Witches' Tea Shop



COYER Summer Vacation June 9th-September 3rd

Bout of Books Cycle 23 August 20th-26th

Halloween Bingo September 1st - October 31st 




Friday Reads - August 10, 2019

Home to Whiskey Creek - Brenda Novak Secrets of the Tulip Sisters - Susan Mallery

The kids made it through ju-jitsu (Japanese style) camp with flying colors in addition to their other activities. This weekend is the summer overnight camp "trip" (camp grounds are 10 minutes from my house), which is their first camping trip ever (our Scout pack camps rain or shine). Next week sees more end of the summer activities plus stuff to do to get ready for the new school year. 


 I borrowed from the library Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan Mallery (women's fiction), which I will start sometime this weekend, along with the Crewel World by Monica Ferris (cozy mystery). I moved Dark Witch by Nora Roberts back to the planning shelf since I will use that book for Halloween Bingo. I DNF'd Home to Whiskey Creek but will do a review because I have some things to say about that crap. 


Have a happy and safe weekend!

DNF at 45%

Home to Whiskey Creek  - Brenda Novak

This book reads like 4chan and Reddit decided to write a "romance" together. I can't stand the hero or the heroine. So many trigger warnings for this book, I really wonder how so much crap got past editors.

Tea's Halloween Bingo Card and Reading List


My tentative TBR:

1. Spellbound: Dark Witch by Nora Roberts (own copy; print)

2. Modern Noir: In the Wood by Tana French (library borrow; print)

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

4. Baker St. Irregulars: a Nancy Drew mystery to be named later (library borrow; print)

5. Dead Lands: Secrets to Reveal by Tilly Wallace (own copy; ebook)


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

7. Creepy Carnivals: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (library borrow; print)

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

9. Doomsday: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (library borrow; print)

10. New Release: Year One by Nora Roberts (library borrow; print)


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

12. Country House Mystery: Jane and the 12 Days of Christmas by Stephanie Barron (library borrow; ebook)

13. Free Space: A Deadly Brew by Lynn Cahoon

14. 13: Unlucky 13 by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (library borrow; ebook)

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


16. Fear/Deep: The Siren by Kiera Cass (library borrow; ebook)

17. Cryptozoologist: Wolves at the Door by Skye Jones (own copy; ebook)

18. A Grimm Tale: Snow White and the Vampire by Marina Myles (library borrow; ebook)

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 (own copy; ebook)

23. Diverse Authors: Keeper of the Bride by Tess Gerritsen (library borrow; ebook)

24. Cozy Mystery: Framed in Lace by Monica Ferris (own copy; print)

25. Classic Horror: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (library borrow; print)

Bout of Books Cycle 23 Sign Up Post

grab button for Bout of Books


The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 20th and runs through Sunday, August 26th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 23 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team


FYI: this is the last BoB of 2018. Next one is in January 2019.


As it is the last week before school starts and I have a lot of things to do, my goals are going to be very simple. I want to read each day for at least 30 minutes, participate in one Twitter party (time zone dependent) and complete 3 challenges during the week. I decided against becoming an expert this cycle, but if you do the BoB and post your progress here, I'll cheer you on (let me know in the comments). I don't have a set TBR yet, but I am leaning towards looking at short works and finishing up anything left unread from the summer. 

Squares - the first 15 sliced and diced!

Reblogged from Moonlight Madness:











Squares - the rest sliced and diced!

Reblogged from Moonlight Madness:











August 2018 TBR

Home to Whiskey Creek - Brenda Novak On Distant Shores - Sarah Sundin Crewel World - Monica Ferris The Johnstown Flood - David McCullough The Soldier's Secrets - Naomi Rawlings The Baron's Blunder (Black Diamond) - Susan M. Baganz Toward the Sunrise: An Until the Dawn Novella - Elizabeth Camden Star Dust (Fly Me to the Moon, Book One) - Emma Barry, Genevieve Turner Better Off Wed (Annabelle Archer Wedding Planner Mystery Book 1) - Laura Durham, Laura Durham Nimona -  Noelle Stevenson





Reading List

1. Home to Whiskey Creek (Whiskey Creek #4) by Brenda Novak


2. On Distant Shores (Wings of a Nightingale #2) by Sarah Sundin


3. Crewel World (Needlecraft Mysteries #1) by Monica Ferris


4. The Soldier's Secrets by Naomi Rawlings


5. The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough


6. The Baron's Blunder by Susan M. Banganz


7. Toward the Sunrise (Until the Dawn #0.5) by Elizabeth Camden


8. Star Dust (Fly Me to the Moon #1) by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner


9. The Nightingale Sisters (The Nightingales #2) by Donna Douglas


10. Better off Wed by Laura Durham


11. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

July 2018 Reading Wrap Up

All the Devils are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis - Joe Nocera, Bethany McLean At Your Request (Apart From the Crowd): An Apart From the Crowd Novella - Jen Turano Gaijin: American Prisoner of War - Matt Faulkner Mystic Park (A Finding Home Novel) - Regina Hart

The heatwave/drought is taking it's toll on me and my reading. It is really hard to concentrate on less than totally engrossing reads. I was also much more busy IRL than I thought I was going to be at the start of summer vacation and August looks more like the same. 


