Dryad Teas Inspired by the Dresden Files

And Now for Something Completely Different

This is not what I typically post about, but it sort of fits.

I’m not a big tea drinker—but I dabble from time to time, and we’re in the middle of another attempt to drink more (health benefits, no sugar, etc., etc.—oh, and it tastes good, too). While I’m playing around with this blend and that, someone posts on one of the Dresden Files Fan Facebook pages a link to Dryad Teas’ Dresden Files inspired teas (and then someone posts about another company’s varieties, too!). I have to be honest, my mind is boggled, how do you come up with tea blends based on fictional characters? Sure, I can see a Picard-branded Earl Gray variety or something that Lady Mary or Count Grantham might drink; but thinking about a character and coming up with a tea blend based on them? I wouldn’t know where to start—and I’m freakishly impressed (and incredibly curious about it).

Anyway, I ordered some samples from Dryad’s Dresden teas, and thought I’d share a thought or two about them.

KarrinKarrin

Inspired by the amazing ‘Dresden Files’ book series by Jim Butcher, this blend is a thought provoking mix of peach and apricot with deep undertones of black tea.

I’m not sure that this says, Karrin Murphy to me. It does make me think of her house—left to her by her grandmother, and I don’t think she re-decorated it much (I’m ready to be corrected on that front). In the end, it was too fruity for me. It smells great, though, and tastes very pleasant.

Bob the SkullBob the Skull

…this blend is a delicious mix of genmaicha and citrus. Notes of raspberry and lime pair with the depth of the genmaicha to create a light blend with promise, fitting for Bob the Skull.

Another one that I’m not sure about—it’s too floral, and too mild for me to drink regularly. I’m also not a big green tea guy. But there’s something about this blend of flavor that is very, very pleasant. I would absolutely drink it again (I’m not sure I’d buy it though). I think they drew too much from Bob’s love of Romance novels when they came up with the blend. (just a wild guess)

DresdenDresden

…this blend is inspired by Dresden. Smoky and spicy, the text of “The building was on fire, and it wasn’t my fault.” explains the character perfectly. This tea is no different.

Now this? This was my cup of tea.* Going from that quoted line, it’s smokey, dark, deliciousness. I tried to explain the flavor to my wife by saying it’s like “a tea made from pipe tobacco, but it tastes good.” She told me I shouldn’t ever tell anyone that. I tried explaining it to a friend, who is also a Dresden fan, by saying “Imagine the ashes of the building that was on fire (but wasn’t his fault), made into a tea, that somehow tastes good.” She didn’t tell me that I shouldn’t repeat that description, but her expression pretty much did.

Basically, I don’t know how to describe how things taste–this was strong, smokey, bold, full of flavor. I’d drink this by the gallon.

* Had to be done.

Anyway, check out Dryad Teas. Even if these don’t appeal, they have a lot of geeky teas/accessories.

The Inside and Out Book Tag

The Inside and Out Book Tag
It’s been a while since I’ve done a Book Tag post, they’re fun enough I really should do more…

I have no idea where this came from, Duck Duck Go didn’t help much and the blogs I’ve seen this on (The Strawberry Post and The Tattooed Book Geek) don’t know, either. So props to whoever came up with this, and here we go with The Inside and Out Book Tag (alternatively titled: Are You a Philistine and/or a Monster? Plus a couple of other questions Book Tag)

1. Inside flap/back of the book summaries: Too much info? Or not enough?

I don’t need a lot, just enough to pique my attention. Often (and I frequently mention this when I post about a book) publishers put too much information on them. Just give me a hint about the premise and a flavor for the tone—that’s all I really want.

2. New book: What form do you want it in? Be honest: Audiobook, eBook, Paperback or Hardcover?

A decent-sized paperback (not Mass-Market) is probably my favorite, but I tend towards HC or eBook lately. Nothing against MMPBs, really, I’ve only bought 2 or 3 a year for the last couple of years (if InCryptid ever makes the jump to HC, then it’ll only be Stephanie Plum books—which I refuse to buy in HC).

3. Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books; take notes, make comments, or do you keep your books clean, clean, clean?

What kind of monster do you think I am? No ink (or graphite!) should come into contact with my books after the printer is done with them. That’s why we have notepaper.

4. Does it matter to you whether the author is male or female when you’re deciding on a book? What if you’re unsure of the author’s gender?

Unless it’s an author I’ve read before, I frequently don’t remember the author’s name until I’ve written a post about them (and even then, honestly, I’m not great at it). So gender? Fuhgeddaboudit. I can’t be bothered. It matters not to the ability of the author, matters not to this reader.

5. Ever read ahead? Or have you ever read the last page way before you got there?

As I’m not a philistine, no. Why would you do that? I’m not being rhetorical here, why would someone do that?

Okay…not true. In Choose Your Own Adventure books, I did read ahead. Even then, I knew that was a dumb way to read them, but I hated to commit to a course until I had read the first paragraph or so of two options…

6. Organized bookshelves or outrageous bookshelves?

I try, I really try to be organized. And if I had 5 more bookshelf units, I could be. At least for a month 🙂

So, yeah, outrageous bookshelves/stacks next to shelves.

7. Have you ever bought a book based on the cover (alone)?

Alone? I don’t think so. I may have checked a book out of the library based on the cover alone.

But numerous covers have led me to read, and re-read, backs/inside flaps.

8. Take it outside to read, or stay in?

Generally, the only time I think of taking one outside, it’s too hot to do so and I only last 10 minutes. But when the weather is right, or I have decent covering overhead, I really enjoy being outside and reading.

Down the TBR Hole (2 of 24+)

Down the TBR Hole

Back for Round Two!

This meme was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story—but Jenna at Bookmark Your Thoughts is the one that exposed me to this, and as my Goodreads “Want To Read” shelf is scarily long, I had to do this.

The Rules are simple:

  1. Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf
  2. Order on ascending date added.
  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  4. Read the synopses of the books.
  5. Decide: keep it or should it go?
  6. Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next week! (or whenever)

What distinguishes this series from the Mt. TBR section of my Month-end Retrospectives? Those are books I actually own while Goodreads contains my aspirational TBR (many of which will be Library reads). The Naming of the two is a bit confusing, but…what’re you going to do?

(Click on the cover for an official site or something with more info about the book)

Monster Hunter Vendetta Monster Hunter Vendetta by Larry Correia
My Thoughts: I read and enjoyed Monster Hunter International years ago, probably would’ve jumped on this follow-up if my library had a copy of it—or if I’d had the cash for it then. I liked International enough, and have heard primarily good things about the rest of the series. Gotta give it another shot.
Verdict:
Thumbs Up
City of the Sun City of the Sun by Daid Levien
Blurb: A P.I. with a dark past hunts for a missing child.
My Thoughts: I don’t remember what attracted me to this. Looks perfectly decent, but I have so many mysteries that I know why I want to read, I’m going to pass on this.
Verdict:
Thumbs Down
Unicorn Precinct Unicorn Precinct by Keith R.A. DeCandido
My Thoughts: See what I said about Monster Hunter Vendetta.
Verdict:
Thumbs Up
Jack Reacher's Rules Jack Reacher’s Rules by Lee Child
Blurb: “…this one-of-a-kind book compiles timeless advice from maverick former army cop Jack Reacher, the hero of Lee Child’s blockbuster thrillers…”
My Thoughts: Why haven’t I read this yet?
Verdict:
Thumbs Up
Two Pints Two Pints by Roddy Doyle
Blurb: “Two men meet for a pint in a Dublin pub. They chew the fat, set the world to rights, take the piss… They talk about their wives, their kids, their kids’ pets, their football teams and – this being Ireland in 2011–12 –about the euro, the crash, the presidential election, the Queen’s visit.”
My Thoughts: Doyle going the comedic route? (which is what it seems like) A sure-fire win. (and there are two sequels…)
Verdict:
Thumbs Up
Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks
Blurb: “Budo is lucky as imaginary friends go. He’s been alive for more than five years, which is positively ancient in the world of imaginary friends. But Budo feels his age and thinks constantly of the day when eight-year-old Max Delaney will stop believing in him. When that happens, Budo will disappear.Max is different from other children. Some people say he has Asperger’s, but most just say he’s “on the spectrum.” None of this matters to Budo, who loves Max unconditionally and is charged with protecting him from the class bully, from awkward situations in the cafeteria, and even in the bathroom stalls. But he can’t protect Max from Mrs. Patterson, a teacher in the Learning Center who believes that she alone is qualified to care for this young boy.

