Mrs. Claus' Tea House

Mrs. Claus' Tea House

 Participating in:   

24 Festive Tasks (November 1st - December 31st)

COYER Winter Edition (December 1st- March 7th) 

 

 

Review
5 Stars
I'm Not Dying With You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal
I’m Not Dying With You Tonight - Gilly Segal, Kimberly Jones

Date Published: August 6, 2019

Format: Kindle

Source: Library

Date Read: November 4-5, 2019

 

Review

 

A fast paced story that did not skimp on characterization, this is the story of Lena's and Campbell's chaotic and scary night. Lena is an African-American high schooler who has a strong network of family and friends and dreams of being a high-profile stylist. I loved Lena which is why I hated that she let Black skip out on rescuing her where she was at rather than meeting him where he was at. But Black came through as a solid boyfriend at the end of the story, so I can't be too mad at him. Campbell was the new girl and the reader sees how the neighborhood/area of Atlanta has the tension among residents and the government (police) rising. Campbell was forced to move in with her dad because her mom took a job in another country and wouldn't let Campbell go with her. Her family wasn't really there to support her at all and she didn't really have a support structure before the night went sideways; she did, however, have a certain inborn privilege that helped her and Lena survive the riot and get home. 

 

Everything about this book was pitch perfect and I highly recommend it.

Review
4 Stars
The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui
The Best We Could Do - Thi Bui

Date Published: March 7, 2017

Format: Kindle

Source: Library

Date Read: November 3, 2019

 

Review

A thorough examination of a Vietnam family's immigration to the US. There was history, family dynamics, and exploration of the Vietnam conflict from the perspective of the Vietnamese people who were on the ground and not Western historians and foreign policy experts. An excellent resource for learning more nuance ways to understanding the Vietnam conflict. 

 

The artwork is fine, but at times I felt that the water colors were too light and dull for the action taking place. Some of the history details are written on the art and can be a bit confusing if you need a linear timeline of events.

 

Overall, highly recommend.

Review
2 Stars
Walking Wounded (Uncut Stories from Iraq) by Olivier Morel and Mael
Walking Wounded: Uncut Stories from Iraq - Olivier Morel, Maël

Date Published: October 1, 2015

Format: Kindle

Source: Library

Date Read: November 3, 2019

 

Review:

A disappointing read due to the author inserting himself in the narrative and being incredible cringey while doing so. The real servicemembers were not given any background and they were jumbled together, almost in a way that the reader had to watch the documentary Morel made to understand the book. And the author is seriously afraid of his own shadow - he is just weakling and not up to the task of dealing with service members. There were two good topics brought up in this book: veteran suicide and veteran-led protest groups that were against the Iraq war (these veterans were the first ones into Iraq in early 2003). However, I don't think any reader (veteran or civilian) would get really anything out of this book.

 

24 Festive Tasks, Door 2: November 3rd Japanese Culture Day Finished!
They Called Us Enemy - Steven Scott, Justin Eisinger, George Takei, Harmony Becker

 

Door 2: November 3rd Japanese Culture Day

 

Book: I read The Called Us Enemy by George Takei et al. 

 

Task 1: Wichita is known as the Air Capital of the World, so my culture festival is the Wichita Air Show and in general military air shows. Last held in 2018, McConnell AFB's air show had an open house, when non-DoD ID holders could come on base to designated areas to check out our aircraft and watch the different aviator groups show off their skills. These airshows are very important to the Air Force - especially in terms of building/maintaining civilian-military relationships and in recruitment. We had them at Beale and there were crowds 3 people deep. In the UK, the USAF was always invited to the air show RAF would put on, both as spectators and as planned entertainment. 

 

It takes a lot of manpower not just to put this on but to plan and coordinate and in the back of the house (such as police and emergency services) to be all on the same page in the event of an accident and keep things clean and ready for the viewing public. But the ROI justifies these shows.

 

Task 2: I ordered a small variety pack of different flavors of Kit Kats from Amazon this morning. I'm most interested in trying the matcha tea flavor and some of the fruit flavors.

 

Edited to add November 16, 2019: they finally arrived! So the taste testers were myself, my sister-in-law, and my two kids. 

