Sunday, December 9, 2018

Natl Christmas Card Day is Dec 9th


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!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

DO NOT MISS The Lieutenant's Bargain

Happy Book Release Day to Regina Jennings!

•°o•:*:•.Truly Loved It.•:*:• o°•

December 1885
Two months to get to Denver and succeed as an artist is all Hattie has been granted by her parents or she has to return to Van Buren, Arkansas and settle down. Riding through Indian Territory with some cranky passengers in a stagecoach turns into a harrowing struggle for her life.
When Lieutenant Jack Hennessey receives word, right before his commander’s wedding, that a woman has been found out on the prairie and needs assistance AND the money from the incoming stage has been stolen he steps in to handle the situation as soon as the nuptials are complete.  Little does he know his life is about to completely change.
Hattie is stubborn but also kind in many ways and an amazing artist.
Jack is so sweet but can be amusingly oblivious, particularly when it comes to his piles and piles of books he considers old friends.  His gentle care of Hattie is a joy to read.
Christmassy Quote: “The storefront shone bravely with red trim and green lettering, a welcome splash of color in the colorless landscape and the perfect tone for the Christmas season.”
Laugh Out Loud Quote: “I doubt this mercantile has any Rocky Mountains available for purchase.” ”Yes, but you have to purchase them one rock at a time and assemble them yourself.”
Tea Quote: “Come by the fire. I have some hot water on the stove. Would you like tea or coffee?” … “we ate supper in the field. No need to make anything for me.” “Tea it is.” She rolled up his scarf and strode into the kitchen.

I found this historical, Christian romance so charming and recommend it highly to others.  The information about The Darlington School for Arapaho and  The Carlisle Indian School was also interesting. You can also look up  on you tube, “Fort Reno Interview” where the author shot a location video in OK! (about 4 minutes).

© 2018 Bethany House
I received a copy from the publisher and author (who is a delightful person btw) in hopes of a favorable review with no further compensation.
5 stars
The Fort Reno Series
Holding the Fort – Book #1  12/2017
Bound & Determined – Book #1.5 01/2018

The Lieutenant’s Bargain -  Book #2 12/4/2018

After posting my review on GoodReads, I received the sweetest email from the author & I wanted to share that kindness and honor here.  It made me feel special.


I don’t usually write thank yous for reviews, it seems like it could feel intrusive, but I wanted to thank you for the care and extra effort you put into the warm review on Goodreads. I love the bonus features you add like the Christmassy, LOL and the tea-mention quote. Original features like that make your reviews so fun to read! You review with excellence!

Thank you for everything and I hope you have many lovely books to read this year.


Until next time,
Hugs and a cup of tea.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Ladies of Intrigue – 3 Novellas by Michelle Griep

•°o•:*:•.Danger, Intrigue, Romance.•:*:• o°•

Publisher's story synopsis followed by my thoughts.

The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady
Cornish Coast, 1815When a prim and proper governess returns to England from abroad, she expects to comfort her dying father—not fall in love with a smuggler. Will Helen Fletcher keep Isaac Seaton’s unusual secret?


Good story, filled with danger and intrigue.  I found it ended very abruptly with a question left hanging regarding some of the smugglers' final outcome. I liked both of the main characters.
Tea Quote: “Come in, come in! Take a cup o’ nettle tea.”

The Doctor’s Woman (A Carol Award Winner)
Dakota Territory, 1862
Emmy Nelson, daughter of a missionary doctor, and Dr. James Clark, city doctor aspiring to teach, find themselves working side by side at Fort Snelling during the Dakota Uprising. That is when the real clash of ideals begins.


I enjoyed this story with Sioux Indians, rough territory and practicing various types of medicine in the old days.  It wrapped up nicely.
Spiritual Quote: “You have a healing gift, daughter. It’s not for man to chide what God’s given. Never be ashamed of what you are.”

A House of Secrets
St. Paul, Minnesota, 1890
Ladies Aide Chairman, Amanda Carston resolves to clean up St. Paul’s ramshackle housing, starting with the worst of the worst: a “haunted” house that’s secretly owned by her beau—a home that’s his only means of helping brothel girls escape from the hands of the city’s most infamous madam.

Amanda has no idea her fiancé has any connection to the house. Joseph Blake is keeping the secret to protect her and the girls, avenge his sister and also thwart an evil city councilman – who, in my mind, looked like the walrus from Disney’s Alice in Wonderland singing Cabbages and Kings.
Mental anxiety over the happenings plus romance of the sweet couple. Wrapped up nicely.
Romantic Quote: “The warmth of his brown eyes reached out and held her, cherishing her as the most valuable of God’s creations. Her. The sole focus of such tenderness. She wished she could package it up and carry it around all day.”

