Witches' Tea Shop

 

 

COYER Summer Vacation June 9th-September 3rd

Bout of Books Cycle 23 August 20th-26th

Halloween Bingo September 1st - October 31st 

 

 

 

October Dewey Sign Ups are Live!

I just signed up myself, as that is the one weekend in October I don't have anything planned. I tend to do better in the fall editions of Dewey than in the spring, so I am hoping this gets me a lot closer to the goal line in Halloween Bingo. Going to start planning my reads and food/drink menu!

September 2019 Reading Wrap Up

Miss Frost Solves A Cold Case: A Nocturne Falls Mystery (Jayne Frost Book 1) - Kristen Painter A Deadly Brew (A Tourist Trap Mystery) - Lynn Cahoon

 

 

Challenges:

BL/GR: 98/100

2018 Pop Sugar: 35/50 prompts filled

Halloween Bingo: 12/25 boxes read

 

 

1. Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer Wright - 3.5 stars (Flat Book Society; Halloween Bingo)

 

2. The Harlem Hellfighters: When Pride Met Courage by Bill Miles and Walter Dean Myers - 1 star (WWI Reading List)

 

3. Rockets Dead Glare (Tourist Trap #9.25) by Lynn Cahoon - 3.5 stars (Halloween Bingo)

 

4. A Deadly Brew (Tourist Trap #9.5) by Lynn Cahoon - 4 stars (Halloween Bingo)

 

5. Nancy Drew, Detective Girl #1: The Demon of River Heights by Sho Murase and Stefan Petrucha - 1 star (Halloween Bingo)

 

6. Miss Frost Solves a Cold Case (Jayne Frost #1) by Kristen Painter - 4 stars (Halloween Bingo)

 

7. Wolves at the Door (Shifters of the Glen #1) by Skye Jones - 2 stars (Halloween Bingo)

 

8. The Siren by Kiera Cass - 3 stars (Halloween Bingo)

 

9. Presumed Guilty by Tess Gerritsen - 2 stars (Halloween Bingo)

 

10. On Call in Hell: A Doctor's Iraq War Story by CDR. Richard Jadick - 3.5 stars

 

On Call in Hell: A Doctor's Iraq War Story by CDR. Richard Jadick

On Call in Hell: A Doctor's Iraq War Story - Thomas Hayden, Richard Jadick, Lloyd James

I needed a short break from HB, so I picked up this audiobook. CDR Jadick did two turns as a military officer; first, he started as a Marine communications officer (which came in handy later on his is career), then he left for medical school, then returned to the Navy as a DO. He went on one less than exciting deployment to Liberia before getting the chance to go with the Marines into Fallujah, Iraq in 2004. Most of the book deals with his time in Iraq, however he does spend on chapter on the less than fateful deployment to Liberia. 

 

I liked his story and was really glad I saw the war from a medical officer's POV. There was less gung-ho toxic military culture and more brotherhood and duty. It did seem that Jadick was a true believer, at least at the beginning of the war, in the purpose and justification for the Iraq War. The memoirs were published in 2007, so the war was still going on, so I wonder if he is still true to the cause or if he moved his devotion to solely his fellow Marines and sailors. He came across as a very humble man, often crediting those around him for heroics or great ideas, especially his medical corpsmen.

 

A very good read.

Tea's Halloween Bingo Card and Reading List - Update #2

I made a spreadsheet that is color coded so I can keep track of what I read and what was called. Reviews of books linked.

 

 

1. Spellbound: A Match Made in Spell by Regina Welling and Erin Lynn 

2. Modern Noir: 

3. Shifters: Croc's Return (Bitten Point #1) by Eve Langlais (own copy; ebook)

4. Baker St. Irregulars: Nancy Drew, Girl Detective #1: The Demon of River Heights by Carolyn Keene, Stefan Petrucha, Sho Murase

5. Dead Lands: Eighth Grade Bites by Tony Lee et al (library borrow; print)

 

6. Relics and Curiosities: A Touch of Midnight by Lara Adrian (own copy; ebook)

7. Creepy Carnivals: Kiss Me Hard Before You Go by Shannon McCrimmon (own copy; ebook)

8. Southern Gothic: Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (own copy; ebook)

9. Doomsday: Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes That Fought Them by Jennifer Wright and Gabra Zackman

