Sunday, April 5, 2020

AT LOVE'S COMMAND by Karen Witemeyer 5 STARS



At Love's Command - Hanger's Horsemen # 1 by Karen Witemeyer
I absolutely loved this story set in 1890s Texas.  It touched my heart and brought me to tears several times as if they were real people. The Christian theme woven throughout, like a rope binding comfort to my soul, was perfect for the days we are living in.
"Got a verse for me, Preach?" was a favorite phrase of mine throughout the story.
Faith Quote: "Romans 8:31. 'If God be for us, who can be against us?"'

Tea Quote: "I'd hoped to sweet talk my way into the room with tea and cookies." -Josephine

I received a complimentary eBook through Netgalley and the Publisher for an honest review. All opinions are my own without further compensation or expectation.
Karen Witemeyer is such a sweet and genuine person.  You can connect with her online as I have and be blessed by her tender heart.
5 STARS
SERIES: Hanger's Horsemen
1) At Love's Command - Possibly May or June 2020 (dependent upon COVID-19 delays)

Author's Synopsis:
Haunted by the horrors of war, ex-cavalry officer Matthew Hanger leads a band of mercenaries known as Hanger's Horsemen who have become legends in 1890s Texas. They defend the innocent and obtain justice for the oppressed. But when a rustler's bullet leaves one of them at death's door, they're the ones in need of saving.
Dr. Josephine Burkett is used to men taking one look at her skirts and discounting her medical skills. What she's not used to is having a man change his mind in a heartbeat and offer to assist her in surgery. Matthew Hanger's dedication to his friend during recovery earns Josephine's respect, and when she hears of her brother's abduction, he becomes her only hope for rescue.
Matt has stared down ruthless outlaws, betrayal, and injury, but when a bossy lady doctor crawls under his skin, his heart is tempted to surrender. And when she is caught in the crossfire, he may have to sacrifice everything--even his team--to save her.


STORING UP TROUBLE by Jen Turano 5 Stars


Storing Up Trouble – American Heiresses Series Book 3 by Jen Turano
•*• Loved Every Minute •*•
1886, Chicago
“Miss Beatrix Waterbury had been banished from New York, and all because she’d had the great misfortune of landing herself in jail… twice.” Another great opening line.
A train, a robbery, a scientist, a suffragist,  Pinkertons, Chicago’s Marshall Field & Co., a butler named Lurch – but not really (ha ha), a wacky, cat-loving aunt with keen insight and a helpful nature, a stubborn mule named Mort, a houseful of ladies in training, and a host of other characters. 

“You’re very tenacious – which is not a compliment, if you’re wondering-” – Norman Nesbit
“I always find it best to gather pertinent information about one’s nemesis because you never know when such information might be useful.” – Aunt Gladys

TEA MOMENT:  “I’m of the belief that a nice cup of tea, paired with an even nicer meal, does wonders for clearing a person’s head.” –Norman Nesbit

FAITH MOMENT
:  Knowing God, who’d always been by her side, would be walking beside her, giving her his blessing… I loved this very sweet moment.

I enjoy everything Jen Turano writes and this is no exception. Another 5 star read.

Bethany House Publishing - American Heiresses Series:
Flights of Fancy – book 1 Jan 1, 2019
Diamond in the Rough – book 2 Sept 3, 2019
Storing Up Trouble – book 3 coming May 5, 2020 (dependent upon COVID-19 delays)

I received a complimentary eBook through Netgalley and the Publisher for an honest review. All opinions are my own without further compensation or expectation.

Publisher’s Synopsis:
When Beatrix Waterbury's train is disrupted by a heist, scientist Norman Nesbit comes to her aid. After another encounter, he is swept up in the havoc she always seems to attract--including the attention of the men trying to steal his research--and they'll soon discover the curious way feelings can grow between two very different people in the midst of chaos.




Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey by Abigail Wilson

As seen on http://www.acwilsonbooks.com/

Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey by Abigail Wilson

•°o•:*:•.Suspicion, Intrigue & Romance.•:*:• o°•
This is my first time reading Abigail Wilson’s writing and I am already a huge fan! Her writing captivates and I suspected EVERYONE as this mystery unfolded. The story moved along at a delightful pace and I could not wait to turn each (electronic) page (smile) set in 1815 Southeastern England.  Lord Torrington is not what he seems to the young, unwed Elizabeth. Elizabeth is not who he set out to rob.
 “Think of our marriage as a rather pleasant masquerade.” “My name is Adrian, by the way. You’d best start calling me that.” He raised his chin. “Since we are madly in love and to be married tomorrow.”
“Mrs. Baxter, some tea if you would.” The door cracked open and Mrs. Baxter shuffled in with a silver platter filled with tea and cakes.
“Some things in life are not chiseled into perfect lines and boxes, Elizabeth. They are far more complex, messier, glorious versions of the original. You have to look hard to see what’s hidden.”

I highly recommend this book for those who enjoy a combined mystery / romance, clean read in a historical setting. 5 stars 

I received an eCopy from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review with no further compensation or expectation.

Thomas Nelson Publishing expected 05/26/2020

PUBLISHER’S SYNOPSIS
In this new Regency romance, Elizabeth knows she must protect her heart from the charm of her new husband, Lord Torrington. She is not, however, prepared to protect her life. When the widowed Lord Torrington agreed to spy for the crown, he never planned to impersonate a highwayman, let alone rob the wrong carriage. Stranded on the road with an unconscious young woman, he is forced to propose marriage to protect his identity and her reputation, as well as his dangerous mission.

Trapped not only by her duty to her country but also by her limited options as an unwed mother, Miss Elizabeth Cantrell and her infant son are whisked away to Middlecrest Abbey by none other than the elder brother of her son's absent father. There she is met by Torrington's beautiful grown daughters, a vicious murderer, and an urgent hunt for the missing intelligence that could turn the war with France. Meanwhile she must convince everyone that her marriage is a genuine love match if her new husband has any hope of uncovering the enemy.

Determined to keep her son's true identity a secret, Elizabeth will need to remain one step ahead of her fragile heart, her uncertain future, and the relentless fiend bent on her new family's ruin.
 







Sunday, March 15, 2020

IDEAS WHILE KIDS STAY HOME FROM SCHOOL

Youtube video - Al Bowlly - It's a Lovely Day Tomorrow https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkBVCdP7vAI

A mom asked me for ideas, so I thought I would share with others who might benefit too! Feel free to share.
Tuesday is St. Patrick's Day - you can have fun focusing on this holiday with your Littles AND what the heck, celebrate ALL week!
FOODS: Oatmeal with St. Patrick's day sprinkles, green pancakes (even for dinner!), cupcakes with green frosting, etc. I am not a corned beef and cabbage kind of girl, but Irish stew is a warming idea this week! Irish Breakfast flavored tea is definitely on MY list, but it is usually caffeinated so you'll probably want alternatives for the Littles. I normally do Lime Sherbet Floats this time of year, but I think this week is a bit cold here in SoCal - so I'll tuck that one away for next year.
Hunt for clovers in the yard or on a walk. Make fingerprint clovers with a green stamp pad, perhaps even on homemade cards they can mail. If you want to learn how to mail a card for just .2¢ ask me!
Have the whole family WEAR GREEN and then take family pictures. (Our school was supposed to have Spring photos on Tuesday... do it at home or in the neighborhood by some flowers).
Put green ribbons/bows on PETS for photos with them!
Take 1 on 1 PICTURES- this one has become super important to me since my dad recently passed! Some photos were easy to find for my dad's memorial, while others were particularly hard. For example, those family members who would rather take photos than be in them were few and far between & even harder to find them IN a photo WITH my dad. Don't let that happen to you.
Watch DARBY O'GILL AND THE LITTLE PEOPLE on Disney Plus (starring a young Sean Connery) or rent it on Amazon or on Youtube (sample video below).
https://www.youtube.com/watch…

