Booksipper Bulletin – February Edition

Hello Booksippers! 

The cold and blustery month of February is coming to a close today.  February is the perfect time to curl up with a blanket and a book to sip on your favorite hot beverage!
With the massive snowstorm we had I was very glad to have found this new author and series to keep me company.  Keep reading to find out what it was.

Today is Leap Day!  I wonder who decided to put the extra day in the winter time?  Why not when the weather is nice?
But still it is nice to have extra time to get things accomplished or maybe do something fun.
What will you be doing with this extra day? 

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~In Readable News~

I choose another title from my annual non-fiction reading list for February reading. I picked 1000 Years Over a Hot Stove. I wrote all about it here: http://bit.ly/1XzD7zZ

It is shaping up to be a tough decision for next months read.  Take a look at my 2016 List and tell me what you think I should read next.

My favorite fiction selection for the month was written by the author Nora Roberts.  One book wasn't enough and it became a series read – they were that good!
Read all about The Bride Quartet here: http://bit.ly/24oRNGV

~In Sippable News~

February had me steeping multiple cups of PG Tips tea.  This English brand of tea has a permanent place in my tea cupboard.  Read my thoughts here: http://bit.ly/1NZAd0a

I am still sipping my way through the Downton Abbey sampler that I purchased a while back. I am trying to decide which flavor I enjoyed the most.  I will post about that next month with the airing of the final episode.

Thanks for reading and sipping along with me this February.
I plan to spend this "extra day" reading something new and sipping tea, of course!

~Booksipper Candice

 

 

Book Review: The Bride Quartet by Nora Roberts

Midafternoon found me wandering around my local library in search of something new to read.  I decided it needed to be fiction with romantic comedy tones, something I had never read before and a new author would be nice.

You would think I would walk away empty handed with a list like that. Because how do you pluck all of that out of thin air?

I don’t know – But, somehow I did!

I can now say that I have read my first Nora Roberts novel. Actually, I have read my first Nora Roberts series.  A new to me author, she is no newbie to the publishing world- she has more than one hundred books published! 

February being the month of love and all things romantic I picked out the title: Vision In White, book 1 in the Bride Quartet. I read this charming book over the course of a weekend. I then powered through the entire series in no time at all.

The Bride Quartet series tells the story of four childhood best friends. Growing up they would play “Wedding Day” over and over. This game develops individual talents in the four girls.
Entering adulthood they turn this “game” into a thriving Wedding Planning business called Vows. Each character uses their talents in a different aspect of the business.

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Book 1 focuses on Mackensie ( Mac) Elliot the photographer
Book 2 is about Emma Grant the flower bouquet maker
Book 3 centers on Laurel McBane the cake maker
Book 4 tells about Parker Brown who is the business master mind.

But these books are not only about work!  Love does find each character in a special way even while running a business.  These stories all build on each other and the characters are well developed and entertaining.

I highly recommend these books for a weekend where light, romantic reading is just what you want.  The only downside to them is that you will want cake, and not ordinary cake, but a delicious three tiered kind of cake while reading!

 

Book Review of A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove

 A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove is a history of American women told through food, recipes and remembrances. I had actually never flipped through the book to see the layout and writing style before bringing it home to read.  That is the only gamble when ordering with Amazon, really- sometimes there is the Click to See Inside feature which thrills me.  But, I did not do that with this title and I wish I had.

In my mind I had built up a book that read as a diary.  In which women left behind recipes and snippets of stories of how they endured the Civil War or the Great Depression with ration cards. I imagined "grocery lists" from different times. Lists of what the women going west would have considered essential to have to cook for their hungry men and children.
I wanted an easy read in a conversational tone that made history come alive.

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There is a smattering of these things in this book. There are numerous photographs and historical prints. There are recipes and well researched facts.
However, I never found myself drawn into the world of these women whose stories are chronicled here. I wanted to, very much. I found myself skimming the book looking for snip-its that drew me in.

I did enjoy sections about the pioneer women and their long and difficult day on the journey westward. I wish there had been real diary entries here. I enjoyed portions about women during WWII and the Great Depression and how they helped turn the tide. There is a long quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that I loved. 
Here is the last line of it: "And I hold it equally true that in this present crisis it is going to be the women who will tip the scales and bring us safely out of it."

 A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove is a well written book. I neither loved it nor disliked it. The book was not what I had in mind when I saw the title and added it to my annual book list.  But I would recommend it to someone doing a report on the kitchen and its role in history.

Book Review of Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World

I picked up a copy of Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch, because I have been challenged and encouraged by posts on her blog. And because no parent wants to raise a selfish and entitled kid, so I wanted to make sure I was doing the right things.