10. New Release: Leverage in Death (In Death #47) by JD Robb (library borrow; print)

 

11. Genre: Suspense: Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine (own copy; print)

12. Country House Mystery: 

13. Free Space: A Deadly Brew by Lynn Cahoon

14. 13: Seduction in Death (In Death #13) by JD Robb (library borrow; print)

15. Ghost Stories: Black Rose by Nora Roberts (library borrow; ebook)

 

16. Fear/Deep: The Siren by Kiera Cass

17. Cryptozoologist: Wolves at the Door by Skye Jones 

18. A Grimm Tale: Fairest by Marissa Meyers (own copy; print)

19. Supernatural: Daughters of Darkness by Various Authors (own copy; ebook)

20. Darkest London: An Affair with Mr. Kennedy by Jillian Stone (own copy: ebook)

 

21. Romantic Suspense: Killer Countdown by Amelia Autin (own copy; print)

22. Amateur Sleuth: Rockets Dead Glare by Lynn Cahoon 

23. Diverse AuthorsPresumed Guilty by Tess Gerritsen

24. Cozy Mystery: Miss Frost Solves a Cold Case by Kristin Painter

25. Classic Horror: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (own copy; ebook)

Presumed Guilty by Tess Gerritsen

Presumed Guilty [With Earbuds] - Tess Gerritsen, Jennifer Van Dyck

 

This book is from a group of books that Gerritsen wrote for Harlequin's Mira line. It is a romantic suspense story from 1993, and boy does the age show; had I not been listening to this on audiobook, it would have been a DNF.

 

Miranda, a twenty-nine year old with the social and emotional intelligence of a twelve year old, just broke up with her married boyfriend/very rich boss. She quit her job and thought about packing up her house and moving away because it is too hard on her to see him around their small Maine town. He calls one night and tells her it's over with his wife and he wants to see her - as in he is on the way to her house and there is nothing to stop him. So Miranda leaves her house  - UNLOCKED!!!! - and walks down to the beach/shoreline so as not to be home when he comes. After two hours, she makes her way home to find her former lover stabbed to death in her bed. Obviously, because the police officers in this rural town are stupid assholes, immediately arrest her for his murder. Chase is the now dead guy's brother and the black sheep of the family. His sister-in-law calls him home. Chase and Miranda work to figure out who is framing her and why. 

 

I gave this two stars because it was a well-plotted, well-written mystery. This was a stupid, and emotionally stunted romance storyline. The romance unfortunately takes a lot of the time/page space, but that mystery kept me hanging on - and I totally didn't guess the real murderer right. But Miranda and Chase do belong together, if only to spare anyone else being in a relationship with their sorry asses. 

Wolves at the Door (Shifters of the Glen #1) by Skye Jones

Wolves at the Door - Skye Jones

A freebie in the NOOK store, this is book one in a series about a werewolf pack located in a very isolated rural area of Scotland. It was pretty standard fare for werewolf romance, plus there wasn't much to identify this area as Scottish; this could have taken place in Iowa for all the details given. It does suffer from first book syndrome, as there is a lot of info-dumping in the beginning. The story is pretty short, with a lot of the romance progressing in the epilogue/teaser for the next book. I am going to pass on reading anymore from the series.

The Siren by Kiera Cass

The Siren - Kiera Cass

 

I saw this square and immediately thought "Sirens!"....maybe because I have seen Ice Age 4 about a million times and there is the scene with the sirens borrowed from The Odyssey. Anyway, the Sirens! thought led me to this book, a stand-alone YA about Kahlen, a nineteen year old in the late 1940s/early 1950s who was saved from drowning by The Ocean (aka SHE) in exchange for 100 years of service as a siren. The Ocean needs sirens to kill people, whose souls nourish/fill in a need that The Ocean is desperate to keep a lid on. Fast forward to the early 2010s, and Kahlen is just 19 years away from the end of her service and a chance at a normal life. She is living in Miami with her fellow siren-sisters, and feeling increasingly angsty about what she has done to at least hundreds of people she killed in her duty to The Ocean. And then she meets Akinlin….

