Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Lorna Barrett's Poisoned Pages

I have been a huge fan of Lorna Barrett's Book Town Mystery Series since I first spun the rack at my library and her book fell into my hands. I have bought and read every single one and I am so thrilled to have been approved to read an ARC of Poisoned Pages.  This one like so many in this series are more about the relationships and the community feeling, rather than the mystery, but boy are the mysteries and twists in this story spectacular. What is revealed will pleasantly shock and amaze long time fans of the series and leave you with the most cozy of feelings. I love this book, this series and this author. Poisoned Pages was fantastic. This one is out July 10th and is not to miss.

Tricia Miles, mystery bookstore owner and amateur sleuth, throws a housewarming cocktail party in her new apartment and has cooked all the food by herself--quite a feat for someone who previously couldn't boil water. Then one of her guests is poisoned and dies. Tricia's left to wonder if her cooking is to blame or if there's something much more sinister at play. Either way, Tricia's once again in hot water with her ex-lover, Chief Baker.Meanwhile the charming town of Stoneham is being disrupted by a vandalism crime wave. It's the hot topic in the race for Chamber of Commerce president which sees Tricia pitted against two bitter rivals. With all that's going on can she find the killer before she's the next item on the menu?

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, June 18, 2018

Death Comes To Dogwood Manor by Sandra Bretting

Death Comes to Dogwood Manor by Sandra Bretting was a great southern fun mystery. I loved the main character Missy and the unbelievable things she goes through in this book is while unbelievable at first it all falls into place and out of place and the ending is not to miss. This one is out now and was kindly sent to me as an ARC. 

Making Southern brides beautiful is top priority for hat designer Missy DuBois, but sometimes her Louisiana studio moonlights as a crime-solving headquarters . . . While driving to her hat shop, Crowning Glory, Missy accidentally sideswipes a car parked in front of Dogwood Manor, an antebellum mansion being converted into a high-end hotel by the much-reviled property developer Herbert Solomon. Of course, the car is his Rolls Royce. But Solomon is too busy berating his contractor and interior designer to worry about a little fender bender. When Missy returns to check out the mansion’s chapel where her latest client will be married, she finds the developer dead on his property. After an autopsy finds poison in his body, Missy’s shop is then flooded right before it’s supposed to be featured in an article about wedding-veil trends. Now before everything becomes sheer disaster, she’ll have to train her sights on finding a killer . . .

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

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Home...