Play THE UNICORN by The Irish Rovers and act it out with the Littles. This song has been popular in my daycare for years!
https://www.youtube.com/watch…

I love the idea of more FAMILY DEVOTIONS while the kids are out of school. These videos are fun & I, my kids & previous daycare Littles have benefited from a few of them in the past. I just took advantage of the offer below & ordered the St. Patrick's movie w/bonus Heros of the Faith series & workbook. I donated the minimum $19 which is a real bargain for all that you get.
Episodes feature the following heroes:
* Jim Elliot * William Tyndale * John Bunyan * Eric Liddell * Gladys Aylward * Richard Wurmbrand * Perpetua * Amy Charmichael * William Booth * Samuel Morris * Augustine * Corrie ten Boom * John Wesley * Robert Jermain Thomas * Martin Luther * Adoniram & Ann Judson
https://www.revelationmedia.com/stpatrick/RM17261/…

TwistyNoodle dot com has lots of free worksheets and coloring pages
& they usually pop up around whatever holiday is most current. So it should open with several St. Patrick's themes. I love that they let you change/personalize the headers and even change from printing to cursive. (For example, I did a search for monsters and changed the header to read 'Wash Away Germs'). You will want to keep those kids' brains working while school is closed. Let them know homeschool is now in session! 

Make OLDER KIDS 'the teacher'. They tend to be a little more invested and interested when they think they are in charge (reading a book to younger siblings, building a fort and choosing the next Bible story to read inside it, sending them outside to lead a gathering expedition (leaves, bugs, flowers, etc.), organizing a picnic, etc.

TALK
with your kids regularly about the Coronavirus to ensure they are not afraid. I have already heard how one teacher in our district went a bit over the top sharing with (scaring) her students. Let kids ask questions and lead the conversations. Put them in charge of reminding other family members to wash hands (singing the ABCs) so they feel like they are a part of the solution. Take some pictures they have colored or some baked goods to elderly neighbors (so you can check and make sure they are ok too). Add your phone number so they know they can call you if necessary. Offer to pray with them if you feel comfortable or have your kids pray for them after you leave to encourage their prayer 'muscles'. There are so many great teachable moments in all of this if you look for them (raise your hand if you're excited!).
Above all - PRAY with your kids and remind them God is in control. Today (Sunday, 3/15/20) is a Natl. Day of Prayer but really every day is - right?!
"Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7
"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God." Isaiah 41:10
If you have ideas, come back and share them in the comments.
JO STAFFORD & DICK HAYMES - SUNSHINE CAKE 


God bless you all.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

THE CHISHOLM TRAIL BRIDE

Barbour Publishing 03/15/2020 
- 4 stars – recommended

•°o•:*:•.Very Enjoyable Book.•:*:• o°•
The synopsis of this book is very inaccurate. Despite that, I really enjoyed the story. Wyatt Creed is not a Pinkerton man.  He is 14 and on a  cattle drive with his friend, 12-year-old Eliza Jane Gentry and her father (the boss) and a brat of a boy named Benjamin Barnhart.  Things with Wyatt’s angry drunk of a father get out of hand, and the 2 boys end up in an altercation that changes their lives forever.  Eliza grows up thinking that Wyatt was killed that night on the cattle drive and years later thinks she is falling for Ben whose political ambitions have him doing whatever it takes to succeed. Eliza is stubborn, just like her dad and they butt heads often.  Eventually, she learns a whole lot of truth, but not before getting into a whole lot of trouble. Wyatt has made a new life for himself as a well-respected detective with his own agency, but he’s never forgotten the little girl who was his dear friend.
“Hurrying inside, she took a seat in the back pew and listened to a sermon based on 1 John 3 about living as God’s children. She left feeling not only uplifted, but also secure in the knowledge that her current troubles had not escaped the Lord’s notice.”
“Tea would be lovely. Earl Grey if you have it.”

