Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Dear Santa
by Nancy Naigle

Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 338
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Angela Carson wants nothing more than to be the third-generation to run her family’s holiday store, Heart of Christmas, successfully. They’ve weathered over sixty tourist seasons, major hurricanes, and urban sprawl, in their old decommissioned lighthouse. But the national chain that set up shop in their small North Carolina town of Pleasant Sands may be more than Heart of Christmas can survive.

Encouraged by her niece to ask Santa for help, Angela gives in and lets the words fly in a way that, if Santa were real, would no doubt land her on the naughty list. What’s the harm when it’s just a computer-generated response?

Geoff Paisley has been at his mother’s side running the mega-chain Christmas Galore for the last ten years. When his mother falls ill, Geoff promises to answer the town’s Dear Santa letters in her stead. Soon he realizes the woman he’s been corresponding with on Dear Santa is Angela. How could the woman that grates his every last nerve in person have intrigued him so deeply through those letters?

When Geoff reveals that he’s her Dear Santa, will Angela be able to set aside their very public feud to embrace the magic of the holiday and possibly find true love?
 


Kritters Thoughts:  When reading this book it was very obvious that the author took a lot of inspiration from the movie You've Got Mail and I was quite ok with that!

Angela Carson owns her grandmother's store that is located in a lighthouse in North Carolina.  A Christmas store that is open all year round that specializes in hand made and unique Christmas things that are truly one of a kind.  A new store has opened up that is the complete opposite a big box store that carries Christmas things that are on the cheap  and is possibly going to put Angela's store out of business.  Angela asks Santa in an app for help and things get interesting.

I absolutely loved this holiday read.  It was sweet and cheesy and an easy read for a book you can quickly read in the middle of the holiday season.  I liked this one more than some of the others, it just seemed like it had a true plot and some great ups and downs.  

Angela and Geoff were great characters and felt like they were full and honestly written.  I like it that even in a holiday book there are solid characters that I wouldn't mind reading a sequel and seeing them outside of the holiday season!

Nancy Naigle has another holiday book - Hope at Christmas, I hope to read it for next year's holiday season.


Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Ebook 2018 Challenge: 89 out of 100


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Monday, December 17, 2018

The 13th Day of Christmas
by Jason F Wright

Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Pages: 236
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Marva Fergusen has a very personal Christmas tradition that happens every December 26th. As an aging widow, the tradition means more to her now than it ever has.

Her newest neighbor, nine-year-old Charlee Alexander, loves Christmas too. But her family has fallen on hard times and things get worse when Charlee becomes critically ill.

Then, on December 12th, Charlee makes a wonderful Discovery. A mysterious note is delivered that promises twelve days of gifts and stories that will reveal the truth behind the beloved Christmas song "The 12 Days of Christmas." As the days go by, the gifts hint to a possible lost lyric. WAs there once a thirteeth day of Christmas? And if so, could it's magic change - or save - a life?


Kritters Thoughts:  I have read a lot of Christmas books and they usually fall in two categories, super cheesy and cute or heartwarming and tear jerker.  This one completely fell in the tear jerker category and it was such a sweet and tender story.  

Charlee Alexander and her family move to a new neighborhood for her father's job and this move is not really a positive change for this family.  Thankfully for this family there is a woman who is living down the street and she will help this family through the transition and through some hard moments.  

This is a short and sweet little book, so I can't say much except you may not want to be reading it in a public place.  This is more of the perfect book to curl up with during a winter weekend on the couch at home!  You may predict the ending of this book, but you won't predict the feels that it causes.  


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Sunday, December 16, 2018

With a packed weekend, I am proud of what I read, hopefully there will be a few more days in December with some quiet reading!

A
 meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 

Finished this past week:
The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict
Pure Hollywood by Christine Schutt
In Dog We Trust by Beth Kendrick
The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen
The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Logiman

Currently Reading:
The Gown by Jennifer Robson

Next on the TBR pile:
No Mercy by Joanna Schaffhausen

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Christmas Angel Project
by Melody Carlson

Publisher: Revell
Pages: 176
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Five women from different walks of life have become close friends through their book club--enjoying one another's company even more than they enjoy the books. So when the leader of the book club unexpectedly passes away on the cusp of the Christmas season, the four remaining friends are stunned. They relied on Abby for inspiration and motivation. She was the glue that held them together, and they're sure that without her the group can't continue.

When the group gathers "one last time" to open a bag Abby's husband gives them, they find Abby had made each of them an angel ornament for Christmas, crafted especially for each woman and accompanied by a sweet and personal note. Inspired by their beloved friend, together Cassidy, Louisa, Grace, and Belinda decide to commit themselves to becoming Christmas Angels to others in need. Each woman will use her life situation and talents to reach out and help others in her own unique way--little knowing that her own life and her relationships will be changed forever.


Kritters Thoughts:  When I think of a Christmas novella this is the book that comes to mind.  Short and super sweet and just a joy to curl up with for an afternoon.  The book opens up with a book group made up of 5 very different women and one of them unexpectedly dies.  The remaining 4 come together and realize that they will honor their friend during the Christmas season and make an effort to help others in their own unique ways.  

