Monday, December 10, 2018

In Peppermint Peril by Joy Avon

I have to apologize for not posting in quite some time. In the vortex of Christmas, retail, working and illness, I did manage to read and enjoy In Peppermint Peril.
This new book and series by Joy Avon was a delightful distraction. I really enjoyed this new cozy, set at Christmas and about tea, family and perception, I felt at home in this first in series. I can not wait to see where the next story goes. I really enjoyed how honest the main character is and how she made the best of the mystery, situation and her life. I am going to look forward to reading this series for I hope a very long time. This tea and real mystery book is out now. You can find it on Amazon.com by clicking here ( I am not an affiliate) 

This Christmas, Callie Aspen returns to her childhood hideout Heart's Harbor, Maine where her great aunt runs Book Tea, a vintage tearoom where every sweet treat contains a bookish clue. Upon arrival in the fairy-tale snowy town, Callie is drawn into the preparations for a special tea party at Haywood Hall, the rambling house of Heart's Harbor's oldest resident, rich but lonely widow Dorothea Finster, who invited her estranged relatives, old friends and the elite of the town to make a mysterious announcement about her will. Believing they can touch a part of her fortune, everybody is determined to come, despite not liking each other or even their hostess. And Callie's old friend Sheila complicates things by using the tea party to announce her daughter's engagement, even though her daughter isn't sure she's in love with the young lawyer her mother thinks so perfect for her. Catering to people who each have their own agenda isn't easy for the Book Tea crew, especially once the valuable engagement ring goes missing and a dead body turns up in the conservatory. Can Callie and her great aunt use their love of clues to dig into the crimes and show their unhappy hostess and squabbling guests the true Christmas spirit?

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

Monday, November 26, 2018

Sheila Connolly's The Lost Traveller

Sheila Connolly's 7th book in the Country Cork Mystery Series, The Lost Traveller, comes out in January, but I had the opportunity to read it over the last week. I absolutely loved it. This series features the main character Maura who is of Irish descent and arrived in Ireland to honor her grandmother's wishes. She finds a life and family she never could have dreamed of back in Boston and she inherited a Pub, which she runs as she learns the Irish way.  In the Lost Traveller Maura's luck at finding herself involved with latest murder in the area, after finding a dead body on her property. Maura is a character who is always under pressure and at a disadvantage but her different perspective helps her along the way. Learning as she goes and helping solve a very difficult crime, this one was more complex than the past and I loved the story lines. Maura is happy, and in a really great place in this story. I find the characters in this story to be easy to believe and like, trust and route for. I cannot wait for another book in this series. The Lost Traveller is out in January and you can find it on Amazon by clicking here. 

Danger comes to Cork in the seventh County Cork mystery from New York Timesbestselling author Sheila Connolly, and it’s up to Maura Donovan to find a way to protect all she’s worked for.Pub owner Maura Donovan is settling into a charmed life in Ireland—until a mutilated body on her property ends her lucky streak. Boston expat Maura Donovan came to Ireland to honor her grandmother’s last wish, but she never expected to stay in provincial County Cork—much less to inherit a house and a pub, Sullivan’s, in the small village of Leap. After a year-long struggle to stay in the black, Sullivan’s is finally thriving, and Maura has even brought back traditional Irish music to the pub. With a crop of new friends and a budding relationship with handsome Mick Nolan, Maura’s life seems rosier than ever—but even in Ireland, you can’t always trust your luck. It begins with Maura’s discovery of a body in the ravine behind the pub. And then, the Irish gardaĆ­ reveal that the victim’s face has been battered beyond recognition. Who is the faceless victim? Who wanted him dead? And why was his body dumped in the backyard of Sullivan’s Pub? Even after the dead man is finally given a name, nobody admits to knowing him. In the tight-knit world of Leap, no one is talking—and now it’s up to Maura to uncover the dark secrets that lurk beneath the seemingly quiet town. Laced with warm Irish charm, a delightful small-town setting, and a colorful cast of characters, New York Times bestselling author Sheila Connolly’s seventh County Cork mystery, The Lost Traveller, conspires to delight.

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

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Tea Advent Calendar Craft


I belong to a lovely Facebook Group Tea Cup Challenge Page and this year we started to do some fun tea swaps, one of the largest swaps we did was our Advent Swap. I started to think about mine in May, yes May.

