Thursday, August 2, 2018

CAUGHT BY SURPRISE FANTASTIC – TOO MANY ADJECTIVES TO LIST

CAUGHT BY SURPRISE - AMAZON LINK
With some despair, I write this is the final book in the series.  I believe it is Jen Turano’s best book yet!  I had so many emotions.  I was completely hooked from the page one kidnapping of Miss Temperance Flowerdew (Jen does have a way with names) in 1883 – New York.
She is whisked off to Chicago by two bumbling criminals.
Pullman Car
Ch. 2 They were sitting at a small table covered in fine linen, slurping their way through steaming cups of tea held in delicate china teacups. “Forgive me for disrupting your tea, but isn’t it a little unusual for kidnappers to whisk their captives away in a private Pullman car?”
Pullman car interior
Temperance has a propensity for pastries, a determined nature and favors music and art.  But, having fallen from the high rungs of society into the lowly wallflower set, she had resigned herself to keep her head down and accept her lot.  But that changes when, at age 25, her cousins are no longer forced to care for her and have tossed her out. 
Through a series of events, she is reacquainted with her childhood friend, Gilbert Cavendish.  He is quite sensible, enjoys order, making lists and following the rules. Having grown up with Temperance he understands her outlandish ways and together they take on danger, engagement balls, dastardly deeds, and memorial services for the dearly departed.
Now, at this point in my review, I’m starting to worry. I have said plenty, but the book is so dang good!  Grab a cup of tea and please stay with me (smile).
The supporting cast is superb as always!
Mr. Barclay is a treasure of a dear older gentleman.  He has served under two very special spinsters who have money to spare. I adore him! Ch. 8 “Mr. Barclay inclined his head. I’m sure you know I always close my eyes and descend into prayer when you insist on taking the reins, Miss Henrietta.”
He is also feisty and will defend those he cares about both on principal and physically if necessary.
Ch. 8 Gilbert, being a gentleman who noticed whenever something was amiss, rose to his feet, made short shrift of pouring out the tea, then handed the cups all around, smiling ever so slightly when he handed a cup to Mr. Barclay and was rewarded for his efforts with a scowl.
Tobias is recently arrived from London and the fiercely protective valet of Gilbert, yet also adds a bit of whimsy.
There is a fantastic Go-As-You-Please Quadrille, a couple of “I did not see that coming” moments one of which caused me to remove my reading glasses and pause for the sobbing I was doing, and the most adorable of romantic gestures which had me laughing out loud.

Click this link: Beethoven Kreutzer Sonata No.9 if you would like to hear some of the music from the end of the story. It is quite lively and the violinist has wonderful facial expressions!

 

© July 2018 Bethany House / In exchange for my honest opinion, I received a copy from the author and Bethany House Publ. which I am privileged to provide with no other compensation.

SERIES: Apart from the Crowd (I have reviewed each of these 5-star reads - simply type Jen Turano in the search bar to the right, at the bottom, to find them).
0.5 At Your Request
1. Behind the Scenes April 2017
2. Out of the Ordinary Nov. 2017
3. Caught by Surprise July 2018

FREE Amazon Link
Amazon Link


Amazon Link

Monday, July 23, 2018

A Tale of Two Hearts Michelle Griep

Click here for Amazon link
•°o•:*:•. Book Lover’s Dream .•:*:• o°•
London, 1853 Miss Wilhelmina Scott, aka Mina, serves in her father’s inn, The Golden Egg. But, she much prefers to have her nose in a good book such as ‘David Copperfield’ or daydream of her ‘brown-haired hero’, William Barlow. Miss Whymsy is her former governess and co-conspirator in lending her books and enlisting her help with The Single Women’s Society of Social Reform. Effie is another dear friend who helps guide her in the story and added prayer, older wisdom, and grounding in her life.
William Barlow frequents her father’s taproom with his good friend and fellow law clerk, Mr. Fitzroy.  Mina has been taken with him for the better part of a year and is shocked when he suddenly suggests she become his pretend bride. He is trying to overcome a besmirched past and to win the favor of his uncle while thwarting his scheming cousins, Percy and devious wife Alice.
Uncle Barlow is a dear, kind man who enjoys books as much as Mina and is trying to ascertain the best candidate to inherit his home and fortune before he formally names an heir.
Foley 1850 Bone China, England, 'Broadway' tea set
TEA MOMENT: “He’s invited me to a tea of all things.” His voice smooth as fresh flowing honey, grew louder the closer she drew to his table.  Can you imagine that Fitz? A tea. How awful.” A smile curved her mouth as she imagined taking tea with William.  Just the two of them.  Him in his finest frock coat with a snowy cravat.  Her in a new gown.  She’d pour a steaming cup for him, and he’d lift a choice little cake to her lips while speaking of his deepest affections.  She sighed, warm and contented.  “I should think a tea would be very pleasant she murmured.” Both men turned toward her.
Tea is referenced several times in this story.
A SURPRISE guest happily appears at the end of the story that caused my mouth to fall open.  But no spoilers here!
I truly enjoyed this story.  Five stars. 
To be released September 2018, Barbour Publ., Shiloh Run Press, – 30 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 #1 - 12 Days at Bleakly Manor September 2017
Book #2 A Tale of Two Hearts September 2018
Book #3 The Old Lace Shop expected in September 2019

