Monday, January 25, 2016

January giveaway: $25 Amazon gift card for tea and books

I make my living as a writer and editor, but as an aspiring novelist, I must say that one of the most important things I do each day is read! For some time now, I've been wanting to know what *you* are reading in the way of books, and I'm not above bribing you to tell me! So if you'd like to be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card, just leave a comment by Friday at 7 a.m. EST telling me the last book you read, the current book you are reading, or the book you would like to be reading! (Overachievers may feel free to share all of the above.) The winning entry will be chosen by a random number generator and announced on Friday.

In case you're curious, I thought I'd go first and share what I'm currently reading! Although I didn't photograph my Bible, technically that's the first book I read each day. As columnist Cal Thomas once said, he likes to read his Bible along with his newspaper each morning so he'll know what both sides are up to. I agree!

And now, my reading stack for the week, from top to bottom, includes:

• "Death Crashes the Party" by Vickie Fee. Since cozy mysteries are what I'm trying to write, I try to keep a cozy in my reading stack at all times, and I just finished one over the weekend (which I didn't really care for), so I'm hopeful about this new series. Plus, the author is a former journalist, like me, so I'm betting I'll enjoy her book!

• "Now Write! Mysteries," edited by Sherrie Ellis and Laurie Lamson. This is a book of writing advice for mystery writers of all stripes, and I'm allowing myself to read just a chapter or two at a time. Lots of meaty stuff here.

• "Breathing Life Into Your Characters" by Rachel Ballon. I've decided some of my characters are a little dull, so I've been reading this book to learn more tips for making them more likable, readable, relatable, etc. This book feels like homework, but I rather suspected it would.

• "Soul Harvest" by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Remember when everybody was reading those "Left Behind" books years ago? I didn't. I have this real ornery streak where I don't like to read what everyone else is reading (unless it's a tea book; then I don't mind). But then I read Jerry Jenkins's excellent book of writing advice, "Writing for the Soul," in which he critiqued some of his own early writing in those books. Out of sheer nosiness, I was going to read just one book to see if it was as bad as he said. (I didn't think it was.) And now I'm hooked and have to read the whole series.

• "Medicinal Herbs" by Rosemary Gladstar. My friend Deberah gave me this book for Christmas, and I was so happy to get it because even I know that Rosemary Gladstar is a rock star of the herb world. There are also instructions for making a number of herbal teas in this book, so you may be hearing about this title again before the year is over.

• "Sisters on the Fly: Caravans, Campfires, and Tales from the Road" by Irene Rawlings. I have this idea for a character who buys and restores a vintage camper, so I'm reading this book to learn more about the sort of women who inspired the vintage camper craze. Research is one of the most fun parts of writing for me.

So that's what I'm reading this week. Your turn — and don't forget, comment by 7 a.m. EST Friday and you could have $25 toward your next Amazon purchase of tea and books. (And please make sure I have a way to get in touch with you if you're the winner!)


  1. Last book: 5 Languages of Love by Gary Chapman
    Current: Snail Mail: Celebrating the Art of Handwritten Correspondence by Michelle Mackintosh
    Looking forward to reading: Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld April 2016 (Twist on Pride and Prejudice)
    Enter me: Christy in Tulsa OK

  2. The last book I read was "To Shield the Queen", by Fiona Buckley. The book I am currently reading is "Night Passage", by Robert B. Parker, and the one that is next on my TBR list is "The Lammas Feast", by Kate Sedley. Thanks for the chance :)
    jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

  3. Fiction: I just finished "The Painted House" by John Grisham and just started "The Summons." My mother left a large library (including all the LEFT BEHIND books) and I'm reading my way through it. Right now, I'm reading all the Grisham novels.

    Inspirational: "Coming Clean: A Story of Faith" by Seth Haines This is written by a former alcoholic, but it is for any Christian who has struggled with faith. It was very thoughtful and I will read it again.

    Required reading: I occasionally get advance reader copies of books and I've been reading "Breaking Busy" by Alli Worthington, which releases tomorrow.

    I have a plethora of books in my "want to read" pile (not including those in my mother's library). I would rather read than sleep, but as I age I find that sleep is much more necessary than it used to be. :)

  4. I recently finished reading "The Tea Rose" by Jennifer Donnelly - great book! Just started reading the sequel, "The Winter Rose." peks1001(at)yahoo(dot)com

    1. I love The Tea Rose but haven't read the others yet.

  5. My favorite books to read are biographies and since I do presentations about people, I read a lot of them. The most recent one was Clara - Mrs. Henry Ford. For pleasure, the last one I read was The Fairy Tale Girl by Susan Branch. And I'm looking forward to her next one that will be out this spring, Martha's Vineyard Isle of Dreams. Laura Childs' latest Tea Shop Mystery book, Devonshire Scream, just arrived in the mail, so I'm looking forward to reading that too.