When Mrs. Patterson does the unthinkable, it is up to Budo and a team of imaginary friends to save Max—and Budo must ultimately decide which is more important: Max’s happiness or his own existence.”
Verdict:
Thumbs Up

A Ticket to the Boneyard A Ticket to the Boneyard by Lawrence Block
My Thoughts: The first seven of these were compelling, and I’m not sure why I ran out of gas with these. A friend has been castigating me for that choice for a few months now. Gotta get back on that horse.
Verdict:
Thumbs Up
Dixie City Jam Dixie City Jam by James Lee Burke
My Thoughts: I admired and respected the first six of these more than I enjoyed them. I’m betting this would be the same. Life’s too short.
Verdict:
Thumbs Up
The Nightgown The Nightgown by Brad Parks
My Thoughts: A 32-page prequel to the Carter Ross series seems like it’d be 20 or so minutes of fun, but I can’t see me getting around to this (unless Parks writes another Ross book or two—might renew my interest, but even then…a singular short isn’t my style)
Verdict:
Thumbs Down
Trouble in Paradise Trouble in Paradise by Marcia Clark
My Thoughts: See above, but re: the Rachel Knight series.
Verdict:
Thumbs Down

Books Removed in this Post: 4 / 10
Total Books Removed: 7 / 240

Anyone out there read any of these books? Did I make the right call with any of them?


(Image by moritz320 from Pixabay)

(half-baked) Top Ten Tuesday: The Ten Characters I’d Follow On Social Media


The topic for this week’s Top Ten Tuesdays is the Ten Characters I’d Follow On Social Media.

I’m posting this even though I’m not really done with it, because…well, it’s a Tuesday thing, right? I intended to add at least a couple of sentences saying why I’d want to follow them, but ran out of time. But I put enough time narrowing down this list to the magic 10, that I wanted to get some value out of it.

10 Kirby Baxter from Duncan MacMaster’s mystery series.
9 Beast from Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock series (who incidentally has a great Facebook page that I do follow).
8 Molly Carpenter from Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files
7 Lon Cohen from Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe/Archie Goodwinseries.
6 Peter Grant from Ben Aaronovitch’s The Rivers of London series.
5 Nina Hill from The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
4 Nell Ingram from Faith Hunter’s Souldwood series (if she talks about food primarily).
3 Stephanie Plum‘s Grandma Mazur from Janet Evanovich’s books.
2 Oberon from Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles/Oberon’s Meaty Mysteries
1 Ford Prefect from Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy

Down the TBR Hole (1 of 24+)

Down the TBR Hole

This meme was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story—but Jenna at Bookmark Your Thoughts is the one that exposed me to this, and as my Goodreads “Want To Read” shelf is scarily long, I had to do this.

The Rules are simple:

  1. Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf
  2. Order on ascending date added.
  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  4. Read the synopses of the books.
  5. Decide: keep it or should it go?
  6. Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next week! (or whenever)

What distinguishes this series from the Mt. TBR section of my Month-end Retrospectives? Those are books I actually own while Goodreads contains my aspirational TBR (many of which will be Library reads). The Naming of the two is a bit confusing, but…what’re you going to do?

I’ll probably be tackling 5 of these at a time, but this time I’m going for 10 because the first 3 are in one series, and it seems like cheating to have the first 3 of 5 to be answered together. I’ll probably slow down in the future.

