Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Golden Bride Daughters of The Mayflower 8



•°o•:*:•. COULD NOT FINISH .•:*:• o°•
When a book becomes too monotonous and no longer enjoyable, I have to admit defeat and lay it aside over forcing myself to plod through it.  I normally finish a novel in 1-2 days, but with this, I keep looking for excuses to lay it aside and do something else.

The story feels forced and the subject matter is depressing. 1849 Gold rush period of California territory set in San Francisco when it is still primarily a tent city and debauchery reigns supreme.  A yet unnamed villain (I have completed 41% of the book at this point) wants to appear good and decent, but is secretly vying for power and money and now kidnapping legal, Chinese immigrants for slave labor. "The fortune to be made was in gambling, liquor, and women."

Our heroes are a sister and brother (Olivia and Daniel) and rich, recently come-to-Jesus gold mine owner (friend of the brother), Joseph Sawyer, who all want to see the town grow and succeed and direct the people towards God.  The young sister has made some bad choices and chapter after chapter laments those choices and cannot forgive herself.  While I appreciate the continued Christian theme, it seems forced rather than natural.  Also, I noted that while reading her relative's journal from the 1700s the entries were quoted in today's modern English.  I found that frustrating.
Of practical note, I highlighted: "the woman studied God's Word on her own and wrote down her thoughts and life applications in the journal."  Good advice for any of us.

A quote I liked written by her mother about the women in her ancestry: "My sweet Olivia, it's important to remember the hardships of those who have gone before us and to see how they persevered and survived."

I was approached by Barbour Publishing and asked to review an eVersion of this book without fee, expectation or compensation.  My opinion is my own and offered freely.  Please read other reviews for a well-rounded purchasing decision.

© April 1, 2019, Barbour Publishing, 3 stars – writing is not horrible, simply not my cup of tea.


F. Earl Christy, 1909


 I saw this on FB and thought it was funny :)


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Dandelion Chai plus The White City

My chest cold has turned into a head cold thanks to ALL the daycare Littles being sick.  Well, that's caused more tea drinking and more book reading... so, not all bad, eh?

My local Sprout's was having a two-fer sale on Traditional Medicinals brand tea, so I decided to give this Dandelion Chai a whirl.

Ingredients: Organic: dandelion
leaf & root, ginger, rhizome,
cardamon seed, cinnamon bark
Bacillus coagulans

It's warm and comforting, plus caffeine free, which is great when you are sick and just want rest! I am generally not a fan of chai, but this has no added milk products so it's very pleasant.

For added fun, the tea tags contain quotes!

And now an exciting book!
Image borrowed from Author's Instagram Page - check her out and consider following this up-and-comer!

The White City –  by Grace Hitchcock

•°o•:*:•. Danger and Murder, Faith, Intrigue and Romance.•:*:• o°•

This is completely outside my preferred reading genre, but somebody on Instagram had great things to say about it and so I requested an eVersion.  I could not put this book down and stayed up well past bedtime to finish it! I had no idea it was based on an actual serial killer! Yikes!  There are details on that at the end of the book.

The story is well-written and told through the eyes of fictional characters who happen to be Christian.  I really enjoyed that aspect.  There are also fun quotes from authors of days-gone-by at the beginning of the chapters.
“If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.” Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey.

Art and Handicraft in the Woman's Building
of the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago,
1893 edited by Maud Howe Elliott.
Paris, New York: Boussod, Valadon & Co.,
1893
Chicago, July 1893 during the World’s Fair

Winnifred Wylde is and inspector’s daughter and has an eye for detail, thanks in part to her dad’s training and her love of dime novels, particularly those of Percival Valentine. Her wealthy aunt would see her married off to a proper gentleman before she becomes an old maid (ahem, she’s 19), but she has other ideas. “I cannot believe Aunt Lillian made me set aside my novel for this. She promised me a day at the world’s fair, not a never-ending monologue.”
When she tells her father of yet another crime she has observed he dismisses her, but just in case assigns newly transferred Detective Jude Thorpe to follow her and make sure she is kept safe.
Jude has requested a transfer from New York to secretly investigate his brother-in-law’s death, but now he has become tied up babysitting.  Perhaps it will simply be a good way to impress his new boss.  That is until he discovers the lovely Miss Wylde’s hunches tend to be correct and danger seems impossible to avoid.