Today I enjoyed Pukka Revitalise Tea while
reading A Tale of Two Hearts.
It is a warming blend of cinnamon, cardamom and ginger!
Until next time, hugs and a cup of tea,



Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Best of Intentions

S.S. OLYMPIC  by ship portraitist Antonio Jacobsen
This is a sister ship of the Titanic and Britannic.
She was considered a 'floating palace'. 
INTENSE DRAMA
Purchasing Info
May 1919, three strangers meet on a ship following WWI. Each one is on a mission to find family. Grace Abernathy is traveling from England to Canada to find her sister Rose along with her new baby and bring them home before her mother leaves this world. Quinten Aspinall comes to her rescue when a male passenger tries to take liberties. Emmaline Moore has a traveling companion who has not quite become accustomed to the sea. The three decide to form a brief friendship until the ship docks.

Grace arrives in Toronto, Ontario and heads straight for the boarding house her sister’s letter has listed, only to find her sister is no longer there.  The story takes several turns and she learns her infant nephew is now in the care of Mr. and Mrs. Easton, Rose’s in-laws.  Rose’s letters adamantly detailed them as heartless people who abandoned their son and his new family.  Grace is determined to get to her nephew and ensure his happiness no matter the cost.

Andrew Easton has always felt second best behind his brother Frank. But, when Frank goes off and marries a young British clerk from his father’s company instead of the wealthy socialite he’s been courting and then goes off to war, expectations quickly change. Andrew must pick up the pieces, help run the family’s hotel business and marry the socialite who has turned her attention his way.  His father leaves little room for argument and his mother’s failing health pulls his heartstrings as well. His path has been laid out for him, but he can’t convince his heart it’s all going to be okay. Then, when his nephew shows up in his life he is drawn into fiercely loving the little boy and adjusting his life to ensure his well-being. When he meets Grace life to gets more complicated. CH.4: Vivid recollections of his boyhood came to mind, when he used to lie out on the back lawn at night and try to memorize the constellations.  It was during those moments of peace and awe that Andrew had felt closest to God. … He needed to get back to those simpler pleasures.

This story is filled with drama and intense emotion all the way through.  Grace and Andrew both seem to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. There are some very kind characters I enjoyed such as Reverend Burke who has really developed a knack for listening and gently guiding people. Plus he bakes cinnamon scones! 
Mrs. Chamberlain is a kind, doting, older lady who brings the first tray of tea (and toast) into the story (smile). Tea Moment (and happily there are many) - CH.6: She thought of her cozy room in the boardinghouse and the unexpected friendship she’d developed with Mrs. Chamberlain. She’d miss their cups of tea in the evening before they retired.  But for a chance to be close to her nephew, Grace could do almost anything.

I enjoyed learning about Dominion Day. Historical Note: On July 1, 1867, Canada became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain and a federation of four provinces: Nova Scotia; New Brunswick; Ontario; and Quebec. The anniversary of this date was called Dominion Day until 1982. Since 1983, July 1 has been officially known as Canada Day.

I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys intense drama in a historical setting. At times I thought my heart was going to explode as it continually dropped into my stomach.

Thank you to the author, Susan Anne Mason and Bethany House Publishing who sent me a review copy.  My opinion is my own without expectation or compensation.

Canadian Crossings Series
1 The Best of Intentions – Grace Abernathy’s story 07/2018
Purchasing Info
2 The Highest of Hopes – Emmaline Moore’s story 03/2019
3 TBD - Quinten Aspinall’s story
Until next time, hugs and a cup of tea!