"Just keep coming home to yourself, you are the one who you’ve been waiting for”-Byron Katie
(2 hour sleep pre spa day)
I am back, what an unbelievable week and experience I had visiting my sister in Montreal. I went 3000 miles away to visit my sister and her family, thanks to her generous nature and somehow found something that had been missing for longer than I would like to admit. Caught up in the day to day life as a busy mom and stuck in a series of personal plot twists that have been more difficult this year than most,  the trip was that much needed rest I was not really aware I was in such need of.  The past week there has been more in the news about mental health and the normalization of that, which I think is very important, and there is the truth that more needs to be done on a personal level for everyone's well being and state of mind.  For me I felt like I have been stuck in a tunnel, on a train going faster than it should, so fast that I don't have time to make out the images to the sides of me. I can only keep my eyes fixed straight ahead and hope that the train slows down at a station soon. I was so busy waiting for the train to stop, I forgot I was the one driving the train.
(Two hours later...)
About 8 years ago my mother died and well, I can say with certainty that I have never quite been the same again, but I was a youngish, busy mom of three, two with special needs and really I was just getting up each day putting my big girl panties on and going through the motions. 
About two months in, I did not want to get out of bed, shower, eat, move etc, but I did. I could not cry, I was numb. My hands were not busy, never a good thing when you are someone who has ADHD, too much time in one's head without a project for me is never a very good thing. I felt very heavy, and lost. I forced myself to take on a project that would be soothing and that was learning to sew (nothing soothing about teaching yourself to sew as I found out but I was committed to seeing it through). About the sametime I was thinking does it even matter if I get out of bed or do any of this?  I still managed to drag myself out of bed each day, make sure the kids were ready to go to school, therapy and I would sit there sewing doll clothing day after day. 
Sleep was not my friend. 
(Trip morning day 3) 
Laying in bed, wishing myself to sleep unsuccessfully, I found myself getting out of bed, heading to the kitchen, putting on water for tea and instead of grabbing a mug I went to my china cabinet and took out a cup and saucer. While the water boiled and darkness surrounding me, I set myself a place at the head of the table, looking out into the early morning hours and listening to the sound of my children's light snoring. I sat in the dark until the water boiled. Got up and made tea. I brought the pot to the table and not wanting to wake the house with turning on a light, I instead lit a candle.  I sat there, staring out the window, sipping tea, and watching the sunrise.  For the first time in what felt like a really long time I felt somewhat at peace. I am a very visual person and I wanted to capture the moment for myself, to hold myself accountable for what became my "Me Moments" and to prove to myself that I could still create a beautiful and calm place to sit and sip and just be. That is when I started taking my morning tea photos. That became my morning routine and I would make sure that I got up before my family each morning after that, repeat my self care routine and photograph it every day following.
(Time Square later day 3)
Fast forward to about a year ago and something changed for me. I got very, very sick with bacterial pneumonia . I was in and out of the hospital for August and due to my illness, I could not for the first time take that me moment. I missed it and it was awful. During this time my husband, began getting up at the hour I normally did and he would be up and moving about when I was used to having time to myself. As I got better it became harder to capture that magic of the moment first thing in the morning and I somehow flipped to being a night owl instead. I still did my morning photos but the time of day was more rushed. 
(pretty much sums up the size of the break I really needed)
I again got caught up in the putting on of my big girl panties and just dealing with things as best I could. Still sipping and enjoying the cup but not feeling the quiet calm I had before last August. 
(on the plane home)
I tell you that story to tell you this one. Last week I ran away from home and it was the best thing I could have done. I did so with my families blessing and encouragement and I found out more about myself , did things I never imagined I would do and took chances I never would have believed.  I guess I got lost to find myself. 
(my sister and I day 2)
While I knew the process was happening it wasn't until I got home and looked at the photos I took and posted that I could see the progression of finding that me moment again. 
Forgive the narcissistic nature of the photos I am posting today. Somehow last year I lost the thing I created that grounded me, anchored me if you will and I did not realize it was drifting away quite so much. 
(seriously this happened!) 
I did not actually write or read anything while I was away. I completely exited my comfort zone on more than one occasion and somehow a weekend trip from my hometown of Montreal to New York, that should have been an "Antiquing trip in the Adirondack Mountains" of upstate New York, became something so much more...seriously about as far away from that as one can. I unexpectedly got a tattoo during Americade, a very large Bike Rally, in Lake George, with my sister beside me, she got one and our baby sister in Vancouver got one to match at the same time in Vancouver. 
(matching Big, Middle, Little Sister Tattoos, never had one before, always said never would...)
 We then drove into New York City and saw a show on Broadway, ate, laughed and had so much fun. Cupcakes were to die for!

I returned to Montreal, spending quality time with each of my nieces and nephews there,we drove to Ontario and visited family I had not seen in years.
(My Aunt's have the most wonderful tea tents! Seriously I am jealous!)
 I was surprised to be gifted my grandmother and great grandmother's china teacups and saucers, as well as a few teapots. (Look for them in the photos coming up in the near future.) But most of all I was gifted the opportunity and the ability to find myself again, to laugh, cry and to just really enjoy life spend quality time with my sister, her family and my aunts. I found that I remembered who I was and a little bit about who I am supposed to be.

 What else did I learn in New York and Montreal? That self care is important, and so is asking for help. Bigger lesson, sometimes you have to get lost to find yourself...
(My Aunties and my sister) 
I have tired to hold on to that trip feeling as best I could, I stayed detached from my computer, reading and mail even after coming home on Tuesday,  but I promise that I will be back on again soon with more reviews and more cups of tea. If you think you need help finding yourself, find someone you trust or just tell someone, things will start to get better, and make sure you make yourself a cup of tea or build a routine in around your own "me moment" It is amazing how much and how far that act of kindness to yourself will go. 
(Last morning in New York morning tea)
Thank you for taking time to join me today for a cup of tea and a look back at my trip. It is good to be back. 
I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Have China Will Travel....

