Sunday, February 17, 2019

THE HIGHEST OF HOPES


CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE
HIGHLY EMOTIVE
May 1919, three strangers board the SS Olympic and form a friendship before docking in Canada to search for family. Emmaline Moore is traveling with her long-time friend, Jonathan Rowe, who is suffering from horrible seasickness.

Arriving in Toronto, Emmaline is anxious to find her father. A man she believed long-dead. Having returned from the war, Jonathan is determined to share his true feelings with Emma and convince her to begin a life with him while he goes to school at Oxford. “Nobody really won in a war he’d learned. It ate at your soul long after the gunfire had faded.”
Emma has ideas of her own, and they don’t involve the man who abandoned her for the war. She is determined to surprise the father she romanticized as a sort of hero figure and stay in Canada to develop a relationship with him. 
“Soon, with God’s blessing, she would embark on a new life with a family she’d never met, but who, Emma prayed would accept her graciously into their fold. Maybe then the emptiness inside her would finally be filled, and at last she’d feel whole.”
However, her new family is anything but pleased to see her and rather than welcoming her, tries to keep her true identity a secret.  There is animosity, hurt and a nosy reporter determined to discredit her father.

I loved the romantic scene at the Italian restaurant – “The other man sat down on a stool and pulled out an ancient-looking squeezebox. …The music changed tempo and this time there was no doubt the man was singing a love song. The longing in his voice struck a chord deep within xxx.” (no spoilers)
I could not help but picture Disney’s Lady and the Tramp when Tony, the restaurant owner, sings Bella Notte (giggle). Click for Video Clip of Lady And The Tramp - Bella Notte famous spaghetti scene
  
While the story did not go as I expected, I was actually glad it wasn’t cookie cutter.  The ending was very satisfying and I definitely teared up.

Tea Moment: “Oh, and might we have a pot of tea, if it’s not too much trouble?”
“The kettle’s already on the stove.” Her landlady winked.

I enjoyed reading the author’s notes about how her own grandmother was moved from England to Canada and told that her father was dead, when he was very much alive! She discovered so while doing ancestry research.

I recommend this story if you enjoy drama and romance in a historical setting.

Thank you NetGalley and to the author and Bethany House Publishing who sent me a review copy. 
My opinion is my own without expectation or compensation.
Amazon Link

Canadian Crossings Series
1 The Best of Intentions – Grace Abernathy’s story 07/2018
2 The Highest of Hopes – Emmaline Moore’s story 03/05/2019
3 TBD - Quinten Aspinall’s story

Click for her Website

Residing in Brampton, Ontario, Canada with her husband, children and cats; Susan describes her writing style as ‘romance sprinkled with faith.’ She loves incorporating inspirational messages of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness into her characters’ journeys.

Connect with the author at SusanAnneMason.net 

Until next time, hugs and a cup of tea!



 

Friday, February 8, 2019

Ever Faithful – A Vintage national Parks Novel – by Karen Barnett


As someone who has traveled to Yellowstone when I was a teen, I really enjoyed getting to virtually revisit the park!

Ever Faithful – A Vintage national Parks Novel – by Karen Barnett
***Kept Me Guessing***
Yellowstone Natl Park, WY, 1933
This story focuses on the Pack Rats, Pillow Punchers, and Pearl Divers also known as the park’s hotel staff, or Savages (smile) as well as some Rangers, and President Roosevelt’s new Civilian Conservation Corps (the CCC).

22-year old Elsie Brookes has been working summers to save enough money to earn a teaching degree and go to college like her friend’s Mary and Rose.
Teddy Vaughn is a new ranger who gives her stomach flutters, but she needs to focus on her job and caring for her ailing mother, not to mention her closely guarded secret.
Sweet Scripture Reference: “Yes, indeed. ‘Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”  It’s not just the key to a happy home, Elsie-” “I know. It’s the key to a happy life.” Only her parents could make the golden rule sound romantic.