I received an eCopy from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review with no further compensation or expectation.

So far in this series, twelve books have been written by varied authors so they loosely reference each other’s characters in the family tree, and therefore need not be read together or in order. You can read about them at DaughtersOfTheMayflowerDotCom.

PUBLISHER’S SYNOPSIS – HOWEVER, WHOEVER WROTE IT CLEARLY DID NOT READ THE BOOK:

Stubborn Hearts Clash on a Cattle Drive
Eliza Gentry’s pursuit of marriage to the son of her family’s sworn enemy has cost her greatly. Furious at his daughter’s choices, her father sends her off with the cattle drive heading toward Fort Worth and the Barnhart ranch, but under the watchful eye of Wyatt Creed, a Pinkerton man he has hired to see to her safety. With danger at every turn—not the least of which to his heart—can Wyatt Creed keep his focus with Eliza Gentry around? Is the Chisholm Trail a place for falling in love or a place to die at the hands of cattle thieves?

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Dad in Hospital and The Brightest of Dreams by Susan Anne Mason

Welcome, February!
I hope you are all doing well. I cannot believe January is behind us.  It truly flew by for me!  Dad has been in the hospital, and we are awaiting test results to return from Stanford, so please pray for a positive outcome if it be the Lord's will.  This came on rather suddenly and his pain has been nearly unbearable at times. My main prayers are for his comfort and for actual help, not just treating symptoms, but actual healing & if the Lord deems fit to take him Home, then may it not be long-suffering for my sweet daddy.  Thanks all!

In the meantime, he has been playing jokes on the nurses, lightening the burden for them and himself.  He waits until they have their stethoscope on his chest and then hums deep and long completely freaking them out since it sounds so weird! I live 4 hours away, so it was a blessing to go and be with him last weekend.

DAD CRACKING UP

One of my daycare Littles matter-of-factly prayed: "Father God, please help Grampa keep playing jokes on the nurses. In Jesus name, Amen."  He is a character in his own right!  This next picture is of him giving the stinkeye to a lady who left her cart directly in our path and got in her car.

STINK EYE
I hope that makes you smile as it does me!

Now for a book review from a sweet author I highly recommend.  Her 3rd book in this series comes out Tuesday.

AMAZON LINK
PUBLISHER'S SYNOPSIS
The Brightest of Dreams – Canadian Crossings #3 - by Susan Anne Mason
EXCEPTIONAL ENDING TO THE TRILOGY
Following WWI, three strangers boarded the SS Olympic and became friends with similar quests. This final story follows Quinten Aspinall as he searches for his three missing siblings who were shipped from Derbyshire, England to Canada, without his mother’s consent, on an orphan ship to become indentured servants.
“The war was over. He’d survived. A major accomplishment to say the least. Yet that blessing paled when he thought about the fate that had befallen his family. Becky, Cecil, and little Harry. Lord, keep them safe – wherever they are.”
After informing his employer of his plans, he is tasked with also bringing back the Earl’s niece, Julia Holloway, who left with a wounded soldier to be his caregiver and make her own way in the world. 
 Arriving in Toronto, Quinn makes his way to the charming Mrs. Chamberlain’s boarding house from the previous books. Julia and Quinn are drawn together in unexpected ways that go far beyond him retrieving her from Canada; some dangerous, some tense, some sweet. *“I found a charming eatery on the next street. I doubt they have true English tea, but I’m willing to brave it if you are.” She gave a light laugh that went straight to his chest.  “I’ve yet to find a truly good cup of tea,” she said, “though Mrs. Chamberlain’s came very close.”