(Click on the cover for an official site or with more info about the book)

The Ghost Brigades The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
My Thoughts: This is the sequel to Old Man’s War which was plenty of fun, but after I read it I couldn’t quickly get my hands on the sequel (although I could’ve gotten 3 & 4), and then I got distracted and…well, here I am 8 years later.
Verdict: Yeah, I’ll have to re-read Old Man’s War first, but that should be a good time anyway.
Thumbs Up
The Last Colony The Last Colony by John Scalzi
My Thoughts: See above.
Verdict:
Thumbs Up
Zoe's Tale Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi
My Thoughts: See above.
Verdict:
Thumbs Up
The Naming of the Beasts The Naming of the Beasts by Mike Carey
My Thoughts: Similarly, I’ve read the first two of this series 3+ times, and the second two once, but couldn’t get my hands easily on this one (and it’s the only one not in my library system, how horrible is that?). Felix Castor was such a fun character, I really should get to this one—even if it means I have to spend a little money.
Verdict:
Thumbs Up
This Dog for Hire This Dog for Hire by Carol Lea Benjamin
My Thoughts: A P.I. Novel with a Canine sidekick. This should be a slam-dunk for me. But when I read the blurb, something fails to grab me. Don’t ask me what. Just don’t think I’m going to get around to it. Possibly my loss.
Verdict:
Thumbs Down
To Speak for the Dead To Speak for the Dead by Paul Levine
Blurb: The first mystery in Paul Levine’s best-selling series, To Speak for the Dead, introduces trial lawyer and ex-Miami Dolphins linebacker Jake Lassiter, who has an uncanny knack for digging up the truth – and the danger that comes with it.
My Thoughts: About 15 years ago, I gobbled up Levine’s Solomon vs. Lord series and probably should’ve jumped on this one at the time. I didn’t and have kicked myself for it frequently since. Maybe it’s the football thing? Odds are these are just as fun as the Andy Carpenter books.
Verdict: I don’t know when I’ll get around to it, but I can’t bring myself to cut this.
Thumbs Up
Devil in a Blue Dress Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley
Blurb: Set in the late 1940s, in the African-American community of Watts, Los Angeles, Devil in a Blue Dress follows Easy Rawlins, a black war veteran just fired from his job at a defense plant. Easy is drinking in a friend’s bar, wondering how he’ll meet his mortgage, when a white man in a linen suit walks in, offering good money if Easy will simply locate Miss Daphne Monet, a blonde beauty known to frequent black jazz clubs.
My Thoughts: In casual conversation, I’d tell you I’ve read this. But a quick look at the blurb tells me that I haven’t. It’s more than a little unthinkable, really. I need to change this.
Verdict:
Thumbs Up
Pelham Fell Here Pelham Fell Here by Ed Lynskey
My Thoughts: I have no idea how this one ended up on my radar in April ’12, but it did (the author’s name rings a bell for some reason…maybe people on a Nero Wolfe discussion group have mentioned him?). The blurb is semi-interesting, but a couple of the quotations on Goodreads make me leary.
Verdict: No idea what drew me to the book, leary quotations = time to go.
Thumbs Down
A Cold Day in Paradise A Cold Day in Paradise by Steve Hamilton
Blurb: Other than the bullet lodged near his heart, former Detroit cop Alex McKnight thought he had put the nightmare of his partner’s death and his own near-fatal injury behind him. After all, the man convicted of the crimes has been locked away for years. But in the small town of Paradise, Michigan, where McKnight has traded his badge for a cabin in the woods, a murderer with the same unmistakable trademarks appears to be back. McKnight can’t understand who else would know the intimate details of the old murders. And it seems like it’ll be a frozen day in Hell before McKnight can unravel truth from deception in a town that’s anything but Paradise.
My Thoughts: I remember reading that Hamilton has come back to this series after a while away. That blurb, my impression of Hamilton from his Nick Mason books, and the fact that Hamilton has been drawn back to the books make this a no-brainer.
Verdict: If anything, I need to prioritize this.
Thumbs Up
Detective Detective by Parnell Hall
Blurb: Stanley Hastings, the world’s most unlikely private eye, a struggling actor/writer trying to support his wife and kid in New York City, who chases ambulances for a negligence lawyer and carries a camera instead of a gun and photographs accident victims and the cracks in the sidewalk that tripped them, tackles his first real case, tracking down the murderers of a client he could not save because he wasn’t a real detective.
My Thoughts: Like the Lynskey book, I have no idea how this ended up on my radar.
Verdict: I dunno, just not feeling this.
Thumbs Down

Books Removed in this Post: 3 / 10
Total Books Removed: 3 / 240

Anyone out there read any of these books? Did I make the right call with any of them?


