A New Take on Scrooge

an ivy hill banner (2)

I love Victorian-era books and this one did not disappoint. Grand Christmas parties, walking in the snow to gather decorations that then fill a large Hall, carol singing around a piano: it’s an old-time Christmas that one can only dream of these days.

Enter Richard Brockwell. He’s selfish, spoiled, and living off his mother’s money – which is about to dry up if he doesn’t return to the family home in the country for Christmas. When his childhood friend, Arabella, shows up to spend the holidays, Richard must decide if he’s going to give up being arrogant and learn to be nice in order to win her heart, or bide his time until he returns to the city, continuing to live off his mother’s money.

Arabella is the sweet, child-hood friend that never liked Richard. He drove her crazy then and he drives her crazy now! She can’t believe that he hasn’t changed a bit (or grown up) since she last saw him. She spends the Christmas season doing everything she can to stay away from him, especially since her mother wants her to marry him. Her sister can take the prize this season!

I also hated the arrogant ones growing up. Guys who think they’re a special gift to earth, lol. But something I always found, if I took the time to get to know them, is that the selfishness was usually only skin deep (there were those it was deeply embedded in, but most not so much). And the right person could make them turn outside themselves. I love how Julie Klassen shares this thought in her story.

This is a sweet Christmas book, perfect for some quiet time during this restless season. I enjoy the author’s writing and this book was just as good as some other’s I’ve read. If you’re looking for that something to add to your Christmas festivities, check out An Ivy Hill Christmas! Don’t forget to scroll to the end for a giveaway!

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 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.


Hello, Monday!

Where does the time go? How is it the last week of September already? I mean, considering how this year has gone, it’s actually surprising how “fast” it seems to have passed. I’m seriously ready for Christmas right now. All the decorating makes me feel so much happier (I’m waiting, for now, hah).

Monday’s have been Willow’s day for most of the summer and I know it’s been a few weeks since I shared part of her story. Honestly, I felt like I was getting stuck and I needed to step back for a bit and reevaluate how I want her story to play out on paper. It’s a very different thing to write a story with pretty much ONE character. It’s a lot harder to create dialogue but also adds a unique perspective to Chautona Havig’s original character.

I mean, think about what it would be like talking to no one from one day to the next, one month to the next. In Ms Havig’s book, Past Tense, she has the lawyer only coming once a year. I changed that to give it more of a “fatherly” feel, even though he’s not much older than Willow. I wanted Avery’s character not to become romantically involved but still retain that aspect of wanting to help.

And then there’s Avery’s mom. I mean, she’s not in the original story, AT ALL. Hah. I chose to add her because my heart could literally not take writing about someone having a baby with absolutely no one around to talk to. Can you even imagine the fear those nine months would elicit as you walk through the changes your body is going through during pregnancy without someone to ask questions of? Especially in our digital world where Willow has no access to Dr Google if something comes up. I’m a super emotional person and deeply feel things that others brush off. Some of that has come out in this story as I shared how Willow struggled as the enormity of her decision hit her that first week. To try and write about her giving birth on her own was just something I literally could not do.

I won’t leave you hanging (like last time, lol), I am working on her story and polishing up a few chapters I’ve already written. I had planned to have her celebrate Thanksgiving on Canadian Thanksgiving but I’m not sure if I can jump ahead that far in the story. We’ll see where next week takes us. I don’t want to drag this out forever, either. Hah. Please pray for me as I write. I love to write and I want to write what the Lord gives me. I don’t want it to just be words on paper. I also want it to be an encouragement to others. That the lessons Willow learns can also be lessons we all need to learn.

If you haven’t read Willow’s story, you can check out each chapter below:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

A Book About Food

Scrumptious Independence FB Banner

*Disclaimer: I received this book for review from Celebrate Lit.

Seriously. Food, People!

I love food. Especially if I don’t have to cook it. And like, food trucks. I heard about a church one time that did a food truck rally as an outreach. I so wished it weren’t 1500 hours away from me, hah!

But Book. I’m getting distracted. See, food. It’s all it takes.

Melissa Wardwell nailed this one. It had me laughing, which is amazing for a book. I also related a bit to the character and her relationship with her family.

But the food truck storyline is awesome. So not something I would do (you do not want me cooking for you! Oi!). I also loved how it matched up to the islands that Chautona Havig wrote about in Dual Power of Convenience. It’s so fun when books connect (it was on purpose in case you’re wondering).