 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

More Than Meets The Eye is Five Stars


Wonderfully Woven Story of Hope and Peril
More Than Meets the Eye – A Patchwork Family Novel - by Karen Witemeyer
Pecan Gap, TX 1894
Three unlikely and unrelated orphans have banded together to scratch their way into a respectable life and makeshift family under the name of Hamilton. Zach is the brisk older brother who does whatever it takes to provide for the family he never asked for.  Seth is a suffering asthmatic with excellent business skills and Evangeline is an innocent young woman who refuses to let her heterochromia (two mismatched eyes) define her character, despite the ignorance and lack of compassion from the locals. Each one passionately and fiercely loves the others and will care for them come hell or high water.

Logan Fowler has secretly returned to Pecan Gap, looking for justice for his family who was abruptly forced from their home when he was a teen.  He is camping out on the edge of the Hamilton’s ranch when he unexpectedly observes Evangeline about to be attacked by a wild boar and his moral compass just can’t let that happen.

Circumstances twist and turn and danger arrives unexpectedly when Logan and Evangeline observe someone throwing something into the river which forces these people to work together.

Tough turnips was a phrase I had never heard that made me laugh.  I might have to steal that one!
I really enjoyed this story and discovering the onion layers being peeled back from each character.  The danger element elevated the tale, and the faith-filled moments were touching as well.  Evangeline was so special and really brought joy and hope to everyone.  I highly recommend this 5-star story and look forward to the next one.


Karen Witemeyer is one of the sweetest authors you could connect with!  
You may do so at: http://www.karenwitemeyer.com/ or at
The Posse FB group fan page: CLICK HERE where the ladies in the group build community like no other group I have experienced! Truly a blessing.

Thank you to Bethany House Publishing who sent me a review copy.  My opinion is my own without expectation or compensation. 

Until next time, hugs and a cup of tea!


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

THE WINNER IS

If you are one of the 6 ladies who entered my tea contest, congratulations!  I have decided you ALL WIN!

Regina
Faith
Charissa
Kate
A.M. Heath
Lori
Kindly email me your name and mailing address so I can get your tea out to you by July 9th.
Charissa, after a random drawing, you are my grand-prize-winner and there will be a little something extra for you!

Thanks for participating ladies. I think each of you mentioned at least one tea I enjoy as well.

God bless you and GOD BLESS AMERICA!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

FREE TEA – SHARING THE LOVE

Friends, I am not even sure where to start with this post… my brain is all over the place.

I previously mentioned being IN LOVE with the Gaither Promise Tea gifted to me by a friend and wanting to search it out and order some, but to no avail.

Well, the internet led me to Scripture Tea who was the original manufacturer.  However, their website did not show the tea I was searching for (“these are not the droids you’re searching for”).  In fact, their website is quite dated.

It did reference a possible likely tea also featuring apple called “American Hero Tea”.  But, there was NO sales information for it… only pictures.  I was excited about this with July 4th being right around the corner and the description boasting “quotes from founding fathers, military and social heroes of yesterday and today” and even featuring 5 different examples on the photo. Wouldn’t that be fun to share?
Click to enlarge

I checked Amazon, and a seller called “God’s Outlet” in FL had some listed for only $5.30 +$3.98 shipping.  I figured that was reasonable for a box of tea I was in love with and I naturally expected to receive a standard box of about 20 teabags (no amount was listed on the amazon page).

An additional clue from the Scripture Tea website was that 100 teabags in other flavors = $22.00.
Well, my tea arrived today and it was in a rather large box.  Much to my surprise, I received a ziplocked back of ONE HUNDRED TEABAGS!  Holy cow!!!  

That would be great for this price IF it was the tea I was looking for. But, alas “these are not the droids you’re searching for”.
I now suspect the actual tea I may have wanted was Apple Cobbler –
Note this random internet picture says Ltd. Ed.
also not on the website or for sale anywhere I can find.  The American Hero tea is pleasant enough but didn’t wow me as much as the Gaither Promise Tea.

Ingredients: Black tea, cinnamon, natural flavor,
hibiscus, rosehips, roasted chicory,
blackberry leaves. Scripture John 14:2
Additionally, I love scripture as much as the next Jesus lovin’ girl, but these bags claim to be American Heroes as I mentioned.  So far, I have opened 3 and each has a scripture on it.  Time will tell if any tags read as promised.
Also, the seller claims this tea is decaffeinated, but I see nothing on the bag or photos I’ve found to confirm that.