(Image by moritz320 from Pixabay)

February Plans

Feeling a little daunted by this month (already!). Here’s my Library stack:

There are 4 books I’m doing tours for/promised an author I’d read this month (plus one from December that I thankfully didn’t give a firm commitment to).

My NetGalley Shelf needs to get cleaned out this month:

aaaaand A Blight of Blackwings and The Border (paperback) release tomorrow (each of those should take me 4-8 days to read); False Value and Imaginary Numbers come out the last week of the month–and who knows what else will come out in the meantime (well, anyone who looks at Release Schedules do, but I haven’t done that yet).

Anyone have a couple of extra days they could loan me?

January 2020 in Retrospect: What I Read/Listened to/Wrote About

January in sum: 17 books read, 4,453+ pages (two books—1 audio, 1 e-ARC—don’t have that information available), with an average of 3.8 rating (4 5-star reads!!). I’d have preferred a few more books in general and the ratio between print and audio favors audiobooks more than I’d like, but work’s been so heavy I haven’t been able to read as much (and I can listen while I work most of the time), that trend may continue for the next couple of months. Not going to complain (too much)…probably.

As per usual, I didn’t write quite as many posts as I wanted to, particularly the review-ish kind. But adding a section about non-review-ish posts to this wrap-up makes me feel a lot more productive because I don’t normally think of those posts when I look back at the month. So that’s a cool thing (although most months won’t be as filled with them, I realize).

Anyway, here’s what happened here in the first month of 2020:
Books Read

The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction The Bookish Life of Nina Hill Audiobook Junkyard Cats
5 Stars 5 Stars 3 Stars
Not Dressed The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues Come Tumbling Down
4 Stars 3.5 Stars 4 Stars
A Plague of Giants Audiobook Deep Dark Night Wizard Ring
5 Stars 4 1/2 Stars 2 Stars
Be Frank With Me Operation Large Scotch: O.L.S. Lost Hills
3.5 Stars 1 Star 4 1/2 Stars
Stone Cold Magic The Godwulf Manuscript The Winter Long Audiobook
3.5 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars
The White Man's Guide to White Male Writers of the Western Canon Winterkill
3 Stars 3.5 Stars

Still Reading

Tom Jones Original Cover Institutes of Christian Religion vol 1 The Identity and Attributes of God
A Beginning At The End Bloody Acquisitions

Ratings

5 Stars 4 2 1/2 Stars 0
4 1/2 Stars 2 2 Stars 1
4 Stars 3 1 1/2 Stars 0
3.5 Stars 4 1 Star 1
3 Stars 1
Average = 3.8

TBR Pile
Mt TBR January 20

Breakdowns
“Traditionally” Published: 12
Self-/Independent Published: 5

Genre This Month Year to Date
Children’s 1 (5%) 11 (5%)
Fantasy 3 (16%) 3 (16%)
General Fiction/ Literature 3 (16%) 3 (16%)
Horror 1 (0%) 0 (0%)
Humor 1 (5%) 1 (5%)
Mystery/ Suspense/ Thriller 6 (32%) 6 (32%)
Non-Fiction 1 (5%) 1 (5%)
Science Fiction 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Steampunk 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Theology/ Christian Living 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Urban Fantasy 4 (21%) 4 (21%)
Western 0 (0%) 0 (0%)

Review-ish Things Posted

Other Things I Wroteotherwriting
Other than the Saturday Miscellanies (5th, 11th, and 18th), I also posted:

How was your month?