Archive for the 'Holiday Books' Category

Christmas Preview – Debbie Macomber’s Mr. Miracle

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Mr. Miracle

Harry Mills is a guardian angel on a mission: help twenty-four-year-old Addie Folsom get her life back on track—and, if the right moment strikes, help her find love. Posing as a teacher at a local college in Tacoma, Washington, Harry is up to the task, but not even he can predict the surprises that lay in store.

After trying to make it on her own, Addie has returned home to Tacoma for the holidays, but this time she plans to stay for good, enrolling in the local community college to earn her degree. What she doesn’t plan to do is run into Erich Simmons.

Addie and her next-door neighbor, Erich, are like night and day. Growing up, he was popular and outgoing while she was rebellious and headstrong, and he never missed an opportunity to tease her. Now she intends to avoid him entirely, yet when they’re suddenly forced to spend Christmas together, Addie braces for trouble.

Perhaps it’s the spirit of the season or the magic of mistletoe, but Addie and Erich soon find they have more in common than they thought—and that two people who seem so wrong for each other may actually be just right. With a little prompting from a certain angelic teacher, the two are in for a holiday miracle they’ll never forget.

My Comments: This is a novella and rather short, so the characters aren’t extremely developed, nor is the story. Also, angels are involved which makes it more unrealistic, but sweet. Debbie has a Christmas series with angels, but I could never really get into those. In this book the angels had a role to help the humans – kind of guardian angels. I like the story, and I was engaged. It was a quick read. Hallmark will have a movie based on this book coming out for the holidays. The ending seemed kind of abrupt to me. I felt like I was left hanging. This book could be read at any time of the year even though the setting was Christmas time. After having read the book, I am now looking forward to seeing Hallmark’s movie.

Thank you NetGalley for a free review e-copy in exchange for my honest opinion, which I have given.

Cozy Mystery Writer Leslie Meier’s “Christmas Carol Murder”

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

christmas carol mystery

It’s Christmas in Tinker’s Cove, Maine, and Lucy Stone is excited about her acting debut in the town’s production of A Christmas Carol. But a real life Scrooge has everyone feeling frosty, and with a murderer on the loose, Lucy will have to unwrap her sleuthing skills faster than she can say, “Bah! Humbug!”

Lucy normally loves planning for the holidays, but this year, Tinker’s Cove has fallen on hard times. With so many residents struggling to make ends meet, Christmas festivities are a luxury some can’t afford. But the story’s not so bleak at Downeast Mortgage, whose tightfisted owners, Jake Marlowe and Ben Scribner, are raking in profits from everyone’s misfortune. Half the town is in their debt, so when the miserly Marlowe is murdered, the mourners are few and the suspects are many. . .

It’s hard to feel merry amidst all the yuletide chaos. Between her reporting duties at the Pennysaver and nightly rehearsals for the Christmas play, Lucy hardly has time to search for a killer–especially one whose victim left behind so many possible culprits. Scribner believes Marlowe’s ghost has come to warn him of his own impending demise, and when he starts receiving death threats, Lucy wonders if there’s more to the omen than the ravings of a bitter old pinchpenny. . .

Can Lucy solve the case and deck the halls before the killer strikes again? In a season of giving, receiving a deadly Christmas present is definitely not what Lucy had on her wish list this year. . .

My Comments:  I love these Lucy Stone mysteries by Leslie Meier.  This one is no exception.  The story intertwines with “A Christmas Carol” by Dickens in a cute way.  Lucy lives a normal, regular life in Maine with husband Bill and now two daughters at home, Sara and Zoe.  We’ve read as each child has grown up and in her son’s case started a family of his own.  Lucy is a reporter for the small town newspaper, The Pennysaver.  The economy has hit hard in their small town of Tinker’s Cove, Maine.  Houses were being foreclosed, people were laid off one by one, and on top of all of that – a murder to solve and Lucy can’t leave that alone.

Merry Humbug Christmas by Sandra Bricker

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013


A Merry Humbug Christmas features two holiday romance novellas from hilarious and heartwarming author Sandra D. Bricker. — the perfect gift to yourself or someone else at this most wonderfully stressful time of year.

In “Once Upon a Jingle Bell,” A Bah! Humbug cruise to the Mexican Riviera is Joss Snow’s answer to this year’s quest to avoid the holidays completely; at least until she’s rebooked on a different kind of cruise altogether. Candy canes, holly wreaths, reindeer and ornaments seem to be stalking her on the 12 Days of Christmas holiday cruise extravaganza. An escape back to land is her only goal . . . until she meets a kindred spirit in rugged Irishman Patrick Brenneman, and then the game is on! Avoid Christmas festivities at all costs . . . except maybe for that one stop under the mistletoe.