This book was the perfect thing to curl up with for an afternoon and distract me from the overwhelming to do list.  It was easy to get to know the four women and they were so different so it was easy to keep them separate from each other.  I loved how they each found their own way to help others that completely fit in their own personalities.  

I have read all of Melody Carlson's holiday novellas and could say that this one is my favorite!


Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row


Ebook 2018 Challenge: 65 out of 100


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Christmas Blessing
by Melody Carlson

Publisher: Fleming H Revell
Pages: 167
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When she receives the news in late 1944 that her baby's father was shot down in the South Pacific, Amelia Richards loses hope. Jobless and broke, she has nowhere to turn for help but her infant's paternal grandparents. The only problem is, they don't know that she--or their grandson--exists. When Amelia discovers that the family is wealthy and influential, dare she disclose the truth of her relationship with their son? Or could the celebration of the arrival of another unexpected baby nearly two thousand years ago be the answer to her dilemma? 


Kritters Thoughts:  Let me first say that I am all for a cheesy Christmas hallmark movie, so I am glad to try out a few of these shorter stories that are a little too long to be novellas, but short and sweet for the holidays.

This one is historical as it takes place in 1944 and Amelia Richards met a man just as he is shipped off and after he is gone she realizes she is pregnant.  She ends up finding him on the deceased list from the war and she has almost nothing to her name.  She sets out on an adventure to find his family and hopefully find some emotional and physical help.

I loved Amelia and her pursuit for help and to find family.  I loved that I wondered how often these stories actually happened at this time and how many women found themselves on this same quest to find some family that may not know they exist and their connections.  

My big question that I still haven't answered is, did I enjoy the ending and I am not sure.  I can't say too much because I don't want to spoil a thing, but I am just not sure that it satisfied me.  

Rating: enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more


Ebook 2018 Challenge: 58 out of 100


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Christmas Joy Ride
by Melody Carlson

Publisher: Revell
Pages: 176
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Miranda did not put adventure on her Christmas list, but thanks to her eighty-five-year-old neighbor Joy, that's exactly what she's getting this year. When Joy tells Miranda that she plans to drive an old RV decked out in Christmas decorations from their Chicago neighborhood to her new retirement digs in Phoenix--in the dead of winter, no less--the much younger Miranda insists that Joy cannot make such a trip by herself. Besides, a crazy trip with Joy would be more interesting than another Christmas home alone. Unemployed and facing foreclosure, Miranda feels she has nothing to lose by packing a bag and heading off to Route 66. But Joy has a hidden agenda for their Christmas joyride--and a hidden problem that could derail the whole venture.


Kritters Thoughts:  I read this book during last year's Christmas season because I was just drawn to more and more of short and sweet Christmas stories.  Miranda is at a point in her life where she is in recovery period from a break up, a job loss and just lots of junk.  Joy is packing up her things to go on an adventure and relocate her life.  Miranda joins Joy on her adventure to spread Christmas in a few spots on her way to a retirement home.  

What a fantastically sweet book.  I loved that Miranda is finding her new space in her life and trying to decide where her life will go next.  Joy is doing the same, she is in a transition and going to have to find a new life in a new city closer to her sons.  I loved reading how Joy prepared to show Christmas at each spot, but she personalized it so it was the Christmas that each stop needed.  

I don't always love Melody Carlson books, but this one was so sweet and perfect.  I think this is the perfect one to pick up during the busy holiday season because of its length and ease of reading.  It was also easy to pick up and put down when the holidays interrupt reading time!


Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

A Christmas by the Sea
by Melody Carlson

Publisher: Fleming Revell
Pages: 176
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  When Wendy Harper inherits her family's beachside cottage in Seaside, Maine, she sees it as a way to finally pay off the debts that have mounted since her husband died. But before it can be sold, the neglected property must be renovated. She and her 12-year-old son Jackson move in--temporarily, she reminds him--in order to do the work themselves, even though Christmas is coming. The charming town, along with local craftsman Caleb Colton, pulls on both Wendy and Jackson, who even registers himself for school in a bid to get his mom to move them there permanently. Wendy knows that the most responsible thing to do is to sell the cottage and return to Ohio, but the lure of the sea is hard to resist.


Kritters Thoughts:  Probably my favorite Melody Carlson holiday book that I have read and I think I have read them all!  Wendy Harper inherits a family beach cottage at just the right moment in her life when she and her son need it the most.  Right before the holidays they move to this cottage to reinvent it and sell it and go back to their lives, but plans don't always go as they may.  

Melody Carlson is a Christian fiction author and this book was the best combination of keeping the values of the faith in there, but also including a great plot that readers can enjoy.  Wendy Harper was the best character to follow as you saw her struggles, but you also saw her ready for a change.  With the recent loss of a spouse to cancer she knows that now is the time for a life change and this cottage could be the catalyst for all of it.  

I loved the setting.  I read this during the summer months and I wanted to crank up my AC and curl up under a blanket with this one.  The cold and the holiday season were just right for this book.  It even added to the plot of the story.  

At the novella length, this book would be perfect to curl up with during an afternoon break from the holidays.  Take a break from wrapping presents and all of the baking and cooking and slip into this story.  


Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row


Ebook 2018 Challenge: 67 out of 100


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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