Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Cowboy Charm School by Margaret Brownley

Kate Denver works in The Haywire Book and Sweet Shop in Haywire, TX.   She came over on the Orphan Train as a little girl, along with the highly practical albeit often jealous Frank Foster.  They’ve grown up together in the small town and are preparing to tie the knot when Texas Ranger Brett Tucker comes barreling into the church to stop the wedding, save the bride from future disaster and arrest Frank Foster once and for all.  Unfortunately, he’s got the wrong Frank Foster which results in fists of jealousy flying, a biblical alfresco painting getting ruined and several people landing in jail, plus a bride who’s so disgusted by her green-eyed fiancĂ© she’s called off the wedding for good!
Brett is assigned to catch the Ghost Riders who have been wreaking havoc in this town and others nearby, so he makes it his mission to fix the problem he’s created for this couple and get them back together while resolving the crime problem.  But, Frank Foster ‘Two’ is a bit dim and has no clue how to court a woman properly or control his jealous streak.  It will take a lot of patience from Brett to help Frank become the man Kate deserves.  However, every time Brett turns around, Kate is in a pickle that requires his help and draws him closer to her.  In the end, Kate will have to make a choice and follow her heart, while avoiding danger at every turn. 

In her pink and white shop, Kate includes little handwritten just-for-fun fortunes in each bag of candy she sells: Leaving Town Would Be Good For Your Health / Life is like a cup of tea. It’s all in how you make it.  / etc.

I was surprised to read some phrases I don’t normally read from a known Christian author, but perhaps it has something to do with this book not being published by Thomas Nelson, but instead Sourcebooks – (purely speculation on my part) -  “all hell broke loose” “he looked like hell” “I feel like crap” “Knowing that his obsessive thoughts were simply the stirrings of a lonely heart, he felt somewhat better.  The annoying affliction had a cure; all he had to do was find a woman.  Spend some time with her, and his problems would be solved. Easy as that!”  “From the other side of the fence, she could hear Frank cuss.” “Oh, God Kate!” “He’d left her writhing in bed and swearing like a sailor…” “Good God, Letty.”

Faith Quotes – there aren’t many, but here’s a couple: Ch. 14: “Since we weren’t lucky enough to have children of our own, we were convinced that you were a gift from heaven.”
Ch. 24 She prayed now as she’d prayed all day. “Oh God, please keep Brett safe.”

3 stars - Overall a fun story, but I miss the stronger faith element that I am used to from this author.  I would still recommend it to others with the above warnings for those who might appreciate them.

Publ. by Sourcebooks, Inc. / Book was a gift from the author in exchange for my blogged review and opinion which is purely my own and shared for no compensation.
SERIES: The Haywire Brides.
1. Cowboy Charm School 2018

Connect with the author at

Until next time, Hugs and a Cup of Tea

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Brides of Last Chance Ranch 3 books 1 Review


I recently binge read all 3 books in the series over about a one-week period.  They were great fun, filled with outlaws, ranch hands with classic nicknames, rancher talk, fun supporting characters in the townsfolk and romance.  The women were strong and the men were kind along with plenty of God moments that filled my soul. I would definitely recommend this series.
Eleanor Walker is a hard as nails 65-year-old ranch owner who doesn’t take kindly to nonsense, dresses more like a man, refuses to be courted by her longtime friend the bank owner and wants her ranch left to a worthy woman who feels the same.

Looking for a woman of good character and pleasant disposition
willing to learn ranching business in Arizona Territory.
Must be SINGLE
and prepared to remain so now and forever more.
Will be given ownership of ranch.
-Eleanor Walker-
So reads the ad placed by the formidable boss lady.  Each book encounters a new potential heiress hungry for a new life and willing to swear off men. In ‘Dawn Comes Early’ Kate Tenney is an author of romantic Dime Novels who has had her book banned in Boston and decides to start fresh when she sees the ad.  Luke Adams is the town blacksmith, who Kate mistakenly calls Brandon, the hero of her novels after an unfortunate run-in with outlaw Cactus Jack.  She is determined not to develop feelings for him, and ruin her chance at the ranch, no matter how drawn to him she is.
BOOK 1 FUN QUOTE: Lula-Belle made a funny choking sound. “Passion was invented?” “Of course it was. How else can you explain its sudden appearance? Did you ever hear about it when we were young?” “No, but… but who would invent such a thing?”
‘Waiting for Morning’ has Molly Hatfield fleeing Colorado with her wheel-chair bound brother following a fire that leaves them homeless.  She makes the long trek to Cactus Patch, AZ hoping to give her brother a better life at The Last Chance Ranch.  She has no idea what she’s in for, but she’ll give it all she’s got burying her guilt and happy to be rid of men for good. Dr. Caleb Fairbanks is the town’s new doctor.  He’s young and drives a noisy, horseless carriage that scares half the town, but interests the other half.  He’s got a lot to prove and he doesn’t judge people by the outside, but wants to get to know the heart of them.  He recognizes the potential in Molly and her brother, but she keeps him at arm’s length.  God will need to do a work to bring them together.
BOOK 2 TEA QUOTE: “Have him drink tea.  Don’t know what it is exactly, but there’s something in tea that seems to help asthmatics.”

