Friday, December 9, 2016

Advent Reads Day 9: No Room at the Inn by Jean M. Malone

Welcome to Advent Reads!
This is an event I have had on my blog for several years running now.  Each evening I feature a different holiday themed book. Think of it as your Book Advent Calendar! I post a variety of holiday books including romance, children's, middle-grade, mystery, paranormal, and I try to find some that are other holiday celebrations than Christmas too. I hope you will stop by each evening to see what new book I have for you!
 
 
 
 
Synopsis: "The story of the first Christmas is a favorite with Christians worldwide. And it isn?t just a holiday story. The Nativity story is taught at vacation Bible schools, Sunday schools and in Christian homes all year. Packed with beautiful illustrations, this title is perfect for kids who are starting to read on their own!"

My Review: This book contains the classic nativity story that is taught in Christian churches and homes. I think it does a great job of simplifying the story but for a level 2 early reader it should have been shortened quite a bit more, maybe leave out the conception and make that a separate book as the young readers will loose interest with so much text on the page. Thankfully with it being such a well known story it will be easy for young readers to figure out words as they will have most likely heard the story before.
  
 
My Rating: While this story is very familiar to many children out there, this book is just a little too much for young level 2 readers, they may get discourage by all the text and length of the story.  I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Christmas Fun Day 9: Snowflakes

Hello and Happy Holiday season everyone! In addition to my Advent Reads event this holiday season, I thought I would post earlier in the day with different things we do each day to have fun and celebrate this season. I hope you will join us and also maybe share some of your own traditions or ways you celebrate.
 
I remember as a kid my mom would have us make a lot of Christmas decorations and it was so much fun, now as an adult I realize she did this because there wasn't much money available for extras like decorations, but it really was a lot of fun.  So I decided the Munchkin is old enough to start making snowflakes like I remember making, he is getting better with his scissor skills and this will only help.  We used coffee filters and started cutting away, it took him a little bit to understand the concept of not cutting all the way through and only little cuts but once he got a hang of cutting, it was like magic for him.
 
 I love the concentration on his face.
  
 Time for the big reveal!

He was so proud and excited with what he created. He asked if we could do it again soon, I think this time I will try to find some colorful tissue paper to try (or we are going to have to get Hubby more coffee filters).
 
 
 


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Advent Reads Day 8: After Dark - All Through The Night by Maggie Robinson

Welcome to Advent Reads!
This is an event I have had on my blog for several years running now.  Each evening I feature a different holiday themed book. Think of it as your Book Advent Calendar! I post a variety of holiday books including romance, children's, middle-grade, mystery, paranormal, and I try to find some that are other holiday celebrations than Christmas too. I hope you will stop by each evening to see what new book I have for you!
 
 
 
 
Synopsis: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays personal assistant Carrie Moore from the swift completion of her appointed rounds. She’s used is used to delivering for the rich and famous. Can she mend a hunky English lord’s heart and not get him deported?

As a personal assistant, Carrie Moore is used to fulfilling the whims of the rich and famous, even if it means driving through a blizzard to pick up a fresh Kosher turkey for Christmas dinner. No ordinary Butterball for her employer Rosemary Stephens, an eccentric English mystery writer who’s spending the winter on a remote Maine island. When the last ferry is cancelled, leaving Carrie with a turkey that’s bound to get frozen, all the roads closed and no room at the local inn, what’s a resourceful girl to do?

Why, break in and enter, of course, along with Mrs. Stephens’s titled English nephew who is stranded too. Lord Griffin Archer is an actual viscount, but there will be no roast goose and figgy pudding for him, just the random contents of Carrie’s grocery bags. He’s come to America to improve the family fortune, but keeping company with Carrie might result in a prison sentence or deportation. And with a broken engagement behind him, the last thing he wants to do is lose his heart again.

As they snuggle up in a vintage Jaguar inside the inn’s carriage house, bells ring. Alarm or Christmas? Only time will tell."


My Review: It is fun to read about modern day Viscounts, something you don't see all that often. I really enjoyed the characters in this book Carrie is funny and quirky and gets Griffin to loosen up and show his true personality. I also like how the book doesn't end with just the one night but continues to follow the characters through another whole year, which isn't all fairy tales and smiles. I really enjoyed this book and it was great for a cozy night in during the holidays.
 
My Rating: This was a fun and steamy read to pick up for the holidays. I was expecting a short story like so many of these holiday ones are but it is actually nearly full length. The characters were so unique and fun. I give this one a rating of Four Paws!

Christmas Fun Day 8: Letter to Santa

Hello and Happy Holiday season everyone! In addition to my Advent Reads event this holiday season, I thought I would post earlier in the day with different things we do each day to have fun and celebrate this season. I hope you will join us and also maybe share some of your own traditions or ways you celebrate.
 
 
Of course it is classic to write a letter to Santa, but this is the first year Munchkin has been able to do it himself (so really this is the first year we have done it). I found this little kit at one of the craft stores that had a simple card with a form to fill in, stickers and an envelope. It made it super easy and fun for Munchkin.
 
Munchkin filled in his own name and age and checked the box saying he was Nice this year. I then wrote what he said he did good and what he wanted in pencil so he could trace it.
 
