Winter Days and a Giveaway

This winter has been a funny thing. We've had some extreme cold, but also a lot of really warm, spring-like days. It's one of those winters that's been all over the map. We even saw such extreme wind chills, not experienced here in decades, that the heating oil froze in our pipes froze up and the heat shut off in the middle of night. Had to have an emergency crew out to our house. Never a dull moment, to be sure.

On our warmer days, I've spent a great deal of time outdoors. But as I've chronicled on my New England Living facebook page, some of my favorite things involve very cold days and being forced to stay indoors.

Like drinking herbal tea.

I have been slurping down orange cinnamon tea like there's no tomorrow. Some readers on my facebook page mentioned teas they love like cherry and cinnamon and peach cobbler. Looking to track down some more of those yummy teas before our "historic" storm hits tomorrow.  (I heard the term thundersnow bandied about on the news this morning. Storm Nemo apparently is an overachiever.)

Another wonderful side effect to this cold weather is that I have written. A lot. Super excited about all the ideas I have rolling around my head for this book. Nothing frees my creative juices like winter.

Last month I was sent a copy of The Burn Palace by Stephen Dobyns from Penguins Books. Since it fits in with another one of my favorite winter activities, reading in a warm, bubbly bath in my old claw foot tub, I gladly accepted a copy.

It was quickly obvious why they'd send a copy to me. It takes place in a small, New England town, and I love reading stories that are set in my favorite region. Now, this isn't my normal sort of fare.  When I pick up a book, it is most likely something like Kate Morton - something with a bit of a family mystery and with a historical flair.

The Burn Palace definitely has a mystery, but not a deep, dark family secret, like I'm used to reading about. This mystery involves baby-napping, murder, a scalping, Wiccans, a wild pack of coyotes, strange rituals held out in the woods, cremations, and Satanists. It is a detective story, told mainly from the perspective of the perplexed Rhode Island detectives, one in particular one named Woody. Even though I don't usually read detective novels, I was actually hooked pretty quickly. The story was well-written and moved at a quick pace. And, even better, the climax takes place on Halloween.  If you know me, you know I love that! While the characters in this book won't stay with me and haunt me, I truly loved reading this mystery. Great sort of book to read if you want to be engrossed into something immediately and want something that will keep your interest. And if you love small town, New England, all the better! A word of warning, this is definitely an R-rated sort of book, so you may want to avoid if you are easily offended by swearing, and there is one sex scene.

The Burn Palace is being released today, but if you'd like a chance for a free copy, I will be giving away a copy on my birthday, which is February 28th. Sorry, I can only send to the U.S. If you'd like to be included, leave a comment on this post, letting me know you'd like to be included in the drawing, and if you want to be included twice, like my facebook page as well.  Be sure to let me know that you've liked my facebook page too in a comment, so I know to include your name twice.


  1. I'd like to be included in the drawing and your facebook page was liked a while ago. :) Jackie A.

  2. NeSea - Got you! You will be included twice. :)

  3. I would definitely like to be included...and I've liked your page too! :)

  4. Pattianne - I will include you twice too. Thanks!

  5. I would love to be included! Make sure you have lots of tea before the storm!

    I don't have Facebook.

  6. I'm curious about your writing Alyson. Is it hard for you to avoid all the "mom" and "house" stuff and buckle down. I struggle.

  7. I just stumbled upon your blog, and it's great! I just moved to New England and it's nice to find another New England blogger. I'm trying to get a list together of some quintessentially New England activities, and I feel like reading your blog is a great place to start! Good luck with your book!


  8. I love the village green! It is such a quaint town with so much charm. I would love to read the book you are offering, and hope I win (fingers crossed).
    Thank you for your comment. I read my email to you the next day and realized never to text on an IPad screen when exhausted. LOL! Sorry for that. I'm glad you are deriving inspiration from winter for your writing. I can't wait for your book! Take care during the "thundersnow" and enjoy that tea. I've been obsessed with Stevens cocoa this year it is one really amazing Utah staple, and I had never had it in Arizona :-). Have fun with your family and hope to email again soon.

  9. I also like winter for staying inside, and I've been finding as well that it gets my creative juices flowing. I'm excited to hear about what you've been writing.
    I love your village ice rink so much!

  10. Ooh ohh! Even if I don't win, this sounds like a great book and I'm adding it to my list. I'd love to read it because I'm so fascinated with New England :)

    And I follow you on FB!

  11. Sounds like a great read! If I don't win, can I borrow yours?

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