I really liked the storyline and especially the “mystery” (not really a mystery but I’m unsure what else to call it, lol). I thought the author did an amazing job weaving the plot with the main character’s food truck theme.

This one is definitely worth reading! <3 Check out the RECIPE and the GIVEAWAY below!

About the Book

Scrumptious Independence-sm

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

And so is Beth’s cooking! It’s a good thing, too. After a lifetime of her family’s smothering embrace, a whole new world opens to her with the passing of her beloved grandmother.

Armed with an inheritance she never expected and orders on how to use it, Beth sets off for Merriweather Island and fulfillment of a lifetime of dreams.

Or so she hopes.

What she didn’t hope for was what most women would—a man who fills her thoughts at the most wonderfully unwelcome times. She doesn’t have time or space for a relationship, but how do you tell love to just go away?

Of course, starting over in a new place is never easy, especially as an outsider in a small community. Add to that a mayor who has her dander up and a woman bound to make her life miserable, is it any wonder that Beth begins to doubt God’s and Gram’s plans?

With her heart betraying her resolve and challenges to her faith, Beth finds it takes bravery she didn’t know she had to discover just how scrumptious independence can be.

This “Merriweather book” is the second in a new series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Island Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Melissa Wardwell

Melissa Wardwell resides in Owosso, Michigan with her husband Jonathan, three children, a cat, and two pitbulls.

Besides writing, she enjoys reading, having coffee with friends, and spending quality time with her husband kayaking and fishing.

Melissa likes to joke about the voices in her head, but it is those voices have inspired her to write several romance novels such as “I Know the Plans” (a story based in her hometown of Owosso) and “Finding Hope in Savannah”. When she is not penning works of fiction, she is busy reviewing books on her blog, Back Porch Reads.

To see more from Melissa Wardwell, visit www.melissawardwell.com

More from Melissa

“Lord, I don’t know how I can keep doing this.”

That was my prayer one evening in 2019 as I made my way to praise practice. I knew that writing was something God had called me to (because He never seems to call you to do something you enjoy) but the finances were just not there to publish another book. I felt lost in the uncertainty of the path moving forward and I needed a light. I had just shared all my concerns with my parents and left with my dad’s words ringing in my head. Are you writing to gain notoriety or are you writing for God?

The next morning, CelebrateLit had a post looking for submissions for a new and innovative series. Hope burst within me and I know I needed more information. I followed instructions and spoke with Sandy Barela and Chautona Havig. The more I was told, the more excited I became because I knew I needed to be part of this collection.

Ideas were hatched, characters began to talk, and a book proposal was sent. I continued to work on the development of characters and the mobile business knowing in my heart that God had given me this opportunity. I wouldn’t do things halfway. And when the confirmation email came, I was ready to share the beautiful story and characters that developed.

Beth is a food truck proprietor, so that means she spends most of her time cooking. In an effort to grow her recipes, I have been making videos of me cooking some of our family’s favorites as well as raiding my mom’s recipe box. The result is some amazing food to share.

Every book, pre-order card, and my YouTube channel has recipes on it. And so will this tour.

With it being summertime, our family doesn’t want those heavy meals so sometimes chips and sandwiches are all we need in the evenings. One favorite is my chicken salad.

Now, this recipe is easily substituted with other things like however, you like your chicken.

Melissa’s Chicken Salad

Feeds 4 (unless you have big eaters.)

2 cans of chicken (you can use cooked but this is quick and easy

1/2 cup of red grapes – halved

1/2 cup celery – diced

Make sure you rinse all of this well as you prep the salad


1 1/2 cup of miracle whip (you can use mayo)

1/2 tsp mustard powder

1 tbsp white vinegar

1 tsp of sugar

Mix everything together and serve on your favorite bread option or on a bed of lettuce. I like mine in a pita pocket or on lettuce. This time it was with a pita pocket with a side of lightly salted chips and a pickle.

Now, just a little side note, you can add what ever veggie or fruit you like. Apples and cucumbers would be a great addition as well. So, don’t feel like you have to do things exactly like I do. Make it your own.