 
I kind of love that he writes with both his left and right hands. At preschool the kids all write their names to sign in and sometimes he switches hands every other letter. This will be handy if he ever breaks an arm!



All done and ready to travel to the North Pole!


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Advent Reads Day 7: Santa's First Vegan Christmas by Robin Raven

Welcome to Advent Reads!
This is an event I have had on my blog for several years running now.  Each evening I feature a different holiday themed book. Think of it as your Book Advent Calendar! I post a variety of holiday books including romance, children's, middle-grade, mystery, paranormal, and I try to find some that are other holiday celebrations than Christmas too. I hope you will stop by each evening to see what new book I have for you!
 
 
 
Synopsis: "This year, experience the holidays with a story of love, peace, and compassion! Meet Dana, a forthright and fun-loving reindeer who lives in the Arctic. On Christmas Eve, she meets Santa Claus, who has come looking for reindeer to pull his sleigh. Dana gently opens Santa s eyes to how we can be more kind to animals. Together they take off on a journey around the world, spreading far more than holiday cheer and giving far more than presents. By the time the sun rises on Christmas Day, things will never be the same!"

My Review: I must admit I had a completely different idea as to what this book was going to be, I was expecting a story about Santa deciding on vegan treats and kind toys, but it was much more than that. The story takes the vegan idea to the source, and to the animals themselves. They convince Santa to take care and protect the animals and not use them. It does have a good message and one I hadn't seen before, but it may not appeal widely and could go over really young readers heads. The illustrations are adorable and add quite a bit to the story.
 
My Rating: It wasn't quite what I expected but it was still a great book that will appeal to a specific audience. It is a unique Christmas story that many families will relate to now.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.
 
 
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
 
You can find out more about Robin and her books on her Goodreads Page or Website.
 
You can also obtain your own copy in digital or print format from Amazon.
 


Christmas Fun Day 7: Polar Express Storytime

Hello and Happy Holiday season everyone! In addition to my Advent Reads event this holiday season, I thought I would post earlier in the day with different things we do each day to have fun and celebrate this season. I hope you will join us and also maybe share some of your own traditions or ways you celebrate.
 
 
So last year over the holidays Munchkin became obsessed with the Polar Express book and movie.  I found out that our local Barnes & Noble was having a Pajama story time in the evening featuring the book, so of course I had to take him. I am happy to say that this event was much better set up and organized than the Sarah J. Maas one I went to earlier this year and they certainly went above and beyond to make it magical for the kids.
 
They had train tracks taped down to follow the line, they also had a train whistle they blew when it was time. Each kid got a ticket that was punched as we entered the story area.
They had it set up in the Nook area with a screen so all the kids could see the pictures. And the 'Conductor' did a great job being in character as he read the story to them, even had a stop watch he kept checking.
Munchkin always gets a little nervous in these situations and doesn't like being separated, but they had it so the kids could sit up front and adults in the back so everyone could see. Thankfully he had a friend from preschool there to sit next to but he did check to make sure I was still there multiple times.

After the story was over the kids were all funneled through a line for a gift, hot chocolate and a cookie.  The staff also took this opportunity to make sure that each child went home with their parent. We each had to come claim our little one at the end of the line, and they check with the kids to make sure that we were who they came with, I really appreciated that extra assurance.
 
It was a great experience, especially for the kids!
 
 
We had a lot of fun even though it was a little bit of a late night for us (and Munchkin was off the wall after the cookie and hot chocolate) but I think it was totally worth it. They did have a Grinch Who Stole Christmas one a couple of days later but we weren't able to make it.




Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Advent Reads Day 6: Holly and Mistletoe by Susan Mallery

Welcome to Advent Reads!
This is an event I have had on my blog for several years running now.  Each evening I feature a different holiday themed book. Think of it as your Book Advent Calendar! I post a variety of holiday books including romance, children's, middle-grade, mystery, paranormal, and I try to find some that are other holiday celebrations than Christmas too. I hope you will stop by each evening to see what new book I have for you!
 
 
 
Synopsis: "A storm had claimed her apartment and now Holly Garrett was without a home for the holidays. But just when she saw her plans for Christmas crumbling, a miracle came her way. The handsome firefighter who'd saved her and her cat--and who'd injured himself in the rescue--was now asking her for help. And he was inviting her to live with him. Sure, she could cook and clean for him while he recuperated, but was that really all he wanted?Jordan Haynes couldn't let Holly be alone for Christmas--not when she brought out his every protective instinct. No, he could play the needy patient as well as anyone...and just maybe he could convince her to keep him company through the holidays--if not longer."

My Review: I came into this series midway through and it doesn't seem to have a huge effect on the enjoyment. I did enjoy this book, the beginning definitely had me captured and it moved along nicely. Holly was way to naive of a female character for me but it suited the story. I did really enjoy Jordan and all of the sub-characters (who seem to have had their own books earlier in the series) and I may just have to continue with this series. This was a nice holiday story too with all the warm fuzzy feelings and traditions to go with it.
 
My Rating: This was a sweet story but it was a little drawn out in my opinion, and I cannot stand such na├»ve female characters, they just aren't for me but if you do like them then this is a great book for you.  I give this one a rating of Three Paws.