CAUTIONARY NOTE: A few writings might push the envelope for some, so just a head’s up. **“Thievery is wrong.”  Indeed. A principle he knew as intimately as a lover – one no honest man should ever have to bed. **“half-burned timbers reached into the night sky, dark on dark, like blackened bones trying to escape from a grave.” **“bricks holding in secrets like a jealous lover, guarding rumors of foul play.” **Most shameless maples had already disrobed for their coming marriage to winter, but a few discreet maidens refused to shed their orange and red leaves.”

I downloaded a copy of this book through Net Galley via the publisher with no fee and no compensation in their hopes of an honest review.
Connect with the author at Michelle Griep dot com.

© February 1, 2019 Barbour Publishing 4 stars        
Available HERE for pre-order.

Until next time,
Hugs and a Cup of Tea!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


•°o•:*:•.ALL THE CHRISTMASSY FEELS.•:*:• o°•
If you want a book you can squeeze into the busy holiday season, I recommend this one.  At just ninety-nine cents, it ticked all the boxes for me, even though I don’t generally reach for contemporary stories. 

“Agnes, did you know,” Agnes Piercy sang out as she dug through the trunk of her Ford Focus for her event binder, “that your Christmas plans, would one day sink in water? Did you know, that your great ideas will tank all sons and daughters? Did you know that your childhood dreams would come to make you puke… this idea that you delivered, would soon come to sever you?”
“Agnes, did you know, that your voice sounds like nails across a chalkboard?” Tuck’s tenor voice belted out, and she almost jumped out of her skin.
This amusing scene is reminiscent of ones that happen often between 28-year-old Agnes and Tuck and had me laughing out loud a lot!  Agnes dreams of growing a new business and the Honeyhaven Winter Wonderland is her opportunity to shine.  But, she will need some serious help from her sort-of-friend Tuck.  He is extremely busy taking over his father’s construction business, but the pleading in her eyes tugs at his heartstrings, despite her bossy attitude.
These two are forced together often in order to pull off the Christmas festivities but each has some family drama they are dealing with.  Her parents are rich and want more for her life. His dad wants to retire, but can’t quite let go and let him run the company.  Some judgy busy-bodies in the town also add to the drama.  I cried a couple of times and laughed a lot! 

There are plenty of cultural references as well:  “Demo Day. Tuck and Chip Gaines’s favorite day.”
“Tuck turned on the radio as K-LOVE played Steven Curtis Chapman’s newest Christmas tune.”
“I can’t believe it either. Agnes Piercy at a loss for words. It’s a Christmas miracle. God bless us all. An angel just got his wings. So much for a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.”

Tea Quote: She sat in her robe drinking a cup of tea. “Can we talk?” “Of course,” she said quietly. “Kettle’s hot if you want tea.” Agnes poured a cup of Christmas Tea, the scent of cloves and cinnamon filling her senses.

{I generally find Twining Christmas Tea at Cost Plus World Market for around $4. The first box is what I have from last year, but it looks like they have changed to a green box this year, and added a couple of more holiday flavors as well.  I think I like the look of the first box best!}

I purchased a copy of the eBook on Amazon (due to Kim on Inspirational Fiction Reader posting about it on IG) and am sharing my honest opinion with no further compensation. This is a clean, contemporary read with a sprinkling of faith as well. The cute cover caught my eye, especially the sweet, smiling snowman!
Connect with the author at Jessica Patch dot com.
Jessica is the author of the
contemporary romance series 
Seasons of Hope and 8
Love Inspired Suspense novels. 
No matter what genre she’s 
writing in, you’ll always find romance, 
adventure, lots of laughs, and a 
heap of hope. Check out her 
book club page for bonus 
features and extras, and don’t 
forget to sign up for her newsletter 
to stay “Patched In.”
Jessica lives in the Mid-south 
with her handsome husband 
and 2 kiddos.

The Honeyhaven Series
Under the Honey Moon, Novella 1, “a novella in the Once Upon a Laugh Collection along with 7 other romantic comedies by an array of talented and award-winning authors! Only .99 cents [for entire eCollection]” 07/23/2018 {I have not read it}

A Honey of a Christmas, Novella 2, 11/1/2018 
© 2018 Bales Publishing 5 stars

I hope you find time to slow down,
sip a cup of Christmas tea
& read a great book!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Bride of Ivy Green by Julie Klassen


If you have ever watched the BBC series Lark Rise to Candleford, these books very much remind me of that TV show, with its many different characters, points of view, and various village locations.

Ivy Hill, Wiltshire, England, Feb 1821.

