“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ― G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, December 10, 2020

"An Ivy Hill Christmas" by Julie Klassen Blog Tour (Review) & GIVEAWAY!


About the Book

BookAn Ivy Hill Christmas

Author: Julie Klassen

Genre: Christmas Historical Romance

Release Date: September, 2020

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!

My Review

“An Ivy Hill Christmas” by Julie Klassen is a companion novella to her “Tales from Ivy Hill” trilogy.  It can also be read as a standalone.  I have absolutely loved her “Tales from Ivy Hill” novels!  They remind me of the show “Lark Rise to Candleford” or any show with a small, English village set in the country where all the residents know one another.  I became so invested in Ms. Klassen’s characters that I was so delighted to hear I would be able to visit Ivy Hill once more through this novella.  

This book is everything a lover of Regency stories would want in a Christmas novella.  It includes all the traditions and customs of the time and just has that “olde Christmas” feel to it.  I was delighted to once again meet some of my favorite characters and get to know some new ones.  My Jane Austen loving heart was excited to pick up hints or nods to “Pride and Prejudice” and “Emma” throughout Ms. Klassen’s novella.  Of course, Ms. Klassen always includes beautiful sentiments and lessons.  This story has lessons on forgiveness and on learning that a person is valuable and significant just as they are.

The characters of “An Ivy Hill Christmas” are well done, and I did not feel like the story was too rushed, as is often the case with novellas.  I especially love Richard, our main character.  I appreciated his transformation from a bit of a “bad boy” bachelor to a sweet and caring man.  Of course, there is romance and a bit of a love triangle as well.  I honestly went back and forth on who I wanted Richard to end up with.  

I invite you to grab some mulled cider, your favorite blanket, start a warm fire and cozy up with this book.  You will be transported to an idyllic country village during a 19th century Christmas.

Happy Christmas!

Content:  This book is pretty much a clean read.  Some examples of the content are: people drink alcohol and smoke pipes; someone curses, but the words aren’t actually written; mention of a woman’s bosom; a man had a mistress; a person has a past of sleeping with women before marriage; a boy is physically abused.

Rating:  I give this book 5 Christmas bells.

I want to thank Julie Klassen, Bethany House, NetGalley and Celebrate Lit for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.

About the Author

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 GovernessThe 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.


Friday, November 20, 2020

An Ode to the Motherhood Journey--"Reflection of Me" by Penny McIntosh—Review


My review:

"Reflection of Me" by Penny McIntosh is a contemporary novel sprinkled with magical realism.  From the exciting opening, Ms. McIntosh instantly drew me into her novel.  The main character, Callie, is a wife and mother who is feeling unappreciated and struggling with her role in life and with her marriage.  She is given the chance to see her future and what she will become if she does not change her ways.  It’s fascinating to see how things play out.  I love the touches of magical realism and there are definitely some surprises along the way!  Ms. McIntosh masterfully portrays the emotions that many stay-at-home moms feel.  

You don’t have to be a mom to relate to Callie’s life and struggles.  Part of the story is about her journey as a mom and a wife.  Callie must learn to find peace and joy from within.  She has shut people out and kept them from helping her.  Can she learn to let people back in before it is too late?  Or is she destined to become the person the mirror portrays?  What if you were shown the future?  Do you think you would be able to fix things and change the outcome?  Find out what happens to Callie!  This book kept me turning the pages to find out what became of Callie and in the end it encouraged me to not take my husband for granted, to seek peace and joy within and make sure I am present in each moment of each day.  

Make sure to get the special edition that has all the “F” words removed if you are sensitive to language.

Content:  I give this book a PG-13 rating.  Some examples of the content are: a woman commits suicide; the Lord’s name is taken in vain; words “as*,” “bi*ch,” “sh*t,” “hell,” and “da*n” are used; a character drinks alcohol; a quick fade to black scene of a married couple

Rating:  I give this book 5 stars!

I bought this book with my own money.  I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.

About the Author:

Penny McIntosh is a stay at wife, and mom of three. She has a degrees in Religious Studies and Teaching, and has always been drawn to the mystical and the unknown (something she tries to incorporate into all her books). She is an avid reader, and finds that the silence of the twilight hours offers the most inspiration for writing.

To purchase the book click here
To visit the author's website click here

Friday, October 30, 2020

A Unique and Lyrical Story! --"The Love Note" by Joanna Davidson Politano—Review


My review:

Have you ever felt a story is so beautiful that it touches your soul?  "The Love Note" by Joanna Davidson Politano is one of those stories.  I still cannot find adequate words to fully do this book justice.

