Tuesday, January 17, 2017

An Uncommon Courtship Book Review

Pictured in my garden.  :-)
An Uncommon Courtship – Hawthorne House Series
Kristi Ann Hunter

•°o•:*:•.HIGHLY EMOTIVE.•:*:• o°•

1814 Hertfordshire, Regency Era, England

Lord Trent Hawthorne is a man among men. He is handsome, wealthy, cultured and extremely cautious of ever getting too close to women.  He has a biblical world-view, and therefore avoids situations that he feels would not make the Lord proud of him. He does not give the gossips any fuel. However, he is a charmer and loved by most of the aristocracy.  
So when his curious nature leads him to investigate a strange horse and singing coming from a dilapidated building on his property, the last thing he expects is to wind up married to a stranger!
How in the world can he find love that way?  The kind of love his family holds so dear.
Lady Adelaide Bell is a klutzy, glasses-wearing, second daughter and of little importance or value to her over-barring mother.  Adelaide has learned how to fade into the background, find comfort in books, and have low expectations of life. However, when her circumstances force her into an unplanned marriage with a man she knows nothing about, how will she ever navigate her new life and the constant questions along with self-doubt she constantly feels.
Many of us overthink and assume potential outcomes.  This book explores those emotions flying through the characters heads as they try to make sense of their new lives.  But God has a plan and will guide them along an interesting quest of discovery.  The descriptions of clothing, room dΓ©cor, Hyde park, ballrooms, etc. is lovely to read. The background characters are wonderful as well. Older brother Griffith is a pillar of strength and wisdom. Ch. 28 “Griffith sighed and set his arms on the edge of the desk… “Trent, you didn’t give your life to Jesus to follow your own plan.  You have to follow His plan, and for whatever reason He gave you Adelaide and you accepted her.  Now what are going to do about it?”
Of course, there are a couple of villains to round out the story.  Besides Adelaide’s mother, a flirtatious Mr. Givendale is a thorn in the story. 
And OH, the pineapples!!! Well, you’ll just have to read the book.

Kristi Ann Hunter has quickly become a favorite author of mine, weaving a wonderful story, and she really captures the Regency era in a lovely way. Plus the book cover is gorgeous!

© January 2017 Bethany House - 344 pages
In exchange for my honest opinion, I received a copy from Bethany House Publ. which I am privileged to provide with no other compensation. 5 stars
Read: 1/15&16/2017 - Reviewed: 1/17/2017 

HAWTHORNE HOUSE SERIES (I love that there are more than 3 books, and we also don’t have to wait forever between stories!)
A Lady of Esteem – Free eNovella – 7/1/2015
A Noble Masquerade – Book 1  9/8/2015 (which I describe as You've Got Mail, Regency style)
An Uncommon Courtship – Book 3 – 1/3/2017
An Inconvenient Beauty – Book – 4 - Griffith Hawthorne’s Story – Scheduled 09/2017

Hugs and a cup of tea,

Reviews Posted to: Amazon.com / Amazon.CA, Amazon.Co.Uk  / Alibris / Barnes And Noble / BooksAMillion / CBD / DeeperShopping  /GoodReads / Google Play /Indigo.CA / Kobo /  Scribd.com / My FB page / Author’s FB page / My Pinterest 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Natl Hot Tea Day 2017 and The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

Today (01/12/2017) marks the 2nd annual Natl. Hot Tea Day in America, according to the Tea Council of the USA. I am commemorating the day with my 1st ever YouTube video (20 seconds - tea hee).  Press play, or right-click and open in a separate tab.

I enjoyed a lovely pot of Flavors of France tea, from a local tea room in Southern California.  I hope you enjoy something warm and wonderful today as well.

I'd like to share with you a lovely book I read this past weekend, in which, appropriately tea abounds.
The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill – Book #1 Tales from Ivy Hill
Julie Klassen

•°o•:*:•.CHARMING.•:*:• o°•

Ivy Hill, Wilshire, England, May 1820

A small English village is such a charming place to visit.  It draws you in, and welcomes you to stay, find community and become invested in its people.

That is how I felt in Ivy Hill, while slipping out of my every-day-life and between the pages this story centered around. Jane Fairmont Bell (age 29) has inherited her husband’s coaching inn, The Bell,  after his sudden death.