My participation in this summer's 24 in 48 was lacking, but I got a bunch of smaller stuff read and off/archived on my NOOK, so I am okay with participating very low-key. The trial run of a reverse Dewey was better. I finished off two books for July and started August reading, all in eight hours.


For COYER, I participated in the Christmas in July read-a-thon - I got 3 books done.



1. No One Would Listen: A Financial Thriller by Harry Markopolos - 2 stars


2. Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell - 3.5 stars


3. Lethal Warriors: When the New Band of Brothers Came Home/Uncovering the Tragic Reality of PTSD by David Philipps - 3 stars


4. All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera - 5 stars


5. All She Wants for Christmas: A Regency Christmas Novella by Amy Rose Bennett - 3 stars


6. Twelfth Knight: A Christmastide Tale by Marisa Dillon - 2.5 stars


7. Bespoke: A Tiny Christmas Tale (Espoir Archives #1) by Amanda Dykes - 2 stars


8. At Your Request (Apart From the Crowd #0.5) by Jen Turano - 4 stars


9. One in a Million (Lucky Harbor #12) by Jill Shalvis - 3 stars


10. Mystic Park (Finding Home #4) by Regina Hart - 4 stars


11. Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Browne - 3 stars


12. Gaijian: American Prisoner of War by Matt Faulkner - 4 stars


13. The Hens: The Third Day (12 Days of Christmas Mail Order Brides #3) by Merry Farmer - 2.5 stars






August is nearly upon us!

Reblogged from Moonlight Madness:

And you should all know what that means by now!


It's time to start prepping for the Third Annual Booklikes Halloween Bingo!



We are going to run the game in generally the same way as last year! OB and I will be coming up with some new categories over the next week or two, in addition to some recycled categories from years past.


Once we get the 31 categories set, I will post a thread over on the bingo group for sign-ups. Each bingo card has 24 spots and a free space. In order to make things easy on me, as the card creator, I am going to ask everyone to limit your exclusions to 3 categories that you want to leave out! Once I create your card, I will post it in the sign-up thread for you to download and use.


Calls will be made every other day, and will alternate between my blog and OB's blog like last year! I think we set the calls to drop at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Standard.


It's time to start collecting those suspense, horror, mystery and dark fantasy books that are so appealing in the fall to get ready, set, read!

Reverse Dewey Read-a-thon

Mystic Park (A Finding Home Novel) - Regina Hart The Hens: The Third Day - Merry Farmer The Johnstown Flood - David McCullough

Update #2

Got the last of July's reviews done and read 15% of The Johnstown Flood. 8 hours done. Signing off as I have laundry to do tonight, so reading will continue even though the read-a-thon will be over.



Update #1


Finished Mystic Park and wrote 8 reviews/linked to COYER last night. Finished The Hens this morning and ran errands. Now reading The Johnstown Flood, which is on my list for August so I get a head start. 


Opening Survey:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

                     Brandon, Suffolk (East Anglia), UK
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

                     Finishing Mystic Park
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

                     Didn't plan food or drinks for this go around.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

                      I am back to reading fiction after my six week non-fiction binge. Second time this year it has happened.
5) This is our VERY first Reverse Readathon! How does it feel in your time zone?

                       Honestly, this was easier to do than starting at 1pm on a Saturday. Friday night to Saturday night gives me more wiggle room to get household chores done and still read.


Mid-Event Survey

1. What are you reading right now? 

                The Johnstown Flood
2. How many books have you read so far?

                   2, but both were started before the read-a-thon. Total of 5 hours and 50 minutes.
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?

                  Getting a head start on Flood to jumpstart August's reading.
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

                   Pre-planned interruptions, so I made sure to bring a book with me.
5. What surprises you most about the Reverse Readathon so far?

                     How quickly the hours are going by.

Mystic Park (Finding Home #4) by Regina Hart

Mystic Park (A Finding Home Novel) - Regina Hart

This is the last full length book in the series (a novella appears in a holiday anthology) - I am really going to miss reading about the people of Trinity Falls. What a great small town contemporary romance series this was and Mystic Park was a lovely end to the series, both for the main couple and tying up loose ends with the other couples. I liked that not every couple is engaged/married and popping out babies - each ending feels true for each couple.