**“Everything about Julia – her beauty both inside and out – drew him to her like a bee to nectar.”
***“He, Grace, and Emma had come to Canada, each with their own hopes and dreams for the future. And after enduring hardship and loss, they had all found their path. Surely the hand of God had been on their lives every step of the way.”
The relationship between Mrs. C and the Reverend was very sweet.  The difficulties of the young siblings, particularly Harry were sad to read, but not unlike the situations of the orphan train children here in America.
The COVER is fantastic featuring Quinten in period clothing, with gentle street lamps behind him.
I enjoyed reading the author’s endnotes about Dr. Barnardo’s homes and the thousands of children sent to Canada from England, particularly how little had been written about them.
I recommend this story if you enjoy drama and romance in a historical setting.

Thank you to the publisher / author who sent me a review copy. My honest opinion is my own without expectation or compensation.

Canadian Crossings Series
1 TheBest of Intentions – Grace Abernathy’s story 07/2018
2 TheHighest of Hopes – Emmaline Moore’s story 03/05/2019
3 The Brightest of Dreams - Quinten Aspinall’s story 02/04/2020
Connect with the author at
 SusanAnneMason.net 

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.


















Tuesday, January 28, 2020

GIVEAWAY TEA and CHOCOLATE plus a review of The Blizzard Bride

I happened upon a lovely giveaway
on an IG account I follow & thought
some of you might be interested too.
Available 02/01/2020
CLICK HERE for Amazon Link

PUBLISHER’S SYNOPSIS:
A Blizzard Changes Everything

Abigail Bracey arrives in Nebraska in January 1888 to teach school…and to execute a task for the government: to identify a student as the hidden son of a murderous counterfeiter—the man who killed her father.

Agent Dashiell Lassiter doesn’t want his childhood sweetheart Abby on this dangerous job, especially when he learns the counterfeiter is now searching for his son, too, and he’ll destroy anyone in his way. Now Dash must follow Abby to Nebraska to protect her…if she’ll let him within two feet of her. She’s still angry he didn’t fight to marry her six years ago, and he never told her the real reason he left her.

All Dash wants is to protect Abby, but when a horrifying blizzard sweeps over them, can Abby and Dash set aside the pain from their pasts and work together to catch a counterfeiter and protect his son—if they survive the storm?



•°o•:*:•.Really Enjoyed Entire Book.•:*:• o°•
This was a pleasant read for me.  Late 1800s – Abigail and Dashiell (great name!) are forced to work together, undercover, to catch a counterfeiter. They haven’t seen each other in years; not since they were about to get engaged, but they harbor a variety of feelings for each other that only time and the good Lord can help them work through. I appreciated the mystery aspect of the story as well as the gentle working of the Lord to help them with forgiveness and trust, particularly Abby. Dash struggles with “word blindness” aka dyslexia, of which very little was known back then.  He’s really hard on himself and lacks confidence. But, he is a strong hero in so many ways and others are able to help him recognize that as the story progresses. Mr. Yates was a very special character.  His side story was exactly what I hoped it would be and knowing where he ended up was a tender moment for me.  I also quite liked the school children and their, er, um, friend Stripey (smile).
The historical notes about the actual blizzard (The Children’s Blizzard or The Schoolchildren’s Blizzard) were both tragic and interesting, particularly the way the storm hit; one moment a nice warm day, and suddenly snow and ice whipping at them and covering everything without warning as referenced in the story. Living in California, I have never experienced the likes of that!
Quotes I enjoyed: *“Say your prayers, men, and keep your wits about you.”
**Hildie poured some of the hot water into her floral teapot before dumping the remaining contents into a pitcher. ***Hildie had a teacup read for her. “Something to invigorate the body and warm our hands.” ****These women had no idea how much their friendship meant to her. God knew, though.

5 stars - recommended!

I received an eCopy from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review with no further compensation or expectation.

So far in this series, twelve books have been written by varied authors so they loosely reference each other’s characters in the family tree, and therefore need not be read together or in order. You can read about them at DaughtersOfTheMayflowerDotCom.