The third installment of Tales from Ivy Cottage finds spinster Mercy Grove and her Aunt Matilda preparing for the arrival of her brother George and his new wife to return from their wedding trip and move into their home, effectively taking over the cottage.  She has already closed her school and her future seems uncertain.  Her new sister-in-law seems bothered at moving into an already occupied home and her disposition is rather cool toward the lower class villagers.
There are returning characters from the past two books; Jane Fairmont again taking a lead role in the story.  There are new characters whose past is a secretive mystery, but nothing of danger or intrigue.
As in the previous two novels, there is quite a lot to keep up with as this book has over 50 chapters.
If you enjoy quaint village life along with a nod to the hierarchy of the social classes, I would recommend reading all three of the books back to back.  Otherwise, it is a bit hard to recall the many storylines. The author provides many interesting tidbits found on Tales From Ivy Hill including a character directory (although book 3 is not as well represented on that list), a map of the village, some of her travels to Wiltshire, etc.

Favorite Quote: Mercy reminded herself that God did not promise ease and happiness in this life. But He did promise peace and joy, and she was determined to hold on to both, somehow.

Tea Quote: “I have a family obligation tonight, but I might wander back here tomorrow evening f you think you might be having a late-night cup of tea?”  She grinned. “Yes, I think there is every chance I shall be thirsty by then.”

Bethany House Publishing
Discussion questions at the end of each book

Tales from Ivy Hill Series:
The Bride of Ivy Green – Book 3, Dec 2018

I received an ARC of this books in exchange for my honest opinion with no further compensation. 4 Stars

Until next time,
Hugs and a cup of tea!

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Reluctant Warrior by Mary Connealy

The Reluctant Warrior – High Sierra Sweethearts Book 2 - by Mary Connealy
***Just Ok***
Sierra Nevada Mountains – Apr 1868
Cameron Scott has recently returned from the war but can’t seem to give up barking orders as if everyone is a soldier. Cam and his sister Penny have come to the home of Trace and Deb Riley to claim his daughter
Maddie Sue and nephew Ronnie.  He had only planned to be gone from his new homestead a day or two. But, the weather takes a terrible turn and an interfering woman named Gwen Harkness seems determined to keep him from children. In addition to that, Raddo Landauer, the vile outlaw who led the massacre on the wagon train that killed everyone but Gwen, Deb and the children (book one) seems determined to leave no witness behind.  Gwen is trying to figure out her place in a new world but has become bonded to the children she helped save and will do anything to protect them. Cam is not the only one with a claim on the children.  Some not-so-nice grandparents also have an interest and hire a Pinkerton Agent to fetch him. This story is fast paced as pioneer life was hard and dangerous.  I found some details overly long for inconsequential scenes. It was also a bit odd to have the story switch to the outlaw’s point of view, particularly when he is quite evil. It’s natural for people to become drawn together in snowed in with cramped quarters over a long winter and the romance was sweet as each person fumbled through the practicality of a future together. The book was not my favorite, and I certainly enjoyed the first one more.  I would recommend it for someone wanting to know what happens next in the series.

Positive Faith Quote: "Think about it, Cam. Whatever happens, God promises to be with us. So, Be not afraid. He goes before us in this life and the next. I'd say that sounds exactly right."

eCopy provided by Bethany House Publishing via NetGalley with no other compensation.  I am not required to provide a favorable review and my opinion is my own. Please read other reviews for a more well-rounded purchasing decision.

High Sierra Sweethearts Series:
1 – The Accidental Guardian – April 2018
2 – The Reluctant Warrior – October 2018
3 – The Unexpected Champion – coming in 2019

Friday, October 19, 2018

FREE eBook

eBook Screenshot
Wired Love  – A Romance of Dots and Dahes by Ella Cheever Thayer
Free ebook Transcribed from 1880 by Andrew Katz
eBook Screenshot

Nattie is 19 and trying to make it on her own.  To that end, she has rented a room from a gossiping busy-body of a landlord, with other tenants and works a going-nowhere job at the telegraph office.  Her job can be tedious as well as boring.  That is until she receives a message from someone at the “X n” office that flusters her. “Had you not better go home and send someone who is capable of receiving this message?”

This story is great fun and you can easily relate what they do with their telegraphy equipment to modern-day texting and internet use.
eBook Screenshot
““There certainly is something romantic in talking to a mysterious person, unseen, and miles away!” thought Nattie, as she put on her hat.”

Another fun aspect was all of the words I did not recognize.  Because I read it in Kindle, I was able to highlight them and get the definition. For any of you word nerds, these are most of the ones I highlighted if you care to test your knowledge: jocose, presentiment, anathematized, disquietude, substantive, appertaining, disgorges, cognomen, indefatigable, Charlotte Russe, sagacious, recherché, equanimity, lugubriousness, caprice, inamorata, salubrious.

I enjoyed the Bohemian dinner party very much.  It brought back my youth and the days of being inventive and making do.
There is a series of misunderstandings that adds to the drama, and is extremely relatable to today. “For on the wire in the telegraphic world, as well as elsewhere, are idle, mischief-making people, who cannot endure to see others enjoying themselves, if they also have no share.”