Joining the CCC camp are many struggling young men, arriving from New York area, who haven’t seen work or a decent meal in a long while. This is their chance to earn a paycheck to send home, learn a trade and get a free education.  But for Nate Webber, it’s his chance to keep his younger brother out of jail.  He had never been out of the city and wasn’t sure what to expect. “The sky back home had never looked like this. He could almost touch it, brush his finger against the glittering edges of the distant stars. “God”. He breathed the word, more in reverence than in vain. What other response could a man have in the face of such wonder?” Working out in nature may be just what he needs, plus no one need know about his shameful secret.

The park descriptions are lovely: “A small herd of elk grazed on the green lawn surrounding the lodge.  A cow elk, heavy with her unborn calf, lifted her head to stare back, chewing leisurely.  The animals had over three thousand square miles of park to wander but seemed to prefer it here.”

The mystery of the story kept me guessing all the way through.  There are several characters that keep the story in interesting.  I loved the raccoons!

Tea Moment: “Her friend took a sip of her coffee and made a face. “Why do I always think I’m going to like this stuff? I want to be all modern and sophisticated with my black coffee, but I still prefer iced tea.””
Amen Sister!! (haha)

NOTE: This is a stand-alone novel available 06/18/2019, and fine to read out of order, as per the author.
The first 2 books are “Where the Fire Falls” and “The Road to Paradise” which I both really enjoyed.
5 Stars.

FREE STUFF – Go to the author’s website Karen Barnett Books dot com to keep up with her news and click FREE STUFF to get a free novelette, vintage style postcards, digital poster and bonus eBook “Women of the National Parks”.  Amazing!


Thank you to Waterbrook Publishing and NetGalley for a digital edition. My opinion is my own and given freely. 

Until next time, hugs and a cup of tea, Heather Elizabeth

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

A Return of Devotion 5 Star Book Review

Since it is pouring rain and has been for several days,
rather than staging my book, I am borrowing the Author's graphic.
A Return of Devotion – Haven Manor Book 2 - by Kristi Ann Hunter

***Another Superb Regency Era Read by Kristi Ann Hunter!***
We return to Haven House following book 1, A Defense of Honor, with preparations having been made for the owner to take up residence.  (It will be important to read book 1 prior to this one). 
Daphne Blakemoor, by all accounts, seems to be a daft, incapable housekeeper upon the arrival of Lord William Oswald, the new Marquis of Chemsford.  However, the Marquis bears so striking a resemblance to one of the children Daphne cares for that she is immediately struck dumb when she sees him.
The two have many questions they are able unable to voice or are not quite sure how to and various moments of hilarity, covert operations, and deep thoughts ensue.
Ch. 1 “It might be worth keeping Mrs. Brightmoor around simply for the plethora of surprises that came along with her.”
At times Daphne’s thoughts are so moving I felt them deeply and even cried for or with her.
Ch. 11 “She would never possess the ability or courage to guide anyone anywhere, but she could raise up a Joshua just as Moses had done.  These children…were her next generation. They were the ones God was preparing to go forth into the world and live for Him.
Daphne has a huge imagination! Ch. 11 “… leaving Daphne to go into her own pre-sleep routine. The one where she drifted away to a life other than the one she had.” Ok, that right there shook me! I have done that since I was a very young girl and never expected to read about someone else (even fictional) doing it too. I think it’s why my dream life is extremely crazy! ((smile))
I love the supporting character, Jess.  We know she was a spy, but not much beyond that.  She has mad knife and culinary skills and she makes me laugh a lot! Her sarcasm is on point. Ch. 19 “I could put a bit of foxglove in xxx’s breakfast,” Jess murmured. (xxx to avoid spoiler).  She also genuinely cares for the people around her, giving wise counsel and fierce devotion as needed.
William has wonderful strength of character. I really liked him. Ch. 34 “Forgiveness is an interesting thing. Unlike a lot of other things in life, it’s easy to ask for and hard to accept.”

Tea Moment: Ch. 2 “In the new woman’s hands was a tray. Steam rose from the teapot that sat in the center, surrounded by a cup, saucer, and an assortment of small sandwiches and biscuits.” … “As he bit into a biscuit, an explosion of flavors he couldn’t identify but refused to live the rest of his life without filled his mouth.”

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to the next one in the series.