Barbour Publishing 02/01/2020
Connect with the author at: http://www.susannedietze.com/

Until Next Time,
Hugs and a Cup of Tea!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

FREE Album-Plus Review of-An Uncommon Woman-Settlers-And-Indians

***Well Written Story of Faith, Pioneers, Indians & Harsh Reality***

Publisher’s Synopsis: Unflinching and plainspoken, Tessa Swan is not your typical 18th-century woman. Born and bred on the western Virginia frontier along with her five brothers, she is a force to be reckoned with.
Quiet and courageous, Clay Tygart is not your typical 18th-century man. Raised by Lenape Indians, he returns a hero from the French and Indian War to the fort that bears his name, bringing with him Tessa's long-lost friend, Keturah, a redeemed Indian captive like himself.
Determined to avoid any romantic entanglements as fort commander, Clay remains aloof whenever he encounters the lovely Tessa. But when she is taken captive by the tribe Clay left, his hand--and heart--are forced, leading to one very private and one very public reckoning.

My Thoughts: This story is a deeply intense reminder of how difficult it was for the settlers to carve out a life for themselves in an often hostile territory where the land was harsh and the natives could be even harsher.  In response to “the white man” encroaching on their lands, native people could be swift in trying to protect their way of life, which often meant brutal results.  I cannot imagine living in that time when both sides gave up so much; “Everyone on the frontier had a chair that sat empty, a place unoccupied. Who would be next?”  This story, for me, has a heaviness to it.  It squeezed my heart acknowledging the ruthless reality of it all.  Good historical details intertwined with faith here, giving me much to think on. I especially found Keturah interesting; captured as a young girl, raised as an Indian, trained in healing and then traded back to the white people as a grown woman. What a complex part of the story.

 
*Hester served sassafras tea. “Two Swan spinsters are too many.” She began her familiar rant. “Tessa breathed in the beloved scent of sassafras as her own cup was filled, shutting out Hester’s timeworn words. Spring tonic, sassafras. When sweetened with maple sugar, no finer remedy could be had.”
**Closing her eyes, she took a sip of fine English tea from Morris and Willing of Philadelphia. Her childish delight tickled him. She was used to making do with nettles and sassafras, likely. City tea was a luxury.
***Her small part was helping Ma bring the gleaners the noon meal and enough switchel to drink.
****Though they were not given to emotion, their eyes were nonetheless damp. She sat woodenly at the table as Ma poured her a cup of dittany tea.

I researched both Switchel and Dittany: “switchel” is a drink made of water, vinegar and ginger, often sweetened with something like molasses, honey, sugar or maple syrup. It helped keep people from getting sick the way they can if overly heated and drinking cold water. It has been making a comeback in the U.S. and Canada over the last five years. “Compounds of Dittany are powerful antioxidants. The essential oils have also antiseptic and anti-fungal properties and are often used in ointments to treat burns and skin ailments. Tea made from dittany is used to relieve tension headaches and as a relaxant. Dittany is also used to relieve indigestion, colic, stomach cramps and bloating. It is also thought to be a diuretic and to combat fever.”

I received an eCopy from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review with no further compensation or expectation. All opinions expressed are my own.
© 01-07-2020 Revell Publishing

4 stars 
CONNECT WITH
THE AUTHOR
 at 
LAURAFRANTZ dot NET





Right Click Here to
Open Free in Separate Window
When I was looking up sassafras tea, I came upon an album by that title by Appaloosas which you can currently listen to for FREE.  And it has that old-timey pioneer sound that pairs nicely with this book if you like that sort of thing.  I enjoyed listening while writing this blog (smile).

Until next time,
Hugs and a cup of tea!