I actually sewed most of it in September and finished it just before our deadline to ship of November 1st. I thought I would like to share with you how I did it and maybe inspire you to make your own. Please note I am a craft sewer and not the most patient crafter in the world so mine is a bit unique in the way the lines are not totally straight.

I used items I found at the dollar store to create my calendar base. A red and white placemat make up the base and the burlap and lace ribbon made me think I could make a beautiful calendar! The total cost of making the calendar (aside from the tea I had on hand) was under $10 Canadian.

I layered the burlap ribbon out and cut it so that it filled the placemat. I got 24 bags of tea (all different, seriously I could start my own tea room with my personal inventory) then I pinned and measured the pockets, removed the tea and then sewed straight-ish lines to create my calendar,
For a few weeks I struggled with how to number the pockets and then found these gemstone numbers at the dollar store, and I purchased three packages of them and set them in place.
I loved how easy they were to stick on and they seem to be staying!
I mailed this calendar to my partner and I hope she loves it. It was made with love and filled with tea and sent many miles and a country away. 
I hope that this inspires you to make and share a tea advent calendar with a tea lover in your life. 
Thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and a tea time craft. I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com 

Friday, November 16, 2018

Tales From The Tea Shop- Prince Charles and The Christmas Miracle


A few weeks ago I had a customer in my shop who was visiting from Toronto. We chatted about tea as she made her selections and picked up souvenirs to bring back to friends. About 15 minutes into our exchange she asked me to pull down the Prince Charles Blend and to measure her out 8 oz. I did as she asked and as I did the scent of the tea filled the area where we were standing and my customer, took a deep breath.

"I will always remember my first cup of Prince Charles Tea, It was December, and I was in the Park Royal North location, busy trying to get all the Christmas shopping done, I was frustrated, I was hungry and thirsty and at my wits end. I stopped in to Murchie's and got a pastry and a cup of tea, the lady behind the counter made my tea and as I sat there sipping the tea and eating my pastry, a wave of calm and peace washed over me. It was a true Christmas miracle, in that moment all the stress just washed away"

I smiled at her and told her how much I loved that story and I asked if I could write it down and share, she said absolutely. She also mentioned that she had not thought of that moment for quite some time.

She said "I so miss Murchie's Tea when I am home in Toronto"  and I reminded her that we will ship to her as well, she smiled and took our card. As she left, she turned and took one last look at the tea shop, breathed deeply and then left.  I was thrilled to have had her in the store, and this memory to share.

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

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Tales From The Tea Shop- No.10 and Family History


I had a customer late one evening last week, she came in and said "There you are Baby Girl!" I smiled, I did not know this lady but she felt she knew me, she continued "Baby Girl I need some tea, I am sorry about my speech I have had several strokes"

As she walked around the shop, she began to speak and she said "The tea I need has a number in it",  and I got down the No. 10 tea and invited her to smell to make sure I had the right one, in  helping  her to get her No. 10 tea, she seemed to relax, and then she looked at me and said "My Mamma and Daddy met because of one of Mr. Murchie's sons, we always had this tea in our house growing up."

I began to measure out her tea and she continued.   "My Daddy and one of Mr. Murchie's sons used to deliver tea around Victoria, and one night Mr. Murchie's Son said to my Daddy, let's go out tonight, it is time you found a lady like mine." She smiled and said "My Daddy agreed only if Mr. Murchie's son, found a lady to go out with him. Mr. Murchie's son asked my Momma to come with them and his lady friend, and that is how my Momma and Daddy came to be"

I finished measuring out her purchases and rang her up with a smile. "Well Baby Girl" she said, "Thank you for this!" and she turned and left the store.

There is magic in each cup of tea and it brings me such joy to share that magic with others. Thank you for taking time to join me today for more Tales From The Tea Shop.
I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Lynn Cahoon's Santa Puppy

Oh my gosh did I ever enjoy Santa Puppy. It was not at all what I expected! So much better! This Christmas themed novella is the perfect holiday read. Short, sweet and really well written. The story will tug a bit at your heartstrings but in a really good way. I love this series and it was easy to picture the entire setting, the characters and even taste the cookies! I am totally using the recipe at the end of this story too! It is out now and you can find Santa Puppy by Lynn Cahoon as an audible download on Amazon by clicking here ( I am not an amazon affiliate, I just really like this book)

'Twas the season of Christmas, and all through South Cove, California, Santa is working overtime to deliver a special gift....
Jill Gardner has volunteered her Coffee, Books, and More to host a Christmas adopt-a-pet party. Among the potential forever friends is a male terrier named Baby, whose owner died of a heart attack. With few clues to go on, even finding the name of Baby's human is a daunting task. But there's no challenge too big for Jill this holiday season.
Playing Santa's Little Helper, Jill is determined to find out what happened - and to fulfill a long-time coming Christmas wish....