Thank you to Bethany House, the author and NetGalley for a copy. My opinion is my own and given freely. Keep updated on the author’s website, Kristi Ann Hunter dot com

Haven Manor Series:
“The Haven Manor series follows a group of women who take what could have been a life-crushing circumstance and turned it into an opportunity to help desperate women and their children from the same fate. Their pasts may have brought these women here, but God has an amazing future in store for them.” -Author’s Website
Book 0.5 A Search for Refuge (Margaretta’s Story) 03/2018 FREE eNovella (available in print 2019 in the 3 author collection Love At Last)
Book 1 A Defense of Honor (Kit’s Story) 06/05/2018
Book 1.5 Legacy of Love (Sarah’s Story) 10/2018 Novella in The Christmas Heirloom Collection featuring 4 different authors
Book 2 A Return of Devotion – Daphne’s Story - available Feb. 5, 2019
Coming Soon – Jess’s Story 

Hugs and a cup of tea,

Thursday, January 10, 2019

HOT TEA MONTH


January is National Hot Tea Month so this morning I pulled out my Mother's Bouquet by Harney & Sons which features Chamomile (the only tea I like with that flower), rose, cornflowers, orange rind, & natural orange flavor. It's very relaxing and oh-so-pretty.

 
January 12th, is National Hot Tea Day in the U.S.! How will you celebrate?


Until next time, hugs and a cup of tea!
Heather Elizabeth

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Flights of Fancy – Romantic Dramedy that ticks ALL the Boxes

Today is RELEASE DAY for Flights of Fancy – American Heiresses Series Book 1 by Jen Turano - Be sure to scroll past my review to read a fun, real-life story from Jen!

•*• Romantic Dramedy that ticks ALL the Boxes •*•
I really don’t know how Jen Turano can wield a pen rather like a magic wand and hit every box I hope for from Romance to Drama to Comedy to Danger to Faith to Historic Charm to Interesting Characters – including wonderful animals (Oh, the animals) and adorable children.  And she does it all inside ONE BOOK!  She truly never disappoints and remains number 1 on my go-to authors list!

1885 Newport, NY –
Part of the New York Four Hundred, Isadora Delafield has been groomed since birth to flawlessly comport herself at every social affair with the hopes of her mother that she will acquire only the most elite of husbands.  Much to her mother’s delight and her own horror, a vile duke with a questionable past begins pursuing her. 
“What a wonderful sense of humor you have, darling, but do know that you might want to allow the duke more time to become better acquainted with you before you bring out that humor again.  We wouldn’t want him to conclude you have a sarcastic side, would we?”

With no time to waste, decisions are made to help Isadora escape where no one would ever think to look for her. “Beatrix narrowed her eyes. “How in the world did your family butler, Mr. Godkin, and my family butler, Mr. Hatfield, get involved in what I’m going to assume is some type of outlandish plan?””

Canonsburg, PA
Ian MacKenzie is a self-made businessman, who has been able to climb the ladder of success with the help of his charming Aunt Birdie and Uncle Amos.  As all manner of chaos descends on Glory Manor, his horrified housekeeper up and quits leaving him in desperate need of a new one. Ian has a big heart, and ahem, a big chest.  While he tries to be all business, he has trouble maintaining that side around the newly arrived Izzie.

TEA MOMENT: “We were about to get some tea.” “Then I’ve arrived just in time.” As Ian took her arm and Jonathon walked on the other side of her, Isadora soon found herself seated at the best table in the tearoom.
(Humorous) FAITH MOMENT: Aunt Birdie glanced to the oven, then turned back to Isadora, reaching out to place a hand on Isadora’s arm. “My dear, it’s always been my belief that God gives all of us certain gifts. You, I’m confident in saying, have not been given a gift as pertains to anything involving a stove.”

This book definitely hooked me and I cannot wait for book 2!

American Heiresses Series:
Flights of Fancy – book 1 Jan 1, 2019
Diamond in the Rough – book 2 coming soon

I received a complimentary book in the hopes of a favorable review, with no further compensation.
Bethany House Publishing - 5 stars
I also wanted to share this adorable book keychain
made by: Literary Treasures which Jen
gifted to those of us on her ARC team for Christmas. 
I opted to use it as an ornament on my tree
which will be fun to pull out each year!

