Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Top Ten Books of 2020

 My goodness what a book year! This year was loads better than last year when it comes to books and I am excited to share my favorites. There were so many other amazing books but these are ones that have really stuck with me after reading them. They are in no particular order. There are some debut authors this year that really did an incredible job. I am excited to dive into 2021 reading! 

See what else people loved this year: Top Ten Tuesday


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Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Dress Shop on King Street Is A Must Read


 About the Book

Harper Albright has pinned all her hopes on a future in fashion design. But when it comes crashing down around her, she returns home to Fairhope, Alabama, and to Millie, the woman who first taught her to sew. As she rethinks her own future, secrets long hidden about Millie's past are brought to light.

In 1946, Millie Middleton boarded a train and left Charleston to keep half of her heritage hidden. She carried with her two heirloom buttons and the dream of owning a dress store. She never expected to meet a charming train jumper who changed her life forever . . . and led her yet again to a heartbreaking choice about which heritage would define her future.

Now, together, Harper and Millie return to Charleston and the man who may hold the answers they seek . . . and a chance at the dress shop they've both dreamed of. But it's not until all appears lost that they see the unexpected ways to mend what frayed between the seams. (Goodreads)


 My Thoughts

 This is Ashley Clark's debut novel and it most certainly blew me away. It is in my top ten books of the year and I am anxious to read her next story. This book has a lot going on with a dual time line and multiple characters. It was very well done and I adored both story lines and all of the characters. Each person in this book was well developed and I felt like I got to know them personally. There is so much that this book holds I couldn't begin to describe it all. This book brings home the fact of how racism has affected people lives FOREVER as it continues to do today. There is a wonderful story of family and romance and there is a twist near the end that you don't see coming. This isn't a fast read by any means and I thoroughly enjoyed savoring each page. If you enjoy dual time lines you will love this book! 

I highly recommend so go buy a copy now! Five stars. 

"I received this book from Bethany House for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Courting Misfortune Review



 About the Book

Calista York needs one more successful case as a Pinkerton operative to secure her job. When she's assigned to find the kidnapped daughter of a mob boss, she's sent to the rowdy mining town of Joplin, Missouri, despite having extended family in the area. Will their meddling expose her mission and keep Lila Seaton from being recovered?

When Matthew Cook decided to be a missionary, he never expected to be sent only a short train ride away. While fighting against corruption of all sorts, Matthew hears of a baby raffle being held to raise funds for a children's home. He'll do what he can to stop it, but he also wants to stop the reckless Miss York, whose bad judgment consistently seems to be putting her in harm's way.

Calista doesn't need the handsome pastor interfering with her investigation, and she can't let her disguise slip. Her job and the life of a young lady depend on keeping Matthew in the dark. (Goodreads)


My Thoughts

 Having been to Joplin I was curious to read the historical aspect of the town. I had a difficult time connecting with the characters and the first part of the book moved a tad slow. But as the story moved on things started to flow a bit better and I got more into the story line. There are some fun moments and Calista is a very independent woman. Some of the scenes are pretty over the top but that can be part of the fun. It is interesting to read how rowdy this town was and the details of it's past. 

If you enjoy Regina Jennings you will love this new book. This is the first in a new series so I am curious to see what comes next! 

Three Stars. 

"I received this book from the publisher for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."












Sunday, December 13, 2020

Oh Hey December



 It has been a while since I have written a blog post. The past couple months have been a complete blur and really the past year seems to have escaped my mind. Life, as for many, has been hectic and frustrating. I am so looking forward to a day at home for Christmas. 

I am hopeful the last few weeks of this year can be simple but joyful and that I can focus on what really matters. Life is not going to magically become perfect come 2021 but it still encouraging to be starting a new year.  

I have been doing a study on Ecclesiastes with my church group and my goodness it has really helped! I feel completely scattered every week and then when I prepare for study and then dig deeper with my sisters in Christ I am reminded that God is in control. I encourage you to study Ecclesiastes!


With decorating for Christmas I decided to continue what I tried last year and decorate with citrus. It is an "old fashioned' type look and I love it! I dehydrate oranges, grapefruit, and lemons and then put them on the tree as ornaments! Also, a friend of mine shared this DIY Dried Orange Wreath video and I think I might need to give it a try. 

You can also make garlands and it is a bright happy look. I like the ornaments because the Christmas lights shine so pretty through them.

Rebecca St. James had new songs come out in July and I am the last to know. This one I have been listening to a lot.

Also this is a great version of Little Drummer Boy.

I hope you have a great holiday season.

Happy December and Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 12, 2020

An Ivy Hill Christmas with Celebrate Lit Tours


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About the Book

Book: An Ivy Hill Christmas

Author: Julie Klassen

Genre: Christmas Historical Romance

Release Date: September, 2020

Ivy Hill Christmas 

Richard Brockwell, the younger son of Ivy Hill’s most prominent family, hasn’t been home for Christmas in years. He prefers to live in the London townhouse, far away from Brockwell Court, the old family secret that haunts him, and the shadows of his past mistakes. But then his mother threatens to stop funding his carefree life–unless he comes home for Christmas. Out of options, he sets out for Ivy Hill, planning to be back on a coach bound for London and his unencumbered bachelor life as soon as the festivities are over.