So I bought a variety pack that included non-Kit Kat Japanese candy that my kids tried and liked. But here is our committee's final rankings:

1. Dried Cranberries & Almond - this is their "luxury" flavor and is only one bar in package.

2. Roasted Chestnuts - enough nut flavor to handle the chocolate, but not over powering

3. Cappuccino - smells like a coffee shop and actually tastes like a cappuccino

4. Dark Chocolate - not as sweet as the original bar and honestly tastes better - even the kids were into this and they are not really into dark chocolate

5. Light Matcha Green Tea - disappointed that this one did not place higher, considering I enjoy all things tea

6. Apple Pie - smelled more like lavender and tasted like sadness

7. Sweet Potato - smelled like chemicals and WAY TOO OVERPOWERING of flavor profile

8. Dark Matcha Green Tea - the one that my candy loving kids spit out. It had a grainy texture to it in my opinion. My sister-in-law had to refill her water glass to drink more water and get the taste out of her mouth.

 

*Strawberry was eaten by my husband - he thought it was good but he couldn't really tell due to being sick

 

Task 3: 

 

Yeah, I threw in the towel when we had to do steps 5-7 on the other side of the paper. Here is my attempt.

 

Task 4: 

 

Courtesy of the base commissary, lunch was served - sushi, miso soup, seaweed salad, and rice crackers. All washed down with American Coca-Cola. I didn't eat breakfast that morning and ended up not eating dinner after this big meal.

24 Festive Tasks, Door 7: International Day of Tolerance

International Day for Tolerance

 

Door 7, November 16th: International Day of Tolerance

 

Book: I borrowed You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris from OverDrive this morning; this is an expansion of his op-ed after the terrorist bombings in France in 2015 took the life of his wife. 

 

Task #1: Redeeming quality of a book you read and disliked this year.

Hello, The Hot One by Carolyn Murnick, we met again. The writing sucked but the redeeming quality is that Murnick kept the spotlight on her friend's murder and the criminal case as it continues to wind its way through the court system and may just bring a serial killer to justice. This will help not only her friend's family find peace and justice but other families as well.

 

Task #2: Family Tradition 

We go out on Christmas Eve and walk around the neighborhood enjoying our neighbors holiday lights and displays. It gets us out of the house, gets us some fresh air, and it's free. My mom started this tradition with me and my sister, so it is not a long term tradition but it made it into the next generation. 

 

Task #3: Let go of a book and didn't borrow/buy a book and read it?

*Looks at HUGE TBR pile* Yeah, don't really have a problem with letting a book go...kind of the opposite really. 

 

I guess one book I pass on regularly without really thinking about it is The Stranger Beside Me by Anne Rule. I read her book on the Green River Killer, and that was enough for me with regards to her writing and how she inserts herself into the narrative. And even though it was a publishing phenomenon, I don't have any desire to read EL James' Fifty Shades series.

 

Task #4: UNESCO World Heritage Site

It could be the events going on in US politics this week influencing my choice, but I chose Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennyslvania. 

Reblogged
24 Festive Tasks: Door 7 - International Day for Tolerance


17
3 - Melbourne Cup Day
21
9
12
24
22
15
1 - dia de los Muertos
13
18
6 - Veterans / Armistice Day
5 - Bon Om Touk
14
7 - International Day for Tolerance
20
11
23
10
2 - Japanese Culture Day
19
16
8
4 - Guy Fawkes Night
 
International Day for Tolerance

Door 7:  International Day for Tolerance

 

Task 1: Find a redeeming quality in a book you read this year and didn’t like.

 

Task 2: Share a story about yourself, or a story about your family that’s survived the generations, or share a particular tradition your family has passed on from generation to generation and if there’s a story behind why, tell us about it.

 

Task 3: The French expression for tolerance towards others is “laisser faire, laisser aller” (roughly: “let them do as they want, let it go”). Have you ever “let go” a book (e.g., given it away or decided not to yield to the temptation to buy it) and later regretted that choice?

 

Task 4:If you were offered an all-expenses-paid trip to one (one only!) of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, which one would you pick (and why)?

 

Book: Read a book about tolerance, or outside your comfort zone, or set in Paris (seat of UNESCO).

 

 

NEW: Once you've completed a task or tasks, please use the handy form, located in the spoiler tags (to keep things tidy) to let us know. This will make tracking points MUCH easier for the 24 Tasks Team.

