Saturday, December 7, 2013

Advent Reads Day 7: Audio Review of Christmas Jars Reunion by Jason F. Wright

Synopsis: "The New York Times bestseller Christmas Jars has sold nearly 500,000 copies. Thousands of people across the country have emailed the author at ChristmasJars about how the Christmas Jars tradition has touched their lives� either by receiving a jar or by giving one. Hope Jensen's story continues in Christmas Jars Reunion. It's been two years since Hope was reunited with her biological mother on Christmas Eve at Chuck's Chicken 'n' Biscuits. Hope has never felt more complete. She's writing full- time for a family magazine and, with the help of her mother, Marianne, leading the Christmas Jars Ministry out of Chuck's quirky restaurant. To top it off, she's dating a marketing executive in a comfortable long- distance relationship. Her life is right where she wants it to be� a state of orga - nized chaos� as another Christmas rolls around. Then her world changes forever over Thanks - giving weekend. The Maxwells hire a nephew to take over the family furniture restoration business. Someone that Hope can't stop thinking about. Then an out- of- town stranger shows up at the diner asking to help in the ministry� a stranger whose motives are yet unclear. Before the sun sets on Christmas Day, two men will try to change Hope's life forever. In the process, Hope will be reminded of the immense power of a single jar, and the healing that sometimes comes only with forgiveness."

My Review: I love the message of the Christmas Jars but this follow up book just didn't hit me the way the first one did. Maybe it had just been so long since I read the first one that it took a while to get the characters straight again or maybe the fact that it was an audio book and the voice didn't match the characters I had in my mind. I did enjoy Queen and Al and their relationship. The Christmas Jars message got a little lost as Hope strived for greater things, but it was all brought back by the end. It is still a wonderful Christmas story, especially for those who enjoy books with a strong Christian basis.
My Rating: I still enjoyed the message of the Christmas Jars but this one wasn't on the same level as the original Christmas Jars story.  I still am giving it a rating of Three Paws!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Advent Reads Day 6: Bedtime Story: The Spirit of Christmas

Synopsis: "Bells jingle, sleds dash through the snow, trees are topped with sparkling stars, and children everywhere dream of candy canes and presents. But the best gift of all—the most magical gift of the season—is when we spend Christmas with those we love."

My Review: I am a big fan of Nancy Tillman and love sharing her books with my little Munchkin. This one wasn't quite up to the level of Wherever you are My love will find you. The rhyming wasn't quiet as smooth, but I still enjoyed the message behind the story. The illustrations are beautiful as always and I loved the little bit of music on each page. I just wish this had been a board book and the pages played the music as you turn them.
My Rating: Another beautiful book from Nancy Tillman.  I really wish it at least came with a CD to play the music hidden in each illustration. I give it a rating of Three Paws.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Advent Reads Day 5: After Dark Review of Big Girls Do It on Christmas by Jasinda Wilder

Synopsis: "A very special Big Girls Christmas short story to be read after Big Girls Do It Married.

This is a short story of 4,000 words.

*WARNING: major spoilers if not read in order* "

My Review: While this may have spoiled the rest of the series, which I plan on going back and reading as soon as I have the opportunity, I really enjoyed this short story. It was very short but had a lot of emotion packed in and you can feel the love radiating from the characters. It brought back some very happy memories from a Christmas 2 years ago for me. I definitely encourage all of you to read the whole series, if only to get to this book!
My Rating: I wish I had read the rest of the series first, but this short story just made me want to read them right away.  A fun and loving holiday story.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Advent Reads Day 4: Bah, Humbug! by Heather Horrocks

Synopsis: "Lexi Anderson is an up-and-coming, Martha Stewart-type TV hostess whose two kids love the Jared Strong adventure novels, which happen to be written by their new neighbor, Kyle Miller.
For the first time in his writing career, Kyle has writer's block - until he sees the snowman on his lawn and realizes this is the perfect place for his villain to hide the weapon. He digs into the snowman to discover two things: the weapon fits int he body just under the head, and the snowman was supposed to be the back drop for Lexi's next show.

From this improbable beginning comes friendship. Can there be more for a woman who is afraid to get close again and a man who has shadows from his childhood?

Families join together and hearts are healed as this couple goes walking in a winter wonderland."

My Review: This was a fun, quick holiday romance to read. It was highly unbelievable but still so sweet. I loved the characters, though Kyle's personality changed far to drastically in such a short amount of time, Lexi's while still a big change was a little more realistic. The concept of the story was great though, what reader wouldn't want to imagine moving in next door to their favorite author and to find out that they are single as are you?! The emotional charge behind it all was very moving as well, I definitely had a few tears in my eyes.
My Rating: This one may have been unbelievable in the time line but it was so enjoyable.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Advent Reads Day 3: Meghan's Wish by Amy Gamet

Synopsis: "Meghan O'Connor is back in Largo, fifteen years after leaving town with Liam Wheaton. She'd been pregnant with their child. He'd been running from the law.