Tea Quote: “Clutching the gold-rimmed china teacup, she averted her gaze to the front entrance of the Ceylon Teahouse…”

Spiritual Moment: “Oh, well then, I’m all ears after we pray, he said, taking his seat and reaching for his dinner napkin before bowing his head.”  I appreciated how these moments were natural and easily woven into the story as a way of life.  Not forced.

There is no gore in this story, but the danger does set the heart to beating faster at times.  The romance is a nice balance so you are not always focusing on the danger.  This book is part of 6 in a new series by 3 authors.  Go to True Colors Crime dot com to read more.  And seriously, with a last name like Hitchcock, it really is the perfect story!

I downloaded a copy of this book through Net Galley via the publisher with no fee and no compensation in the hopes of an honest review.
Connect with the author at Grace Hitchcock Books dot com.

Image borrowed from author to aid in promoting her book.© March 1, 2019, Barbour Publishing - 5 stars
Upcoming True Colors Books:
June 2019 The Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma
August 2019 The Yellow Lantern by Angie Dicken
January 2020 The Gray Chamber by Grace Hitchcock
And two more tbd


Until next time, hugs and a cup of tea!

Saturday, February 23, 2019

The Unexpected Champion – High Sierra Sweethearts Book 3 - by Mary Connealy

Well, friends, I am suffering from a chest cold so this review will be short and sweet.  

***LIKE A BULLET, THIS STORY LEAPS OFF THE PAGE AND DOESN’T SLOW DOWN***
Sierra Nevada Mountains – June 1868
Beginning where “The Reluctant Warrior” left off this book is by far the best in the trilogy!  I really enjoyed it.

John McCall, a Pinkerton agent, has helped haul in the man he just shot to the town of Dismal, NV.  Penny Scott is a strong frontierswoman and ready to give her account of the day’s events to the sheriff.  She can take care of herself.  But, when trouble finds them both and McCall offers to die for her, a long adventurous fight for their lives follows.  The story is romantic, outlandish with the disguises and harrowing at times in the rough boomtowns and terrain of mountains, lakes, old mining shacks and wilderness.  I enjoyed Penny’s and John’s chemistry.  Our previous characters return as well, which rounds out the story nicely.  This group is fiercely protective of each other and won’t stop until everyone is safe and justice found.

The only tea reference (albeit slim) I found: “the front windows let in enough light that they managed to not fall tail over tea kettle to the ground floor.”

Copy provided by Bethany House Publishing via NetGalley with no other compensation.  I am not required to provide a favorable review and my opinion is my own. Please read other reviews for a more well-rounded purchasing decision.  


High Sierra Sweethearts Series:
1 – The Accidental Guardian – April 2018☆☆☆☆☆
2 – The Reluctant Warrior – October 2018 ☆☆☆
3 – The Unexpected Champion – coming March 5, 2019☆☆☆☆☆

Connect with the author at Mary Connealy dot com

Until next time, hugs and a cup of tea,






Sunday, February 17, 2019

THE HIGHEST OF HOPES


CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE
HIGHLY EMOTIVE
May 1919, three strangers board the SS Olympic and form a friendship before docking in Canada to search for family. Emmaline Moore is traveling with her long-time friend, Jonathan Rowe, who is suffering from horrible seasickness.

Arriving in Toronto, Emmaline is anxious to find her father. A man she believed long-dead. Having returned from the war, Jonathan is determined to share his true feelings with Emma and convince her to begin a life with him while he goes to school at Oxford. “Nobody really won in a war he’d learned. It ate at your soul long after the gunfire had faded.”
Emma has ideas of her own, and they don’t involve the man who abandoned her for the war. She is determined to surprise the father she romanticized as a sort of hero figure and stay in Canada to develop a relationship with him. 
“Soon, with God’s blessing, she would embark on a new life with a family she’d never met, but who, Emma prayed would accept her graciously into their fold. Maybe then the emptiness inside her would finally be filled, and at last she’d feel whole.”
However, her new family is anything but pleased to see her and rather than welcoming her, tries to keep her true identity a secret.  There is animosity, hurt and a nosy reporter determined to discredit her father.

I loved the romantic scene at the Italian restaurant – “The other man sat down on a stool and pulled out an ancient-looking squeezebox. …The music changed tempo and this time there was no doubt the man was singing a love song. The longing in his voice struck a chord deep within xxx.” (no spoilers)
I could not help but picture Disney’s Lady and the Tramp when Tony, the restaurant owner, sings Bella Notte (giggle). Click for Video Clip of Lady And The Tramp - Bella Notte famous spaghetti scene
  
While the story did not go as I expected, I was actually glad it wasn’t cookie cutter.  The ending was very satisfying and I definitely teared up.

