Monday, July 31, 2017

A Name Unknown 5 Star Book Review

A Name Unknown – Shadows Over England, Book#1, Roseanna M. White
* CLEVER & CAPTIVATING *

I LOVED this book. In short, two very different worlds collide in London, 1914, when a so-called city librarian goes to work for an introverted gentleman at his country estate and when the world is on the brink of war with suspicions running high. 

The story of Rosemary Gresham and Peter Holstein is so cleverly written.  It kept me guessing, laughing out loud, and choking back lumps as tears streamed down my face. 

Because of Rosemary’s background, she is the perfect person to send undercover into the home of Peter Holstein, and discover if his allegiance is to the Germans or to England.  After all, he has the ear of King George.

Peter is a gentleman and a man of God.  He also comes from a family of packrats who never ever toss a scrap of paper out! When a stranger shows up on his doorstep offering to help him find his family documents, buried somewhere within the home which will finally put to rest where his allegiance lies, he fully believes it is simply part of God’s plan and has no reason not to trust her. 

Rosemary must stay in character, avoid danger at multiple turns, keep her growing friendship with Peter at bay, and provide for and protect her own family from a distance. 

I was so moved in chapter 10 when Peter says he writes prayers for others so they can have no doubt he is praying for them as he said he would.  I do the very same thing!  And later when a certain someone has their head resting in an unexpected someone’s lap in the cottage, I was moved to tears. 

Favorite Quote – Ch. 23 “Don’t wait around for life to happen to you, Peter.  Give it a good chase.”

Powell & Bishop Riverhouse Designs 1800s Ironstone Sugar Bowl
Tea Moment - Ch 4: Tea sloshed from her cup as she poured it, but that was only to be expected. “How does anyone live like this?” Willa poked a finger at the tea service. “Happily I should think.” Rosemary opened the little bowl by the teapot and let out an involuntary squeak. Sugar!” And it wasn’t even Christmas.
 (5 stars)
It is my privilege to be included in Roseanna M. White’s Influencer List and I received this copy for no compensation from BETHANY HOUSE PUBL.  My opinion is my own.
Read: 7/28&29/2017
SERIES: Shadows Over England
A Name Unknown –  Book #1 July 2017
A Song Unheard – Book #2 January 2018
An Hour Unspent – Book #3 tba
Hardcover
Paperback
Book 2


Link to Author Web Page
Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels…to offset her real life, which is blessedly boringBeing educated at St. John’s College (the Great Books School) taught Roseanna to ask questions, to value conversation, and to never accept the simple answer without exploring it for herself. She and her family make their home in the mountains of West Virginia where she and her husband both grew up. Roseanna is a member of ACFW, a frequent speaker at writers events and small groups of readers, and an unabashed email addict.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

12 Days at Bleakly Manor 5 Star Book Review

•°o•:*:•. Wow! Game of ‘Clue’ set in 1850 London .•:*:• o°•
This story had so many twists and turns and really kept me guessing.  It very much reminded me of the game of Clue with its quirky characters and mysterious manor. It kept me guessing all the way through. Each person had received an invitation to celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas (Dec 25 to Jan 5). Each guest received a cryptic invitation and would win a gift important only to them IF they could last the entire time.  Kindhearted Clara and honorable Benjamin each received invitations, not knowing the other had as well.  Each had suffered much, and finding their way back to each other was unexpected for both, but because of their faith and buried love for one another, it was not as difficult as they would have imagined.  The big reason for the mystery was not one I would have guessed AT ALL!  What a fun and unique surprise. A favorite supporting character was Miss Scurry and her box of “friends”.  She was a kind hearted elderly lady who just wanted companionship. There are plenty of tea drinking moments as well.
I enjoyed this story very much, and the cover is gorgeous!

© To be released September 2017, Shiloh Run Press, 182 pages – 31 chapters

I received an advance eCopy from NetGalley., in exchange for my honest opinion which I am privileged to provide, with no further compensation.

SERIES: Once Upon A Dickens Christmas

Book #2 A Tale of Two Hearts is expected in Fall 2018

About the Author: Michelle Griep has been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones while rambling around a castle. Michelle is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and MCWG (Minnesota Christian Writers Guild). Keep up with her adventures at her blog "Writer off the Leash" or visit michellegriep.com.

Hugs and a Christmas (in July) Cup of Tea,

Monday, July 24, 2017

BLOGGED VIDEOS DON'T SHOW IN EMAILS

GOOD MORNING!

Just a head's up that the videos I included in my blog post yesterday do not attach in the email version if you happen to subscribe that way. You need to click the actual link so you are taken directly to the blog to see the fun videos, such as me talking under the bridge, the lovely water gurgling over the rocks, etc.
Have a great day friends!  Hugs and a cup of tea!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Adventure is Out There

Dear friends, loved ones and acquaintances,

Friday I went adventuring! That may not be a word, but who cares; I’m having fun! A few years ago, my daughter worked a summer at a Christian camp in Forest Falls, CA.  I have fond memories of visiting her there.  I decided to drive up for my day off.  The part I intended to visit has changed quite a bit, with new construction happening in the exact spot I had pictured myself in! EEEEEEEK!

But, I drove a bit further and took a chance.  As I approached a bridge, I could see a lovely little river flowing. 

I promptly ignored the ‘no trespassing’ suggestions, because let’s face it; a chubby white middle-aged girl is really no threat to anyone.  Guess I’m just a rebel like that.

I grabbed my backpack and hiked down, and by hike I mean 3 minutes at a somewhat steep incline, but not really too steep or I wouldn’t do it! Ha ha.

