Friday, January 20, 2017

Book Review - The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill


The lifeblood of the village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. When the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant landlady. Jane has no idea how to manage a business, but with the town's livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must quickly find a way to save the inn.

Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to overcome her losses and find purpose for the future. As she works with Jane, two men from her past vie for her attention, but Thora has promised herself never to marry again. Will one of them convince her to embrace a second chance at love?

As pressure mounts from the bank, Jane employs new methods, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place, including a mysterious newcomer with secret plans of his own. With the help of friends old and new, can Jane restore life to the inn, and to her empty heart as well?


JULIE KLASSEN loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full-time. 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 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. For more information, visit


I enjoyed this book so much! I loved the complex characters as well as the complex story that drew me in and made me feel as though I was right there with them in that quaint English village.

We are introduced to Jane, a widow of one year, who has inherited the Inn that her husband owned. This was unusual as her husband had a younger brother and it's unusual to bequeath a business/property to a woman. Jane is still stunned by the death of her husband when she finds out that she owes the bank money for a loan her husband took out that she knew nothing about.

Thora, her mother-in-law, is returning to Ivy Hill and the Bell Inn after going to live with her sister when Jane inherits the inn. Thora grew up at the Inn that her father owned and ran. It's a part of her life blood but she's not sure if she still fits in there or if Jane wants her. Her younger son, Patrick, has also returned to the Inn and we aren't sure if his motives are pure or not.

There is a wonderful cast of characters in this book. The childhood friends of Jane - Mercy, Rachel and Sir Timothy. New friends that are trying to help Jane as she gains her foothold as the owner of the Inn. The different people of the village - many of whom her success or failure will affect their lives. There is also a couple of villains that you'll be booing as you see them trying to put every kind of stumbling block in front of Jane and the people trying to help her.

I absolutely love this book! It's a wonderfully thick book (the best kind, in my opinion) that kept me reading late into the night. I highly recommend it and give it 5 out of 5 stars

*This book was provided to me by Bethany House Blogger Program

Blessings - Julie

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Counting Our Blessings - Link Up!

How have you been doing? I hope well! I have been out of touch, I know, and owe several of you emails. Please be patient with me!

Let's get started on this weeks blessings!

5.  I am on the launch team for Craig Groeschel's new book, Divine Direction. I always feel so blessed to be chosen to be on a launch team and never so much as for this book. I have started reading it and the pages are filled with pink highlighting!

6.  My husband was so sweet and got me a new Bible cover for my huge HSCB study bible. We bought my son a cover for his at Christmas and I really liked how it had a handle for carrying this heavy Bible around. We went to the Family Christian Book store and I found this one.

My Bible is purple so having this purple cover is perfect for it. I like how they have the handle on the spine of the book as it makes it so easy to carry it now. Such a sweet hubby to bless me with this!

7.  I've been working on my faith journal. I did this page and I really think it needs something more. It says exactly what I want it to say, but I probably need more color on the page. Anyway, here's the pic of how it looks so far.

8.  Of course, Miss Mitzi is always a blessing. She was resting in bed with me while I read and I was able to snap some shots of her. She's always on the go so it's hard to get her to pose for a picture. Have to take the pictures when I can!

Please share your own blessings on the link up below. Share a blog post that will bless others or that shows how you have been blessed! Thank you so much for being a part of my link up!

Blessings - Julie

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Book Review - Authentic Living


To live an authentic, fulfilled life we need to both understand and practice the core beliefs of the Christian faith. Being intentional about pursuing Christ is often challenging in our confusing, messy world, but like the biblical character Daniel who did not compromise his values, we must take small, deliberate steps to grow in spiritual integrity. The short, inspirational devotions in Authentic Living illustrate how we can be more deliberate in our faith each and every day through small actions like asking forgiveness, offering guidance, praying specifically, and more. With these simple yet profound readings, we can realize a more fulfilling life and faith one thought, one action, one day at a time.


Richard Exley has been a pastor, conference and retreat speaker, as well as radio broadcaster. He has written more than thirty books. You can find out more at and


This devotional is simple and would definitely be good for the new Christian. Each devotional is easily read in a quick manner and not difficult to understand. They are concise with a Scripture, devotion, then a short prayer for each day of the year.

This author is a bit more charismatic than I prefer but I didn't find his views unbiblical. I did think he could be a bit repetitive here and there, but again, it wasn't off-putting to me because I gained so much insight and wisdom from his writings.

I really like the true faith that this author has and tries to instill in us, his readers. There were several things he said that really made me have a "wow" moment. They seemed to be written for just the things I feel I'm struggling with and that's the beauty of this little book. There is definitely something for everyone as the author covers a lot of ground well.