 

I really liked this book and found it refreshing and the world building solid and immersive. Kahlen has never felt truly settled in her life as a siren, but her older sister siren Aisling was a fount of strength for her; when Aisling was finished with her service and it was time to move on to her third (and final) life, she chose Kahlen to help her make the transition. That's Kahlen - service wasn't just for The Ocean but also to her sister sirens, who she tries to be an older sister without lecturing or smothering them. But she had deep periods of depression, especially after a killing. Meeting/falling in love with Akinlin only heightened the depression. 

 

I really enjoyed Kahlen's and Akinlin's relationship, from that first meet cute to the HEA. Thankfully there was a HEA, or else those passages of deepening depression would not have been worth the trouble of reading. A solid, good read that would be better if an editor took their red pen to a lot of the depression passages. This was self-published before The Selection series, so the cover at the top of this review is the original cover. After The Selection took off, the publisher bought the rights to re-publish this book with a cover that is very similar brand-wise with The Selection series, seen here:25817407 

Friday Reads - September 28, 2018

The Siren - Kiera Cass Presumed Guilty - Tess Gerritsen A Touch of Midnight - Lara Adrian Kiss Me Hard Before You Go - Shannon McCrimmon Fairest - Marissa Meyer Croc's Return (Bitten Point Book 1) - Eve Langlais Eighth Grade Bites #1: The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod Graphic Novel - Julia Laud, Heather Brewer, Tony Lee

My AF library is losing subscriptions to a number of databases/ebook services due to budget issues at USAFE HQ, so my Halloween Bingo list went to crap. I had hoped to use much of my library's eboo/digital audiobook stock to get my card to black out, but now I am combing through my own books to replace those that I lost access to.

 

This week I DNF'd two books for Halloween Bingo (Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury and In the Woods by Tana French). I have an alternative for the carnival square, but I am just not cut out to read Noir, so I am leaving this square blank. I've read The Siren by Kiera Cass (Drowning Deep square) last week and Presumed Guilty by Tess Gerritsen (Diverse Voices), so reviews to follow.

 

This weekend is the our Cub Scouts pack's Rain Gutter Regatta, and the kids and my husband had a lot of fun building their boats for tomorrow. On Sunday, I am pulling babysitting duties for friends' so they can have a kid-free trip to the Harry Potter Studio tour, the last "To Do" item on their UK list before they move back to the States next month. 

 

So this weekend's/upcoming week reading:

1. Touch of Midnight by Lara Adrian (Relics and Curiosities)

2. Kiss Me Hard Before You Go by Shannon McCrimmon (Creepy Carnivals)

3. Fairest by Marissa Meyer (Grimm Tale)

4. Croc's Return by Eve Langlais (Shifters)

5. Eighth Grade Bites by Tony Lee et al (Dead Lands)

 

I have Seduction in Death (#13) for the Unlucky 13 square and Leverage in Death (#47) by JD Robb for the New Release square on request/wait list at the library. Fingers crossed they come into my possession sometime this week.

 

Continued good luck to those participating in Halloween Bingo and Happy Reading to all!

2018 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge Progress - Summer Progress

My friend talked me into this challenge again this year. Prompts filled are in bold.

 

 

