Bigelow’s Benefits Teas!

It has been a hot minute since we talked about some tea! And I received more than my share for the holidays!

Let’s talk about the Refresh.  Why is it great? It contains Dandelion, thought to promote healthy harmony. Nettle, a unique plant traditionally regarded to help support a healthy lifestyle. Turmeric, brilliant yellow root commonly thought to help keep the body on track. Turmeric is something we have every day in food and teas. It has a ton of good uses. I even brush my teeth with it. Chili/Black Pepper supports your well being. Matcha, traditional green tea known to energize the body. It’s my own opinion that they each have a lot to offer health-wise. Plus it’s really good!

My friend Casey and I have a huge love of anything tea and this weekend we shared our stashes in pictures. Now she wants my tea cart. You can pick one up at a restaurant supply company for a song. Each of the rows has space for 6 boxes of tea. So in every row you see, there are 5 or more teas behind the lead tea. And that isn’t including the Harney and Sons Royal Palace Collections. The box underneath is an antique French hot chocolate set with matching cups, plates and spoons.

The only bad weather we had was rain and we really needed that. Our daffodils are about 6 inches out of the ground and the sun is saying “It’s Spring!”But the wind is saying, “Wanna bet?”

Jerome the gnome is overseeing this rich, smoky Lapsang Souchong from Harney and Sons Teas and I loved this ARC so much I read it twice. And cried. The smokiness of the tea smells like a campfire and was perfect with this tale!

Happy Monday Y’all!

Be Nice!

xx P

The Look-Alike by Erica Spindler

The Look-Alike

Thriller, Psychological Drama, and Mental Illness. It sounds like a recipe for staying up past your bedtime!

Erica Spindler is a master at twisty, mental thrillers.

Ten years ago Sienna Scott was taking a shortcut from the library at college. Wearing a white coat with the hood pulled low, she could barely see for all of the snow coming down. Until she sees the red that shouldn’t be there, and a dead girl wearing the same coat as Sienna.

Sienna’s mother has had mental health issues since shortly after Sienna’s birth. Paranoid delusions, fear of someone hurting her child. She has been locked up in her own house since Sienna left and is getting worse. But what if they really are out to get you? Are you still paranoid?

Sienna is still dealing with the thoughts she has that the girl’s death was meant for her. She just can’t shake that feeling and when her mother agrees with her, the seed is planted.

Shortly after the murder, she was sent to London to live with her aunt. Her father afraid she would turn out like her mother, asked her half-brother to look after her after his death. Since Sienna has been gone so long, he has mainly been taking care of her mother, but now he needs help and Sienna returns.

This was one crazy ride! I suspected everyone at some point. Compulsively readable, a cast of great characters and a great ending!

Well Done!

NetGalley/ January 28th, 2020 by St. Martin’s Press

 

 

 

New Releases for the New Year!

Great Book Releases on the last day of the year!

The Moonshiner’s Daughter by Donna Everhart debuts today!

Sealed Off by Barbara Ross debuts today!

The Beautiful Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn debuts today!

Matchmaking Can Be Murder by Amanda Flower debuts today!

And do not forget Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison which came out yesterday!

Our last day of the year for reviews. But don’t worry because January starts out with a Bang!

xx P)

Hill Women: Finding Family and a Way Forward In The Appalachian Mountains by Cassie Chambers

Hill Women: Finding Family and a Way Forward in the Appalachian Mountains

Cassie  Chambers is proof that a determined woman can do anything. Raised in Owsley, Kentucky by an entire family whose lives have been rooted deep in the Appalachians.

Her grandmother had married and had seven children and she worked from sun up to sun down to put food on the table for her family. Her daughter Ruth was the best tobacco worker in the fields. Besting any man. Her other daughter, Cassie’s mother, took a different path and while she married young, her family helped raise Cassie so her parents could get an education and get out of the cycle of poverty.

They did such a good job that Cassie followed their footsteps and ended up graduating with two Ivy League degrees. And while the opportunities were endless, Cassie decides to go home. She has seen what the courts do to women in the hills and she wants to help.