I was so excited to find these at a yard sale, $2 for all. I have actually been looking for these zippered slightly padded cases for years now and finding them just before I take off tomorrow has me very excited.
The bags hold dinner plates, side plates, teacups and saucers. I have the odd one out on the bottom left as the one I will travel with. Now I just have to pick the one I am taking with me...
Lots of lovely mail on my table this morning. My aunty Margo made me a Mug rug! I love it. A special craft from a friend and my tea swap. Also a new cozy mystery to read, all arrived and safely on my table.
Busy day ahead of me getting last minute things in place. I hope you have a wonderful day and thank you for stopping by for a cup of tea and a quick visit today. I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Week Ahead- Travel with a chance of Wifi

Monday of what is going to be a crazy week. I am doing something that scares and excites me a bit this week. I am going away without my family. I am not usually one for change in routine. Yet I have had at least a year of constant change and unexpected events,  you think I would get used to it by now. I am slowly learning that real life is the plot twist that happens when you are making other plans. This week is going to be very busy. I will do everything I can to post and share daily. I will be away from my table and likely without wifi for a large part of the next week so if you do not hear from me daily here know that I am traveling and will do my best to write and share as soon as I can.
While the next two days will be full of last minute planning and packing I will try to sneak some reading and reviewing in. I am trying to find and pack my courage this week.
I am going to go adventuring with my sister. Hoping to grown through the week, rest and revive...
I have been saving these quotes seen above for the last little while hoping that when I read them I will gain the courage and conviction to live upto each one. They all grabbed me and spoke to me so I saved them to my desktop, thinking I would put them in a journal, or vision board. As they are still on my desktop I will put them here.
While I hit the pavement running this week, I will do my best to check in and give you updates. I will be taking my books, tea, teacups and even a teapot and kettle with me on my travels, this week. Thank you for taking time to join me for a cup of tea and my week of travel with a chance of Wifi...
I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Widow's Wreath by Cynthia Riggs

I was granted an ARC from Net Galley for Cynthia Riggs book Widow's Wreath. This was actually another mystery I chose by the cover first. I love lighthouses and love mysteries where they are set near a lighthouse or in a lighthouse so this was right up my alley. This was a mystery I was not prepared for. It was not cut and dry nor was it easy to figure out. I was so impressed with how complex it was. The story was impossible to put down and compelling. Not overly cozy but complex in a goodway and makes for an excellent read. 
This book is out now from Crooked Lane Books. 


It’s a case of cold feet—and cold-blooded murder—as 92-year-old poet/sleuth Victoria Trumbull gets more than she bargained for after hosting an ill-fated wedding.

A wedding on picturesque Martha’s Vineyard promises to be the affair of the season when Penny Arbuthnot asks her cousin, feisty 92-year-old poet Victoria Trumbull, if she can use her property for the reception. Victoria agrees—but she has no idea what’s in store for the hapless couple. 

For one, Penny is seriously in debt and desperate to marry money. She thinks she’s on the road to riches when she hooks Rocco Bufano, whose father is a multi-billionaire. But unbeknownst to Penny, Rocco’s been disowned by dad. He’s also in hock up to his ears, and thinks he’s bagged the catch of a lifetime in a wealthy Vineyard native. He also knows that someone is out to kill him. In fact, several guests have a reason to off Rocco, among them an autistic savant with a prodigious knowledge of murder weapons. 

Victoria has assumed the reception will be a modest lemonade-and-gingersnap affair—but when a body is found in her cellar, it may be a happily-never-after in Widow’s Wreath, the fourteenth engaging installment in Cynthia Riggs’s beloved Martha’s Vineyard mysteries.


Thank you for joining me here 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, June 2, 2018

On My Table and In My Cup, May 26th-June 2nd

Saturday wishes from my table to yours. Lots of reading being done and lots of tea tent, a few great thrift store finds as well. I have just started Sandra Bretting's Death Comes to Dogwood Manor.
I finished Widow's Wreath by Cynthia Riggs late last night and will have the review up tomorrow. I love a book with a  lighthouse on it!
Monday was one of those days I just felt like cake was required so I picked up and thoroughly enjoyed this one from the supermarket. For less than the price of a fancy coffee at starbucks, I enjoyed this most of the week. Living in the moment not thinking about or caring much about what the bathing suit will look like...
Some outstanding reads crossed my tablet this week, As The Christmas Cookie Crumbles by Leslie Budewitz was one I enjoyed.
Loved Rockets Dead Glare by Lynn Cahoon,
As well as Linda Lovely's Picked Off
One of the books that stuck with me in my mind this week was Beaches, Bungalows and Burglaries by Tonya Kappes. This is a series I am going to love I can just tell with book one, which I pre ordered, read and now have preordered the next one too.  Look for this one it's fantastic.
The tea tent had some wonderful friends stop by, not all who got their photo taken. Even Squirrel joined us which was a nice treat. Cooler temps in the tent meant blankets came out. My husband's Great Aunt visiting us, along with two fo my son's pen pals from Japan. We are having a very busy weekend. 
Thank you for joining me here for a look back at what has been on my table, in my cup (Murchie's Teas) and in my tea tent.
I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com