2018 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge

  • Book made into a movie you have already seen - The Finest Hours: The True Story of a Heroic Sea Rescue by Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman
  • True Crime - American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse
  • Next book in the series - The Jade Temptress (Pingkang Li #2) by Jeannie Lin
  • A book involving a heist
  • Nordic noir
  • Novel based on a real person
  • Set in a country that fascinates me - The Lotus Palace (Pingkang Li #1) by Jeannie Lin
  • Time of day in the title - Evening Stars (Blackberry Island #3) by Susan Mallery
  • Book about villain or anti-hero - 
  • Book about death/grief - The Great Silence 1918-1920: Living in the Shadow of the Great War by Juliet Nicolson
  • Female author/male pen name - Wonderment in Death (...In Death #41.5) by J.D. Robb
  • LGBT+ MC - George by Alex Gino
  • Author with a different ethnicity than me - Ms Marvel Volume 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson
  • Book that is also a stage play or musical
  • Book about Feminism - The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses and Changed the Workplace by Lynn Povich
  • Book about mental health - It's in His Kiss (Lucky Harbor #10) by Jill Shalvis
  • Book that was borrowed or gifted to you
  • Book by two authors 
  • Book about or involving sport
  • Local author
  • Favorite color in title
  • Alliteration in the title - Women Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics by Kathryn J. Atwood
  • Time Travel - Paper Girls (Book One) by Brian K. Vaughn et al
  • Weather Element in Title - When Snow Falls (Whiskey Creek #2) by Brenda Novak
  • Book set at sea - The Siren by Kiera Cass
  • Book with animal in title - Wolves at the Door by Skye Jones
  • Book set on a different planet
  • Book with song lyrics in the title - One Wish (Thunder Point #7) by Robyn Carr 
  • Book set on or about Halloween - A Deadly Brew by Lynn Cahoon
  • Book with a set of twins - Three Sisters (Blackberry Island Novel #2) by Susan Mallery
  • Book mentioned in another book - Miss Frost Solves a Cold Case by Kristen Painter
  • Book from a celebrity book club
  • Childhood classic you’ve never read - A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Entengle
  • Book published in 2018 - Dark in Death (In Death #46) by JD Robb
  • Past Good Reads winner
  • Book set in the decade you were born
  • Book you meant to read in 2017 but didn’t - Love is Love anthology by Various Authors
  • Book with an ugly cover - White Witch (Texas Devlins #1) by Lyn Horner
  • Book that involves bookstore or library - Trinity Falls (Finding Home #1) by Regina Hart
  • Book set in your home state (prompt from 2016 reading challenge) - The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough

 

Advanced List

  1. Bestseller from the year you graduated high school
  2. Cyberpunk book
  3. Book read by a stranger in public - I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
  4. Book tied to your ancestry - The Irish Americans: A History by Jay P. Dolan
  5. Book with a fruit in title - Barefoot Season (Blackberry Island #1) by Susan Mallery
  6. Allegory
  7. Author with same first name as you - Witches of East End (The Beauchamp Family #1) by Melissa de la Cruz 
  8. Microhistory - Dark Tide: The Great Molasses Flood of 1919 by Stephen Puleo
  9. Book about a problem facing todayAWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America’s Upper Classes from Military Service - and How It Hurts Our Country by Kathy Roth Douquet and Frank Schaffer 
  10. Book recommended by someone else doing the challenge

Start a Series Sale at B&N NOOK Store

Barnes and Noble.com is having a "start a series" sale in the NOOK store. Prices range from 99 cents to $2.99.

Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes That Fought Them by Jennifer Wright

Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them - Jennifer   Wright

 

I waited to write this review because I wanted to sit with this book and gather my thoughts (and take in others' thoughts about the book). I listened to the book and I have to say part of my enjoyment came from the tone/voice work of the narrator, Gabra Zackman. 

 

I began reading the book as if it was a historical look at different plagues and the science behind the disease/the spread/the cure or treatment. However, by the end of the first chapter I realized this was more of a historical/political science look at public health and uses times of plagues to show why public health matters and why a robust public knowledge of basic science is needed to address emergency outbreaks of disease as much as the laboratory and medicine side of science. It all comes together in the epilogue, where the lessons from the previous chapters are used to examine the AIDS epidemic.

 

I do have a small quibble with the book, as uses the term plague quite loosely. The Dancing Plague hit only a small part of Europe and lobotomies were a medical procedure that turned into a fad more than a disease that indiscriminately killed hundreds or thousands. 

 

Bottom line: this book is about the politics and policies of public health and public knowledge base of disease than about the diseases themselves or science. Adjust your expectations accordingly.

A Deadly Brew (Tourist Trap Mystery #9.5) by Lynn Cahoon

A Deadly Brew (A Tourist Trap Mystery) - Lynn Cahoon

 

This book's storyline takes place between books 3 and 4. 

 

I liked this book better than the first novella (Rockets Dead Glare). It was the perfect Halloween bingo story - it takes place in October, at an abandoned mansion, with a ghost and a cold case to solve. Jill is sensitive to the ghost's demands to solve her case and her teaming up with Esmeralda was perfect. No one else in the party seemed to be interested in the case until Jill started to put all the pieces together, then everyone tried to help. Greg was the voice of the skeptic, but he knew better than to go against Jill's detective skills, so it was nice to see him let her take the lead and support her. And bonus points for finding the rapist/killer and seeing them brought to justice even after all the years have past.