Bon appétit

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 21

Soulfully Romantic, September 21

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 21

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 22

Texas Book-aholic, September 22

Inklings and notions, September 22

For Him and My Family, September 23

deb’s Book Review, September 23

Artistic Nobody, September 23 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

She Lives To Read, September 24

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, September 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 24

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 24

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 25

Quiet Workings, September 25

21st Century Keeper at Home, September 25

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions , September 26

Older & Smarter?, September 26

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 26

Blogging With Carol, September 27

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, September 27

Batya’s Bits, September 27

Emily Yager, September 28

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 28

Stories By Gina, September 28

Reviewingbooksplusmore, September 28

CarpeDiem, September 29

Christian Bookaholic, September 29

Cultivating Us, September 29

Aryn the Libraryan, September 30

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 30

Connect in Fiction, October 1

The Collaborative Press, October 1

Livin’ Lit, October 1

Simple Harvest Reads, October 2 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

The Meaderings of a Bookworm, October 2

Godly Book Reviews, October 2

Joanne Markey, October 3

Captive Dreams Window, October 3

Vicky Sluiter, October 3

Blossoms and Blessings, October 4

Splashes of Joy, October 4

Pause for Tales, October 4


To celebrate her tour, Melissa is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

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


Two Rivers

*Disclaimer: I received this book for review from Celebrate Lit

This was a vastly different book than what I was expecting when I signed up to review it. It kind of surprised me, to be honest. The story is based around a group of missionaries who head into the West to take the Gospel to Native Americans.

What I wasn’t ready for was the dive into the unseen world that the book quickly takes. From shaman to demon possession, you’re immersed into a world that reminds me closely of Frank Perreti (remember his books from the 90’s?)

The story intrigued me and I was immediately drawn into it. I’m just not sure how I feel about the demon world as I understand how real that is and that it’s not something to be played around with.

I really liked how the author built his characters into the story, though. I could picture each of them in my mind as he introduced them and I love that when I read books. It makes it more interesting when the characters seem like real people that you can relate to or picture in a certain time period.

If you enjoy reading good versus evil, this is the read for you!

Check out these other blogs on the tour and scroll to the bottom for a giveaway!

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 14

Inklings and notions, August 15

For Him and My Family, August 16

Texas Book-aholic, August 17

Joanne Markey, August 17

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 18

deb’s Book Review, August 19

For the Love of Literature, August 20

Rebecca Tews, August 21

Artistic Nobody, August 22 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 23

Connie’s History Classroom, August 24

Simple Harvest Reads, August 25 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Quiet Workings, August 26

To Everything There Is A Season, August 27

About the Book

Book:  Two Rivers

Author: Michael W. Henry

Genre:  Fiction

Release Date: April 10, 2020

In 1840 Pastor Allen Hartman leaves behind his white-steepled church in New York, and the woman he hopes to marry, to serve as a missionary to Indians in the Oregon Territory. On his epic westward journey, he is plunged into the dark end of spiritual warfare and vital intercession. His mettle is further tested when he’s asked to stay in a village of Arapaho already contending with a malevolent witch doctor—where Allen has to draw upon courage he didn’t know he possessed and discovers ministering to Indians is not at all what he imagined.

Arapaho medicine man Two Rivers knows one thing—the Great Spirit is sending White Falcon to help his people defeat the malicious spiritual forces determined to overpower the tribe. But even as White Falcon teams up with Two Rivers, Allen finds himself enslaved in a cave and in a heaven-meets-earth clash of faith with an evil sorcerer. With his life at stake and his new friends unable to help, will Spirit-led prayers of believers lead to a complete victory, or will something be left undone?

Click here to get your copy!

About the  Author

Michael W. Henry’s ministry has spanned from serving as a missionary in Mexico, where he encountered intense spiritual warfare, to planting and pastoring churches in Washington state. A Christian counselor, Michael is certified through the American Association of Christian Counselors and offers spiritual-life coaching to believers searching for deep faith encounters with Jesus. Michael has long been fascinated by Native American spirituality and culture. He and his wife, also a certified counselor, live in Wenatchee, Washington, and enjoy hunting, hiking, canoeing, and other outdoor activities with their four adult children and two grandchildren.

More from Michael

Two Rivers is a story about courageous faith. I wrote it because as a missionary in Mexico, I had experienced spiritual encounters that I felt needed to be shared. A historical fiction seemed the perfect place to demonstrate the power of prayer and cross cultural respect in an authentic way.



Song of the Willow – Part Six

Chapter Seven – Avery

Avery had been surprised to receive Willow’s phone call while he was still just 20 minutes away.  He had figured she wouldn’t wake up for a long while.   But he was glad.  It had been the Lord’s working, for sure.  Avery had never admitted to Willow that he had grown up in the area or that his mother lived just up the road from her.  He had figured she would run the other direction as fast as she could if she knew that.  He also had had no intention of telling his mother what he was doing.  He knew what HER reaction would be!