CONNECT WITH JEN TURANO HERE – SHE IS AMAZING!

I am not the greatest at doing interviews with authors, so instead, I thought I would share a fun story Jen Turano wrote on her FB page.  It seems she has lots of comedy moments in her real life to draw from.

“So normally this would be a pic I'm sharing of the first sighting of "Flights of Fancy" in a store. But, this is me after all, so my first sighting turned somewhat...interesting. You see, Al (husband person) and I were out and about and Al wanted to stop at a golf store to get a new grip on one of his clubs. Every time I step foot in a golf store I feel as if the life is being sucked right out of me, which is why I had him drop me off at a different plaza, one that had a Barnes & Noble in it - my kind of plaza :)  I no longer make any attempt to get out on my release day to enjoy the sight of my books on a real bookstore shelf because I always arrive before those books have been unpacked, something that makes my trip rather anticlimactic - So there I am, just making my way to the history section to see if anything looks interesting and as I strode past Christian Fiction I saw this book and thought 'Hmm...now that's a cute cover." Haha - yeah, it was my book. After I got over the shock of actually seeing my book, and before the official release date, I dug in my purse, pulled out my phone, snapped a pic, and then...honestly...I have no idea why this stuff happens to me. A lady came up to me and began lecturing me about taking pics of books in order to buy them somewhere less expensive. The conversation only went downhill from there. I'm apparently awful with explaining to people what I do for a living and even though I told the lady it was my book, well, she just didn't seem capable of grasping that idea. I finally, after she threatened to call for a store employee, dug out one of my flyers, although that probably wasn't my most brilliant of ideas since she evidently thought I was going for a weapon - hahaha - Fearing I would soon find myself arrested, I thrust the flyer at her, said something like "Again, I'm Jen Turano, the author of that book," and with a light finally going on in her eyes, I made a speedy escape. This will probably be the last pic any of you see from me of one of my books on the shelf because...whew - the drama was just a bit much, even for me!!! Anyway...my book is apparently making its way into stores - so...how cool is that???? Have a great week.” –Jen 12/30/2018

This is the tea in my cup making that gorgeous deep red color
matching Isadora's dress :)
Not one, but two, seperate girlfriends who each live in
AL sent me a pouch :) How fun is that?!

Wishing you a lovely New Year.  Hugs and a cup of tea! 
Heather Elizabeth


Sunday, December 16, 2018

Giveaway, Tea Review, Book Review for A Bound Heart

Hello! It's me again!!


•*• Like a fantastic miniseries you can’t wait to watch each night •*•
This story is so authentic and heartfelt. I was swept up in the emotion of it all the way through.

Publisher’s Synopsis: Though Magnus MacLeish and Lark MacDougall grew up on the same castle grounds, Magnus is now laird of the great house and the Isle of Kerrera. Lark is but the keeper of his bees and the woman he is hoping will provide a tincture that might help his ailing wife conceive and bear him an heir. But when his wife dies suddenly, Magnus and Lark find themselves caught up in a whirlwind of accusations, expelled from their beloved island, and sold as indentured servants across the Atlantic. Yet even when all hope seems dashed against the rocky coastline of the Virginia colony, it may be that in this New World the two of them could make a new beginning--together.
My thoughts: This story takes you on an amazing journey beginning in 1752, rich in detail, from the beautiful isle of Kerrara including the castle and its garden, the small cottage homes, the caves where a pirating sea captain offloads his cargo, to the grime and misery of Edinburgh, to the awful ship where indentures and prisoners serve during transport, to the young colonies of America and the slave islands of Jamaica. Lark is a simple and sweet young lady full of never-ending kindness.  Her heart is linked to Magnus whom she cannot have. At times she considers Rory, the pirate captain, who may be her best chance at a future. Later she is drawn to Trevor who might meet her needs in America when her options seem to be running out.  No matter her thoughts, she continually seeks the Lord for wisdom and guidance. This book is so rich in history, faith and love. I truely enjoyed. 5 stars!