 

* Required

 


 


 


 


 


Book
T1
T2
T3
T4
BONUS

 

 


 

(show spoiler)

 

Previous door's tasks are "beneath the fold"

-read more-
Reblogged from Themis-Athena's Garden of Books
Review
4.5 Stars
The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicole Yoon
The Sun Is Also a Star - Nicola Yoon

Date Published: November 1, 2016

Format: Hardcover

Source: Library

Date Read: November 2, 2019

 

Blurb:

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

****************************************************************************************************

Review

 

This was a fun trip through NYC with two clearly defined characters as tour guides. Natasha had the most flakiest dad known to mankind; Daniel was the second son who was thrust in the spotlight when the first born son turned out to be a bad bet. I loved these characters both as separate entities and as a couple. They were not complete opposites as the blurb makes the story seem - they just have different ways of handling the individual pressures in their lives. 

 

I enjoyed the side chapters that delved into the history of topics brought up by Natasha and Daniel and the ones that showed a deeper history of their parents to explain why the parents were the way they were without letting them off the hook for their mistakes in their relationship with their respective children. The epilogue seemed a little too wish fillment/dreamscape, but this is a YA romance so I let it be. 

24 Festive Tasks, Door 4: Guy Fawkes Night

Guy Fawkes Night

 

Door 4: November 5th Guy Fawkes Night

 

Book: I read V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. 

 

Task #1: Three Crimes Against Books

              1. Overly long series - stop the fluff, stop the filler. If the author(s) planned for the series to be three books, be three books. You can write another series within that world, but at what point is a town handling that many mail order brides? Then there is the series that goes on so long that the author dies and the new author taking over ADDS to the number of books (looking at you Robert Jordan).

              2. Policing reviews/reviewers - seriously, how many times must it be said "Reviews. Are. For. Readers." And no, paying customers are not also your free copyeditors or your PR representative. 

             3. "Dark" Romances - seriously, authors are really going out of their way to justify some straight up toxic males/toxic relationships in their books - sorry if yucking on someone's yum, but lately it has gone too far (imho) and entertainment can affect a person's worldview or beliefs. Some of these romances do more harm in terms of real world social mores than any good in terms of storytelling - all in the name of being seen as edgy or subverting the genre (are we still in high school or what?). An example: 

https://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/reviews/war-by-laura-thalassa/

 

Task #2: Revolution! We must storm the barricades and demand! COPYEDITING IS DIFFERENT FROM EDITING AND IS JUST AS IMPORTANT TO STORYTELLING! Seriously, just put up clean copies of your books if you wish to sell them - clean meaning proper spelling, proper punctuation (to INCLUDE Quotations Marks!!), and using the right word (their, there, they're). 

 

Task #3: In Progress.

 

Task #4: In Progress.

24 Festive Tasks, Door 5: Bon Om Touk
Life As We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer

Bon Om Touk

 

Door 5: Bon Om Touk

 

Book: I read Life As We Knew It (Last Survivors #1) by Susan Beth Pfeffer. That is one big moon and it gets bigger with each additional book in the series.

 

Task #1: List of rainy day reads - In Progress

 

Task #2: String up fairy lights around books - In Progress

 

Task #3: Did someone say dragons? Toothless from the How to Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell is of course my favorite literary dragon.

Image result for toothless

 

 

Task #4: Compile a list or stack – 4 books minimum – composed of books that either have opposing words in their titles (e.g., war / peace; asleep / awake – not necessarily both words in the same title), or that feature the words “heaven,” “sun,” “moon,” “earth,” “humanity,” “justice,” intelligence,” and / or “courtesy.” - In Progress

Every morning, I hug and kiss my kids goodbye as they leave for the bus stop. Every afternoon when they came home, it's a whirlwind of activities and homework and routine.

 

When my kids came home from school today, I sat down on the stairs and let them sit in my lap and I just hugged them for 10 minutes, reminding them that I love them. They didn't know what happened, they just humored their dear old mom.

 

Days like this, I wonder if the public online school that Kansas provides is the right choice for us versus the kids going to a brick and mortar school...

 

 

TBR Thursdays* - November 14, 2019

*bookish series created by Moonlight Reader

 

Book Fair is now over until the spring. I worked enough shifts to earn $60 worth of books; $42 went to the kids and $18 went to their teachers' wish list items. My son received Game On! 2020 (guidebook to all things video games) and Sonic the Hedgehog graphic novel; my daughter got a She-Ra guidebook (based on the new Netflix show) and a chapter book about a princess who has supernatural abilities. His teacher got a two book set from the I Survive...series and her teacher got two picture books from the Choose Kindness collection. Everybody went away happy.

 

I only bought one e-book because the price was ridiculously low. I'm assuming book two must be close to publication/release date if the first one was such a low price.

