Genre: Holidays

BOOK REVIEW: 12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep

Posted December 22, 2017 by Fizzy Pop in book review, Michelle Griep, Once Upon a Dickens Christmas / 2 Comments

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by CelebrateLit, NetGalley. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

BOOK REVIEW: 12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep
Series: Once Upon a Dickens Christmas #1
Published by Barbour Publishing on September 1st 2017
Genres: Christian, Fiction, Historical, Holidays
Pages: 192
Source: CelebrateLit, NetGalley

". . .a setting and plot that would make Agatha Christie herself sit up and take notice."—RT Book Reviews A mysterious invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home may bring danger...and love?

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.

Pour a cup of tea and settle in for Book 1 of the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series--a page-turning Victorian-era holiday tale--by Michelle Griep, a reader and critic favorite.

Having time between finishing this book and writing this review is bad for my word flow.  I had time to think.  Thinking and reviews for me do not go hand in hand.  I lose that fresh off the book visceral reaction that tends to make a lot more sense in words than when I think.  I had deep thoughts, I really did … last night.  I’ll be blunt, the mystery left me wanting – some too vague and some to obvious.  The romance was interesting.  The twists were slightly cliche but not over the top.  But overall, honestly, it held up as an intriguing story that kept me invested to the very end.

Let’s talk nitty gritty.  I feel like the characters were missing something in their overall development.  I got an idea of who they were but the other guests at Bleakly were not quite living and breathing for me.  I missed out on truly understanding what they were looking for and who they were at the core.  I mean I get crazy old gal, raging French woman, shifty inspector, and ‘oy me rumpus’ dude (that and ‘Jilly lend a hand’, I swear he only had those two lines!).  The difference is I didn’t understand their motivation as humans so I didn’t really care about them one way or the other.  I sometimes didn’t care to remember who’s name was whose because they didn’t feel legitimate.  Along the same vein, I didn’t understand the motivation for the 12 Days.  It was cleared up for me later but the lack of understanding made me really not give two hoots.

All that said I like the quirkiness of the book.  I like that it was different-ish.  Yes depth was in short supply but I was engaged.  I needed to see where it went.  I actually ended up liking the story and how it all played out.  With the clarification that came through the telling I really want to make time re-read it with deeper understanding and see if things click in the characters and story that were lacking before.  Perhaps next Christmas?

12 Days at Bleakly Manor (Once Upon a Dickens Christmas #1)
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About Michelle Griep

Michelle Griep

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 or stalk her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.

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BOOK REVIEW: Solve by Christmas by Amber Schamel

BOOK REVIEW: Solve by Christmas by Amber Schamel

Posted December 14, 2017 by Fizzy Pop in Amber Schamel, book review / 0 Comments

When this book came up for review with CelebrateLit was really looking forward a cozy Christmas mystery.  A little drama with Mr. Rudin’s situation and a lot of suspense with the other mystery happening at the factory.  I knew it would be a quick read and light on the depth of detail simply due to the short number of pages to the book.  A Cozy Christmas Mystery Novella if you will.  I got some of that but if I am going to be honest, I didn’t get near what I wanted or expected.  I left the book feeling disappointed.  Not because I knew ‘whodunit’ so early on, I can’t begin to hold that against books.  You’d have to be a notable master of suspense to keep me guessing to the end.  It does happen but it’s so rare that well… Yeah. The book had a feel as though Clue met […]

BOOK REVIEW: Christmas Embers by Chautona Havig

BOOK REVIEW: Christmas Embers by Chautona Havig

Posted December 12, 2017 by Fizzy Pop in book review, Chautona Havig / 2 Comments

You know that moment when you read the last word on the last page of a book and you aren’t emotionally ready for it to be over.  How dare the author think that it’s a good time to end!  You aren’t ready, there’s still so much more to do, so much more to know, so much more to encounter, it can’t be over.  That’s where I am right now.  Seriously, ‘You have no idea.’ is the last line in this book.  It’s too over the top true, you have no idea how not ready I was for this book to end.  I’m also not even fractionally certain that I can review this book without spoilers.  You have been warn- er prepared. Imagine having what seems the perfect marriage.  A loving spouse, open communication, true love.  You struggle like every other person, every other couple, on the planet but you always […]

BOOK REVIEW: Love’s Thankful Heart by Laura V. Hilton, Rachel J. Good, and Thomas Nye

BOOK REVIEW: Love’s Thankful Heart by Laura V. Hilton, Rachel J. Good, and Thomas Nye

Gingerbread Wishes by Laura V. Hilton 3* Yost and Becca make a very sweet story of finding love when you think you’ve missed the boat.  They first made their appearance in ‘The Christmas Admirer’ which also came out recently and I’ll be reviewing for you in a couple of weeks.  Perhaps had I read that book first I would have had a better relationship with these characters.  I also feel like their story has the bones for much more than a novella.  I’d like to know so much more about his time away just before Thanksgiving and the greater impact it had on their community and him.  It was too easy, ya know?  I really liked this story but it was missing depth for me.  Everything was very easy, clear, and surface.  The problem with most novellas, in my opinion.  There’s just not enough time to tell a story and […]

BOOK REVIEW: Colors of Christmas by Olivia Newport

BOOK REVIEW: Colors of Christmas by Olivia Newport

Posted October 24, 2017 by Fizzy Pop in Olivia Newport / 0 Comments

I wasn’t sure what I expected when I picked up this book.  I knew it wouldn’t be the normal sweet everything is love and light during the holidays book that many centered around Christmas usually are.  I actually appreciated the author’s note at the beginning where she talks about the fact that for many, Christmas also signifies the line between the first time without vs the last time with.  You generally don’t know it’s the last time until it’s over.  I would assume that if people were honest that the holidays are more about the memory of what has been lost than a true embracing of the season as love and light.  Christmas can be hard. Another thing I really appreciated with these two stories is that they don’t try to be bigger than they are.  They aren’t trying to be a full-length novel with a full slate of time.  […]