This is a clean, secular story set in America during the days of the telegraph.  It is FREE to download from the internet (please note, some reviewers have complained about the poor quality of the hard copy, so an eBook might be best):


a Morse key circa. 1900
Note: An electrical telegraph was independently developed and patented in the United States in in 1837 by Samuel Morse. He assistant, Alfred Vail, developed the Morse code signaling alphabet with Morse.

(5 stars)

Wild heather flowers!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Christmas Heirloom – Four Holiday Novellas of Love through the Generations

Legacy of Love, a Haven Manor Novella by Kristi Ann Hunter
•:*:•. A Wonderfully Heartwarming Christmas Tale .•:*:•
1827 Lancashire, England
Sarah Gooding plays piano and is companion to the elderly and frail Dowager Countess of Densbury, and she loves cake!
Mr. Randall Everard is a third son and therefore of little consequence to the earldom. However, he is the apple of his grandmother's eye and he has a deep love of cultivating the earth. 

The Dowager Countess has lived a full life and enjoys music, fellowship and practical jokes. She is both kind and formidable if trifled with. She wears a beautiful pendant her sweetheart gave her in her youth that often reminds her of the wonderful love they shared. This Christmas she has some very special ideas of how to celebrate and hopefully cultivate young love.
From this moment on we live life the way my grandmother did. We love Jesus. We love each other. And we let everyone else come along or get out of the way.”
I laughed out loud and I also cried. A wonderfully heartwarming Christmas tale.
(5 stars)

Gift of the Heart, a Novella by Karen Witemeyer
•°o•:*:•. Incredibly Sweet Story of Acceptance .•:*:• o°•
1890 Hope Springs, TX
After the death of her husband and losing nearly everything, Ruth and her seven-year-old daughter, Naomi, are starting over in the up-and-coming town of Hope Springs.  With scant few personal items, a beloved family heirloom is the only thing of value she possess. But, that will be given to her daughter one day, when true love comes to call.  Although she has reservations about so many things, she has gumption and the sheer will to provide for her daughter will push her past any doubts. Beauregard owns the local hotel. Heck, he owns most of the town. But his debilitation keeps him hidden away. That is until a fiery widow with a talkative little girl, a meddling best friend and a pesky cat pull him out of his shell.
Bo and Ruth are drawn to each other and find something they were each missing in their lives.
"When Ruth pushed open the door, warmth from the front room enveloped them like a welcoming hug. …  It left her feeling cherished, pampered. Loved?"
(5 stars)

A Shot at Love, a Sound of Rain Novella by Sarah Loudin Thomas
•°o•:*:•. Great little Romance in the Woods .•:*:• o°•
1958 Bethel, West VA
22-year-old Fleeta is a crack shot and can hold her own with any man. More of a tom-boy, she dreams of becoming a gunsmith but is beholden to her family.
1. "Fleeta whispered a prayer that…the ghost deer hadn’t been a sign of anything bad. There were rumors about him."
2. "She’d had her fill of men. She’d take care of herself and never look to a husband for anything."
Hank Chapin is a timber man but is getting restless for something new, and perhaps settling down.
He collects guns, and when he’s invited home for the holidays with his best friend Judd, he decides to enter the local turkey shoot with his brand new Remington 740 Woodsmaster rifle.  Little does he know what he’s in for when he meets the attractive and strong-willed Fleeta hidden behind a pile of masculine clothing and a Winchester 1890 rifle.
3. "He had the definite sense he could no more hold on to her than he could a gossamer cloud of mist."

TEA MOMENT: “The best apologies have something to hold them, maybe a bunch of flowers you cut out in the woods, or a tin of tea from the store. The words are the main thing, but it’s nice to have something to remember them by."
Great little romance in the woods that draws you in and moves right along.
(4 stars)

Because of You a Bradford Sisters Romance Novella by Becky Wade
•°o•:*:•. Maddie and Leo find their way through Christmas to Each Other .•:*:• o°•
Present Day, Merryweather, WA
27 year old Maddie Winslow and 31-year-old Leo Donnelly have a unique connection. Maddie is compassionate and a people person who works in a sweet shop. Leo is a bookish professor and rather shy, and dad to three year old Charlie. When they are paired up at church to work the “Mission – Christmas” project together and bless Kim and her a daughters, a local family in need, they spend more time together than just the occasional run-in they might have expected during the holiday season.  
“I’m not on my own. God is still with me and God still provides. He always makes a way.”
(3 stars)

Bethany House Pub. (c) 2018
Karen Witemyer kindly sent me a complimentary book in the hopes of a favorable review with no further compensation.
4 stars overall
The stories are cozy with just enough Christmas to delight, but not be overwhelming if you read it in October like me!! 

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