The main couple in this book is Professor Vaughn Brooks, a musician in his own right and a teacher at the university and Benita Hawkins, his high school/college/on-off girlfriend. Vaughn has finally completed the writing on his musical (based on his parents' Caribbean heritage) and wants to use a one-time performance as a fundraiser for the community center. Benita helps Vaughn with the production, as well as help Doreen and Alonzo with planning their wedding and help her great aunt (Ms. Helen) with the new endowed chair of the chemistry department in Ms. Helen's name. There is a lot on Benita's plate plus she is still working for her clients back in LA while she is home on vacation in Trinity Falls. But she is hoping to finally convince Vaughn to move to LA with her; Vaughn is hoping to convince Benita to move home to TF. 


I really liked Vaughn and Benita together; I wasn't really warmed by Benita when she appeared in the second book (she is Audra's talent agent), but seeing just how damn competent she was in any/all of her jobs/commitments really changed that for me. Doreen and Alonzo's nerves about the wedding seemed a little too much "the gentleman doth protest too much" and could've been resolved sooner. Ramona and Quincy's return gave me the ending I wanted for the two of them but in typical Ramona and Quincy fashion. 


Overall, I am really happy I gave this author and the series a chance. Highly recommend if you are looking for a contemporary romance series with characters that stay with you long after you finishing reading the books.

The Hens: The Third Day (12 Days of Christmas Mail Order Brides #3) by Merry Farmer

The Hens: The Third Day - Merry Farmer

I usually like Farmer's works, but this story was just a miss for me. The heroine, Liu Meizhen, had a interesting back story but she acted too much like a giggling schoolgirl rather than a woman who journeyed so far to 1) find her brother (who is an asshole) and 2) be a mail order bride. Woody Burnside was a great beta hero who was a bit Dr. Doolittle but was very needed and wanted in the town for his talents with animals. The hens are Woody's pets and they were more of a help to him than the heroine was. The pacing dragged, especially in the beginning. It was just alright to me.

Gaijin: American Prisoner of War by Matt Faulkner

Gaijin: American Prisoner of War - Matt Faulkner

Gaijin is the fictionalized story of Faulkner's great aunt's and cousin's stories about being in the Japanese internment camps during WWII. I really enjoyed this book because it is the story seldom brought up in history classes and seen through such a unique perspective - that of 13 year old biracial boy (Koji Miyamoto) and his white mom (his Japanese father is back in Japan caring for his parents) living in San Francisco when Pearl Harbor occurs. Koji never really felt like a gaijin, or outsider, until then and it is worse in the camps. Koji is forced to go to the camps but not his white mother - she decided to go with him because she didn't want to be separated from her boy. Luckily, they have her husband's employers in the camp to help her help her son through this difficult time (being a teen and time of war). 


The artwork is stunning and impactful. I highly recommend reading this to kids as a starting off point as there isn't any graphic violence but some aspects of Koji's life can be applied to their lives as well (bullying, separated families for examples).

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Browne

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans - Don  Brown

Tells the story that most of us are now familiar with. The artwork uses water colors so nothing is defined, especially people. That makes the work less impactful, as there is very little emotion coming from the pages. The most defined people were the politicians. It felt too emotionally distant and academic for me.

One in a Million (Lucky Harbor #12) by Jill Shalvis

One in a Million  - Jill Shalvis

I closed out the last trilogy in the Lucky Harbor series in a matter of hours. A quick read, not as satisfying as the second book in the trilogy, but a decent contemporary romance. The heroine was too wishy-washy about her feelings in the last 25-30% of the book, which lead to a lot of back and forth repetitiveness. I also felt that she needed to stand up to her ex-boyfriend and not act like a doormat. I liked that the plot moppet was a teenager rather than a precocious child. I wasn't a fan of Lucille in the previous books but she was really well done in this book. Overall, it was a little too over the top with a lot of the happy couples from previous books shoe-horning their way into this story.

At Your Request (Apart From the Crowd #0.5) by Jen Turano

At Your Request (Apart From the Crowd): An Apart From the Crowd Novella - Jen Turano

I really love Turano's writing so part of my rating comes from being a fan of the author's works. This one was no exception. Set in NYC in the Gilded Age, Wilhelmina has fallen in stature in society due to her father's financial disaster. She is only invited to attend balls and parties because she was hiring herself out as a social secretary. When the story opens, she is stuck sitting with the other wallflowers when she lays eyes on her childhood friend/crush Edgar, who left NYC for Pittsburgh to make his mark in the steel industry. He has returned to make amends with Wilhelmina before he starts looking for a wife and settling down. 


Yes, Turano's stories do come across too modern for historical readers, but I love the humor and writing, so *shrug*. I also love how Turano introduces the heroines and heroes of the books in the series in a very natural way and developed a friendship between the heroines. I am so looking forward to reading the entire series.

Currently reading

Written in Red by Anne Bishop
Progress: 21%
Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan Mallery
Progress: 18%