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 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Tales From The Tea Shop...The Magic of Scent Memory,

Welcome to Tales From The Tea Shop...
I have begun collecting stories from my customers, in the Tea Shop and wanted to share them with you. I believe there is Magic in the tea shop and some of that Magic is what I wish to share with all of you.  Above is a photo I took in the shop on Halloween.  For those of you who may be new to my blog, I work at a Tea Shop called Murchie's and I love it.  I love the atmosphere, the customers and the location. Here is just a bit of why....


In the absence of memory recall, desire and scent memory are stronger than dementia.....

On Monday afternoon at the Tea Shop, I had a lull in customers, I was tidying and straightening the shop, when the automatic button to the front door was pushed, the door chimed signalling the arrival of a new customer. I greeted the lady as she struggled with her walker to come through the door. Over the threshold she came, unsteadily into the shop. She took a deep breath and smiled. I welcomed her and offered her a sip of one of the two teas we had on sample. She lowered the seat on her walker and made herself comfortable as I presented her with the sample cup.

"I don't know if you can help me, but my memory is not kind and I have the beginning stages of dementia. I was just moved to an assisted living facility and I am not sure how much longer I will be able to come out on my own, I nodded gently to her and offered any help I could give her.
" I am desperately searching for a tea I had as a young woman, I don't remember the name of it, but I think it is grown on a high mountain and I would love to find that tea again."
I told her how I loved a challenge and asked her to make herself comfortable while I brought over some of our tea tins. I was determined to find her the tea she was looking for.
I started with our Ceylon Tea, bringing it to her and with shaking hands she reached for the tea tin, inhaled and shook her head, "No that is not it",
I then went for our Keemun tea, presented her the tin and again she accepted it, took a deep breath and shook her head, "Not it either but I think closer some how."

Undeterred I had an idea and grabbed our Murchie's Afternoon Blend, I passed her the tea tin and again she accepted it, took a deep breath and looked at me, "This is not it but I think it is in here!" She smiled then said " Oh is this pointless?" I assured her it was not and picked the fourth and final tin from the shelf confident that had found her tea. I presented her with our Darjeeling Finest Tea Tin, again we repeated our now set routine, She took a deep breath, and then another, this time she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said "That's it!"
She began to tell me her story with a tear escaping from her now sparkling eyes. "My mother took me when I was quite a young girl to a very Fancy Tea Store like this, I was so impressed that they new my mother by name and my mother and I sat and had tea, she ordered me this tea and I felt quite grown up, until I tried to add milk to my cup and my mother corrected me! She was adamant that I have the tea without the milk, she said 'You will lose the flavor of this beautiful tea leaf!' So I have drank my tea black all these years. What is this tea called please?"


I told her it was our Darjeeling Finest Blend Tea and she said "Now I remember, Darjeeling!"
"I would like to buy some of this tea, I don't have a kitchen anymore but I do have a kettle and pot in my room, the tea they have is dreadful."
I went to our tea wall and pulled the sampler pack of 10 down for her and brought it to our counter. She fussed with her purse and then paused, "Oh no, I just realized a tea like this is going to be very expensive! I assured her she had nothing to worry about and that our sampler packages of 10 were $4.75, she was more than thrilled and took out her purse to count out her money. When the purchase was rung through and the deal complete I offered her a bag for her tea and she responded by saying "No dear thank you, I should like to hold this close, in my own hands. She thanked me for my help and as she made her way to the door, she turned, smiled and said, "Thank you, you have made me very happy, I am going to go now and fix myself a proper pot of tea"

She was one of many customers I had that day, but one that stuck out for me as a true gem. There is magic in this tea shop, I watched as the very sent of our Darjeeling tea transformed my aging customer, into a young woman, through the sent of the tea, she was transported back to a happier time, one she could vividly share and remember. This touched me, in a way that will stay with me and I hope you. Her memory might be going but her sent memory is strong, and now with each sip of her tea, it lives again.

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