Sunday, February 25, 2018

A Most Noble Heir

A Most Noble Heir, Susan Anne Mason

•°o•:*:•.COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN.•:*:• o°•
  
I received this book in yesterday’s post (I just love saying post – don’t you?), took some time to photograph it, brew a pot of lemon-lavender tea with a sprig of rosemary and settled in with a cozy blanket at 2:10pm.  I only paused to feed the kitties and whip up a speedy dinner of eggs with toast and continued reading (thank goodness for book stands!) while eating because it was that good.  I finished at 10:42pm!  What an enjoyable 8.5-hour read!  Note to self: Susan’s books suck you in. Plan accordingly ;)

Derbyshire, England 1884.
Nolan Price is the 21-year-old stable hand at Stainsbury.  He has grown to love Hannah Burnham, a kitchen maid that arrived when he was 14 and she was 13 following her mother leaving her there to work.  He has finally saved enough to buy a small neighboring farm and give Hannah, her sister Molly, and his mother a better life.  However, his mother has suddenly taken ill and reveals a long kept secret that he is the son of the Earl of Stainsbury whom he loathes.  If he should agree to take his place among the aristocracy he will not be allowed to marry below his station.  Outraged at this revelation, he decides to elope with Hannah, convincing her of his love and that it is the best way to ensure they are accepted as “one”.   Hannah has always felt small, unimportant, and abandoned ever since her mother forced her into service, but kept her sister Molly.  Nolan has been the one constant in her life. He is tender and kind, the man she prays with. He is her future. 
Edward Fairchild is shocked to find that his son is alive and further has been right under his nose all these years.  His son-in-law and current heir to the estate, Orville Fairchild, is a loathsome, gambling infantile man.  He makes plans to train Nolan and turn him into a proper gentleman worthy of a title and Hannah does not fit into those plans.  He will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure she does not get in the way.
Iris Hartford is a fantastic character! Without giving to much away; she is a breath of fresh air, tells it like it is, is gentle but commands a room and the most delightful fairy godmother type one could hope for!
This story has many twists and turns as well as dangerous situations which elevate it further.   Through it all, faith balances the story nicely, but not perfectly because no one is perfect in their faith.  As the wise and loveable Scotsman Bert says, “Sometimes we have to hear God’s message several different ways before it finally takes root.” (smile – is that not the truth?!).
Tea Moment (and there are several, yay!) She nodded and wiped her own face.  “Come back to the kitchen, and I’ll make you some tea.” Like his mother, Hannah believed a cup of tea could cure anything.


© 2018 Bethany House - Book available March, 2018
364 pages
Thank you to Bethany House and the lovely author for an advance copy to review. My opinion is my own and given freely. Keep updated on the author’s website, Susan Anne Mason.net
I believe this is a stand-alone book and not a series.
Read & Reviewed: 02/2018 *****5 stars

Hugs and a cup of tea,




In addition to MY BLOG, Reviews posted at: (Amazon / Amazon Canada / Amazon UK - ALL 3 able to post only after 3/6 release date) / Books A Million / Barnes & Noble / CBD / GoodReads / Google Play / Indigo /  My FB / Author’s FB page / My Pinterest