Interesting History can be found on Wikipedia re Gylen Castle which recently went through a restoration process thanks to worldwide members of the Clan MacDougall. 

SCOTTISH PROVERB: The devil’s boots don’t creak.
FAITH QUOTE: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world.
TEA  QUOTES/MOMENTS: •*• “None could afford salt – or tea – since the Crown taxed both nigh to death.” •*• “Now, shall we have a dish of tea?” No more was said about the past. Lark felt a burden lift like a slate wiped clean. The lovely porcelain tea set appeared, the cozy room suffused with the fragrance of souchong. Though the housekeeper took her tea lain, she remembered Lark liked otherwise. Silver sugar tongs and a small jug of cream sat on the tea table. Truly, tea was the cup that cheered.” •*•“’Twas four o’clock in the afternoon. Lark watched as Mistress Flowerdew poured steaming water into a silver teapot and let the tea leaves steep for the customary three minutes. “I’m growing quite fond of cups with handles,” Theodosia said. “No more burning one’s hands and spilling tea on one’s skirts. I’ve ordered an entire set of Wedgwood from England and expect it any day now.””
I asked her permission to use her
memes which she graciously granted.
DEDICATION: “To my sixth great-grandfather, George Hume of Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland.”
SCOTS GLOSSARY: Can be found at the beginning of the book which was useful and interesting.

I downloaded a complimentary book in the hopes of a favorable review, with no further compensation thanks to NetGalley and Revell Publ.

Connect with the author at
Laura Frantz dot Net




https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/285386-a-bound-heart
Goodreads is having a giveaway for 5 copies!
CLICK LINK ABOVE TO ENTER!


Hallmark Countdown to Christmas Tea by The Republic of Tea: Exclusive to Cost Plus World Market. I had a 15% off coupon AND Saturday, Dec. 15 was apparently International Tea Day (you know that’s every day for me!) so I bought and tried this new “tea”. Turns out there are no tea leaves in it, making it caffeine free. The ingredients are cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, carob, chicory, black pepper, Chinese star anise, cloves, and cassia oil.  I found it to be subtle and not as warm as I would hope, but I could detect the black pepper which I do not prefer.  I would not buy it again. But it is a nice caff-free option to serve guests.
I love following  @WorldDayCalendar on
Instagram for fun and interesting days to observe!




My girlfriend in AL sent me
this and I thought it too funny and also true!
Until next time, hugs and cup of cozy Christmas tea!!!
 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Natl Christmas Card Day is Dec 9th

DECEMBER 9TH IS NATIONAL CHRISTMAS CARD DAY
SO I AM ALL SET TO GO WITH CHRISTMAS MUSIC,
CHRISTMAS TEA, CHRISTMAS COOKIES
PINE SCENTED CHRISTMAS CANDLES & CARD NECESSITIES!



Dec. 9 is #NationalChristmasCardDay 🎄📬❤ & even though I had every intention of being done before Thanksgiving,🦃 well that didn't happen. What better day than today! Can you believe a standard U.S. postage stamp is now .50 cents? 


📝 The first Christmas cards were sent in 1843 & commissioned in London by Sir Henry Cole. John Callcott Horsely illustrated the card, featuring a family toasting and feasting.🎄💌



King George V and Queen Mary —
 Queen Elizabeth II's grandparents —
 sent this greeting card to their troops fighting in World War I.


Since the beginning of their use, Chrismas cards have been collected. Queen Mary had a large collection that is now exhibited in the British Museum.
1942 To follow in her grandparents' footsteps, a young
 Princess Elizabeth mailed out cards to the Grenadier Guards
 regiment of the British Army, who were fighting in World War II.


I adore vintage postcards IF they have legible messages. Attached is my 1909 post card that reads: 
Merry Xmas Lee. I will be good to you and send you a card because you were good and came to see us this summer. 
Your friend, Mrs. L.N.S.
🤣 Apparently, her cards had to be earned!
I wonder if senders felt a one cent stamp was a lot?
Wishing you every joy this season.
Why not spread a little cheer
with a Christmas Card and a sweet note inside?

Hugs and a cup of Christmas tea to you!
Cheers!!