Tea Moment: “Oh, and might we have a pot of tea, if it’s not too much trouble?”
“The kettle’s already on the stove.” Her landlady winked.

I enjoyed reading the author’s notes about how her own grandmother was moved from England to Canada and told that her father was dead, when he was very much alive! She discovered so while doing ancestry research.

I recommend this story if you enjoy drama and romance in a historical setting.

Thank you NetGalley and to the author and Bethany House Publishing who sent me a review copy. 
My opinion is my own without expectation or compensation.
Amazon Link

Canadian Crossings Series
1 The Best of Intentions – Grace Abernathy’s story 07/2018
2 The Highest of Hopes – Emmaline Moore’s story 03/05/2019
3 TBD - Quinten Aspinall’s story

Click for her Website

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.

Connect with the author at SusanAnneMason.net 

Until next time, hugs and a cup of tea!



 

Friday, February 8, 2019

Ever Faithful – A Vintage national Parks Novel – by Karen Barnett


As someone who has traveled to Yellowstone when I was a teen, I really enjoyed getting to virtually revisit the park!

Ever Faithful – A Vintage national Parks Novel – by Karen Barnett
***Kept Me Guessing***
Yellowstone Natl Park, WY, 1933
This story focuses on the Pack Rats, Pillow Punchers, and Pearl Divers also known as the park’s hotel staff, or Savages (smile) as well as some Rangers, and President Roosevelt’s new Civilian Conservation Corps (the CCC).

22-year old Elsie Brookes has been working summers to save enough money to earn a teaching degree and go to college like her friend’s Mary and Rose.
Teddy Vaughn is a new ranger who gives her stomach flutters, but she needs to focus on her job and caring for her ailing mother, not to mention her closely guarded secret.
Sweet Scripture Reference: “Yes, indeed. ‘Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”  It’s not just the key to a happy home, Elsie-” “I know. It’s the key to a happy life.” Only her parents could make the golden rule sound romantic.

Joining the CCC camp are many struggling young men, arriving from New York area, who haven’t seen work or a decent meal in a long while. This is their chance to earn a paycheck to send home, learn a trade and get a free education.  But for Nate Webber, it’s his chance to keep his younger brother out of jail.  He had never been out of the city and wasn’t sure what to expect. “The sky back home had never looked like this. He could almost touch it, brush his finger against the glittering edges of the distant stars. “God”. He breathed the word, more in reverence than in vain. What other response could a man have in the face of such wonder?” Working out in nature may be just what he needs, plus no one need know about his shameful secret.

The park descriptions are lovely: “A small herd of elk grazed on the green lawn surrounding the lodge.  A cow elk, heavy with her unborn calf, lifted her head to stare back, chewing leisurely.  The animals had over three thousand square miles of park to wander but seemed to prefer it here.”

The mystery of the story kept me guessing all the way through.  There are several characters that keep the story in interesting.  I loved the raccoons!

Tea Moment: “Her friend took a sip of her coffee and made a face. “Why do I always think I’m going to like this stuff? I want to be all modern and sophisticated with my black coffee, but I still prefer iced tea.””
Amen Sister!! (haha)

NOTE: This is a stand-alone novel available 06/18/2019, and fine to read out of order, as per the author.
The first 2 books are “Where the Fire Falls” and “The Road to Paradise” which I both really enjoyed.
5 Stars.

FREE STUFF – Go to the author’s website Karen Barnett Books dot com to keep up with her news and click FREE STUFF to get a free novelette, vintage style postcards, digital poster and bonus eBook “Women of the National Parks”.  Amazing!


Thank you to Waterbrook Publishing and NetGalley for a digital edition. My opinion is my own and given freely. 