Friday, January 17, 2020

THE REBEL BRIDE

Amazon Link

Link to Pinhurst Pottery
During the Civil War, the confederate
soldiers had to melt down their tin
cups in order to make bullets. The
potters of North Carolina made them
pottery “cups” they could use-
a style that was large enough to
double as a bowl for stew as well as
a coffee mug. Signed with God Bless You.
All Nichols Pottery is hand made and signed.

Lydia ushered her to the kitchen and made her sit, then pressed a cup of something warm into her hands. “Drink this,” she whispered.
Hands shaking, Pearl could hardly lift the cup. She tasted mint and- was that whiskey?...
“I’ve never seen you so upset…” “I just shot a man,” she snapped. “Two, actually.”
After another gulp of her tea, she folded an arm on the tabletop, lay her head upon it, and let the tears come.



The Rebel Bride – Book #10 Daughters of the Mayflower Series by Shannon McNear

•°o•:*:•.Rich, Close-up View of Civil War Era Characters.•:*:• o°•

I found this 1863 historical, faith-filled romance interesting, but for me the topic is a bit heavy.  War is hard. These people did their best to get through it and deal with the matters at hand.  The Civil War was especially hard on our country as family members choose sides or multiple sons did not return.  The lack of medical training and supplies that left men broken – so much to think about here. But, Pearl does her best to do as she is told and house wounded Yankee soldiers in her Rebel home.  With the help of her father, she learns to see the men as humans and not just the enemy.  Likewise, I appreciated how Josh was able to learn the same lesson as Pearl showed him and the others hospitality in nursing, feeding, and caring for them even though they were prisoners forced on her by the military (as were many in the surrounding farm homes). I think my view of the cause of the war has changed.  I thought it was primarily about slavery, but this book gave me a better understanding that it was about the Northern States wanting to be united (Unionists), believing that’s what the forefathers intended and what was best for our country, while the Southern States wanted Secession (Secessionists) – governing themselves freely and that slavery was only a small part of the issue. I learned several tidbits from the beginning and the back of the book.  For example, I always assumed Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was black, not white. The Fifteenth Wisconsin was mostly comprised of Norwegian immigrants, plus some Swedish, Danish and Dutch who were full of pride to fight for their new homeland. The character Berndt Thorsson is a tribute to those men. Both sides used flags and torches to signal each other across battle lines, which was a system created by Albert J. Myer – an assistant surgeon who later became the first Chief Signal Officer.
Quote I enjoyed: “If we have not the comfort of knowing our Savior, Pearl, and doing our best each day to serve and follow Him, what do we have? Are not all equally lost, whether North or South, white or black, without knowledge of Him? We must seek to know God, and Him only. ‘I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.’”
I believe the author has treated the topic with respect and passion.  I would recommend this book as a solid read for those enjoying historical, Christian fiction with a touch of romance.  The Civil War details are not the forefront of the story, but rather the backdrop as we get to know the characters and the challenges they are dealing with.
I received an eCopy from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review with no further compensation or expectation.

So far in this series, twelve books have been written by varied authors so they loosely reference each other’s characters in the family tree, and therefore need not be read together or in order. You can read about them at DaughtersOfTheMayflowerDotCom.

Barbour Publishing 12/2019
4 stars

Until next time, hugs and a "cups" of tea!
Link to Product


Saturday, January 11, 2020

HOT TEA DAY and FIRST READ OF THE NEW YEAR


Today is National Hot Tea Day and naturally, I want to celebrate that!  In fact, January is Hot Tea Month. Yippie!!  Here’s a 30-second video I made in the garden to mark the occasion.

Today I'm sharing this lovely wee floral pot, handmade birthday card & Piper and Leaf Artisan Tea Co. Old Fashioned Birthday Cake tea (caffeinated black tea blend featuring Ceylon tea, lavender flowers, bergamot which, luckily I don’t notice since I usually do not like it, vanilla, & cornflowers) gifted to me by my sweet & generous friend Cindy. The tea is not too strong and the vanilla is the star I believe. It is a mild day here in sunny So Cal with gentle breezes and blue skies in the mid-60s. I hope you take the time to celebrate too! You are worth it!