 

Print additions

Nothing

 

NOOK additions

Nothing

  

Kindle additions

+1. The Spice King (Hope and Glory #1) by Elizabeth Camden

 

Library Borrows

Physical: Nothing

 

Digital:

+2. Life As We Knew It (Last Survivors #1) by Susan Beth Pfeffer

***************************************************************************************************

Print Read

Nothing 

 

NOOK Read

Nothing 

 

Kindle Read

Nothing 

 

Library Returns

-1. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd

 

*Total TBR from last week: 294

*Total books added: +2

*Total books read: -1

*Total TBR #: 295

24 Festive Tasks, Door 6: November 11th Armistice/Veterans Day
Walking Wounded: Uncut Stories from Iraq - Olivier Morel, Maël

Veterans / Armistice Day

 

Door 6: Armistice/Veterans Day

 

Book: I read Walking Wounded (Uncut Stories from Iraq) by Olivier Morel and Mael. 

 

Task #1: In Progress

Task #2: In Progress

Task #3: In Progress

Task #4: In Progress

24 Festive Tasks, Door 6: November 11th Veterans' Day/Armistice Day


17
3 - Melbourne Cup Day
21
9
12
24
22
15
1 - dia de los Muertos
13
18
6 - Veterans / Armistice Day
5 - Bon Om Touk
14
7
20
11
23
10
2 - Japanese Culture Day
19
16
8
4 - Guy Fawkes Night

I requested to do today's door opening, as it is a holiday for many to reflect but more so for me and my fellow brothers and sisters in arms. My kids have school today, so I will be visiting both their classrooms to talk about the holiday (teachers asked if I would do this). Afterward, hubby and I are going out to eat and maybe head to Half Price Books to look around without being asked "are we leaving now?" twenty billion times. 

 

However you celebrate, I hope you have a great day!

 
Veterans / Armistice Day

Door 6:  Veterans / Armistice Day

 

Task 1: Sunrise services are a staple of this day: Take a picture of the sunrise where you live and share it with us.

 

Task 2: In keeping with the minute of silence, tell us about the authors who have passed this year that you will miss the most.

 

Task 3: Rosemary is for remembrance, but it’s great for chasing away moths, silverfish and other bugs that can damage books (and linens). Make a sachet with some rosemary, lavender, dried basil, etc. to keep on your bookshelves – post a picture of the results and let us know what combinations of herbs you used. A list of possibilities can be found here: https://www.mnn.com/your-home/organic-farming-gardening/stories/12-plants-that-repel-unwanted-insects

 

Task 4:The Forest of Compiègne, just outside Compiègne, France, is the site of the signing of the 1918 Armistice. It was also the site of the signing by the French of a truce with the Germans following the German invasion in 1940. – Find a green space in your local area (or favorite area) and go for a walk or bike ride of a mile (or 1.61 km) and post a picture or screenshot of the map of where you walked / biked.

 

Book: Read a book involving a war, battle, or where characters are active military or veterans, or with poppies on the cover, or honor the ‘unknown soldier’ of your TBR and read the book that’s been there the longest.

 

 

NEW: Once you've completed a task or tasks, please use the handy form, located in the spoiler tags (to keep things tidy) to let us know. This will make tracking points MUCH easier for the 24 Tasks Team.

* Required

 


 


 


 


 


Book
T1
T2
T3
T4
BONUS

 


space

(show spoiler)

 

Previous door's tasks are "beneath the fold"

-read more-
Weekly Reading - November 11th -17th
V for Vendetta - David Lloyd, Alan Moore A Sip Before Dying (Wine & Dine Mysteries #1) - Gemma Halliday Black Rose - Nora Roberts Life As We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer

I chomped down on two YA books and a bunch of graphic novels to keep up with the current game. It was enough that I reached my goal of reading 100 books this year!

 

Now I have one graphic novel to read, V for Vendetta, that I will start as soon as the kids are in bed. Then it is on to finishing A Sip Before Dying, working my way through Black Rose, and hopefully by the end of the week getting into Life As We Knew It. My sister-in-law is visiting this weekend, so here's to hoping I get through my weekly TBR before she flies in.

Reblogged
24 Festive Tasks: Door 5 - Bon Om Touk


17
3 - Melbourne Cup Day
21
9
12
24
22
15
1 - dia de los Muertos
13
18
6
5 - Bon Om Touk
14
7
20
11
23
10
2 - Japanese Culture Day
19
16
8
4 - Guy Fawkes Night
 
Bon Om Touk

Door 5:  Bon Om Touk

 

Task 1: List / tell us about your favorite rainy day reads.