Until next time, hugs and a cup of tea, Heather Elizabeth

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

A Return of Devotion 5 Star Book Review

Since it is pouring rain and has been for several days,
rather than staging my book, I am borrowing the Author's graphic.
A Return of Devotion – Haven Manor Book 2 - by Kristi Ann Hunter

***Another Superb Regency Era Read by Kristi Ann Hunter!***
We return to Haven House following book 1, A Defense of Honor, with preparations having been made for the owner to take up residence.  (It will be important to read book 1 prior to this one). 
Daphne Blakemoor, by all accounts, seems to be a daft, incapable housekeeper upon the arrival of Lord William Oswald, the new Marquis of Chemsford.  However, the Marquis bears so striking a resemblance to one of the children Daphne cares for that she is immediately struck dumb when she sees him.
The two have many questions they are able unable to voice or are not quite sure how to and various moments of hilarity, covert operations, and deep thoughts ensue.
Ch. 1 “It might be worth keeping Mrs. Brightmoor around simply for the plethora of surprises that came along with her.”
At times Daphne’s thoughts are so moving I felt them deeply and even cried for or with her.
Ch. 11 “She would never possess the ability or courage to guide anyone anywhere, but she could raise up a Joshua just as Moses had done.  These children…were her next generation. They were the ones God was preparing to go forth into the world and live for Him.
Daphne has a huge imagination! Ch. 11 “… leaving Daphne to go into her own pre-sleep routine. The one where she drifted away to a life other than the one she had.” Ok, that right there shook me! I have done that since I was a very young girl and never expected to read about someone else (even fictional) doing it too. I think it’s why my dream life is extremely crazy! ((smile))
I love the supporting character, Jess.  We know she was a spy, but not much beyond that.  She has mad knife and culinary skills and she makes me laugh a lot! Her sarcasm is on point. Ch. 19 “I could put a bit of foxglove in xxx’s breakfast,” Jess murmured. (xxx to avoid spoiler).  She also genuinely cares for the people around her, giving wise counsel and fierce devotion as needed.
William has wonderful strength of character. I really liked him. Ch. 34 “Forgiveness is an interesting thing. Unlike a lot of other things in life, it’s easy to ask for and hard to accept.”

Tea Moment: Ch. 2 “In the new woman’s hands was a tray. Steam rose from the teapot that sat in the center, surrounded by a cup, saucer, and an assortment of small sandwiches and biscuits.” … “As he bit into a biscuit, an explosion of flavors he couldn’t identify but refused to live the rest of his life without filled his mouth.”

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to the next one in the series.

Thank you to Bethany House, the author and NetGalley for a copy. My opinion is my own and given freely. Keep updated on the author’s website, Kristi Ann Hunter dot com

Haven Manor Series:
“The Haven Manor series follows a group of women who take what could have been a life-crushing circumstance and turned it into an opportunity to help desperate women and their children from the same fate. Their pasts may have brought these women here, but God has an amazing future in store for them.” -Author’s Website
Book 0.5 A Search for Refuge (Margaretta’s Story) 03/2018 FREE eNovella (available in print 2019 in the 3 author collection Love At Last)
Book 1 A Defense of Honor (Kit’s Story) 06/05/2018
Book 1.5 Legacy of Love (Sarah’s Story) 10/2018 Novella in The Christmas Heirloom Collection featuring 4 different authors
Book 2 A Return of Devotion – Daphne’s Story - available Feb. 5, 2019
Coming Soon – Jess’s Story 

Hugs and a cup of tea,

Thursday, January 10, 2019

HOT TEA MONTH


January is National Hot Tea Month so this morning I pulled out my Mother's Bouquet by Harney & Sons which features Chamomile (the only tea I like with that flower), rose, cornflowers, orange rind, & natural orange flavor. It's very relaxing and oh-so-pretty.

 
January 12th, is National Hot Tea Day in the U.S.! How will you celebrate?


Until next time, hugs and a cup of tea!
Heather Elizabeth

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Flights of Fancy – Romantic Dramedy that ticks ALL the Boxes

Today is RELEASE DAY for Flights of Fancy – American Heiresses Series Book 1 by Jen Turano - Be sure to scroll past my review to read a fun, real-life story from Jen!

•*• Romantic Dramedy that ticks ALL the Boxes •*•
I really don’t know how Jen Turano can wield a pen rather like a magic wand and hit every box I hope for from Romance to Drama to Comedy to Danger to Faith to Historic Charm to Interesting Characters – including wonderful animals (Oh, the animals) and adorable children.  And she does it all inside ONE BOOK!  She truly never disappoints and remains number 1 on my go-to authors list!

