Friday, May 5, 2017

The Fifth Petal

The-Fifth-Petal-2899342.jpg (250×250)Title: The Fifth Petal

Author: Brunonia Barry

Narrator: Ann Marie Lee

Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio, 2017

Format: 14 compact discs, 18 hours

Genre: mystery

Obtained: library

Summary: In 1989, three beautiful young women, known as "The Goddesses" were murdered in Salem, Massachusetts.  In 2016, a teen aged boy dies under mysterious circumstances.  Rose Whelen, a now homeless woman, was present at both these incidents.  Could the murders be related and was Rose the killer?

Thoughts:  I loved this book!  It was a complex, detailed, slow paced novel that I didn't want to end.   The author obviously did a tremendous amount of research in many areas for this book, and it is amazing how she brings everything together.
     The story bounced from the 1600's to the 1980's to present day, but was written in a way that was not confusing at all and connected the three time periods together.  Salem was the perfect setting for this story and I felt like I was there.  It helped that I grew up near Salem and have been there many times, but I believe she really captured the ambience of Salem in all three time periods.  There is an undercurrent of mysticism throughout the book which keeps the reader wondering if the killer is real or supernatural.
     This was a powerful and entertaining murder mystery and story, showing what a present day witch hunt might be like.  The author veers off the main thread of the novel relaying character's back and personal stories which I thought were fascinating and added to the character development.  I felt like I knew all the characters and could easily picture them in my mind.  The author also weaves the history of Salem, mythology (especially Celtic), Wicca practises, religions, and New Age healing techniques (mostly singing bowls) into the story.  All of these topics were of interest to me and kept me engaged.
     At first I did not like the narrator's voice, but I did get used to it.  The narrator did read at a good pace and spoke clearly.  There was just something about the voice she did of Callie, the main character, that annoyed me at times.  It seemed over dramatized.
     The only thing I did not like about this novel was that sometimes the author would repeat things numerous times.  Maybe some readers need this in a complex story, but I did not believe that it was necessary.  I wanted to edit the repetitions out.  This was a minor issue and probably would not bother most readers.
     The writer definitely takes her time telling the main story, giving out information about the major plot slowly.  This is not a book for someone that likes a quick, suspenseful read.  Also, if the reader is not interested in New Age, Wicca practises, mythology, religions, or the Salem witch trials, he or she may get frustrated reading this book because the writer weaves all these things into her story.


Company: Tigerlily Tea Company

Tea: Organic Cherry Rose Green

Obtained: purchased

     Last weekend I went to the Mystic Aquarium with my family.  After enjoying the aquarium, we walked across the street to Old Mistick Village  to some shops to get some beverages for the long trip home.  I was very happy to discover many places to get tea.  I picked the Tigerlily Tea Company to get my beverage.
     Since my family was really ready to hit the road, I quickly explored the small tea shop.  It was wonderful.  For a small shop they had a surprising variety of teas.  The store was set up with a jar of each tea available so that shoppers could walk around, see the leaves, and experience the scent of each.  The prepackaged teas were right behind each jar so they could be picked up and carried around the shop while exploring.  There was a nice variety of tea ware for purchase as well.  I loved that both the owners (husband and wife) were there to answer any questions customers had about tea and their products, but they were not pushy at all, and let people browse.  Just hearing little snippets of conversations I could tell the friendly owners had a wealth of information about tea drinking and were happy to share their knowledge and experiences with customers.  The owners were very passionate about Chinese tea, health, and the environment. They  have direct relationships with the growers and tea masters from which they get their teas and are dedicated to promoting Chinese tea culture.  
     It was very hard to pick out just a couple of bags to purchase, but I chose Orange Black, Cinnamon Black, and Organic Cherry Rose Green.  I also got my cup of tea to go- Lemon Mango- which was a delicious caffeine free blend that lemon lovers would greatly enjoy.  The lemon flavor was prominent, but the mango was in there too.  Tigerlily Tea Company has "to-go" cups in which leaves are put right into the cup.  The lid has a filter built right in.  I was concerned that, after a little bit, the tea would get bitter because it would be constantly steeping on my ride home, but that was not the case- it was "good to the last drop" and I even used the leaves again to brew another cup when I arrived home.  It was just as good as the first one.  The owner even suggested washing out the cup and reusing it.  For $3.50  for a cup of tea to go, customers really get their money's worth.
     The first tea I sampled at home was the Organic Cherry Rose Green tea.  The tea was packaged in a good quality, resealable, foil-lined bag.  The leaves alone were beautiful.  The long green tea leaves had large pink rose petals mixed in.  The excellent quality of the tea was apparent just by looking at the leaves.  The scent was strong- first of sweet cherries, then of rose.  I poured 12 ounces of water which had been boiled over 1 1/2 heaping teaspoons of leaves and let this brew for 4 minutes.  The liquid was yellow and the scent was of sweet cherries.  The taste was light, delicate, and refreshing.  There was a very pleasing sweetness to this tea.  There was no bitterness or sourness present.  This was a delicious blend of rose, cherry, and green tea. I used the same leaves to brew another cup, and again, the second cup was just as good as the first. 
     I highly recommend visiting this tea shop.  There were teas available in the shop that are not available online and it is wonderful to be able to see and experience the scent of the teas before purchasing them.  Also, anyone interested in tea would love to meet the owners and have the opportunity to learn from them.  I know I will be back.

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