Miss Frost Solves a Cold Case (Jayne Frost #1) by Kristen Painter

Miss Frost Solves A Cold Case: A Nocturne Falls Mystery (Jayne Frost Book 1) - Kristen Painter

 

This was in the NOOK Store's freebie section and I took the chance to read something by Ms. Painter. I am so glad I did  - I want more of this world!

 

Jayne Frost is the daughter of Jack Frost (the Winter King) and niece of Santa Claus (Uncle Kris), making her royalty among the winter elves. She works for the family company, managing the Naughty and Nice list. But something is going on in one of the company's store (located in Nocturne Falls, the setting of Painter's other series) and Jack and Kris send Jayne undercover to the store to find out what happened to the missing employees.

 

I loved Jayne! She understands and values her role as princess, but also wants to be accepted and loved for just who she is - a kind soul with both book smarts and street smarts. She loves her family, but wants her independence too. The other characters are great as well and I am really digging the growing romance between Greyson and Jayne. The world building took contemporary small town structure and added the paranormal to give it something different. 

 

Yes, I will be reading more from this series!

Nancy Drew, Girl Detective #1: The Demon of River Heights by Sho Murase and Stefan Petrucha

Nancy Drew #1: The Demon of River Heights (Nancy Drew Graphic Novels: Girl Detective) - Sho Murase, Stefan Petrucha

 

My library had a bunch of Nancy Drew graphic novels and since I had already planned on reading a ND mystery for this square I decided to make it easier on myself and read the GN. 

 

I wished I had just read one of Carolyn Keene's originals instead.

 

The artwork was okay, although at times it was too dark to make out the characters or scenery. The storyline was less Nancy Drew (from what I remember reading ND in my younger years) and more Scooby-Doo gang. Also Nancy in this is a complete scatterbrain - how could she be a better detective than the police chief when she couldn't remember to put gas in her car SEVERAL times? None of the female characters come across with any good traits (George is an oversexed bimbo, Bess is nosy bitch, and Nancy's nemesis is a gold digging slut - OF COURSE). 

 

A crappy attempt at updating Nancy Drew for a new generation. 

Rockets Dead Glare (Tourist Trap Mystery #9.25) by Lynn Cahoon

Rockets' Dead Glare (A Tourist Trap Mystery) - Lynn Cahoon

 

 

 

My only quibble with this installment of the Tourist Trap Mystery series is that it messed up the timeline. This book's storyline takes place after book 3 and before book 4, even though it is published with #9.25.

 

Barry Gleason, the fire chief of the South Cove volunteer fire dept, is a womanizing asshole when not being a thorn in every South Cove business person's side. When he is found dead during a training burn, the suspects include close friends of Jill Gardner, amateur sleuth. She decides to investigate like she usually does (goes behind the back of her boyfriend/police chief Greg King) and discovers something different about this murder. Since Greg has already solved the murder, he decides to let Jill finish her investigation to sharpen her skills, maybe? Greg doesn't seem to mind Jill's sleuthing in this one, so there is a lot less white lies and more clues dropped. I enjoyed it.

The Harlem Hellfighters: When Pride Met Courage by Bill Miles and Walter Dean Myers

The Harlem Hellfighters: When Pride Met Courage - Bill Miles, Walter Dean Myers

This short, shallow look at the African-American US Army unit that fought in the trenches of France in WWI wasn't enough. First, the writing was pure US Army - that is, written at a 6th grade level (and that is not a dig at soldiers - all military writing is written at 6th-8th grade reading level to ensure everyone can/should understand). There was a lot more history of African-Americans serving in the military since the days of French and Indian wars through the Spanish-American war. Yet there were hardly any profiles done on the men who made up the Hellfighters; I learned more about the white officers in charge than the men who actually fought. There was very little detail, but a lot of fluff about how courageous they were and vague mentions of valor. I needed more than what was offered and felt the enlisted men of the unit deserved better writing on their achievements.

Currently reading

Leverage in Death by J.D. Robb
Progress: 100/400pages
In Her Bones by Kate Moretti
Progress: 157/308pages
A Touch of Midnight by Lara Adrian
Croc's Return (Bitten Point Book 1) by Eve Langlais
Fairest by Marissa Meyer