I love how unique Ms. Politano’s books are.  This one is a standalone.  You can really tell the author wrote this story with God, letting the Spirit guide her.  There are so many nuggets of divine truth throughout.  This book is not your normal love story; although, there is a mysterious love note that is passed around to the people living in a house that the main character, Willa, is working at.  I loved seeing how the note affected, touched and changed each person who received it.  This is a house devoid of love, but slowly things change because of one note and one persistent nurse (Willa).  This book speaks not just about new love; but broken love, lost love and stale love.  I love this quote from a member of the household: “When you truly love someone, you find what’s good about them and say it.  It’s all a matter of where you focus.”

This is a story about the cracks in people’s lives and how the love note brings out different things in each person.  It’s also about how only God can truly fill those cracks.  I also recognized how this love letter can be symbolic of God’s love letter to us through His Word.  If we truly allow ourselves to believe what He says about us and imagine ourselves as He sees us, then our whole life and outlook can change.  

I highly recommend this book and author!  Prepare to be deeply moved and encouraged.

Content: I give this book a PG rating.  Some examples of the content are: an allusion to prostitution; alcohol is mentioned; talk of someone being illegitimate; mention of a baby born out of wedlock.

Rating:  I give this book 5 stars.  

I want to thank Joanna Davidson Politano and Revell for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.

About the Author:

I’m a work-from-home mom of two fun and adventurous littles and we’ll soon be homeschooling. I married my hero Vince, who is my love and my polar opposite. I write, he tears it up with the red pen. I break cars and other mechanical things, he puts them back together. He’s nailed the “speak the truth” thing, and I bring the “in love” part. But the real spark to our marriage is that he does not like chocolate and I…  like it a normal amount. We love and live from our little house in the woods near Lake Michigan.

To visit the author's website click here
To purchase the book click here

Friday, October 23, 2020

Intrigue, Romance and Magic! --"The Camelot Betrayal" by Kiersten White—Review


My Review

I am a sucker for anything related to Camelot and King Arthur; and just a good retelling in general.  “The Camelot Betrayal” by Kiersten White is both of those things.  It is book two in the “Camelot Rising” trilogy.  I would recommend reading these books in order.  I loved the first two and am now dying for the third installment!

“The Camelot Betrayal” is really Guinevere’s story.  I think the first book, “The Guinevere Deception,” set up a lot of things for the rest of the series.  In “The Camelot Betrayal," Ms. White zeroes in on Guinevere and the path she takes.  I found the beginning to be a little more slowly paced than I prefer, but then it really gets going, right up to the mind-blowing ending (and I still need answers!)!

Guinevere must make a lot of hard choices and find her place as a queen and a witch.  She really grapples with balancing those two things and finding herself and her place in the world.  At first, I was upset by and frustrated with some of her choices.  But I think that is the point and Guinevere has to learn some hard lessons.  She struggles with whether she should use her magic, even if it will hurt others.  Is she just like Merlin?  She does not feel like she belongs—either as queen or even in Camelot.  There are a lot of twists that will keep you guessing as to what will happen next.  There is also a bit of a love triangle and I am interested to see how it plays out.  

If you love historical fiction, Arthurian legend and retellings, you will want to grab a copy of "The Camelot Betrayal!”

Content:  I give this book a PG-13 rating.  Some examples of the content are: LGBT characters; sexual innuendos; words “da*n,” “hell,” “bastard” and “sh*t” are used; people are drunk; people consume alcohol.

Rating:  I give this book 5 stars.

I want to thank Kiersten White, Delacorte Press and NetGalley for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.

About the Author

Kiersten White is the New York Times bestselling and Bram Stoker award-winning author of the And I Darken trilogy, the Paranormalcy trilogy, The Dark Descent of Elizabeth FrankensteinSlayerThe Guinevere Deception, and many other novels. Kiersten lives with her family in sunny San Diego, California, where she perpetually lurks in the shadows. Visit her at www.kierstenwhite.com.

To purchase the book click here

Thursday, October 22, 2020

"The Light at Wyndcliff" by Sarah E. Ladd (Review) Blog Tour & GIVEAWAY!



Publication Date: October 13, 2020

Thomas Nelson
Paperback & eBook; 352 Pages

Series: The Cornwall Novels, Book 3
Genre: Historical Romance/Regency/Christian



Set in 1820s Cornwall, this Regency romance evokes the captivating worlds and delicious dramas of Jane Austen, Daphne DuMaurier, and Winston Graham.

Raised on the sprawling and rugged Wyndcliff Estate near the dangerous coast of South Cornwall, Evelyn Bray lives with her grandfather, a once-wealthy man reduced to the post of steward. Evelyn is still grieving her father’s death and her mother’s abandonment when a passing ship is dashed against the rocks. The only survivors, a little girl and her injured mother, are rescued and brought to Wyndcliff Hall.

Liam Twethewey is just twenty-two when he inherits Wyndcliff Estate from his great uncle. His optimistic plans to open a china clay pit to employ the estate’s tenants meets unexpected resistance, and the rumors of smuggling and illegal activity challenge his new-found authority. Though wise beyond his years, young Liam quickly finds himself out of his depth in this land where long-held secrets and high-stakes agendas make no room for newcomers.

Brought together by troubling questions surrounding the shipwreck, Evelyn and Liam uncover even darker mysteries shrouding the estate. But as they untangle truths from deceptions, their loyalties separate them—and their budding love might not be strong enough to overcome the distance.


My Review

"The Light at Wyndcliff" by Sarah E. Ladd is the perfect fall read!  I could not believe how much I enjoyed it and how quickly I read it.  It is the third book in Ms. Ladd’s “Cornwall” series but can easily be read as a standalone.  After reading this book, I am eager to pick up the other two!

Be transported to the haunting, windswept moors and breathtaking views of Cornwall’s coast.  Picture an out of the way manor house with many mysteries in a sleepy little village that does not easily give up its secrets.  There are dangerous shipwrecks and possible illegal activity.  This book is the epitome of atmospheric.  The setting itself is like a character in the story, as is often the case in Gothic novels.  I love all the ways Ms. Ladd subtly incorporates light and the absence of light in the story and the setting.  It is obviously a major theme.  This book has been said to be a mix of “Poldark,” Austen and Daphne du Maurier.  I would also add Bronte to the list.  

I love the mystery surrounding this story.  There is an underlying current of danger.  Shipwrecks, and all that comes along with them, play a major part in the story.  I was fascinated to learn how people would deal with these tragedies.  The author’s description had me there on the beach amid the chaos.  

I love the main characters, William and Evelyn.  William finds himself in over his head with his new life, with illegal activity possibly going on right on his own property.  He must discover the plans before it is too late.  Evelyn learns about forging her own path, to welcome what comes and even embrace it (even the challenges).

If you want a good fall read to cozy up with, this is the one!  

Content: I would give this book a PG rating.  Some examples of the content are: men are in a taproom and there is mention of alcohol and tobacco; men are drunk; there is reference to a woman’s buxom figure; reference to gambling; a person swears, but the words aren’t actually written.

Rating:  I give this book 5 stars.

I want to thank Sarah E. Ladd, Thomas Nelson and Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.

About the Author

Sarah E. Ladd has always loved the Regency period — the clothes, the music, the literature and the art. A college trip to England and Scotland confirmed her interest in the time period and gave her idea of what life would’ve looked like in era. It wasn’t until 2010 that Ladd began writing seriously. Shortly after, Ladd released the first book in the Whispers on the Moors series. Book one of the series, The Heiress of Winterwood, was the recipient of the 2011 ACFW Genesis Award for historical romance. Ladd also has more than ten years of marketing experience. She holds degrees in public relations and marketing and lives in Indiana with her family and spunky Golden Retriever.


Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, October 13
Review at Hallie Reads
Feature at Momfluenster

Wednesday, October 14
Review at McCombs on Main
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
Review at Probably at the Library

Thursday, October 15
Review at Jessica Belmont

Friday, October 16
Review at Bitch Bookshelf
Review & Excerpt at Bookworlder
Review at View from the Birdhouse

Sunday, October 18
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Monday, October 19
Review at Book Bustle

Tuesday, October 20
Review at Books and Zebras
Review at Robin Loves Reading
Review at Into the Hall of Books

Wednesday, October 21
Review at The Lit Bitch

Thursday, October 22
Review at Faery Tales Are Real
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Friday, October 23
Review at Lu Reviews Books

Saturday, October 24
Review & Excerpt at Nursebookie

Monday, October 26
Review at The Caffeinated Bibliophile
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Tuesday, October 27
Review at Captivated Reading

Wednesday, October 28
Review at Heidi Reads

Thursday, October 29
Review at YA, it’s Lit

Friday, October 30
Review at A Darn Good Read
Review at Read Review Rejoice


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 5 copies of The Light at Wyndcliff! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on October 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Direct Link: https://gleam.io/8zsbJ/the-light-at-wyndcliff