Now, though, it was a different matter entirely.  He had spent almost two hours explaining the situation to his mother and his reasoning for coming to her now.  And he had received the world’s biggest scolding from her over the whole thing.  She did not agree with Willow’s decision or her son’s part in it, but as Avery talked to Willow her heart melted just a bit and she agreed to go back to the house with him and meet her.    As they drove, Avery told his mother that he felt the Lord had prompted him to enlist her help in seeing Willow through this season.  She “Harumphed” in response and stared out the window.

It wasn’t long before he was pulling off the road and heading into the trees to Willow’s oasis.   He noticed Willow on the porch waiting for them.  Willow looked uncertain when she saw the woman sitting next to him.  He turned off the car and made to get out when his mother turned on him.

“You will wait here.  You’ve made a big enough mess of this.  I will go and talk to her.”   Avery opened his mouth to protest but his mother glared at him and proceeded to get out of the car.  He dropped his hand from the handle and watched the scene unfold before him. 

His mother reached the bottom step and he watched her speak to Willow, gesturing to him. He assumed she was explaining her relationship to him.  Willow looked his way and glared for a moment before turning back to his mother.  Then the two disappeared into the house, his mother with her hand on Willow’s back.

Hours passed as Avery impatiently waited.  He had eventually gotten out of the car and walked around a bit but it was beginning to get late and he still had the drive back to the city tonight.  Finally, Avery’s mother appeared at the door with Willow close on her heels.  Willow’s face was red as if she had been crying.  Avery hoped that wasn’t a bad thing.   She raised a hand and waved at him and then headed back inside.

His mother approached the car, “I am ready to go now.  We will talk at the house.  You will stay with me tonight and then come talk to Willow tomorrow.”

Avery looked back at the house and then at his mom, “Are you sure?  I could just go home tonight if she doesn’t want me.”

“No!”  The word came out sharply.  “You will talk to her tomorrow and we will come up with a plan.  A better one than what you were working through.   Get in!”

Avery opened his mouth and closed it.  Only crazy people argued with their mothers.  But he did feel a little frustrated.  A better plan?  He had spent entire days focused on putting this all together.  And he thought he’d done a pretty good job, too! 

As they drove he worked up the courage to tell his mother how he felt, but she beat him to it.

“Avery, you are a man!  And you created a plan for a man.   She is a woman, and a young one at that.   And pregnant!”   The last sentence hung between them.  He knew that!  He had tried his best to make sure she would be safe.  But his mother wasn’t finished.

“You cannot drop a young, pregnant girl in the middle of nowhere, with no skills, and expect her to survive, let alone thrive!  What were you thinking???   Of course, you weren’t thinking.  You’re a man!   It’s by the grace of God you decided to come to me.  How was she supposed to make sure she had a healthy pregnancy, and delivery, with no help?  Where is the brain God gave you?”   She huffed and turned to look out the window again.

Avery deflated just a little.  Maybe there were a few things he hadn’t quite thought through.  Okay, maybe there were a lot of things.  But he was working off Willow’s desires.  He had only done what she had asked him to do.   And to top it off, he had done his best to make sure she was safe.   He snuck a glance at his mom and looked back at the road.  Okay, he had messed up.  But at least now his mom was in the picture.  She would help him sort it out.

“You will talk to Willow tomorrow and make a new plan, the two of you.  I will do my best to help her through this, but I’m not a midwife.  You’re going to have to figure this out.  If she dies out there alone it will be on your head!    Willow has agreed for me to come twice a week to check on her.  That was the best I could negotiate.  She thought it would bring too much attention to her if I came more often.  It sounds like she is about 3 months along.  That means this baby will come some time in November.  We must be ready for that.”

Avery nodded his head and turned up the drive to his mother’s house.  “Soooo, are those burritos you were working still going to be good?”   He snuck a glance at her as her head whipped around to look at him.

“All you can think about is your stomach?  What kind of son have I raised!”  She threw her hands up and looked up at the roof of the car.  “Oi!”

“Mom, you’re not Spanish,” he joked weakly. 

“No, but my burritos are!”  She winked at him and then frowned again as she got out of the car.  She couldn’t let him think he was off the hook that quickly!

Are you new to Willow’s Story? Start here: Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5