  6. Most of my reading is done while I drive via books on CD. Currently, Miss Julia's School of Beauty is in my vehicle. I find myself driving slower than usual to allow for more "reading" time. Its nice to see what others are reading.
    Sips and Smiles,

  7. My current reading is "Where You Go Is Not Who You Will Be - An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania". OMG college admissions is not what it used to be! "Devonshire Scream" is next in my stack of books. I am ready for some light reading!

  8. The last book I read was "The Daddy Diaries" by Joshua Braff. I enjoyed it.


  9. I've started re-reading the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters. I just finished 4 and 5 is queued up to start with breakfast. 6 and on are waiting in the wings. I also have some anatomy homework reading to fit in somewhere.


  10. I'm participating in a challenge to read 100 books in 2016. I have completed four so far, the most recent being Agatha Christie's The Secret Adversary. I currently have three other books going in addition to my daily Bible reading. One of those books is an historical fiction by R.M. Ballantyne, entitled The Iron Horse.

  11. I just read Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey and am saving up a Laura Child's tea mystery. Also just finished The Silver Touch by Rosalind Laker about the English famous Bateman silver making family. I agree you you and Cal Thomas, and the Bible is a daily read for perspective.

  12. I just read The Santa Klaus Murder by Mavis Doriel May written in 1936. Reading Silent Scream by Angela Marsons and next up is Mythology Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton.

  13. I am reading The Mapmaker's Children by Sarah McCoy. When that is completed I will start The Ambassador's Wife by Jennifer Steil. I enjoy fiction, family sagas and mystery novels. I enjoy memoirs which are meaningful and profound, saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  14. I am reading Harper Lee's "Go Set a Watchman". I said I was not going to read it because I am not sure she truly wanted it published. However, I could not resist.

  15. I am reading The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende. After I finish this captivating novel I look forward to enjoying The Shoemaker's Daughter by Adriana Trigiani. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  16. I am looking forward to reading I Kissed a Rogue by Shana Galen when it comes out in a few weeks. aleene617 at hotmail dot com

  17. I LOVE to read! The last book I read was 'The Crocodile on the Sandbank' by Elizabeth Peters. The book I'm reading now is 'Blind Trust' by Sandra Orchard and the next book I'm going to read is 'Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates' by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger.
    There's nothing like a good book and a cup of hot tea on a winter's day!!

    secondchance (at)

  18. The last book I read was the Bible, in the book of Exodus! :) Thanks for the chance to win! Hope, hoping! purposedrivenlife4you at gmail dot com

  19. I usually have 6-8 books going in addition to the Bible and a hymnal. Right now I'm reading Corridors of the Night by Anne Perry (Victorian mystery); Brain Maker by David Perlmutter (non-fiction on gut microbes); Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin (WWII Christian fiction); A Letter of Mary by Laurie King (Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell mystery); Summer Brides (3 inspirational fiction novellas); an autobiography of General Omar Bradley (mostly skim reading for the parts about his personal life); Babies, Bullets, & Bee Stings: Memories of a Missionary Midwife by Hannah McDowell; and Paloma and the Horse Traders by Carla Kelly (historical fiction, late 1700's, Spanish colony, New Mexico). As you can tell, I like to a have book ready in every room of the house. I also enjoy the writing columns you've shared by both you and your husband. [my blogger name at hotmail]

  20. Fates and Furies, novel by Lauren Groff

  21. The last book I read was "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed. I read that while I was pregnant. I have a newborn baby now so I haven't had time to read!

    mami2jcn at gmail dot com

  22. I am currently reading Night Road by Kristin Hannah. Very good book, I'm about halfway through it and expect to finish it by the end of the week.

  23. I am re-reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I can't wait to see the movie.

  24. Email entry from Sandy M.: Please enter me in the giveaway.
    Right now I am reading Rosamund Pilcher Summer and enjoying it so far.
    I last read a compilation of upstairs downstairs. It was interesting.
    I also have some short Christmas stories that I read on my Kindle at night.

  25. Email entry from Susan K.: Please enter me in your giveaway. The last book I read was The Lake House by Kate Morton. Love her books! Currently, I'm reading The Carousel by Rosamunde Pilcher. I thought I had read all her books, but discovered this one at the thrift store the other day. And I'm eagerly awaiting the release of Susan Branch's Martha's Vineyard, Isle of Dreams. Hopefully, I'll get to meet her when she comes to Austin, Texas in June for her book tour.