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Lets talk about the book~  First, the beautiful white cover. I was worried I would have smudgy finger prints or tea stains on it before I made it past the introduction. Somehow I made it cover to white cover with no stains to speak of! I loved the texture-y feel of the book. It is like thick parchment and the gold lettering set it apart from other books on my shelf.

What is inside is even more beautiful. Written in a friendly and conversational manner the author shares her heart and vision for her family. A desire to remove the "is that all" attitude and replace it with gratitude and contentment.
With relatable stories and anecdotes of her family, which she admits is still a work in progress; she explains how serving others takes the focus off oneself and leaves a feeling of joy and gratefulness.

There are tips at the end of each chapter covering the chapters subject.  The suggestions are tailored for toddlers through the teenage years.  The last chapter is set apart for parents.  It is a beautifully written chapter on the relationship you have with your child and is full of encouragement for the journey ahead, which may not always be easy.

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World was an inspiring parenting read.

Here are quotes from the book I am still pondering.

~Entitlement didn't start with my kids. It began with me. I entitled them because I was entitled.

~We teach gratitude by living it. We are the example.

~I would love for my kids to one day say they are grateful for their lives because their dad and I were grateful in ours.

 

Tea Kettle or Electric Tea Pot

Do you prefer a whistling tea kettle or an electric tea pot? 

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I always considered myself a whistling tea kettle kind of girl.  I knew when the water was ready because of that recognizable sound. One could hear that whistle rooms away and be lured into the kitchen for a nice cuppa. 

But there were numerous times I turned on the kettle, heard the whistle, picked it up and poured; only to find half a cup of water inside.

A big disappointment.

True tea enthusiasts know that you should pour fresh water into the kettle for each boil.  It has to do with the oxygen content making a better tasting cup of tea.  But life happens and (gasp) I have reboiled water.

One day I was walking through a store and happened upon a glass, see through tea pot.  It immediately caught my eye. 

This see through pot was my solution to the lack-of-water-in-the-kettle blues. 
I would always see how much water was in the pot.  A life changing thing, I know.

I received this wonder pot as a gift and I have used it everyday since. 

When you turn it on, the bottom glows a nautical blue hue. 

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 Wait a few minutes and the rapid boil occurs. Watching it is very therapeutic!

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 This model shuts off automatically, something the kettle on the stove could never boast. 

I adore my electric tea pot. It has seductive powers: auto switches, transparency and portability.

Am I converted away from my whistling kettle.  No.

While I am happy to have my back burner back, there is something idealistic about hearing that kettle sing. 
Both the kettle and the electric pot have space in my kitchen.

Which do you prefer?

Steeped with PG Tips

A well known English tea, but relatively new to me is PG Tips.

This black tea quickly became a must have in my tea stash.

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I had my first taste of PG Tips while sipping tea from a darling tea pot in a local tea room.  I had ordered a pot of black tea….my usual when I am not feeling decisive or spontaneous.
The tea that was served was a perfect.  I had to know what brand of tea it was. 

A few minutes of chatting with the owner of the shop, I learned she hailed from England and served the English brand PG Tips as her "house blend".  She did not have any boxes to sell, but she assured me that I could find it in a larger grocery store in our area.

Taking tea at home is not always an over the top experience like it is in a tea room. But with PG Tips it can be close!

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The shape of the tea bag could be what sets PG Tips apart from other teas.  The pyramid shape is said to allow the tea to expand and infuse more effectively than a round tea bag. 
I am no expert on tea bag shape but I do know that this small pyramid shaped tea bag carries a big punch!

PG Tips brews into a delicious and bracing cup of tea with a shorter steep time than other black tea brands that I use.  The end color is a beautiful amber and tastes just as tea is meant to- with that slightly bitter tea bite at the end.

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I look forward to tasting all the many flavors of tea by PG Tips.  That's right, there is a world even beyond black tea, & I mean to sip and savor many!
I will let you know what I discover!

A little Monday humor for you.

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Have you tried PG Tips?

The Afternoon Tea Collection

The The Afternoon Tea Collection has won me over and I have not even prepared one recipe yet!

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This book is a must have for anyone who enjoys tea time treats and needs creative ideas that do not sound overwhelming to prepare.

Brimming with beautiful color photographs, this book thrilled my visual senses and had me drooling over the treat selections.
How do people get their food to turn out like this?! 
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Everything looks scrumptious!

The book is divided into sections based on food type.  Recipes include sandwiches and tarts to savory and sweets.

The only challenge is deciding what to prepare first!

The Afternoon Tea Collection is a fantastic book choice for any tea time enthusiast.