Saturday, October 14, 2017

An Inconvenient Beauty - Book Review

An Inconvenient Beauty – Hawthorne House Series
Kristi Ann Hunter

•°o•:*:•.SIGH.•:*:• o°•

1815 London, Regency Era, England

We have finally come to Griffith Hawthorne’s story.  This story really flowed along at a nice pace as the characters got to know each other.
The Duke of Riverton is the eldest sibling.  He is logical and organized, even a bit subdued at times.  But, he has many layers to him.  His family has a legacy of marrying for love.  He has ‘decided’ the time has come for him to marry, so he sets out to find a reasonable wife, who will ‘fit’ into his life, and then he can come to love her. Enter Frederica St. Clair; a plain but fitting woman who should do the trick.
Isabella Breckenridge has practically made a deal with the devil.  Her uncle, Percy St. Clair, is wealthy and connected.  Her family is poor with little chance at a good future now that her father has been injured.  When her uncle, and cousin Frederica, decide to visit them after many years, he discovers what an undeniable beauty she has become and hatches a plan to benefit them both.  She is soon whisked to London during the high season and put on display for all of society to admire.  Her intent is to fulfill her uncle's demands and return home to continue helping her family along with financial relief and glowing recommendations for her brothers to attend school.  Her intent is NOT to fall in love since she has no use for such things.
But, what does God have planned?

Special Quote - Ch. 32 “Have you prayed about ?” “Every day.” Every moment. Griffith wasn’t sure there was an hour he’d been awake when some part of him hadn’t been crying out to God for a way to fix this dull ache in the middle of his chest that refused to go away as long as there was a chance…
I love this because sometimes I too feel like there are some parts of me crying out to God, more than a conscious prayer.  Very well stated by the author.
The story was sweet and endearing, and at times I laughed aloud.  I even sighed happily as I turned the last page.  Now that the series is finished, I plan to go back and read the books again.  They were that enjoyable.  Kristi Ann Hunter weaves wonderful stories.  And Bethany House has blessed her with lovely book covers.

© October 2017 Bethany House
373 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: 10/04&05/2017 - Reviewed: 10/14/2017

“The Hawthorne House Series follows a set of aristocratic siblings led by the Duke of Riverton. Set from 1812 - 1815, these stories show how beautiful life, love, and family can be when you let God be a part of them.”
(I love that there are more than 3 books, but we also did not have to wait forever between stories!)
A Lady of Esteem – Free eNovella – 7/1/2015
A Noble Masquerade – Book 1 – 9/8/2015 You’ve Got Mail, Regency Style
An Elegant Façade – Book 2 – 7/5/2016
An Uncommon Courtship – Book 3 – 1/3/2017
An Inconvenient Beauty – Book – 4 - 09/2017

Blessings and a cup of Autumnal Tea, 

Monday, July 31, 2017

A Name Unknown 5 Star Book Review

A Name Unknown – Shadows Over England, Book#1, Roseanna M. White

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
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

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

Monday, July 24, 2017



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


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

In addition to MY BLOG, Reviews posted at:
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Sunday, June 4, 2017

A Love So True - book review

Google photo: Carriage in the Rain
by Frank Skarbina, Berlin cir.1896

A Love So True – Teaville Moral Society #2
Melissa Jagears

•°o•:*:•. He has a plan and a purpose for us All .•:*:• o°•

Melissa Jagears continues the enriched drama of the Teaville Moral Society.  This time the focus is on the overly tall, and extremely persnickety Evelyn Wisely who has a heart for the orphaned children of the red-light district of a small town in 1908 Kansas.  While many people believe the problems those children face are direct results of the lifestyle their mothers have “chosen”, Evelyn believes every child deserves love and care.  She will go to great lengths to do her part toward that end.  Additionally, she holds a long-kept secret buried in her heart that causes her to keep her distance from men who might indicate the slightest interest in her.
David Kingsman is the son of a wealthy, big city businessman who has been tasked with coming to Teaville to quickly sell a canning jar production company his father recently acquired, and then get back home to business and his father’s ideas for his future.  However, God seems to have other plans for David, as he continually finds his path redirected toward helping Evelyn. He is a pleasant sort, with a strong character that pushes him to do the right thing. 
I especially enjoyed old Mr. Hargrove who is over 80 years old.  His kindness was charming, and the fact he was made to feel useful again was just precious.  So many old people get ignored, and these moments in the story were endearing.
Once again, this story was filled with detail and faith.  I enjoyed it very much.

5 stars
© May 2017 Bethany House, 358 pages
I received a copy from Bethany House Publ., in exchange for my honest opinion, with no other compensation, which I am privileged to provide.

Introduction Novella, Engaging the Competition found in the collection book With this Ring, featuring various authors
Book 1 = A Heart Most Certain 08/2016 CLICK HERE FOR MY REVIEW
Book 2 = A Love So True 05/2017
Book 3 = A Chance at Forever TBA

About the Author: Melissa Jagears is an award-winning author, wife, homeschooling mama of 3, and shares she is an introvert.  They appropriately reside in Kansas since that is where this series takes place!  She can be found at with links to other social media outlets.