  26. Outside of my bible, my reading consists of mainly Christian Fiction as I read/review for numerous authors. I recently finished reading/reviewing "Road to Deer Run" by Elaine Marie Cooper which release several weeks ago, I just finished reading a prequel "A Glimmer of Hope" by Julie Lessman which will release around 2/14, and will be reviewing it. Other books I'm currently reading and will be reviewing, releasing in Feb. & March are: "Charity's Cross" by MaryLu Tyndall, "Shattered Memories" by Debbie Lynne Costello, and "Back in the Saddle" by Ruth Logan Herne. I'm also currently reading "A Worthy Heart" by Susan Anne Mason, and will be reviewing it.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win the gift card - I never have too many books, or too much tea, lol!!


  27. Last book I read: The Road by Cormac McCarthy
    Book I'm currently reading: Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    Book I would like to be reading: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

  28. I love to read and am interested in many different topics, including (but not limited to) biographies, cookbooks, inspirational writing, historical and Christian writings. I usually have four or more books going at once--currently I am reading Carly Simon's memoir "Boys in the Trees", Susan Branch's memoir "The Fairy Tale Girl", "Find the Good" by Heather Lende, "Brooklyn" by Colm Toibin and "The Greatest Stories Ever Told" by Greg Laurie. An---of course--I have to get my fix of tea blogs in daily too!!

  29. Just finished, Finding Noel, Richard Paul Evans, currently reading Absolute Surrender, Andrew Murray, daily my Bible, and 15 Minutes Alone with God -For Women, Emile Barnes.

    mary Johnston

  30. I just finished Bronner, by Sherri Burgess. I'm also reading Count it All Joy, by Dr. David Jeremiah and All Things Bright and Beautiful, by Cecil Francis Alexander. All three of those I've read/am reading for review (I adore blogging for books!) For my own pleasure I'm reading through Victoria, The Essential Tea Companion: Favorite Recipes for Tea Parties and Celebrations by Kim Waller, which I got for Christmas. And The Hunger Games (which I checked out from the library). I'm eagerly awaiting the release of the new one by Karen Kingsbury, Brush of Wings: A Novel (Angels Walking) and the release of Jan Karon's Come Rain or Come Shine in paperback, so I can read it again! Whew! :)

  31. Email entry from Donna Z.: Loved all your book selections and enjoy other responses with some great suggestions I will enjoy to read also. I have read all Joanne DeMaio's books recently and now reading I heart London by Lindsey Kelk (my niece is studying in London this semester!

  32. mostly just the bible these days as it's hard to find time adjusting to this new life of a mom that i have found myself in :) but when i have extra time at night before bed i crack open the ScrewTape Letters by C.S. Lewis. I'm loving it!


  33. I suppose Go Dog Go doesn't count. :-)
    The last adult book I read was Why Not Me? By Mindy Kiling. The next book I read will be sewing or quilt related.

  34. Last read: Copy Cat Murder by Jenn McKinlay
    Currently reading: Review copy of Ripe for Murder by Charlene O'Neal
    I don't know what I'll read next. The TBR pile is seemingly endless. Thanks so much for the fun blog and chance to win

  35. Just finished reading Still Life With Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen. Will begin Station Eleven by Emily St.John Mandel. thanks for your blog and a chance to win.

  36. How fun it was to see that you are reading one of the many books written by Rosemary Gladstar. She will be joining us at The Rosemary House for an all day herbal seminar the first Saturday in April. She was a speaker here a few years ago, and we are so looking forward to welcoming her to PA again!

  37. Just finished Tea Culture: History, Traditions, Celebrations, Recipes &More by Beverly Durbin - Enjoyed it very much - beautiful, informative - rich with tea culture and wonderful recipes. Read The Nightengale by Kristen Hannah - wonderful novel -will make a great movie or mini series. Also just finished The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George - loved it - it is different - winsome - it was first written in French so one needs to take into account the cultural differences but it is fun!

  38. I need to start Behold a Pale Horse by William Cooper. I have it just sitting there staring at me!

  39. Oh I have the last two books on your list on my book shelf. There are always a few books next to my bed. Right now I am reading: The Wishing Thread by Lisa Van Allen and Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh. By the way I have been to Rosemary Gladstar's herb farm and had lunch with her, along with Nancy R. and group of herb lovers! I loved her fairy garden.

  40. I'm re-reading the pay/changeling series by Nalini Singh. I just can't seem to get enough of her's like the 10th time I have re-read them :3

  41. I'm reading The Devil in the White City!

  42. Thomas and friends.

  43. I don't seem to have time/focus to read at home much at the moment, other than trying to catch up on magazines. Just subscribed to The Lady, fun! Very backed up on New Yorkers. Listening to Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling) in the car. A little grisly but I love it!