All in all, I enjoyed this devotional and gained some new insights and understand about God's Word. Unfortunately, the devotion did not stand out high above others that I have read. It's a nice book and I think it is inspirational. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by Worthy Publishing

Blessings - Julie

Friday, January 6, 2017

Book Review - Let Food Be Your Medicine


Most of us think God is not concerned with what we eat, but the Bible actually offers great insight and instruction about the effects of food on our bodies. Dr. Colbert introduces a revolutionary sugar detox method, combined with an anti-inflammatory form of the modified Mediterranean diet that resolves a broad spectrum of diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, dementia, cancer, and osteoarthritis. Just imagine understanding how food alone can produce mental clarity, balanced weight, and longevity. Includes meal plans.


Don Colbert, M.D. has been board certified in Family Practice for over 25 years and practices Anti-Aging and Integrative medicine. He is a New York Times Bestselling author with over 10 million books sold. He is the Medical Director of the Divine Health Wellness Center in Orlando, Florida where he has treated over 50,000 patients. He is also an internationally known expert and prolific speaker on Integrative Medicine.

Dr. Colbert is on the Medical Advisory Board for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He has been featured on Dr. Oz, Fox News, ABC World News, BBC, Readers Digest, News Week, Prevention Magazine and many prominent Christian TV programs. He is also the radio host of his syndicated program “Dr Colbert’s Health Report.” Dr. Colbert formulated Divine Health to meet the public’s demand for higher quality supplementation. Dr. Colbert believes in treating the whole person; the mind, the body and the spirit.


This book really caught my attention because, like so many of you, I know that the foods I eat have a profound affect on how I feel. Getting a book that will guide me to eating better and healthier was really exciting and this book has everything I wanted!

The author shares his own story of health issues that plagued him. He also saw so many of his patients coming in with health issues and knew there was something that could be done to make things better. He understands what it's like to deal with a health issue that makes your life difficult and, because he does understand, his book doesn't come off as preachy or holier-than-thou, that so many books like this do. Inflammation is the root cause of so many of our health issues and I know, from personal experience, how difficult this is. Dr. Colbert gives us the plans and the information we need to change how our bodies feel.

He recommends nutrients and certain foods to help us feel better and actually heal our bodies. He explains things in a way that is easily understood and I found reading this book very easy. You can find things you're specifically looking for quite easily, too. I also love the fact that he has a recommended meal plan laid out for us. It's not difficult and I have found it easy to follow.

I really like this book and am using it to help myself feel better. I am already feeling better and losing weight. I think this is an excellent book and love that the doctor also shares his belief in God without reservation. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by Worthy Publishing

Blessings - Julie

Monday, January 2, 2017

Counting Our Blessings - LinkUp! First for 2017!!

Happy 2017! I hope your new year is full of blessings!

This is our first linkup for the new year. I'm excited to be back and sharing again. It's been a tough few weeks, but I'm hopeful for the new year. I'm looking forward to seeing how God is going to move in my life and where He's going to lead me. I hope you're feeling the same. Let's get started on our blessings.

1. Christmas was really nice. We had a quiet day but a joyous day! We had a white Christmas this year, which was really nice. We haven't had a white Christmas here for years. Such beautiful clouds over the mountains...

Having snow for Christmas was a huge blessing!

2.  We always open one gift on Christmas eve and then the rest of our gifts on Christmas morning. For Christmas eve, I made finger foods that we enjoy like cocktail shrimp and deep fried shrimp. We also had mini quiche, mini corn dogs, and more! We always look forward to having these foods we never have any other time. So much fun.

My sons opened their one gift on Christmas eve and here they are with what they got.

My youngest son with an anime movie he wanted. You can see our pretty little tree in the background.

My oldest son with a movie he got from his brother.

3.  On Christmas, we had ham, cheesy potatoes (2 kinds, I might add) and a vegetable. For dessert I made cinnamon rolls. Really simple meal but we loved it and liked having the cinnamon rolls as a change from pie. I set out a little buffet of cookies, candy and more and lit some candles.

I took a picture of all the packages around the tree before they were all gone! lol

You can see my reindeer peeking out from the middle of the presents. I love that ceramic reindeer and Mitzi was so funny when I put him under there. She wasn't sure what it was and jumped back. She kept creeping up on it and then jumping back until she figured out it wasn't going to attack her. I wish I had my video camera going for the whole process. It was hilarious!

4.  Speaking of Mitzi, I had to take some new pictures of her. She's such a spoiled little girl. She has been a joy in so many ways, however, she can't get under the covers at night so wakes me up to get under. I'm trying to get her to stop doing this because it feeds into my insomnia and makes me so tired. I've tried lots of things to make her stop this but haven't found the solution yet. She's a silly thing and I love her so.

Look at that face. Is it any wonder she's so spoiled? lol She's adorable.

Now it's your turn to share your blessings! Join up on the linky below. :)

Blessings - Julie