 ‘Gunpowder Tea’ finds Miranda Hunt, an undercover Pinkerton agent, on assignment in pursuit of the Phantom.  The ranch ad seems like the perfect cover to apprehend him.  And who would suspect a female agent?  Jeremy Taggart has also been assigned by Wells Fargo to go undercover.  Each suspects the other of being in cahoots with the Phantom, despite their obvious attractions to each other and will do whatever it takes to capture him, including using the other for information.
BOOK 3  FAITH QUOTE: “Prices go up and prices go down.  Rain comes and rain goes.  But the Good Book tells us that no matter what happens, we need to store our trust in God’s stables instead of our own.  And that’s what’s gonna keep this ranch goin.”
BOOK 3 TEA QUOTE: “Now that we’ve settled our future together, let’s go home. It’s time for my afternoon tea.”

I enjoyed reading about Gunpowder Tea inside the back of the third book:
It comes from the Zhejiang province of China.  Originally the leaves were hand-rolled and looked like little gunpowder pellets.  Today the rolling is mostly done by machines.   It’s fun to listen to the little popping sounds as the leaves unfurl during brewing.  Brought to this country during the California Gold Rush, the tea was especially popular during the Civil War, and any soldier fortunate enough to secure some for his knapsack considered himself lucky indeed.  Gunpowder Tea is good for what ails you and its health benefits range from preventing tooth decay to lowering blood pressure.  It can even slow aging.

Thomas Nelson Publ. / Books were purchased from ChristianBookdotcom.  Opinions are my own and shared for no compensation.
SERIES: The Brides of Last Chance Ranch
1. 1895 / Dawn Comes Early / (c)2012
2. 1896 / Waiting For Morning / (c)2012
3. 1897 /Gunpowder Tea / (c)2013

Until next time, Hugs and a cup of Gunpowder Tea!

Purchase Here (I have not tried it, but the price is affordable & reviews are good)

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Dragons and Darjeeling Dropping In

This sweet little dragon was added to our fairey garden by one of the Littles. It reminds me that having a Front Porch Tea  / Quiet Time with God is the perfect opportunity to be still and listen, allowing God to slay those dragons we all carry around. They weigh us down like heavy stones, but we can lay them at the feet of Jesus and find rest in Him. And a good cup of tea never hurts either. Also, it's World Honey Bee Day and you know there is honey in my cup!

As I was resting, I decided to scroll through some Instagram feeds and somehow landed on this beautiful soul that spoke to my heart.  Her art is lovely and her words are so encouraging.
Check her out if you can @ahniart  

Click for Etsy link

She says,
“Life with Jesus is not a "try harder campaign". That's religion...uncertain striving which always leads to exhaustion, frustration, disappointment, and wondering if we're doing enough to win God's favor. But Jesus is about relationship...which is always and only about resting in his grace that eagerly pursues us-no matter where he finds us.
I'm thinking that's why Paul begins and ends all 13 of his New Testament letters with a similar blessing of grace..."Grace be with you"..."Grace be in you". Go take a look! It's amazing! Every single letter begins and ends with a power-packed blessing that Paul doesn't want us to forget:
The Christian life begins and ends with grace!
And in order for us to flourish, we must first receive. Receive the gift of grace...just because He loves us, not because of anything we've done to deserve it.
Stop striving and simply breathe in the life-giving oxygen of grace...a perfect and beautiful place to start and end each day.
God doesn’t measure...he just pours! So, drink it up.
May God's Grace be with you, my friend!”
-Amy Kirk
“Thank God, he does not measure grace outs in teaspoons.” -Amy Carmichael

Have a lovely weekend! Until Next Time, Hugs and a Cup of Tea 

Thursday, August 2, 2018


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

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