I’m quite happy with the price naturally and it is a pleasant enough blend that I am happy to share.  So if you would like to receive 10 teabags and live in the continental U.S.A, please follow these rules to enter my giveaway.
Drumroll Please

1.      Follow my blog via one of the sources to the right of this post (if signing up for emails, mention that in a comment below)
2.      Comment below with your favorite tea & you will be *entered 
3.      *Must live in continental U.S.A. due to shipping
4.      *Enter by noon P.S.T. (pacific standard time – west coast) July 4th
5.      (optional) If you win, would you kindly come back and let me know how your tags read?

Winner will be announced here later in the week at which time I will request your mailing information.
If you don't follow, you won't see my next post to know you have won. (*If no response by July 9th, a new name will be drawn to replace yours).
I reserve the right to withdraw or discontinue this contest for any reason.

I would love if you would share this post/giveaway with your tea-loving friends!

You may also enjoy a very special RED, WHITE AND BLUE tea I did back in 2015. Click here

Have a very blessed Independence Day friends.

Until next time, Hugs and a cup of tea!


Link up party: Have a Daily Cup #296

Monday, June 25, 2018

DO YOU ENJOY VINTAGE MOVIES


I have recently been watching a ton of vintage classics since my dad and I discovered them on Amazon Prime while he was here visiting for Father's Day and many are included free with my annual membership.  However, this particular classic is also available in full on YouTube and is copy pasted below for you :-)
RHYTHM IN THE CLOUDS
1937 (black and white)
FUN CONCEPT - SHORT MOVIE - LOVELY MUSIC
Patricia Ellis and Warren Hull in Rhythm in the Clouds (1937)Judy (played by Patricia Ellis) can't pay her rent and has just a few hours to vacate her apartment in quite possibly the most polite eviction I've ever seen.  Judy comes up with a plan to stay in the presently vacated apartment of Mr. Hale, a man she was supposed to meet for a business meeting to discuss composing.  When she answers his phone, she hears opportunity knocking!  That's not the only thing knocking... her new neighbor, Bob McKay, played by the handsome Warren Hull, continually knocks on the walls to quite her and she knocks back!  This starts a continuing feud between the two until they eventually discover they are working together.  The continually flustered Clyde Lyons (William Newell) adds several points of comedic relief to the movie. The story is smart and sweet plus the music is lovely.  At about the 12:00 mark you hear the music (about a minute and a half long) for "Don't Ever Change" (Written by Walter Hirsch and Lou Handman).  I really loved this piece and swear I've heard it before, though I've never seen the movie.  Later in the movie it is sung by Warren Hull at the 22:30 mark.  Another fun song was "Two Hearts Are Dancing" (same authors) sung by Ellis and Hull at the end of the movie. 
My only complaint about Judy was her tendency to get dramatically nervous and want to flee, though she never does.  Just a little odd.
I would certainly watch it again.  It's only 53 minutes, so you can certainly pop in your headphones and squeeze it on your lunch hour, and then go back to work a happy camper!

(TIP - When you find one movie in full on YouTube or Amazon, it generally leads you to others you can bookmark).

OTHER MOVIES I HAVE ENJOYED LATELY


I have only watched The Stork Club
but I like this picture of her, and I see
that The Perils of Pauline (1947) is also
on Amazon Prime.
The Stork Club (1945) Betty Hutton
This movie was so much fun. My dad and I laughed out loud several times & really enjoyed the songs. I've even looked up Betty Hutton on you-tube to add the song Doctor, Lawyer and an Indian Chief to my vintage playlist there. When she rescues a stranger from drowning he decides to secretly reward her financially and has his lawyer set her up with unlimited funds, believing she's too kind to take advantage. However, she can't believe her good fortune, literally, and sets to work trying to figure out who is putting a leash on her... by SPENDING his money to draw him out. The fur coat scenes bring lots of laughs. Meanwhile, she befriends Pop, the sweet little old man she rescued, having no idea that he is her mysterious benefactor. During this time her Marine boyfriend returns to town only to discover she is a kept woman. Filled with mayhem, misunderstandings and music this movie is a good time all around. At times, Betty Hutton's over-the-top performances remind me of Lucille Ball with all of her crazy contortions; a feat not anyone can accomplish.
(Free here: on YouTube or here Amazon Prime)

You Can't Take it With You (1938) Jean Arthur /  James Stewart
This movie is one of my favorites, so much so that I bought the remastered dvd. "Lional Barrymore is the eccentirc patriarch of a clan of frustrated artists who dedcided 30 years earlier to retire from the rat race and use his fortune to encourage friends and family to pursue vocations that really interest them.  At the center of his family is his granddaughter, Jean Arthur, who is carrying on a romance with her boss' son, James Stewart." -IMD  You can watch it here on YouTube, but the quality appears to be that of someone who videotaped their t.v. so the remastered version is certainly preferred.
 I adore Jean Arthur and she and Jimmy Stewart really click together.  They were also in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) together. Additionally, she starred in The Devil and Miss Jones with Robert Cummings (1941) and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town with Gary Cooper (1936).