Good books, like good friends are few and chosen;
The more select, the more enjoyable.
-Louisa May Alcott
In 2019 I exceeded my goal and read 63 books according to GoodReads!  Now for my first read this year!

***RIVETING – AN EXCELLENT 1ST READ FOR 2020 ***
Roseanna White weaves a wonderful tale and starting one of her novels is always dangerous for me as all other responsibilities fly out the window!  I absolutely loved this story (naturally!).  The characters are relatable while the story is exciting.  I loved revisiting Room 40 where the codebreakers work hard to transcribe enemy messages.  The romance between the main characters is one neither had expected and I enjoyed the way it grew, almost out of necessity, but with the Lord’s hand clearly upon it.

London 1918, WWI 
CLICK for more info on this pin
Major Phillip Camden returns from book 1 brooding as ever, as he awaits his fate.  Currently, he has joined Room 40 and the codebreakers as his friend Drake Elton has put in a good word for him.  But he knows justice will catch up to him and it’s only a matter of time until he faces a firing squad. He carries his wing-pin always in his pocket as a reminder of who he’d once been and his lost brothers.

Charing Cross
Hospital 1925
Photo by George
Davison Reid
Arabelle Denler is a nurse at Charing Cross Hospital.  She joins the other nurses on break to stare out the window daily at the handsome, mysterious man the papers have dubbed “Black Heart”; the man responsible for the deaths of his entire squadron of RFC pilots.  She has no business mooning at strangers when she has a fiancĂ©, but the Lord was calling her to pray for him again like she had been for months now.  Besides, no man like him would never be interested in a plain-Jane like her.

Diellza is a harsh reminder of Phillip’s past and not all that she seems.  She adds a twisting layer to the story as the war rages on.
Oh for the day when the
consequences of skipping classes
or putting pepper in the headmaster's
tea were all he had to worry about.
No threats of court-martial or firing squad.
[She] hadn’t imagined praying for this girl at all. 
But helping those who were hurting was what the Lord 
had called her to years ago. If you want to be healed, 
He’d whispered into her heart… then heal others.

For the first time in years, he
considered breaking his silence with God
& saying a prayer for her sake.

Again, I would add, that we are not dragged through the gruesomeness of war which I very much appreciate. I am looking forward to Zivon Marin & Lily Blackwell’s future story.

 I was gifted an advance copy of the book from the publishers. It is my privilege to share my honest opinion without expectation or compensation. (5 stars) 

About the Book: Against Every Warning, She’s Drawn Ever Closer to the Man Known as “Black Heart”. All of England thinks Major Phillip Camden a monster – a man who deliberately caused the deaths of his squadron. But he would have preferred to die that day with his men rather than be recruited to the Admiralty’s codebreaking division. The threats he receives daily are no great surprise and, in his opinion, well deserved.
As nurse Arabelle Denler observes the so-dubbed “Black Heart,” she sees something far different: a hurting man desperate for mercy. And when their families and paths twist together unexpectedly, she realizes she has a role to play in his healing – and some of her own to do as well.
With Camden’s court-martial looming, an old acquaintance shows up, intent on using him in a plot that sends the codebreakers of Room 40 into a frenzy. With their fragile hopes for the future in the cross hairs, Arabelle and Camden must hold on to hope–and to each other–if they want to survive.
-Bethany House Publishers

Click / Places to buy:
AMAZON  

SERIES: The Codebreakers -
Click for Amazon Link
*On Wings of Devotion – Book 2 Jan 7, 2020
*A Portrait of Loyalty – tbd 

AUTHOR BIO: Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award-nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com
@roseannamwhite
#TheCodebreakers
#OnWingsofDevotion








Until Next Time,
Hugs & A Cuppa Tea!
Heather Elizabeth