She lives her life in a daze, wearing her “widow’s weeds”, relying on the staff to see to running the inn, until one day, its needs can no longer be ignored.  Her brother-in-law, Patrick, has returned to help and eventually her cantankerous mother-in-law, Thora Bell, also returns to shape things up.  There are many problems at hand.  The inn has fallen into disrepair, the bank reveals a large loan that is past due, many people don’t believe Jane can handle the responsibility of being a business woman; particularly the abrasive cook Bertha Rooke, and mystery lies in wait. Additionally, as the story progresses, three potential suitors hint interest at Jane. Personally I am rooting for Gabriel Locke, the Bell’s horse farrier.  But, book 1 is not about Jane finding new love, but rather learning what she is made of, and how to rely on her neighbors.
A favorite storyline was the Ladies Tea and Knitting Society, where local business women meet to discuss business concerns. 
Photo courtesy of Teatime Magazine

–Ch.14 “So the knitting is merely a guise?” “Basically,” Mercy agreed, eyes twinkling. “What about the tea?” Jane asked. “Heavens no. Tea is mandatory. What would a clutch of women do without tea?”
There is an entire patchwork quilt of characters in this story, much like a real village.  I got to know them, enjoyed some, wanted to punch others, fellowshipped in their faith, grieved their losses, and in the end was so delighted to share in their lives.
The author has some lovely pictures, character directory, map of the town (featured herein), etc. all found under TalesFromIvyHill.com.
I enjoyed this story very much and recommend it to others.

Book #1 - © December 2016 Bethany House
444 pages with discussion questions
Book 2 – The Ladies of Ivy Cottage, due out Dec. 2017

I received a copy from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review.
Read: 1/7&8/20176 - Reviewed: 1/12/2017 - 5 stars

Reviews Posted to: Amazon.com / Amazon.CA, Amazon.Co.Uk  / Alibris / Barnes And Noble / BooksAMillion / CBD / DeeperShopping  /GoodReads / Google Play /Indigo.CA / Kobo /  Scribd.com / My FB page / Author’s FB page / My Pinterest 

Hugs and cup of tea,

Friday, January 6, 2017

Psalm 5:11-12 Refreshment

I read these words today in my new Bible study workbook [Jesus Calling: Living A Life of Worship] which I happily found on sale at Sam's Club for only $5.48.

The photo is from my own garden where things pop up of their own accord.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the sweet alyssum not only in the standard white, but also in lavender!


[Psa 5:11-12 NKJV] 11 But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You. 12 For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as [with] a shield.

Have a refreshing day friends.

Hugs and a cup of tea,

Thursday, January 5, 2017

CONTENT - A word for 2017

πŸ“– Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be CONTENT:
Philippians 4:11 NKJV

I love choosing a word to embrace @ the beginning of a new year that will speak life, and glorify the Lord. For me that word is content. It is interesting how easily those "little foxes creep in to spoil the vines", isn't it? We believe we need to post more pictures, which means time for staging more pictures, & editing, buying props, etc. so we too can effectively engage social media. 

I found myself sucked into that world in the last couple of years. Buying more teacups than I have room for, ordering things I don't need, such as the ever-popular "vintage", etc. 

Just checking social media to see if I've missed anything when I could be cleaning the clutter, doing chores, loving the people around me, reading books, and of course reading God's Word; exercising, whatever.

The lust for collections & social media seems to be a form of gluttony, that has left a bad taste in my mouth. 

Luckily in May, I made a commitment with my dad to read the entire Bible before the end of 2016. It was not always easy. But, we encouraged each other & succeeded just before Christmas.
a little graphic I made to commemorate finishing The Word
 The refreshment was so amazing & welcomed in my life. I have deleted my participation in various social pages, & unfriended those who aren't helping me grow in Christ, reduced my blogging,  and plan to give away things that are out of control in my home. I find I have to make a CONSCIOUS EFFORT to not reach for my phone!!! Uuugh...a hard habit to break. So please pray for me if you would. My goal, & I believe God's will for me, is to become more content with what I have. 

Here is a recent moment, out with new friends from church.
Lori, Lisa, Heather, Carol, Terri
We drove to look at Christmas lights, and then had dinner at The Corner Bakery, where we fellowshipped and got to know each better.   It was a lovely time of sharing and laughing.
My annual kitty picture & my copy of Santa Mouse
that I have had since 1971.
I pray that you also will enjoy contentment in your own life, and find joy in the sweetest of little blessings already around you.

Hugs and a cup of tea,

Monday, December 26, 2016

For the Record by Regina Jennings

(borrowed from ReginaJennings.com)
Boondock hill country of Pine Gap, Missouri 1885

In my previous review, for book #2, At Love’s Bidding, Betsy Huckabee is a young girl from the hills who has GREAT insight.  She is spunky, outspoken and very protective of those she cares about.   In this book, she is all grown up and is a local reporter for her uncle’s newspaper.  She has a desire to become a journalist for a major paper someday.  She believes herself to be married to her career, and has carefully avoided suitors up to this point.
Deputy Joel Puckett, from Texas, has been transferred to the tiny town of Pine Gap, and quickly decides it needs his expertise to gain control over the criminals that have been terrorizing the town, along with the local vigilantes trying to protect the town through less than legal means.  Joel carries a secret with him, that has forced him to leave Texas, and he is in no mood for the head-strong reporter who has decided she wants to shadow his every move. Plus, the townspeople seem less than interested in welcoming a new-comer. While it’s been agreed they will provide a horse for him, the tiny pony awaiting him does not exactly command respect.