I was SO VERY HAPPY! The water was so lovely cascading over the rocks like sparkly diamonds, but so much better because this was out in nature and not a bazillion dollars under fluorescent lights!  I’d guess it was only about a foot deep or so in the center.  

I poured a cup of tea, because what good teatotaler doesn’t take fine china to the river?  
As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good old way
And who shall wear the starry crown
Good Lord, show me the way!
O sisters, let's go down,
Let's go down, come on down
O sisters, let's go down
Down in the river to pray

“We’re all mad here” anyhow. Right? 


I peeled off my socks & shoes, and plunged my purple painted toes into the icy water!  It was GLORIOUS!
There was one lone but lovely yellow flower growing out of the sandy dirt nearby.  A small black bird fluttered and landed on a rock in the sun.  
I took several pictures with my phone, and then decided to turn on my GPS just in case a bear showed up and ate me… and hopefully not my phone.

I was able to pull out my Bible and read Psalm 150.  So lovely to be in His presence there.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
I also brought along ‘Love Does’. A wonderful collection of memories shared by Bob Goff.  He writes with such wit and charm.  The story I randomly choose just happened to be about him wanting to be a Forest Ranger as a young man.  How appropriate, I thought. But, when he found out he didn’t actually get to live in the forest, and do awesome foresty things, but rather write tickets to naughty people trespassing in the forest -ahem, and there weren’t any girls to be found; he decided perhaps a career choice change was in order.  The chapter is titled The Rearview Mirror if you’re interested. 


I brought along fresh, dark red cherries and listened to the water roll over the rocks.   

After about an hour, & still thinking about a bear, I wiped the sand off my feet, dusted them with the teeny baby powder I had brought along and thankfully remembered to pack having seen it on FaceBook for ‘what to bring to the beach’, and was on my way. 

But, I had driven an hour to get here, so what now?
I headed about 20 minutes into Apple Country! Yay!! Oak Glen is a wonderful gem nestled inside some sweet hills of Southern California.  It has its own weather that is perfect for growing apples.  

Just as I was about to turn on the road that leads up there, I spotted a family of deer in an apple orchard.  There were babies, mama and papa.  At one point, mama stood on her hind legs to reach the apples.  They were so much fun to see.
Once I got into Oak Glen I went into The Apple Tree gift shop where I found a charming card to send to my Aunt Dixie and share all about my adventure.
Inside: I meant to do my work today, but a brown bird sang in the apple tree, and a butterfly flitted across the field, and all the leaves were calling me.
I had lunch (a rather blegh burger, but whatever) at a coffee shop and proceeded to write my letter.  I pulled out my phone and appropriately played Glen Miller’s “Don’t sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me”.

After that, I drove up the road to a favorite apple orchard to purchase fresh pressed cider.  

Ooooh, it’s like biting into the freshest, juiciest apple. If you have the chance to go to an apple orchard; GO!  

A gentleman there asked if he could purchase a label to frame.  It was so lovely, I decided to get one too.  

At another orchard, I stopped for some baked goodies to bring back.  Check out this wee biscuit ;)
I'm pretty sure who ever said, "Tea Without a Biscuit is an Opportunity Wasted", didn't exactly mean this! Hee-hee.

The tea is a fun Sherlock blend from Adagio Teas.  It features hazelnut honeybush, rooibos vanilla, decaf apricot black tea, and apricot pieces. It is quite tasty!  The teeny tin is from their fandom blends. Super adorable.

It was a really fun adventure, and I hope you enjoyed sharing it with me.

Until next time, Hugs and a cup of tea!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

HIGH AS THE HEAVENS book review


I finally was able to get to this book that has been awaiting my attention during a busy summer!

Publisher's Description
In 1917, Evelyn Marche is just one of many women who has been widowed by the war. A British nurse trapped in German-occupied Brussels, she spends her days working at a hospital and her nights as a waitress in her aunt and uncle's café. Eve also has a carefully guarded secret keeping her in constant danger: She's a spy working for a Belgian resistance group in league with the British Secret Service.

When a British plane crashes in Brussels Park, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to discover she recognizes the badly injured pilot. British RFC Captain Simon Forrester is now a prisoner of war, and Eve knows he could be shot as a spy at any time. She risks her own life to hide him from the Germans, but as the danger mounts and the secrets between them grow, their chance of survival looks grim. And even if they do make it out alive, the truth of what lies between them may be more than any love can overcome.



My Thoughts
This story is filled with intrigue and takes place during WWI.  It focuses on the Marche family and how war has torn them apart and turned their worlds into something inside a bad dream.  It is a very real look at what it must have been like to live during those times and cling desperately to hope, faith, and your loved ones, never knowing what the next moment might hold.   There is a gentle romance, but it takes a back seat to the reality of living, operating and SPYING within a small, German occupied town. The horrors the people faced are unimaginable, and yet, where our world seems to be headed today, it is a good reminder of how to survive and what may await us in the days ahead.  Eve March is beyond brave, as are her brother and sister who now survive far from their family.  Even her own frail mother, who weaves secret messages into lace collars blew me away. There are multiple daring rescues that kept my stomach in knots. In many instances, the book jumps back and forth between flashbacks and the present, and also gives you a look at multiple characters point of view.  I thought it all worked well. The story is well written, albeit a heavy topic.  The descriptions and attention to detail are extensive. I received an advance copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion. 

4 stars

© 2017 Bethany House
386 pages + Author’s Notes and Discussion Questions
Read: 07/13-15/2017 - Reviewed: 07/16/2017


Opening Scripture: For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:11-12

Author Bio
A Florida girl who migrated to the Pacific Northwest, Kate Breslin was a bookseller for many years. She is a Carol Award winner and a RITA and Christy Award finalist and lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington. Find her online at www.katebreslin.com.

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