Back in 2015 (oh my! has it really been that long?) I shared this gem:
Click here for the movie snipped of the song
I'd be remiss if I didn't give it an honorable mention in today's post since this IS a tea lovin' blog (wink).
I hope you will check out some of these movies that harken back to simpler times and lots of good clean fun!  As I am writing this, I have stumbled across several more movies that I am adding to my queue (smile).  Now to go brew a cuppa, sit back and enjoy one!

Until next time,
Hugs and a cup of tea.


Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Road to Paradise

art by: Creative Carmella Designs Incidentally her
shop is closed because her family is busy visiting
all of the National Parks in her home state! How cool is that?
But check the link above later if you are interested in her beautiful style.
The Road to Paradise – A Vintage national Parks Novel - by Karen Barnett
Ashford Washington 1927
Margaret Lane: Ch. 1 As a child she’d dreamed of living and working in Mount Rainier National Park, a park her father had campaigned to create. In time she realized that the daughters of United States senators didn’t run off to live in the woods.  They endured a slow death at the hand of high-society parties and tedious political functions.
She has an opportunity to be a naturalist, studying the park and all its glorious details God has laid out. Margie’s former fiancĂ© is a villain you love to hate! So smug, so self-righteous, and so calculating.

Chief Ranger Ford Brayden enjoys a simple, bachelor lifestyle in the park.  He is quite surprised to be saddled with the nature smitten Margie and fully expects to send her packing in short order. That is until he realizes who her father is and what her presence means to the park. He is a kind man, but a little inclined to make assumptions and definitely outside his element when outside of the park.  He has no use for God and cannot understand how Margie can see God in EVERYTHING.

Sweet God Moment: Ch. 22 Her hero, John Muir, had spent weeks and months rambling the High Sierra.  Margie closed her eyes, the expansive view overwhelming her senses. Lord, help me find my way.  I love Your creation, but I’m not ready to spend the night alone out here.  A gentle breeze lifted the ends of her hair, bringing the lush smell of the heather. She took a deep breath, thankful for her slowing heartbeat. God was present, even out here in the dark. Scripture floated into her mind, and she whispered the familiar words to the wind: “The darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.”
Karen certainly crafts a beautiful story and the words pull you right into the scenery.

Tea Moment:   First off, this book starts out with two mentions of tea. One in the dedication and then a quote under that from C.S. Lewis – one we all know and love, I’m sure. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” Surprisingly, I would not read tea related text until the final chapter of the book, and then my heart was quite happy indeed; Luke popped outside, a giant grin lighting his face. “I thought I heard voices.  I’m glad you survived the trip. I’ve got the kettle on. Would you like some tea?”
Margie threw her arms around him. “I would love some. I’m so glad to see you.”

NOTE: This is a stand-alone novel, and fine to read out of order, as per the author.

After reading Where the Fire Falls, I happily gobbled up this story and truly loved it.  Now on to the FREEBIE short story, Christmas in Paradise, posted on her website. My opinion is my own and given freely (true story!). 

Read: 6/14&15/2018 - Reviewed: 6/23/2018 / 5 Stars ☆☆☆☆☆

FREE STUFF – Go to Karen's website to get a free novelette, vintage style postcards, digital poster and bonus eBook “Women of the National Parks”.  So generous and fun!


My posts related to this one: Bookmark Fun


Until next time, hugs and a cup of tea!

In my cup: Gaither Promise Tea - sent by a dear friend & how I love it!
The tag reads: "Gentle Shepherd, we need your strength from day today."
I am on the hunt for more, but alas I think it may no longer be made
(at least not by Gaither).
After searching Google (as I am multitasking while writing this,
it seems to be made by Scripture Tea.  They mention
American Hero Tea on their site, but no way to order it...
grrrrrr. Hopefully, I figure it out! 
It would be super cute for
Fourth of July!