about Ellie Alexander and her Bake Shop Mystery Series by clicking here.
Thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and a cozy mystery review I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Trip To Oregon and A Review Of Kate Dyer-Seeley's Pacific Northwest Mystery Series!


For the last week I have been traveling, a bit of a cozy adventure get away with my husband, to Portland Oregon. This week long get away was a delight and I am thrilled to say it was full of trips to the book store and lots of time reading in the hotel room to beat the 40 degree (80's for my American readers).

Oregon has some amazing book stores and on our first night here I went to the Book Bin in Salem (South of Portland) to meet and listen to author Kate Dyer-Seeley (AKA- Ellie Alexander). While my cozy best friends have all read her work for me this adventure was brand new and I tracked down her books at the book stores down here to read on our trip.


 I had intended to read the Bake Shop Mystery series but it was the way that Kate talked about both her series that endeared me to the Scene of the Climb her first book in the Pacific Northwest Mystery Series.  This is the first book in a three book series with the 4th book coming out in December. I finally tracked a copy down at my 6th book store and second Powell's books location.
You can order your own copy of Scene of the Climb from The Book Depository with free shipping by clicking here.
I truly enjoyed reading this on my trip. Being in the state it was written about made the book even more alive. The characters are well developed the setting, theme and mysteries are so good and so well researched that you can tell that this story is written by someone who truly loves and grasps the feel and energy of this state. I was very impressed to meet Kate and delighted by her humor, talent and energy. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves the great outdoors, and to anyone who loves the great outdoors from the comfort of their reading chair like I do! I really enjoyed main character Meg and her friends, I can relate to her less then athletic abilities and her clumsiness. I believe that this is a series I will happily read and enjoy for many books to come.
To learn more about this series please click here for Kate Dyer-Seeley's Website. 

On a tea note, Stash tea is located in this area and I may have filled my bag with lovely teas to enjoy, shown here is one of the new to me varieties I chose while in store. Lavender Tulsi was a lovely herbal tea, refreshing and invigorating this tea is made with Tulsi (Holy Basil) and lavender like its name and it does taste like heaven!

Thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and a cozy review. I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Silk Stalkings by Diane Vallere

I was sent Silk Stalkings the third book in the Material Witness Mystery Series by Diane Vallere to review.  In this mystery main character Poly (her name is actually Polyester Monroe!) gets roped into helping with the towns pageant.  I loved the names in this series and the cats in the book Pins and Needles are such fitting names! When one of the towns most important citizens winds up dead just days before the pageant contestants are announced Poly finds herself busy with not only the pageant contestants and sewing but also defending her friend Charlie. Poly has to work smart and fast in this cozy mystery fans of the series are going to love.  I also enjoyed the instructions on how to make a garment bag provided in the back of the book!
The time has come for San LadrĂ³n, California’s annual Miss Tangorli beauty pageant, and Poly has agreed to use Material Girl’s inventory of shimmery silks to create embellished gowns fit for a crown. But when millionaire Harvey Halliwell—the man who revived the city’s citrus trade with his imported tangorli tree—is found dead days before the pageant contestants are announced, something sour takes over the town.  To make matters worse, her friend, mechanic Charlie Brooks, is soon caught up in the crime, having been seen in the company of the case’s prime suspect. Now Poly’s on a mission to squeeze out the truth. But as she searches for a pattern, the killer seems intent on cutting up the evidence...

To order Silk Stalkings from Amazon please click here.
Learn more about this series and Diane Vallere please click here.
Thank you for joining me here for a cup of tea and a cozy review. I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Kathy Aarons October Release of Behind Chocolate Bars

A week ago Monday I finished reading Kathy Aarons October 4th release, Behind Chocolate Bars, the third book in the Chocolate Covered Mystery Series. I found myself to be keenly interested and emotionally invested in this story of an unlikely sleuthing team of book store owner and chocolatier. I read book one but not book two in this series, somehow missing it and yet even though I had not read book 2, book three flowed very naturally and was I familiar enough with the characters to quickly fall into step. I like the concept of this series, the community involvement, the relationships that the duo Michelle and Erica, have with the local teens and with each other. I like the love interests, I love the mysterious relationships and I love the chocolate too! Kathy does an amazing job with the character of main character Michelle's brother Leo, who has a fantastic story line himself. He is a wounded veteran, who suffers from PTS and that story line feels very real and raw in this very emotional side of the story. It is a good story, it is an important story and this cozy mystery is a series to love and grow with.


Behind Chocolate Bars comes out October 4th and is a Halloween themed cozy not to miss! Click here to find it on Amazon.
Learn more about Kathy Arrons and her writing by clicking here. 
Thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and a cozy mystery review. I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com