Hello, My Lovelies!  I wanted to pop in and tell you that I'm taking a mini blog break, and I won't have much access to the Internet until my return on Tuesday, October 19th.  

I'll be doing fall-ish and bookish things, so it should be a lovely weekend.  I hope y'all have a great weekend, too!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

It's time to plan ahead for Christmas cozy! 

Happy Tuesday, My Lovelies!  I'm so happy you're here because I have a warm mug of hot cocoa for you to sip on while I tell you about a feel-good Christmas novel by Miss Christmas herself, Karen Schaler!  I love her Christmas stories, and you might recall my review of her book Christmas Ever After HERE.


About A Royal Christmas Fairy Tale

Publisher: HawkTale Publishing (October 5, 2021) 
Paperback: 358 pages 
A “sweet Christmas charmer…” – Publishers Weekly This feel-good, humorous, and heartwarming new Christmas romance, about the power of believing in yourself to find your happily ever after, is from the Emmy Award-winning writer of the Netflix sensation A Christmas Prince and Hallmark’s beloved Christmas Camp, the movie and novel. This enchanting escape is just what your heart needs this holiday season… 

A charming Christmas village, a storybook castle, a royal ball, and a gorgeous prince are the last things New York City reporter Kaylie Karlyle expects to find on her holiday freelance assignment to Europe. But when the family she’s interviewing turns out to be the royal family of Tolvania, Kaylie has a meltdown when the quirky queen wants her to write a Christmas fairy tale for the spunky, young princess. Kaylie must battle the princess’s father, who doesn’t trust the media, and her own insecurities about writing anything beyond the news. 

To spark inspiration for the fairy tale, the queen recruits the prickly Prince Alexander to show Kaylie the family’s most spectacular royal holiday traditions. And sparks definitely fly when the only thing Kaylie and the prince agree on is that they’re both more “bah humbug” than “ho, ho, ho.” 

But somewhere between sleigh rides and snow angels, merrymaking and mistletoe, upside-down Christmas trees, and a legendary Christmas crown, Kaylie and the prince open their hearts to Christmas and start believing in themselves and each other. It’s a real-life fairy tale in the making until Kaylie discovers a secret about a royal Christmas heirloom that jeopardizes everyone’s happily ever after. Can the magic of the season save this holiday happy ending? 

Bonus Content: Includes delicious royal Christmas recipes and holiday activities. 


Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Thriftbooks

About Karen Schaler

Photo by Scott Foust 

Karen Schaler is a prolific and passionate three-time Emmy Award–winning storyteller, author, screenwriter, journalist, and national TV host. In the last three years, she has written five rom-com novels and five Christmas movies for Netflix, Hallmark, and Lifetime, including the Netflix sensation A Christmas Prince and Hallmark’s Christmas Camp. Karen also wrote the Christmas Camp and Christmas Camp Wedding books (HarperCollins). For her next novels, Finding Christmas, Christmas Ever After, and A Royal Christmas Fairy Tale, Karen is also writing the movies and writing three feature films, including a summer rom-com and an inspiring true-life story. 

All of Karen’s books and movies have received ongoing national TV, print, and online media attention including two exclusive features on NBC’s TODAY show and features in Forbes, Parade, Entertainment Weekly, Entertainment Tonight, The Wall Street Journal, Southern Living, Bustle, and Cosmo

Embracing the Christmas spirit of giving back, Karen trademarked her Christmas Camp concept and is bringing her Hallmark movie and books to life hosting fun and festive one-of-a-kind Christmas Camp experiences worldwide where everyone is invited! All of Karen’s stories are filled with humor, heart, and hope.  

Find out more about Karen at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

My Review:

If you're looking for a light, feel-good Christmas romance, then look no further than A Royal Christmas Fairy Tale.  The book's protagonist Kaylie Karlyle is a workaholic: She only cares about her broadcast journalist career, and her goal is to be syndicated nationally.  She's an investigative reporter specializing in helping people who've been scammed.  When her local station is bought, the new management decides to take the station in a different direction and fires Kaylie.  Out of work with no plans for the Christmas holidays, she blindly accepts a human interest fluff piece about European Christmas traditions.  

Prince Alexander has suffered from unscrupulous journalists cruelly lying about his family during a sad season.  For the first time in years, Alex and his daughter Princess Anna are spending Christmas at home in Tolvania, and Queen Isabella has expectations that Alex and Anna will participate in all the Christmas traditions and events in the castle and village.  She also hires Kaylie to write a fairy tale as a very special gift for her granddaughter, and Kaylie has been assigned to incorporate these traditions into the story.

Kaylie is Alex's worst nightmare because not only is she an American investigative reporter, but she's also a person who doesn't care about celebrating Christmas.  Plus, she is forced to spend time with the prince because she needs to experience the traditions for writing the fairy tale.

My favorite thing about this book is how the Tolvanian Christmas traditions touch Kaylie's hardened heart.  Her attitude is due to miscommunication with her family and sister; she has actually missed the Christmas celebrations she had as a child.  I also love that there are several recipes and activities for readers to enjoy.  I know that I will cook the gingerbread pancakes for my family during Christmas, and when I make (or cook) one of the activities, I will share it here on the blog.  I'm hoping to see this one adapted for Hallmark's Countdown to Christmas!

Disclosure:  I received an ARC from the author via TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review.  I appreciated the kind note the author sent as well as her touching Acknowledgements at the end of the book.  Karen Schaler seems like a nice person!