Sunday, February 11, 2018

SHOEBOX SURPRISE

Hello Friends,
Yes.  This is another book review but WAIT.  This one is rather unique, so please hang in there ((smiles)).
IF YOU HAVE EVER SENT A CHRISTMAS SHOEBOX OR WANTED TO OR SIMPLY ENJOY A GOD DIRECTED ROMANCE.
This book was sent to me by a friend.  We became friends about a year ago on a mutual FB page all about sharing Operation Christmas Child ideas.  So this book was too perfect. 
Josif’s family fled Serbia when he was just 5.  He’s now 30, living in TN and running his family’s hotel. Apparently, his mother’s best friend did not escape and her daughter, Mirela has remained in her prayers all these years; until today.  This morning Mama Sesely has seen a newspaper from a town just 45 minutes away and she is certain the young woman in the article is her best friend’s daughter. Twenty-five years ago the two best friends promised each other their kids would marry each other.  But wait, Josif is dating Sabrina who works at the hotel with him and he has grown content with over the last 3 years.  He does not have any interest or time for a modern day fairytale.
Mirala received a Christmas shoebox when she was a little girl.  She was told all about the love of Jesus and she was adopted by missionaries.  She is constantly thankful and kind to the point of allowing a co-worker, in the daycare she works at, to walk all over her.  She is best friends with her adopted sister Ivy and dearly loves her adoptive parents, though it has been 5 years since her father passed. 
This story is an adventure of God bringing this couple together, growing each one's faith individually, various characters overcoming misunderstandings, fears and assumptions and all of it for His glory. 
I would give it 4.5 stars because there is one teeny part of the story with some side characters – Emily and her 2 kids: Bella and Benny that did not get resolved.  I guess there is more ministry work that needs to be done there, but the indication that it was a serious situation should have had a wrap-up. I really, really enjoyed reading it over an afternoon into early evening.  God is so present throughout the story and I got choked up several times.  It makes me look forward to shoebox season again.  
I have been privileged to pack shoeboxes, with my kids, for the Operation Christmas Child shoebox ministry (click here) for over 20 years now and have volunteered at one of the inspection and distribution warehouses several times.  See my previous post about the fun here. This ministry is led by Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse if you would like to know more. 
Additionally, my dear friend who introduced me to the book creates Joydorables; the cutest, little stuffed animal friends to go into her shoeboxes which she includes an Operation Christmas Child patch on when she can!  You can find those here on FB.  I really do get excited about this ministry and am so glad Jennifer Collins Johnson thought to include shoeboxes in a romance novel!
Find the eVersion here or here 
It's like 2 bucks! ;)
*Modern day setting* © 2011 Heartsong Presents by Barbour Pub*170 pages Only 19 chapters + epilogue

I received a copy from a friend and this is my honest review.
Read: 2/10/2018 - Reviewed: 2/11/2018
4.5 stars


CBD / GOODREADS / Amazon.com / My Pinterest  / Author’s FB page  


Hugs and a cup of tea to you dear friends.  Thanks for taking the time to stop by.  Would love a wee comment if you have the time!


Monday, February 5, 2018

A Spudtacular Valentine Craft

Last night I had a random thought: "Wouldn't it be fun for the kids to trace potatoes?" Well, that evolved into Valentine Potato Banners!
πŸ’–πŸ³❤πŸ³πŸ’–πŸ³❤πŸ³πŸ’–

😍😍😍
Small potatoes worked well for this craft.

First I designed a 2x3 column grid
on MS Word.  I added triangles to the bottoms as a
cutting guide for the banner. Then I added 3 potato-themed
phrases in cute fonts.
A toothpick might help hold the potato steady.




AND BEFORE YOU GO...
a little kitty love!
Walked into the bedroom last night to find
these two cuddling  & holding paws just
like when they were kittens, nearly 10 years ago!
πŸ˜ΊπŸ’•πŸ˜½πŸ’•πŸ˜»πŸ’•

He totally stole the bed from one of the
Littles, & if you look close you can see
he is very aware I am looking at him :)
πŸˆπŸ›πŸΎπŸˆπŸ›πŸΎπŸˆπŸ›πŸΎπŸˆ


