In “It Came Upon a Midnight Deer,” Reese’s guilt over abandoning best friend Joss on their holiday tradition of avoiding all things Christmas is trumped by the joy of her recent engagement. Meeting Damian’s family for the first time on idyllic Sugarloaf Mountain is about as far from that Bah! Humbugcruise as she can get, and Reese can hardly wait to get there. But from the moment they hit that deer in the road just two miles from the cabin, everything seems to go wrong. There are no drummers drumming or pipers piping this particular year! And once she sets her future in-laws’ family cabin ablaze, she’s pretty sure there won’t be even ONE golden ring in her future.

My Comments:  This was a very cute read.  I especially enjoyed the second story, “It Came Upon a Midnight Deer.”  The first story was cute, but I couldn’t relate to it as much.  The stories were sweet and the characters likable.  I could especially relate to Reese and not only because that is my maiden name.  She was accident prone and non-athletic.  The harder she tried, the more she messed up!  I can definitely relate to that!  This book screams warm and fuzzy throughout.  The romances are idealistic which makes for a great escape.  The tales in this book are helping me to get into the holiday spirit.  Thank you NetGalley for another great read!



Christmas from Heaven – A True Story of the Berlin Candy Bomber

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013


Christmas from Heaven

Read by Tom Brokaw illustrated by Robert T. Barrett
“From little things come big things,” Gail Halvorsen remembered his father saying. As a twenty-seven-year-old American pilot, Brother
Halvorsen’s job was to airdrop much-needed food and supplies to the people of West Berlin in the aftermath of World War II. But it was his simple gift of two sticks of gum that launched an extraordinary humanitarian endeavor and earned him the nickname “The Candy
Bomber.” Each day as hundreds of small white parachutes delivered treats to the children of West Germany, the wounds of war began to heal. “Operation Little Vittles” captured the imagination of people everywhere, bringing the spirit of Christmas to a world in need of peace and hope.

Famed broadcast journalist and author Tom Brokaw brings this remarkable true story to life in a stunning live performance with the
Mormon Tabernacle Choir, captured on the accompanying DVD.
Also included in the book is a template and directions for creating your own “Candy Bomber” parachutes.

With a career spanning more than fifty years, Tom Brokaw is one of the most trusted and respected figures in broadcast journalism. The bestselling author of The Greatest Generation, he is a special correspondent for NBC News and has received numerous awards and honors for his work.

My Comments:  This is such a sweet inspiring book that brought tears to my eyes.  I love the story of the Candy Bomber.  It is also great that instructions are given to make a candy parachute.  A DVD is included with the book which shows news anchor Tom Brokaw reading the story and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing in the background.  The DVD ads so much to the book.  Parts of the story are acted out making the story come alive.  I really think this story is a little old for my second graders.  I think older children and even adults  could gain much from it.  Even better than just a children’s book, this book would make a great gift, coffee-table type book.  This would make a great Christmas gift for that person who is hard to buy for.

The Christmas Quilt by Vannetta Chapman

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

the christmas quilt

Annie’s life is deliciously full as the Christmas season approaches. She helps her
husband, Samuel, attend to the community’s minor medical needs. She occasionally
assists Belinda, the local midwife, and most days, she finds herself delivering the
buggy to her brother Adam. Annie’s sister-in-law Leah is due to deliver their first
child before Christmas morning, and Annie is determined to finish a crib quilt
before the boppli arrives. With six weeks to go, she should have
no problem . . . but God may have a different plan. Leah is rushed to the English
hospital when the infant arrives early, and Annie discovers the Christmas quilt may
hold a far greater significance than she ever imagined.

My Comments:  Since I am expecting a grand baby any day now I am loving reading this book about two Amish young women expecting – one is expecting twins!  This book has suspense, family history, warmth, and healing.  I love Vanetta Chapman’s writing.  It keeps me engaged.  Her characters are real to life and likable.  I give this book 5 stars!

Thank you NetGalley for me free review e-copy of this book.  I loved it!

Rebecca’s Christmas Gift

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

rebecca's christmas gift

Housekeeper For The Holidays

During the Christmas season, Rebecca Yoder agrees to help new preacher Caleb Wittner with his mischievous daughter. Amelia’s turned the community of Seven Poplars upside down. Only Rebecca can see the pain hidden beneath the little girl’s antics—and her father’s brusque manner. After losing his wife in a fire, Caleb’s physical scars may be healing, but his emotions have not. Yet Rebecca’s sweet manner soon has him smiling and laughing with his daughter—and his pretty housekeeper. Soon Caleb must decide whether to invite Rebecca into his life—or lose her forever.