Owsley County is one of the poorest counties in Kentucky and the entire country. There is no more coal, no more tobacco, and yet these Hill Women are finding new ways to keep their families fed and healthy. These women are subjected to more domestic violence, lack of healthcare and education.

This book broke my heart so many times. Even my husband was hooked on the story and ended up digging into the state and the county. I learned a lot and I felt humbled. This was a well researched and well-written book. I think everyone should read it!

NetGalley/January 7th, 2020 by Ballantine Books

 

 

 

 

 

BOUND FOR MURDER by Victoria Gilbert

Bound for Murder (Blue Ridge Library Mysteries #4)

A Blue Ridge Library Mystery #4

Blue Ridge library director Amy Webber learns it wasn’t all peace and love among the “flower children” when a corpse is unearthed on the grounds of a 1960s commune.

Welcome back to Taylorsford! In particular, the library and its director, Amy Webber and her dear friend Sunny, the only two actual employees of the small library.

Amy is actively not planning her future wedding to Richard and Sunny is running for mayor. As Amy is listening to more unsolicited advice about her nuptials, Sunny receives a phone call from her grandparents, Carla and P.J., telling her a digging company has found a full skeleton on their farm! Carla and her husband have an organic farm and in the ’60s for a short while had a commune.

Amy knows this kind of publicity will ruin her friends’ chances at the mayor’s job, so of course, she does what Amy does best. Research. Snooping. Asking questions that could put them all in danger. Because someone wasn’t so hippy happy back then it would seem!

We definitely found out some things we did not know about some of the flower children from the old commune, who are living right there in town! Not all of them, but the main players it would seem.

There are a lot of surprises in this one and I most definitely did not finger the correct suspect! Did you?

Well Done!

NetGalley/ January 7th, 2020 by Crooked Lane Books

 

 

 

Well, that went by quickly! Happy Boxing Day!

Happy Boxing Day! Or Thursday as we call it here. I hope everyone had some time off for whatever you celebrate. This year was a nod to my mostly French side. Since it was just the two of us, we put in the minimum amount of effort.

Our goal was to stay in our pajamas all day. As you can see we smashed it!

tommypj

We invited our new neighbor over to hang out with us. She is an honest to goodness Yankee. As in Boston! A former nun. We brought out the Bellinis and a Charcuterie platter and proceeded to watch Prancer and cry and eat cheese and drink. We ran out of Prosecco early on. We had popped a nice roast beast in the french oven with a bed of carrots and fingerling potatoes. And had a decadent Yule log with dark chocolate ganache. Then we watched E.T.

In the evening we started a jigsaw puzzle someone gifted us and ate more cheese. It’s one time a year that I am stuffing my face with any cheese available. While we spoiled each other with gifts, my favorite thing was this:

troispigs

They smell insanely good and I adore them. This morning I have disposed of all of the cheese, cakes, and empty wine bottles. It’s such a gorgeous day I think I’ll go for a nice long walk and then to the gym to work off that cheese.

Enjoy your day and be kind.

xx P

GOOD GIRLS LIE by J.T. ELLISON *Release Day* Blog Tour

Good Girls Lie

“There are truths, and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened, which is where you and I will meet.”

I am a sucker for a good boarding school thriller/mystery!  This tale of teenage girls at a prestigious boarding school just for girls, The Goode School, is anything but good! These are some seriously privileged and mean girls.

After her parents’ deaths, Ash is shipped off to The Good School. She has changed her name to avoid the publicity of the deaths and all she wants is to study and stay under the radar. Not going to happen. Someone always knows someone who can find out what you want to stay hidden.

The school is full of children of wealth and privilege whose parents are high profile people with little time for their own children, much better to send them to a snooty school that seems perfect on the outside but rotten on the inside. Including the Dean!

I am not sure there was one decent character in this book! Girls start to seriously hurt each other and then the deaths begin. Ash is sure she knows who is behind it, but will anyone believe her now? And is she even Ash??

And once secrets begin to spill out, everyone is left exposed. I loved every wicked minute of this one!