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Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Hello, My Lovelies!  It's almost Halloween, and I've been busy decorating our dining room with all things candy corn, because...

I'm also joining Rita and other creative ladies for a blog hop!

Aren't the ballerina skeleton plates cute!

Come on in and have a look!

The main colors for the tablescape are white, orange, and yellow of course!

I baked candy corn cupcakes.

Candy Corn table square

I used a hint of brown on the table with the wood and placemats because there's a little bit of brown in the table square.

I selected a few MacKenzie-Childs salad plates that have orange on them.

I'm sending the rice crispy treats to my oldest daughter next week because it's her birthday.

I chose white, orange, and yellow roses with baby's breath for the flowers.

The best thing about my table?  I didn't purchase anything new except for the candy and flowers.  


White tablecloth, square white server:  Williams-Sonoma Hotel linens
Flatware:  Horchow Hotel collection
Candy corn ceramics, fabric, and Jack 'o Lantern basket: Longaberger
Wooden server:  At Home
White candlestick, white vases, and salad plates:  MacKenzie-Childs
Iced tea glasses: Neiman Marcus
Plaid napkins, clear vases, and napkin rings:  Pier 1
White napkins: Vintage (family heirlooms)
Orange vases: Leaf 'n Petal
Crystal vase: Waterford Lismore
White chargers: Johnson Brother Iroquois 

Please visit the other beautiful Halloween tables by following the links below!

Pandora's Box Black, White and BOO

The Little Yellow Corner Store - Let's Meet Ferdinand Frankenstein

Home is Where the Boat Is - Happy Haunting Tablescape

Hyacinths for the Soul - Whooo's Ready for Halloween

The Sweet Sensations - Ghoulish Glam for Halloween

Everyday Living - No Tricks, Only Treats

Life and Linda - Happy Hallow-Queens Party

Tablescapes at Twenty-One - The Spider & the Fly

The Bookish Dilettante - Halloween Tablescape Blog Hop

Red Cottage Chronicles - Black Magic Halloween Tablescape

Me and My Captain - Halloween Tablescape

What's your favorite Halloween candy?

Until next time...

Ricki Jill


Happy Literary Friday, My Lovelies!  Today I'm reviewing The Gathering Table by Kathryn Springer.  A couple of weeks ago I posted an excerpt you can read HERE.

According to Goodreads:

“A feast of small-town charm and characters who feel like dear friends.” —Liz Johnson, bestselling author of The Red Door Inn

From USA TODAY bestselling author Kathryn Springer comes a tale of starting over when life takes an unexpected turn.

Winsome Lake, Wisconsin, is postcard-pretty, but for chef Jessica Keaton it’s also a last resort. Fired from her dream job, Jess is starting over as a live-in cook and housekeeper. When she arrives, she finds her new employer is in rehab after having a stroke, and Jess expects she’ll be all alone in Elaine Haviland’s quaint house. A chef with no one to cook for.

But instead, she encounters a constant stream of colorful visitors who draw her back into the world. As Jess contends with local teenagers, a group of scrappy women and a charming football coach, Elaine faces some battles of her own that extend past her physical challenges. For both of them, all the ingredients for a fulfilling life are within reach, if they’re willing to take a leap. And maybe Jess will start to see that it’s not just what’s on the table that matters—it’s the people gathered round it.

A must-read novel from Love Inspired: Stories to Uplift and Inspire.

Connect with Kathryn

Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Review:

I thoroughly enjoyed this faith-based book:  It's the perfect story to read when you're cuddled-up next to a fire this autumn.  What I loved best is the ensemble cast of characters: they're a close-knit, supportive community who welcome chef Jessica Keaton with open arms.  At first, Jessica is overwhelmed with the activity in and around her new employer Elaine Haviland's home.  Elaine's friends, The Scrappy Women, make themselves at home because Elaine has the largest dining room table.  The home is strangely outdated, with the exception of Elaine's beautifully appointed office.  But Elaine's hesitance in touching the rest of the house isn't the only mystery in the novel:  Jessica, as well as Elaine, have secrets and are apt to erect walls when people try to get close to them.  The story arc includes both women's journeys as they come to terms with their past, learn lessons, and realize that they are worthy of love and acceptance from others.

The setting of Winsome Lake, Wisconsin is perfect.  Local football coach Nick Silva is spending his summer renovating an old lakeside supper club as a single family residence to flip.  The place holds a special place in Nick's heart because many family milestones were celebrated there, and he cherishes these memories, especially those of his grandmother.  Jessica and Nick have a sweet first "date" there: Nick serves Jessica a Wisconsin fish fry, and Jessica bakes the dessert.  It's a very sweet scene that sets their romance in motion.  

You should enjoy The Gathering Table if you appreciate lovable characters, sweet romances (yes, there's more than one), and uplifting, faith-based stories.  Novels depicting a strong sense of community are very important to me now: I find I'm drawn to them.  This book reminds us that there are no coincidences, and that God often speaks to us through others.  He can and does gift us with opportunities from very unlikely sources.  I'm looking forward to reading more of Kathryn Springer's books. 

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Purchase Links

Love Inspired | Amazon Barnes & Noble

Connect with Kathryn

Website | Facebook | Instagram

Disclosure:  I received a paperback copy of The Gathering Table from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange from a fair and honest review.  

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

the favorite

It has been so hot here lately, and I've been outside quite a bit.  We've moved one daughter to college, and another one home for a ...