1885 Newport, NY –
Part of the New York Four Hundred, Isadora Delafield has been groomed since birth to flawlessly comport herself at every social affair with the hopes of her mother that she will acquire only the most elite of husbands.  Much to her mother’s delight and her own horror, a vile duke with a questionable past begins pursuing her. 
“What a wonderful sense of humor you have, darling, but do know that you might want to allow the duke more time to become better acquainted with you before you bring out that humor again.  We wouldn’t want him to conclude you have a sarcastic side, would we?”

With no time to waste, decisions are made to help Isadora escape where no one would ever think to look for her. “Beatrix narrowed her eyes. “How in the world did your family butler, Mr. Godkin, and my family butler, Mr. Hatfield, get involved in what I’m going to assume is some type of outlandish plan?””

Canonsburg, PA
Ian MacKenzie is a self-made businessman, who has been able to climb the ladder of success with the help of his charming Aunt Birdie and Uncle Amos.  As all manner of chaos descends on Glory Manor, his horrified housekeeper up and quits leaving him in desperate need of a new one. Ian has a big heart, and ahem, a big chest.  While he tries to be all business, he has trouble maintaining that side around the newly arrived Izzie.

TEA MOMENT: “We were about to get some tea.” “Then I’ve arrived just in time.” As Ian took her arm and Jonathon walked on the other side of her, Isadora soon found herself seated at the best table in the tearoom.
(Humorous) FAITH MOMENT: Aunt Birdie glanced to the oven, then turned back to Isadora, reaching out to place a hand on Isadora’s arm. “My dear, it’s always been my belief that God gives all of us certain gifts. You, I’m confident in saying, have not been given a gift as pertains to anything involving a stove.”

This book definitely hooked me and I cannot wait for book 2!

American Heiresses Series:
Flights of Fancy – book 1 Jan 1, 2019
Diamond in the Rough – book 2 coming soon

I received a complimentary book in the hopes of a favorable review, with no further compensation.
Bethany House Publishing - 5 stars
I also wanted to share this adorable book keychain
made by: Literary Treasures which Jen
gifted to those of us on her ARC team for Christmas. 
I opted to use it as an ornament on my tree
which will be fun to pull out each year!

CONNECT WITH JEN TURANO HERE – SHE IS AMAZING!

I am not the greatest at doing interviews with authors, so instead, I thought I would share a fun story Jen Turano wrote on her FB page.  It seems she has lots of comedy moments in her real life to draw from.

“So normally this would be a pic I'm sharing of the first sighting of "Flights of Fancy" in a store. But, this is me after all, so my first sighting turned somewhat...interesting. You see, Al (husband person) and I were out and about and Al wanted to stop at a golf store to get a new grip on one of his clubs. Every time I step foot in a golf store I feel as if the life is being sucked right out of me, which is why I had him drop me off at a different plaza, one that had a Barnes & Noble in it - my kind of plaza :)  I no longer make any attempt to get out on my release day to enjoy the sight of my books on a real bookstore shelf because I always arrive before those books have been unpacked, something that makes my trip rather anticlimactic - So there I am, just making my way to the history section to see if anything looks interesting and as I strode past Christian Fiction I saw this book and thought 'Hmm...now that's a cute cover." Haha - yeah, it was my book. After I got over the shock of actually seeing my book, and before the official release date, I dug in my purse, pulled out my phone, snapped a pic, and then...honestly...I have no idea why this stuff happens to me. A lady came up to me and began lecturing me about taking pics of books in order to buy them somewhere less expensive. The conversation only went downhill from there. I'm apparently awful with explaining to people what I do for a living and even though I told the lady it was my book, well, she just didn't seem capable of grasping that idea. I finally, after she threatened to call for a store employee, dug out one of my flyers, although that probably wasn't my most brilliant of ideas since she evidently thought I was going for a weapon - hahaha - Fearing I would soon find myself arrested, I thrust the flyer at her, said something like "Again, I'm Jen Turano, the author of that book," and with a light finally going on in her eyes, I made a speedy escape. This will probably be the last pic any of you see from me of one of my books on the shelf because...whew - the drama was just a bit much, even for me!!! Anyway...my book is apparently making its way into stores - so...how cool is that???? Have a great week.” –Jen 12/30/2018

This is the tea in my cup making that gorgeous deep red color
matching Isadora's dress :)
Not one, but two, seperate girlfriends who each live in
AL sent me a pouch :) How fun is that?!

Wishing you a lovely New Year.  Hugs and a cup of tea! 
Heather Elizabeth