NetGalley/December 31st, 2019 by MIRA

JT Ellison Author Photo credit Krista Lee Photography - vertical (1)

1
THE HANGING

The girl’s body dangles from the tall iron gates guarding the school’s entrance. A closer
examination shows the ends of a red silk tie peeking out like a cardinal on a winter branch, forcing her
neck into a brutal angle. She wears her graduation robe and multicolored stole as if knowing she’ll never
see the achievement. It rained overnight and the thin robe clings to her body, dew sparkling on the
edges. The last tendrils of dawn’s fog laze about her legs, which are five feet from the ground.
There is no breeze, no birds singing or squirrels industriously gathering for the long winter
ahead, no cars passing along the street, only the cool, misty morning air and the gentle metallic creaking
of the gates under the weight of the dead girl. She is suspended in midair, her back to the street, her
face hidden behind a curtain of dirty, wet hair, dark from the rains.
Because of the damage to her face, it will take them some time to officially identify her. In the
beginning, it isn’t even clear she attends the school, despite wearing The Goode School robes.
But she does.
The fingerprints will prove it. Of course, there are a few people who know exactly who is
hanging from the school’s gates. Know who, and know why. But they will never tell. As word spreads of
the apparent suicide, The Goode School’s all-female student body begin to gather, paying silent,
terrified homage to their fallen compatriot. The gates are closed and locked—as they always are
overnight—buttressed on either side by an ivy-covered, ten-foot-high, redbrick wall, but it tapers off
into a knee-wall near the back entrance to the school parking lot, and so is escapable by foot. The girls of
Goode silently filter out from the dorms, around the end of Old West Hall and Old East Hall to Front
Street—the main street of Marchburg, the small Virginia town housing the elite prep school—and take
up their positions in front of the gate in a wedge of crying, scared, worried young women who glance
over shoulders looking for the one who is missing from their ranks. To reassure themselves this isn’t
their friend, their sister, their roommate.
Another girl joins them, but no one notices she comes from the opposite direction, from town.
She was not behind the redbrick wall.
Whispers rise from the small crowd, nothing loud enough to be overheard but forming a single
question.
Who is it? Who?
A solitary siren pierces the morning air, the sound bleeding upward from the bottom of the hill,
a rising crescendo. Someone has called the sheriff.
Goode perches like a gargoyle above the city’s small downtown, huddles behind its ivy-covered
brick wall. The campus is flanked by two blocks of restaurants, bars, and necessary shops. The school’s
buildings are tied together with trolleys—enclosed glass-and-wood bridges that make it easy for the girls
to move from building to building in climate-controlled comfort. It is quiet, dignified, isolated. As are the

girls who attend the school; serious, studious. Good. Goode girls are always good. They go on to great
things.
The headmistress, or dean, as she prefers to call herself, Ford Julianne Westhaven, great-
granddaughter several times removed from the founder of The Goode School, arrives in a flurry, her
driver, Rumi, braking the family Bentley with a screech one hundred feet away from the gates. The
crowd in the street blocks the car and, for a moment, the sight of the dangling girl. No one stops to think
about why the dean might be off campus this early in the morning. Not yet, anyway.
Dean Westhaven rushes out of the back of the dove-gray car and runs to the crowd, her face
white, lips pressed firmly together, eyes roving. It is a look all the girls at Goode recognize and shrink
from.
The dean’s irritability is legendary, outweighed only by her kindness. It is said she alone
approves every application to the school, that she chooses the Goode girls by hand for their intelligence,
their character. Her say is final. Absolute. But for all her goodness, her compassion, her kindness, Dean
Westhaven has a temper.
She begins to gather the girls into groups, small knots of natural blondes and brunettes and
redheads, no fantastical dye allowed. Some shiver in oversize school sweatshirts and running shorts,
some are still in their pajamas. The dean is looking for the chick missing from her flock. She casts
occasional glances over her shoulder at the grim scene behind her. She, too, is unsure of the identity of
the body, or so it seems. Perhaps she simply doesn’t want to acknowledge the truth.
The siren grows to an earsplitting shriek and dies midrange, a soprano newly castrated. The
deputies from the sheriff’s office have arrived, the sheriff hot on their heels. Within moments, they
cordon off the gates, move the students back, away, away. One approaches the body, cataloging;
another begins taking discreet photographs, a macabre paparazzi.
They speak to Dean Westhaven, who quietly, breathlessly, admits she hasn’t approached the
body and has no idea who it might be.
She is lying, though. She knows. Of course, she knows. It was inevitable.
The sheriff, six sturdy feet of muscle and sinew, approaches the gate and takes a few shots with
his iPhone. He reaches for the foot of the dead girl and slowly, slowly turns her around.
The eerie morning silence is broken by the words, soft and gasping, murmurs moving sinuously
through the crowd of girls, their feet shuffling in the morning chill, the fog’s tendrils disappearing from
around the posts.
They say her name, an unbroken chain of accusation and misery.
Ash.
Ash.
Ash.