The son of the town drunk, Liam was accused of setting fire to the old mill. Meghan believed he was innocent, her love blinding her to any other possibility. But when life showed her another version of the truth, Meghan ran away again--this time taking the couple's eight year-old daughter with her.

Now that daughter needs a bone marrow transplant, and Meghan must return home to face the family she left behind as a frightened teenager. She never expects to find Liam living in Largo, looking sexier than ever and mad as all hell.

In the days before Christmas, the truth about the fire will be revealed, two families will be reunited and a passionate love rekindled, in this story about the lengths we go to for love and the power of forgiveness."

My Reviews: This was a pleasant short read. I enjoyed the story line and the characters. I really like how it shows that you don't only make rash decisions as a young teen, or even just in your twenties but all through your life. I really like Liam and can't help but root for him throughout the story and am surprised at Meghan's reactions to different people. A touching story that made me tear up a few times.
My Rating: This was an interesting story that had a lot going on for such a short story. My emotions ran the gamut.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Advent Reads Day 2: Review of Red Truck by Lorraine J. Anderson

Sorry no cover image
Synopsis: "Skeet and P.P., cruising and looking for a good ride, tackle the wrong truck -- or is it the right one?"

My Review: Well that was a bit odd, entertaining but odd. I can definitely picture the narrator in my head and feel like I need to be sitting in some dive bar nursing a beer. It is a very creative short story and fun for the holidays as the boys learn a lesson about joyriding!
My Rating: An odd yet entertaining short story, I think guys would really appreciate this one.  I give it a rating of Two Paws.

Monday Reading List

Its Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey. Share what books you have finished in the last week, are currently reading and what might be coming up next!

Reviews Posted Last Week:
Links will take you to my review
Southern Attraction by Tracy Kauffman
Airs Beneath The Moon by Toby Bishop
Meeow and the Big Box (Bedtime Story)
A Lantern in the Window by Bobby Hutchinson (Advent Event)

Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

Cooking Up Christmas
The Winter Kitten
Winter Solstice
Christmas Shoppe Magic

Currently Reading:

Dark Chatter by Andrew Branch - Kindle - 22%
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen - PB - on Page 40 of 383
The Clock of Life by Nancy Klann - PB - on page 68 of 364
Dirty Little Secrets by CJ Omololu - Audio - 66%
The Marriage Carol by Chris Fabry - PB - on Page 38 of 128
One Big Beautiful Thing by Marie Flanigan - Kindle - 3%

 Books to be Read Soon:
Water Harvest by Eric Diehl (Requested Review)
The Gnosis of Salmon by Lynne Marie Rowley (Requested Review)
Seventh Night by Iscah (Requested Review)
The Age of Not Believing by Andrew Szlachetko (Requested Review)
One Shark, No Swim by Lehua Parker (Requested Review)
Marcie by Carly Duncan (Requested Review)
Knightmare by Deborah Valentine (Requested Review)
The Lover from Hell by Rob Palmer (Requested Review)
Judgment by Jade Varden
Frankenstein Agent of SHADE Vol. 2 by Jeff Lemire (Graphic Novel)
Joe the Barbarian by Grant Morrison (Graphic Novel)


Well this last week was kind of a slack off week for me. I won Nano on Tuesday so have taken a little break from writing, and as it turns out with the holiday reading as well.  I have managed to get a bunch of hand made gifts done over the weekend (gosh Christmas is coming quick this year) and nearly all my shopping is done.  We also started decorating this weekend (it tends to be a week long process with only one room a day).

I do have big plans for this month! As you can see by the to be read soon list ;) I have a lot of reading to do and I want to finish writing that one story. I have also started my annual Advent Reads event, you will find a new winter holiday (Christmas, Winter Solstice or simply winter season) book featured each evening.  They will usually appear at 8:00 pm EST (unless it is a special After Dark book which will be posted at 11:00 pm EST).

So I hope you will all stick around for an exciting end to this year.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Advent Reads Day 1: Review of A Lantern in the Window by Bobby Hutchinson

Synopsis: "Ever wondered what it might be like to be a mail order bride? Or the groom, already married to a woman he’s never laid eyes on?

On the Canadian prairies in 1886, having a mail order romance wasn’t unusual. Noah Ferguson desperately needed help on his farm. Annie Tompkins knew she couldn’t go on working in Lazenby’s cotton mill. So she’d been a little less than honest in her letters, was that really so terrible? It was unforgivable, Noah fumed. He’d wanted an older widow, and Annie was a young virgin. But even that wasn’t the full extent of her lies.

Problem is, Noah hasn’t exactly been straight with Annie, either, and his secret has the power to break Annie’s heart.

Can even a special Christmas gift make their marriage work?"

My Review: This was a lovely short read for the holiday season. I enjoyed the characters, particularly Bets and Zachary. The story is a simple one and kind of predictable but it still keeps you reading. A couple of the elements were a little hard to believe, like being able to survive for 12 hours in a blizzard in Canada. Again with that said it was still a lovely story that can be read in a sitting or two.
My Rating: While the setting was unique, the rest of the story was rather predictable.  I give it a rating of One Paw and a Stump Wag.