 

Task 2: String up some fairy lights around your books / bookcase / kindle and share a picture of the results.

 

Task 3: Dragons and dragon-like serpents (imugi) are important to Korean mythology (as they are to that of other Asian peoples). So – which are your favorite literary dragons (fictional, mythological, whatever)?

 

Task 4:The South Korean flag features images of ying / yang (the blue and red circle in the center) and four sets of three black lines each representing heaven, sun, moon and earth and, in turn, the virtues humanity, justice, intelligence and courtesy. Compile a list or stack – 4 books minimum – composed of books that either have opposing words in their titles (e.g., war / peace; asleep / awake – not necessarily both words in the same title), or that feature the words “heaven,” “sun,” “moon,” “earth,” “humanity,” “justice,” intelligence,” and / or “courtesy.”

 

Book: Read a book by a Korean author or set in Korea, that takes place at sea or on a river, where the plot involves a festival, where the moon or rain plays a pivotal role in the plot, or with rain, water or the moon on the cover.

 

 

NEW: Once you've completed a task or tasks, please use the handy form, located in the spoiler tags (to keep things tidy) to let us know. This will make tracking points MUCH easier for the 24 Tasks Team.

* Required

 


 


 


 


 


Book
T1
T2
T3
T4
BONUS

 


 

(show spoiler)

 

Previous door's tasks are "beneath the fold"

-read more-
Reblogged from Themis-Athena's Garden of Books
24 Festive Tasks, Door 1: Dia de los Muertos Finished!

 

Door 1, November 1st: Dia de los Muertos

 

Book: I am using A Sip Before Dying (Wine and Dine #1) by Gemma Halliday, as it has all the colors of the rainbow on the cover.

 

Task #1: Ode to a Murder Cop (Lt Eve Dallas/In Death series by JD Robb)

             In NYC in 2061, in a castle sleeps our dear Lt

             With the long legs, eyes like whiskey, and short hair (don't care).

             In the stillness of that castle, Dispatch rings out

             an address for her and Peabody to meet

             the sunrise and another DB. 

 

Task #2: 

I went out to lunch at a local Mexican restaurant that was not a chain because it was right across the street from the grocery store and I don't like shopping on an empty stomach. I went with something simple, the Two Taco Carne Asada with beans, rice, taco toppings and the freshest cheese - it was so good, and that good food mood lasted all the way through the dreaded, hated grocery shopping. Chips and salsa are free for every table. 

 

Task #3: Epitaph (for the novella Then Came You (Bradford Sisters #0.5) by Becky Wade)

              Here Lies A MRA Subreddit in Book Form

              Burn it to the ground and salt the earth

              So nothing can grow from this pile of shit                                

 

 

Task #4: My family doesn't really do traditions or mementos from loved ones that pass on. Usually everything is liquidated and the money spilt between surviving spouses or the children still living after taxes and funeral expenses are paid. We do have pictures - we kept Polaroid and Kodak in business since way back in the day. Even today, I am a picture taking fool, deleting just the repeats or the ones too blurry. 

 

And then I married into a family that saves EVERYTHING from past loved ones. I met my grandfather-in-law, Warren, for the first time in April of 2010. Adam and I had been married for not quite a year and I was meeting his family face-to-face for the first time...without telling them we were already married. Warren was a lovely man - a fine soldier who served overseas, devoted family man, loved deeply his wife Virginia (who past away years ago), and loved traveling around in his RV. He accepted me with open arms as soon as we shook hands. A year after our visit, Warren was diagnosed with stomach cancer and didn't have much longer to live. We visited him at his home in Idaho, this time bringing his great-grandson along. We took lots of pictures, one of those pictures being Warren, Jim (my father-in-law), Adam, and seven month old Joshua - four generations of Steinman men. Warren died over the new year holiday weekend in 2012; we received several boxes that Warren set aside for Adam that had Warren's military and civic awards in them along with pictures...lots and lots of pictures. But there is one picture that hangs in our hallway's "hall of family" pictures and it is the one taken in September of 2011. Here it is:

 

 

            

            

             

             

 

 

 

currently reading

Progress: 55/195pages
You Will Not Have My Hate - Antoine Leiris
Black Rose: Book Two of the Garden Trilogy - Nora Roberts