2
THE LIES

There are truths, and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened, which is where
you and I will meet. My truth is your lie, and my lie is your truth, and there is a vast expanse between
them.
Take, for example, Ash Carlisle.
Six feet tall, glowing skin, a sheaf of blond hair in a ponytail. She wears black jeans with rips in
the knees and a loose greenand-white plaid button-down with white Adidas Stan Smiths; casual,
efficient travel clothes. A waiter delivers a fresh cup of tea to her nest in the British Airways first-class
lounge, and when she smiles her thanks, he nearly drops his tray—so pure and happy is that smile. The
smile of an innocent.
Or not so innocent? You’ll have to decide that for yourself. Soon.
She’s perfected that smile, by the way. Practiced it. Stood in the dingy bathroom of the flat on
Broad Street and watched herself in the mirror, lips pulling back from her teeth over and over and over
again until it becomes natural, until her eyes sparkle and deep dimples appear in her cheeks. It is a full-
toothed smile, her teeth straight and blindingly white, and when combined with the china-blue eyes and
naturally streaked blond hair, it is devastating.
Isn’t this what a sociopath does? Work on their camouflage? What better disguise is there than
an open, thankful, gracious smile? It’s an exceptionally dangerous tool, in the right hands.
And how does a young sociopath end up flying first class, you might ask? You’ll be assuming her
family comes from money, naturally, but let me assure you, this isn’t the case. Not at all. Not really. Not
anymore.
No, the dean of the school sent the ticket.
Why?
Because Ash Carlisle leads a charmed life, and somehow managed to hoodwink the dean into
not only paying her way but paying for her studies this first term, as well. A full scholarship, based on her
exemplary intellect, prodigy piano playing, and sudden, extraordinary need. Such a shame she lost her
parents so unexpectedly.
Yes, Ash is smart. Smart and beautiful and talented, and capable of murder. Don’t think for a
moment she’s not. Don’t let her fool you.
Sipping the tea, she types and thinks, stops to chew on a nail, then reads it again. The essay she
is obsessing over gained her access to the prestigious, elite school she is shipping off to. The challenges
ahead—transferring to a new school, especially one as impossible to get into as The Goode
School—frighten her, excite her, make her more determined than ever to get away from Oxford, from
her past.

A new life. A new beginning. A new chapter for Ash.
But can you ever escape your past?
Ash sets down the tea, and I can tell she is worrying again about fitting in. Marchburg,
Virginia—population five hundred on a normal summer day, which expands to seven hundred once the
students arrive for term—is a long way from Oxford, England. She worries about fitting in with the
daughters of the DC elite—daughters of senators and congressmen and ambassadors and reporters and
the just plain filthy rich. She can rely on her looks—she knows how pretty she is, isn’t vain about it,
exactly, but knows she’s more than acceptable on the looks scale—and on her intelligence, her
exceptional smarts. Some would say cunning, but I think this is a disservice to her. She’s both booksmart
and street-smart, the rarest of combinations. Despite her concerns, if she sticks to the story, she will fit
in with no issues.
The only strike against her, of course, is me, but no one knows about me.
No one can ever know about me.