    Kim M

  44. I've been reading my Bible, and some cozy mysteries on my Kindle app, can't remember the name right now. Before that, several of Patience Griffin's "Kilts and Quilts" novels. Next up is Susan Branch's new book, Fairy Tale Girl".

  45. I've been reading Wobegone Boy by Garrison Keeler

    groogruxking40 @ gmail dot com

  46. I have been cramming Christian historical fiction lately! I have 5 blog posts for January already referencing book reviews for each one. 4 out of 5 of them include 'tea moments', so I encourage you to link over :)
    Heather {Email link on my blog} or through ATAA FB page :-)
    Calico Spy
    The Spinster's Christmas
    A Worthy Heart
    At Love's Bidding
    The Painter's Daughter

  47. Hello Angela

    It is wonderful to see all of your blog readers sharing what they are reading. So nice to know that people still enjoy what many consider to be a dying activity.
    I have been an avid reader since I was a little girl and would bring home stacks of books from the library.

    My reading list currently includes both fiction and non-fiction.

    Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart

    It is the late 18th-century in China and disgraced imperial Chinese librarian Li Du has arrived in the small remote town of Dayan near the Tibetan border as it prepares for the never before arrival of the Chinese emperor. Li Du investigates the murder of a Jesuit astronomer. Think "Agatha Christie meets Shogun."

    Re-reading The Book of Unholy Mischief by Elle Newmark

    This wonderful historical novel tells the story of Luciano, an orphaned boy living in the streets of Venice during the Middle Ages. Whilst eating a stolen pomegranate, Luciano is pulled aside by a chef by the name of Ferrero, who takes him off the street, cleans him up and puts him to work in the palace kitchen. Intrigue, mystery, and sensuous descriptions of food carry you to another place and time and make you want to run to the kitchen and cook up a feast.

    The Seeds of Change - Six Plants that Transformed Mankind by Henry Hobhouse

    I was most intrigued with the chapter on "Tea and the Destruction of China," but the other chapters about quinine, cotton, sugar, coca, and the potato were interesting as well and offered explanations of how these plants determined the direction of human history. Fascinating and well researched.

    The Empire of Tea - The Remarkable History of the Plant that Took Over the World by Alan and Iris MacFarlane

    The history of tea from its origins as a plant in the Eastern Himalayas and its past and future effects on culture, politics and the environment around the world.

    Great British Cooking - A Well Kept Secret by Jane Garmey

    I read cookbooks like novels and am always looking for cookbooks that have descriptions and comments by the author for each recipe. Reading these comments makes me want to whip up the recipe and share the author's delight in the dish. Jane Garmey has taken common English dishes and elevated them with her informative descriptions of classic British cuisine. There is a great chapter on Afternoon Tea!

    I also love reading children's books and just read several tea related ones.

    The Totally TEA-rific Tea Party Book Tanya Npier
    Come to Tea By Stephanie Dunnewind

    Thanks for sharing your current reads with us, Angela.

    Mary Jane
    Reading and sipping a nice Darjeeling

  48. On hold from the library e-book selection: Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham & See Me by Nicholas Sparks.

    slmartin at vtc dot net

  49. last book I read Chicken soup of the soul I forgot the title Love it

  50. Dear Angela:
    Thank you for your kind giveaway. I am a stick-in-the-mud when it comes to reading. I just adore the whole Miss Read series. I have read them so much that it seems as if the people of Thrush Green and Fairacre are my friends!
    Mrs. B

  51. I am reading "Not My Father's Son: A Memoir," by Alan Cummings. It is a very moving book - I highly recommend it. Thank you for this opportunity, Angela. Have a great day, Joanie

  52. I just finished "Teardrops" from Lauren Kate and today I'm starting with "The Oracle Glass" by Judith Merkle Riley. ;)

  53. I'm a librarian so people always think I just read all day - I wish!! :) I'm currently reading an ARC of "Salt to the Sea" by Ruta Sepetys, a YA historical fiction book about refugees during WWII and the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff. It's been fascinating to learn about a part of history that I didn't know about, plus the book is beautifully written. And trying out some teas from my new stash while reading has made it all the more enjoyable!

  54. Thank you for your generous offer!
    I'm reading the Hannah Swensen mysteries, right now I'm reading the "Apple Turnover Murder". I'm also reading a very old homekeeping book on Google called "Living on a Little" and I'm thoroughly enjoying it!

  55. I love to read! I am reading "All the Light You Cannnot See" now. I just finished "Same Kind of Different as Me" by Ron Hall and Denver Moore and "A Man called Ova. Great books. I always many books, so little time!! It would be wonderful to win your giveaway as a birthday present as my birthday is tomorrow, Jan 29! I'll be having tea with my cake, too! Nancy G


Thanks so much for taking time to leave a comment! It makes my day to hear from readers!