Hannah’s Daughters: Seeking love, family and faith in Amish country

My Comments:  I love books by Emma Miller.  I think I have read each book in this series and have enjoyed each one.  This book is great.  The characters ring true and are flawed.  Some if the women are over-bearing as well as some being sweet.  The men are not picture perfect, which I like – real people, real problems.  As with other Amish holiday books, the story is not a holiday feel-good, puts me in the Christmas spirit mood, BUT the simple way the Amish celebrate Christmas is refreshing.  They celebrate in a simple, heart-felt way.  They exchange meaningful gifts, and not an abundance of gifts.  They decorate sparsely, but they do decorate.  If you enjoy Amish and/or clean Christian fiction, you will enjoy this book!

Thank you to Harlequin and NetGalley for the review e-copy.

Cindy Woodsmall’s “The Dawn of Christmas”

Saturday, November 16th, 2013
dawn of christmas
Sadie enjoys her freedom away from home and her mission trips to Peru, but after four years, her Old Order Amish family insists it’s time to come home and settle down. Levi, a bachelor who distrusts women after a family heartbreak, also has no desire for romance. To keep their families from meddling in their lives, Sadie and Levi devise a plan—but soon discover that the walls around their hearts are breaking down. Can they let go of their prejudices, learn to trust each other, and embrace a future together?
My Comments:  

In this book we have two stubborn protagonists, Levi and Sadie.  Both have either been hurt by love or by observing hurtful love situations.  This is a sweet and predictable story, but again engaging.  It seemed to move in jumps and spurts and I was lost a couple of times throughout, but I guess it needed to be this way to make it a short story.  Overall a great holiday read.
I received a copy of this book by WaterMark Press in exchange for my honest review which I have given.


Crankenstein – A great new Halloween kids’ book by Samantha Berger

Saturday, October 19th, 2013


Who is Crankenstein?
He may look like any ordinary boy, but when faced with a rainy day, a melting popsicle, or an early bedtime, one little boy transforms into a mumbling, grumbling Crankenstein. When Crankenstein meets his match in a fellow Crankenstein, the results could be catastrophic–or they could be just what he needs to brighten his day!
My Comments:  If you are interested in a cute new Halloween book, this might just be it.  I read it to my class of second graders last week and we all enjoyed it (especially since I’ve been super cranky lately 🙂  All of the kids could relate to it.  It led into a great discussion of what makes us feel cranky.  The illustrations by Dan Santat are vivid and really cute.

Twice Loved by Wanda Brunstetter

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Twice Loved

Bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter brings you a touching story of a single mother widowed after World War II. Bev Winters’s new job is an answer to prayer and just in time for Christmas—until her boss’s kindness awakens an old longing. Will her pride allow love after loss? Also enjoy a collection of 1940s recipes and handcrafts along with stories and trivia about Christmas 1946.

My Comments:  This is the first non-Amish book I’ve read by Wanda Brunstetter and I loved it.  It’s a short, sweet, holiday, romantic read.  There are several yummy sounding recipes at the end of the story which adds to this book’s appeal.  For some reason this book reminds me of a Grace Livingston Hill story, and I love those!  The setting of post-World War II adds to the charm of the book.  I recommend this book as a fun, feel-good read!

Thank you NetGalley and Ms. Brunstetter!

HOLIDAY PREVIEW – An Amish Family Christmas by Murray Pura

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Amish Family Christmas

After tragedy strikes the family of young Naomi Bachman, her sister-in-law Rebecca Bachman does all she can to help. But things get complicated when Micah–Rebecca’s brother and Naomi’s husband–returns from a combat tour in Afghanistan. He is under the Meidung–the shunning–because of his enlistment, and none of the Amish are permitted to speak to him or eat with him, even his wife Naomi. How then can this young couple, still in love, ever find happiness? How can the healing process even begin when Micah refuses to repent of what he has done?  

Still, God has a way of working on the hearts of His people–especially at Christmastime.   At just the right time, events conspire to birth a miracle that may set things right for Naomi and Micah–and for the Amish community itself.
Here is warm and tender story of faithfulness, love, and reconciliation at the most wonderful time of the year.

My Comments:  I enjoyed this book and although it’s a holiday book and would definitely give the warm and fuzzy Christmas joys, it reads well at all times of the year.  Naomi and Rebecca have some adjusting to do.  Naomi lost most of her in a tragic accident.  Only her brother Luke is alive and he is in a coma.  Naomi’s also has some issues with her husband as he returns from Afghanistan.  The situation looks almost impossible.  But yet all things are possible with God – even in the Amish community!  I enjoyed this book becuase it shows how God can change hearts.  I highly recommend it!

Thank you NetGalley!