Betsy is excited to finally have someone new from which to draw on for her stories, so she decides staying close to the new sheriff is her best bet.  However, she also has a responsibility to her uncle’s family, where she feels like an outsider taking advantage, being that she is a full grown woman, and still living under his roof.  If she can just use the new sheriff for inspiration, maybe she could make some money selling fictional stories to a larger paper.
She soon finds there is much more to Joel Puckett than inspiration, and he finds there is more to the strong-headed local girl than just being a nosy, in-the-way reporter.
I enjoyed this historical, Christian romance, that weaves wit and mystery into the story, and recommend it to others.
Find it for an excellent price here: CBD
5 stars

© 2016 Bethany House
329 pages

I received a copy from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, November 7, 2016


Finding Margo
Jen Turano
•°o•:*:•. OY! I loved this book .•:*:• o°•

OY! I loved this book, is how I promised Jen Turano I would start my review (if, of course, I DID love it), because she had commented that nothing good ever starts with “OY!” after a not-so-nice comment was posted on an unrelated review. And, I am happy to turn that around because I certainly did enjoy this modern mystery romance, filled with faith, animals, some Amish ways, and true-to-Jen comedy stylings.

I don’t usually read modern fiction, but if Jen is writing it, I am reading it!  This mystery about modern pop-star Margo Hartman had me guessing the entire time, particularly since the mystery goes back more than 20 years.  Margo has bolted from her high-pressure life, via a quick dye job and a vintage mini-cooper to simply get away and see where the open road takes her.  However, her adventure is cut short, when an unexpected guest joins her, and causes her to seek help in a nearby town primarily home to Amish and Mennonite families.  I won’t give the guest away, but she’s a favorite!  Seems Margo’s adventure may be only just beginning.

Deputy Brock Moore has been tirelessly following up on a case that he has a personal connection to, when, a stranger shows up in town.  Determined to figure her out, he sticks close and ultimately realizes she may need his protection.  He’s a really good man, who is too hard on himself, and a natural servant.

I really enjoyed how the various cultures blended in this story; simple country folk, crazy stage mom and Hollywood types, a “slightly famous” (-smile) pop-star, Amish and Mennonite people.  Mrs. Hershberger is extremely clever and has a good heart, who helps the story in many ways.

Ch. 5 was a “holy cr*p!! moment that caught me completely off guard.  Won’t spoil it for you, but when that happens, well, that’s good writing.   Ch. 19 had a big reveal that brought me to tears. OY! My heart!  There are times when you just want to slap those ultra-rich, have-no-clue characters. And then there are tender moments:

It is my great privilege to be included in Jen Turano’s Influencer List and I received this copy for no compensation.  My opinion is strictly my own, and I highly recommend this five-star book.

Oh, and as a side note, I have to say Bravo! To Gilead  Pub. for their excellent packaging of the book, in cardboard so it did not get damaged (like those blasted golden, padded envelopes that never quite survive shipping). I thank you for the book & the packaging!

Read: 11/5/2016

SERIES: Finding Home

Until next time; 
hugs and a cup of tea,

Friday, November 4, 2016


While the weekend may be a time to relax, don't forget to be a blessing to others. Find little ways throughout your day... Compliment a cashier, send a note to a senior in your life, use social media to uplift instead of complain, pick some flowers and put them in a jar with a little note on a neighbor's porch, text a prayer to someone instead of just saying you will pray for them. Let your little light shine!

As for me, I bought these flowers at Trader Joe's today and wanted to share that with you! Enjoy your weekend... for God's glory!

Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Here is a fun craft you can do
with your Littles.

Start with a pumpkin picture glued to cardstock,
or simply draw one.  I just happened to have these pumpkins
left over from last year, so I used rubber cement to glue them to a piece of folded cardstock to make a book, and trimmed around 3/4 of it.

Pumpkin seeds (ours are baked because that's what somebody brought us).
Glue. Cinnamon stick cut in 1/2 with pliers.
Green pipe cleaner cut in 1/2 w/scissors.

Take a black marker to write the words inside, unless your Littles
are old enough to write.  If that is the case, write the words
on a separate piece of paper so they can practice
their writing skills.
Have them color pulp inside with an orange marker or crayon.
Have them glue pumpkin seeds inside & ask them to count the seeds.
Use plenty of white glue for the cinnamon stick & the pipe cleaner.

Read the story.

Then ask questions about each part.
What color is the pumpkin?  What do pumpkins grow on? Then have your Littles "read" it back to you and to other family members.  Later, at dinner, in the car, etc.  ask questions again.  Hey, do you remember who makes pumpkins? etc.

I hope you enjoy this fun learning craft!

Harvest Blessings,

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Welcome November

Excited for my Advance Reader Copy from my favorite author.
Busy little bee on my jasmine.

Currently dealing with a head cold, but grateful for chicken soup, echinacea tea, airborne, and OJ. And grateful for friends like you.

God bless you!
Rejoice, you people of Jerusalem!
Rejoice in the LORD your God!
For the rain he sends demonstrates his faithfulness.
Once more the autumn rains will come, as well as the rains
of spring. Joel 2:23