Blessings and a cup of tea to you,

In addition to MY BLOG, Reviews posted at:
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GoodReads / Google Play / Indigo / Kobo / / My FB/ My IG/ Influencer’s FB page/ My Pinterest

Friday, April 21, 2017

Behind the Scenes - Jen Turano Book Review

Behind the Scenes – Apart from the Crowd #1
Jen Turano

Hey, I staged this! :)

artist Carmen Medlin - pinterest picture
I hope each of you had an extremely blessed Resurrection celebration. Please grab a cuppa and join me for another exciting book review.

•°o•:*:•. Wallflowers Rejoice! .•:*:• o°•

Another excellently crafted story by master storyteller, Jen Turano!
March 1883 – New York
“Contrary to the prevalent thought of the day, I’m not a lady who feels as if my life has been ruined simply because I’ve obtained the somewhat undesirable label of wallflower.” –Ch.1
Permilia Griswold is sort of a gilded age Cinderella in the sense she puts up with the whims of her step-mother and step-sister. She is awkward in social situations and really could care less about gentlemen, balls, the season, etc.  She was raised by her father, traipsing all over the country for his mining business, until he decides she needs a woman’s touch in her life.  He finds and marries a woman of society, intent on changing everything about Permilia, while spoiling her own daughter. Permilia has a keen sense of fashion, business, and charity.  She loves the Lord, and seeks wise counsel when needed. She also has a few secrets. Her interpretation of the Go-As-You-Please Quadrille had me laughing out loud.
Asher Rutherford is a self-made, affluent businessman, with an excellent sense of style, and owns one of the most successful department stores in the city.  He leads a predictable life, and is quite content mingling in society, attending his clubs, and going about his business day with little interruption to his schedule.  However, each encounter he has with the unusual Miss Griswold leaves him perplexed and asking questions he’d never considered before.
“A second later, he found himself taken aback when Miss Griswold thrust a dainty hand his way, seemingly unconcerned yet again with the idea that ladies never, as in ever, initiated an act that would consist of them hauling a gentleman to his feet.” –Ch.3
I don't drink coffee I take tea my dear.
Pinterest Picture
Harrison Sinclair is Asher’s dear friend who is one of those men rather unaware of his handsome mystique.  I suspect he is color blind, with all of his odd combinations of clothing, and he seems to have a genuine concern for those around him. I found him extremely intriguing.  “He grinned. “I know most dangerous men are assumed to drink coffee, and black coffee at that, but” – he shuddered – I can’t abide the stuff.” Bonus points for Harrison, because I loathe coffee too! –smile.  He adds much to the story, and I can’t wait to learn more about him in future books.
Miss Gertrude Cadwalader (a mouthful of a name to be sure), is a recently acquainted friend of  Permilia, through their mutual resignation to the wallflower section.  She is great fun, as she takes matters in hand when needed, and looks like a laughing stock much of the time due to her employer’s odd ideas.  That employer being Mrs. Davenport, who is one adventurous older lady.  Oh, my!  Yet another character I want to get to know better!!  Jen Turano really has a way with supporting characters!
pinterest picture
Miss Henrietta and Miss Mabel are delightful, albeit persnickety sisters that add wonderful fun, mystery and more questions to the story.  They are also extremely interested in tea! Yay!! “That hobby, I’m sure you’ll be pleased to learn, given the interest we’ve learned you share with us, is searching out and collecting new blends of tea.” –Ch.13  Permilia picked up her cup. Raising it to her lips, she took the smallest of sips, blinking in surprise a second later. “Good heavens. That’s delicious.” –Ch.14  After reading that, I had to stop and go make another cup of tea!
Now, of course, there’s at least one villain.  And of course, I will not tell you who he/she/they might be. But, suffice it to say the mystery kept me guessing as it unraveled along the way. 
Jen Turano is my absolute favorite author. Her style is so unique, and the laugh-out-loud moments are divine! I have read every single one of her books including the free novella prequels.  She never disappoints.  
© April 2017 Bethany House
343 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. - I highly recommend this five-star book.
Read: 04/18&19/2017 Reviewed: 4/21/2017

SERIES: Apart from the Crowd
Click titles for purchase info.
Link to purchase
Untitled – Book 3 – late Spring 2018

Hugs and a cup of tea,

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

Thursday, April 6, 2017


Hello friends.  This Sunday is Palm Sunday and the Littles and I have been reading lots of Easter story books.  I found this sweet coloring page online from 
and thought you might enjoy it for your Littles or Sunday school class.  I added the words Hosanna in the highest.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017


PLEASE PRAY: I am so saddened by this (the 2nd bus crash I am reading about this week). My former Pastor just posted and is asking for prayer for his church family in TX. 14 senior citizens on a bus returning home from a senior retreat were hit by a truck when it swerved across the highway and into their bus. 13 have now passed, and gone home to be with Jesus. Only the truck driver and 1 church member currently survive.
Please add the families and all involved to your prayer chains. Here is the full story: