Wednesday, December 20, 2017

12 Days at Bleakly Manor - Book 1 in Once Upon a Dickens Christmas Series - Michelle Griep

About the Book

Name of book: 12 Days at Bleakly Manor  
Author: Michelle Griep  
Genre: Historical Christmas  
Release Date: September 1, 2017  

England, 1851: When Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet feels compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of five hundred pounds. But is she walking into danger? It appears so, especially when she comes face to face with one of the other guests—her former fiancé, Benjamin Lane. Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with the anger of the woman he stood up at the altar. Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters. What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

My Rating
★★★★★ - You have bewitched me, body and soul. (More Info)

My Thoughts
I have no shame in admitting that ANY book that makes reference to Dickens, Austen, Shakespeare, or several other prominent historical figures, automatically makes its way to the top of my reading list. Hence the reason I decided to read this one during an extremely hectic time of year. 

Michelle Griep captures, not only the essence of the time period, but the feel and eccentricities of Charles Dickens as well. With a mystery afoot and romantic tensions filling each page, you will quickly devour this story. 

A novella that is just shy of 200 pages in length, it is a quick and easy read, and the perfect story for the season. A unique setting and a brilliant idea, Michelle Griep has me hooked for the rest of the series! Unfortunately, we have to wait until Fall 2018 for the next installment. 

I received a complimentary copy of 12 Days at Bleakly Manor. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone. 
Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of both Regency and Colonial historical romances but also leaped the writerly fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. Keep up with her escapades at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Guest Post from Michelle Griep

Go Green With Victorian Christmas Décor

Guest post by Michelle Griep

Walk in any store and you’ll be bombarded with displays of Christmas lights, gaudy ornaments, and inflatable life-size lawn characters. Commercialization at its worst. 150 years ago, that wasn’t the case. Yearning to decorate in a simpler fashion this year? Here are some ways you can bring a bit of the nineteenth century to your home this Christmas…  


Queen Elizabeth’s husband, the German Prince Albert, introduced the concept of a Christmas tree to Windsor castle. And you know, if it’s good enough for royalty its good enough for the common folk, right? So, the tradition spread. Generally trees were brought inside on Christmas Eve and taken down on January 6th. Trees were decorated with homemade ornaments from paper or fruits and nuts, strings of popcorn or cranberries, or hanging cookies such as gingerbread men from the branches. And remember, an authentic Victorian Christmas tree would’ve been small, like small enough to stand on a table.  


Holly. Evergreens. Mistletoe. Most Victorians couldn’t afford store-bought decorations even were there a commercialized industry at the time (which there wasn’t). So the next best thing was to bring in some free/natural ornamentations. Greenery would’ve been perked up with berries, ribbons, dough ornaments or flowers. Pinecones were also scattered throughout the house.  


“Writhen” is the root word where we get the word wreath from. It’s an old English word meaning “to writhe” or “to twist.” While the art of hanging wreaths goes back to Roman times, Victorians continued the tradition.  


Candles were primarily placed in one of two spots during a Victorian Christmas. A single candle in a window was lit to show that the house was willing to provide food and shelter to travelers. Candles were also used on each and every branch of a Christmas tree, which meant a huge danger of fire. Usually a servant would stand nearby with a bucket of water just in case the thing started to burn.  


Dresdens are ornaments hung from the tree, from a window, or really hanging pretty much anywhere. These were handmade by cutting out shapes (usually animals or trains) and painted with metallic paint so that they looked like metal. And that’s about it. No obnoxious Santas or reindeer inflated on the front lawn. No psycho Christmas lights strobing enough to give every passerby a seizure. Just plain and simple decor that made the home feel cozy. And speaking of cozy, how about grabbing a blanket and a cup of hot tea and settling in for a holiday read that’s sure to put you in the Christmas spirit? My latest release is 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, a Victorian blend of Dickens and Agatha Christie.

Blog Stops

By The Book, December 14
Bukwurmzzz, December 14
Faery Tales Are Real, December 14
A Reader’s Brain, December 15
Have A Wonderful Day, December 15
Texas Book-aholic, December 16
Carpe Diem, December 16
Cafinated ReadsDecember 16
Just the Write Escape, December 17
A Greater YesDecember 17
Remembrancy, December 17
AllofakindmomDecember 18
Simple Harvest Reads, December 18
amandainpa, December 19
Kat’s Corner Books, December 19
Mommynificent, December 19
Bookworm Mama, December 20
Vicky Sluiter, December 20
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, December 21
Reading Is My SuperPower, December 22 (Interview)
My Writer’s Life, December 23
Janices book reviews, December 23
For The Love of Books, December 23
Red Headed Book Lady, December 25
Bibliophile Reviews, December 26
Blogging With Carol,December 26
Mary Hake, December 26


To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift card and a signed copy of 12 Days of Bleakly Manor!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c5b8

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Esther Paradigm + Giveaway - Sarah Monzon

The Esther Paradigmjpg
Genre:  Christian, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Radiant Publications
Publication date: November 2, 2017

The daughter of missionaries, Hannah Pratt dreams of starting a school for the Bedouin clan with whom she spent her childhood. After completing her education in the United States, she returns to the desert to pursue that dream—only to learn her parents have been receiving threats from within the community they serve. As the danger escalates, Hannah must decide how far she’ll go to stay faithful to a calling that could cost her everything.
As sheikh, Karim Al-Amir feels the weight of responsibility as the leader of his people. When a mysterious illness ravages the clan’s flocks and threatens to destroy their centuries-old way of life, some of his people believe the American doctors and their daughter, his childhood friend, are to blame. Karim must do something to keep Hannah and her parents safe—even if the only solution is to be found within marriage vows.
In a society where the line is drawn between us and them, where Christianity is outlawed and foreigners suspect, will Karim and Hannah’s union heal wounds . . . or inflict a final, fatal blow?
Old Testament history meets Twenty-first Century tensions in this compassionate, tender inspirational romance.
Sarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain’s wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world. Playing pretend all day with them isn’t enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters. When she isn’t in the world of make believe, she can be found in the pine forests of western Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings. Her debut novel, The Isaac Project, skyrocketed to Amazon bestseller status while her Sophomore book, Finders Keepers, won the 2017 SELAH award for contemporary romance.
My Rating
★★★★★ - You have bewitched me, body and soul. (More Info)

My Thoughts
WOW! Sarah Monzon has produced an incredible story. The Esther Paradigm is filled with tension and conflict, yet the beauty of God's love and power shines through on every page. This is such a unique story, written with elegance and passion. Sarah's heart is clearly expressed within this story.
Karim and Hannah come from such different backgrounds and beliefs. It is so amazing to watch their relationship unfold in this modern "marriage of convenience". Karim is definitely a handsome man. Strong, powerful, protective...he has a soft heart and is so tender with Hannah. Can we say "Swoon Worthy"? And Hannah is so brave. She has strength she doesn't think she has. But God's favor is evident on her life form the beginning.
You are sure to be surprised along the way and left with you jaw hanging open at the power and truth that is expressed. So, what are you waiting for? Go get this book and enjoy a very different version of being called "For such a time as this".
I received a complimentary copy of The Esther Paradigm. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
Amazon GC
$25 Amazon Gift Card
Enter the giveaway HERE.
Reviewers: Mindy Houng

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Pattern Artist - Nancy Moser

My Rating
★★★★★ - You have bewitched me, body and soul. (More Info)

About the Book

Born into a life of hard work, English housemaid Annie Wood arrives in New York City in 1911 with her wealthy mistress.

Wide-eyed with the possibilities America has to offer, Annie wonders if there’s more for her than a life of service. Annie chooses to risk everything, taps into courage she never knew she had, and goes off on her own, finding employment in the sewing department at Macy’s.

While at Macy’s Annie catches the eye of a salesman at the Butterick Pattern Company.

1910 Fashion Images – Les Createurs de la ModeThrough determination, hard work, and God’s leading, Annie discovers a hidden gift: she is a talented fashion designer—a pattern artist of the highest degree.

As she runs from ghosts of the past and focuses on the future, Annie enters a creative world that takes her to the fashion houses of Paris and into a life of adventure, purpose, and love.

My Thoughts
The Pattern Artist embodies the very heart of "The American Dream". Annie is a unique girl with a gift and the drive a passion to see her dreams become a reality. 

I loved that even though this book is written strictly from Annie's perspective, it is still in third person voice. It's not that I dislike first person, I just prefer third person. But having the single POV helped to keep an air of mystery and helped me connect with Annie on a deeper level. 

Although I wish I could take
credit for this one, I found
this graphic on
pixabay.com as is.
SO many opportunities come Annie's way. She is forced to make decision after decision that will affect her life permanently. While she likes to jump blindly with both feet first, she learns to listen to the Lord's leading. As doors continue to open, she draws closer to God, trusting Him to lead her down the right path. She listens for His voice to lead her. And in the end we are reminded that He has a reason for everything. Sometimes we do not know that reason. And sometimes, He shows us. But we must listen to His voice and follow him in the way He wants us to go.

I was moved by this story very strongly. There have been so many times that I have felt the Lord urging me to do or say something with no idea why. And the end result is usually less drastic than Annie's (have I piqued your interest yet?), yet the satisfaction of knowing that I heard God's voice and acted on it remains. I LOVE the fashion element too. Which is really what this story line is about...Nancy Moser went above and beyond my expectations for this book and I am keeping my fingers crossed that the next story will be Maude's.

I received a complimentary copy of The Pattern Artist. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

About the Author

NANCY MOSER lives in Kansas City with her husband, three married children, and seven grandkids. She’s an award-winning author of twenty-nine novels. Her genres include both contemporary and historical stories about people discovering their unique purpose. She kills all her houseplants, and can wire an electrical fixture without getting shocked. She is a fan of anything antique—humans included. 

Many thanks to Canva for providing an AMAZING program for me to design all these beautiful graphics. Book covers, publisher/tour logos, and author pictures not owned by me. All other graphics created by Bookworm Mama with public domain photos on Canva unless stated otherwise. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A Moonbow Night - Laura Frantz

 My Rating
★★★★★ - You have bewitched me, body and soul. (More Info)

About the Book

After fleeing Virginia, Temperance Tucker and her family established an inn along the Shawnee River. It’s a welcome way station for settlers and frontiersmen traveling through the wild Cumberland region of Kentucke–men like Sion Morgan, a Virginia surveyor who arrives at the inn with his crew looking for an experienced guide. When his guide appears, Sion balks. He certainly didn’t expect a woman. But it is not long before he must admit that Tempe’s skill in the wilderness rivals his own. Still, the tenuous tie they are forming is put to the test as they encounter danger after danger and must rely on each other.

With her signature sweeping style and ability to bring the distant past to vivid life, Laura Frantz beckons readers to join her in a land of Indian ambushes, conflicting loyalties, and a tentative love that meanders like a cool mountain stream.

My Thoughts

As A Moonbow Night came to a close, I had the horrible realization that I must now SWOOF(squeeze words out of feelings...aka review). I started freaking out to Beth form Faithfully Bookish because HOW am I EVER going to express my thoughts and emotions for this book? She sent me this graphic and I tell you what...I couldn't have said it better myself. Laura Frantz has not only written a remarkable book...She has created a time machine. Transported back in time, the beauty and the dangers of the tace kept me up late at night. I even had a dream or two about the Boone family and Tempe. 

Tempe, Sion, Russell, Raven...Oh my goodness...I feel like I KNOW them...Ok, maybe not Raven as well. Which brings me to the point...Did anyone else find Raven ridiculously swoony? I NEED a book about Raven. I have SO many unanswered questions about him and I must have more of him on the page. 

A Moonbow Night has love, danger, loss, heartache, healing, pain, peace, restoration, and faith woven into every paragraph. I am left so full of emotion, that I am very near to bursting. And I also want to hunt for a moonbow during the next full moon. The romance is sweet and not overt. However, Laura sure knows how to write a GOOD kissing scene! If you are ready for an adventure on the frontier of Kentucke deep in the heart of Indian lands...This is your book. 

I received a complimentary copy of A Moonbow Night. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

About the Author
Photo credit:
Kristin N. Johnson
Laura Frantz is a Christy Award finalist and the author of several book, including The Frontiersman's Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, The Colonel's Lady, The Mistress of Tall Acre, and the Ballantyne Legacy series. She lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky.

Many thanks to Canva for providing an AMAZING program for me to design all these beautiful graphics. Book covers, publisher/tour logos, and author pictures not owned by me. All other graphics created by Bookworm Mama with public domain photos on Canva unless stated otherwise. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Few of our Favorite (Christmas) Things - Blog Hop & Giveaway

Welcome to stop # 3 on the Blog Hop! I, along with Kat's Corner Books, Faithfully Bookish, Singing Librarian Books, and Reading is my Superpower, are so excited to bring you a little Wintery, Christmas FUN! Oh ya, AND a Giveaway!!!

IF YOU HAVE JUST JOINED THE BLOG HOP...Head over to Kat's Corner Books to get started!

Today we are sharing just a FEW of our very FAVORITE things about Christmas! Below you will find MY favorite things...What are YOUR favorite Christmas things??? Comment below and don't forget to snag the SECRET WORDS.

Ahhhh, the age old question...."When do you start listening to Christmas music?"

Well, if my hubby would let me, I would listen to Christmas music all year long! (You think I'm joking....) There is just something about the tones and sounds of the Christmas music that strikes a chord in my heart that I will always cherish. Granted, I will be the first to admit that Christmas songs are a PAIN in the derriere to lead at church...But it is SO worth it! 

One of my VERY favorites is Mary, Did You Know by Pentatonix.

You can ask anyone who has ever decorated a Christmas Tree with me...I am more than a little OCD and VERY particular....One reason why I haven't done mine yet this year. I need the peace and quiet, the concentration, and the TIME to complete it. I ADORE the theme I am using for the 3rd year now. Burlap, browns, and reds....IN LOVE!


Ok, is it cheating if I say....ALL of my Decor is my favorite? Seriously...I Love it all! Here are a few things that I made last year...

What is Christmas without a few classic Christmas movies??? A few childhood favorites are The Santa Clause, White Christmas, Muppet Christmas Carol, George C. Scott's A Christmas Carol, and It's a Wonderful Life. I really do love the Hallmark Christmas movies...#noshame. And I really REALLY love Holiday Inn!

Directed by Mark Sandrich.  With Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds, Virginia Dale. At an inn which is only open on holidays, a crooner and a hoofer vie for the affections of a beautiful up-and-coming performer.

And how can you celebrate Christmas without a few seasonal books thrown into the mix? Christmas Novellas are my FAVORITE! Especially when they come in a collection. Here are are a few that I have recently read:

And today...I am giving away Meghan M. Gorecki's Novella, Wrapped in Red as part of the Blog Hop Giveaway! This is such a FUN book that you are sure to enjoy this Christmas season!


The SECRET WORDS for my stop (stop #3) are:

things always

Now head over to Singing Librarian Books to find the NEXT clue! 
(If the above link doesn't work, use this one to find the post.)

We are all giving away a few of our favorite books! ONE winner will receive an eBook copy of the following:
12 Days of Snowmen - Sarah Monzon
I'll Be Home for Christmas - Calhoune, Kemerer, Pleiter, Worth
Letters From Santa - Becca Whitham
Wrapped in Red - Meghan Gorecki
Ordinary Snowflakes - Jennifer Rodewald

Giveaway follows Reading is my SuperPower's giveaway policies.