But Christmas in the country presents many surprises, including encounters with an orphaned apprentice, the first love he disappointed years ago, and Arabella Awdry, a young lady who is far more appealing than he recalled–and determined to have nothing to do with him.

Will Christmastime in Ivy Hill, with its village charm, kissing boughs, and joyous songs, change his heart . . . and hers as well?


Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

Klassen Julie 

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane–Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for 16 years and now writes full-time. Her novels have sold over 1 million copies, and three of her books, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Secret of Pembrooke Park was honored with the Minnesota Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie has also won the Midwest Book Award and a Christian Retailing‘s Best Award, and has been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards and ACFW’s Carol Awards. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.


More from Julie

My fascination with England began as a girl when I read The Secret Garden and Jane Eyre, and watched A Christmas Carol. I have now been to Great Britain several times, and my affection for the place has only grown. I love the country villages with their stone buildings and thatched roofs, the narrow, winding roads (though not driving on them), the ancient churches, friendly people, plummy accents, and history. Writing fifteen novels set there has been a real pleasure.

An Ivy Hill Christmas includes all the elements of an idyllic Olde English yuletide: A charming village setting, snowfall, mistletoe, caroling, gifts for less fortunate neighbors, and festive gatherings of friends and family. I thoroughly enjoyed researching 19th century Christmas traditions and weaving them into this novella.

In the story, a confirmed bachelor is determined to remain aloof from the celebrations going on around him—and from his mother’s matchmaking schemes. But divine hope, friendship, and unexpected romance change his heart…and his mind.  I love a transformation story; don’t you?

If you’ve read the TALES FROM IVY HILL series, you will enjoy returning to the village and spending time with favorite characters. But rest assured, the novella is a standalone, meaning you can enjoy it whether or not you’ve read the other books, as these reviews attest:

“[A] standalone novella that not only beautifully captures the kindness, hope, love, and faith of Christmas but also skillfully evokes the period holiday atmosphere of Regency England.”  —Booklist

“This feel-good tale of love and redemption will delight Klassen’s fans and new readers alike.” Publishers Weekly

And if you like the novella, I think you will like the other books as well. An Ivy Hill Christmas would also make a lovely gift for a reading friend.

Finally, if you want to add a British flair to your own modern-day celebrations, buy (or make) mince tarts or Christmas pudding, place Christmas “crackers” (pull-apart gift tubes) on your table and wear the included paper crowns. Refer to Father Christmas instead of Santa; and instead of “Merry,” wish everyone a hearty, “Happy Christmas.”

Happy Christmas!


Blog Stops

Through the Lens of Scripture, November 30

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 30

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 30

Christian Bookaholic, November 30

Andrea Christenson, November 30

Texas Book-aholic, December 1

KarenSueHadley, December 1

Robin’s Nest, December 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 1

Blessed & Bookish, December 2

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, December 2

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 2

Mia Reads, December 2

Wishful Endings, December 3

lakesidelivingsite, December 3

Through the Fire Blogs, December 3

For Him and My Family, December 3

Just Your Average reviews, December 3

She Lives To Read, December 4

Remembrancy, December 4

deb’s Book Review, December 4

Writing from the Heart Land, December 4

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 5

Quiet Workings, December 5

Blogging With Carol, December 5

Spoken from the Heart, December 5

The Christian Fiction Girl, December 6

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 6

Connect in Fiction, December 6

Artistic Nobody, December 6 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Worthy2Read, December 7

Genesis 5020, December 7

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 7

Inklings and notions, December 7

Life of Literature, December 7

For the Love of Literature, December 8

Connie’s History Classroom, December 8

Batya’s Bits, December 8

Labor Not in Vain, December 8

Hallie Reads, December 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 9

Older & Smarter?, December 9

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, December 9

Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 9

Betti Mace, December 9

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 10

Faery Tales Are Real, December 10

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, December 10

Mary Hake, December 10

Daysong Reflections, December 11

Bigreadersite, December 11

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 11

Splashes of Joy, December 11

Vicky Sluiter, December 12

To Everything There Is A Season, December 12

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, December 12

Blossoms and Blessings, December 12

The Write Escape, December 12

A Baker’s Perspective, December 13

Bizwings Blog, December 13

Simple Harvest Reads, December 13 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Pause for Tales, December 13


To celebrate her tour, Julie is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of An Ivy Hill Christmas and the other three books in the Ivy Hill series, plus the winner’s choice of Bingley’s Tea!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.



 My Thoughts

 I love a great holiday story. While this is a short book it still holds a fun story line. I love the cover! Arabella is a great character but it took me awhile to warm up to Richard Brockwell. It was fun to read some Christmas traditions. I think that is what really made this book all the better is the historical aspect of it. There is some romance of course but the pages just flow together nicely to make up a cozy winter read. If you enjoy Klassen's timeless novels this book will make a great addition to your collection. 

Four Stars. 

"I received this book from the publisher for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."