Saturday, February 3, 2018

Valentines Crafts Etc

EEEEEEEEK!!!! That's supposed to be ruBBer bands! :/
Put 2 colors of paint in various blobs on the canvas. We used white & red.
Wrap one piece of saran wrap longways, folding over the ends,
then wrap a 2nd sheet sideways folding over the sides. Squish, smear, slide in
various directions.  Be careful of kids with long nails scratching through the wrap.
When done, carefully remove and let paint dry.
When done stamping hearts, allow to dry.
Pro tip: include a piece of tape across the top so child
starts UNDER it, leaving room for the binder clip later.
And yes, I figured that out AFTER one kid wrote really close to the top!
Glitter glue can run and smear.  Be sure to lay flat and allow to dry completely.
Note: when I wrote the rest of the scripture, I did it backwards
to ensure I could fit each letter that was left of the word
VALENTINE.
I found the flat canvases in a 3-pack at WalMart in the craft
section.  Oddly there were two brands. One was on a shelf with several
other sizes/packages and was higher priced. However, I then
discovered a cheaper set hanging up along the same wall. I think I paid around $2
for the 3-pack and they are about 8x10.


The Tradition of St. Valentine's Day
Valentine was a good and holy man who lived long ago. Because of his great love for God and others, Valentine is honored as a saint on February 14. We celebrate St. Valentine's Day by sharing our love with family and friends through cards, candy, flowers, and gifts from the heart.
"Love one another as I have loved you." -John 15:12

Valentine’s History (what I would call the "adult version")

In the 3rd century, Emperor Claudius II was faced with defending the Roman Empire from the invading Goths. He believed single men made better soldiers so he temporarily forbade marriage. He also forced the Senate to deify the former Emperor Gallienus, including him with the Roman gods to be worshipped. Legend has it that Valentine was a bishop in Italy who risked the Emperor's wrath by refusing to worship idols and for secretly marrying young couples. Saint Valentine was dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and have his head cut off, FEBRUARY 14, 269AD. While awaiting execution, it is said he prayed for the jailers' sick daughter, who miraculously recovered. He wrote her a note and signed it, "from your Valentine." In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius designated February 14th as "Saint Valentine's Day." Signing an X for a kiss began in Medieval times where those who could not write marked a criss-cross or "Christ's cross" in the presence of witnesses and kissed it to show sincerity. The X, or Chi symbol, was the Greek letter used to represent the name of Christ, as X-Mas for Christmas, and was used as a written form of the oath "So help me God."

Credit: AMERICAN MINUTE written and copyrighted by William J. Federer. Permission is granted to reproduce with acknowledgment. AMERICAN MINUTE™ is a registered trademark.

A Valentine From Jesus:

I love you. You are mine. Your name is written upon My heart. Your prayers are precious to Me. Your life is in My hands. I am always with you, nearer to you than your own heart. I gave My life so that you might live forever with Me. All I ask in return is your love.
Be My Valentine, Jesus

P.S. You are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you.   
--Isaiah 43:4

May you enjoy a lovely Valentine’s with your family & know how much God loves You! 


Friday, February 2, 2018

Shadows of Ladenbrook Manor book review.


Shadows of Ladenbrook Manor by Melanie Dobson

•°o•:*:•.HEAVY SUBJECT MATTER .•:*:• o°•
I found this book extremely frustrating. The book jumps from the past to the present throughout the entire story.  It’s in the 50s, the 60s, the 70s, the 80s, and then present day with iPods and cell phones.  Whenever it’s in the past, it clearly tells you the date, but in the present it never does.
The POV (point of view) switches back and forth from character to character:
Maggie / Walter / Libby / Heather / Mrs. Wescott / Christopher
When Christopher finally learns why his heart was broken, he says nothing and takes a phone call instead.
When Heather learns a huge secret, she says nothing and the story just switches to the past.
Both very unrealistic acts.
Additionally, the story is very heavy, involving THREE different times teenage girls give up their virginity to boys and suffer all the consequences that can come from that choice.
Although faith and forgiveness along with interesting detail about places and an autistic girl are also in the book, the story was so heavy with the rest of it, that I could not enjoy it.  A good reminder for me to check the label for the publishing company first.
I did NOT enjoy this novel and do not recommend it.

© 2015 Howard Books, div of Simon & Schuster
336 pages
Read: 1/30&312018 - Reviewed: 2/2/2018
2 stars
I received a purchased copy from a friend. My opinion is my own for no compensation.