Christmas in Winter Hill by Melody Carlson

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Pages: 162

Publisher: Revell

Published: September 3, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

Krista Galloway is not a fan of Christmas. After her rough childhood in multiple foster homes, the holiday season just brings too many bad memories to the surface. But when she accepts a job as a city manager in the mountain town of Winter Hill, Washington, Christmas is part of the deal. The small town is famous for its Christmasville celebration, something that the city manager . . . well, manages.

As she tries to make her tiny new apartment feel like home for her and her eight-year-old daughter, Emily, Krista begins to wonder if this move was a mistake. She doesn’t always feel welcomed in the close-knit town, and Emily continually wonders, “Where’s the snow?” Can a friendly stranger and his family help restore Krista’s Christmas spirit before the big day?

My Review:

A sweet quick Christmas read filled with hope, warmth, and love. The perfect book to sit by a warm fire with a cup of peppermint cocoa and lose yourself in the joys of Winter Hill.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Revell, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Red Dove, Listen to the Wind by Sonia Antaki

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Pages: 232

Publisher: One Elm Books

Published: October 15, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

Abandoned by her white father, thirteen-year-old Red Dove faces another lean winter with her Lakota family on the Great Plains. Willful and proud, she is presented with a stark choice: leave her people to live in the white world, or stay and watch them starve. Red Dove begins a journey to find her place in the world and discovers that her greatest power comes from within herself.

My Review:

A very moving middle-grade book. You will not want to put down once you are near 50% done.

Red Dove is geared to middle-grade readers but I find it may be difficult for them to read and understand on their own. It speaks of the horrible way our ancestors treated the Indians as we populated the country by moving West. Some kids may find the ruthless killing discussed a trigger for harsh emotions.

I would love to see this incorporated in a 5th-grade classroom using many of the subjects. History (Sitting Bull and Custer), Reading, Science (the herbs Indians relied on), Art and Music. There is much to be learned from this book and lessons we can apply today on how to treat others fairly.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, One Elm, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Class Mom (Class Mom #1) by Laurie Gelman

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Pages: 302

Publisher: Henry & Holt Co.

Published: August 1, 2017

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads:

Jen Dixon is not your typical Kansas City kindergarten class mom–or mom in general. Jen already has two college-age daughters by two different (probably) musicians, and it’s her second time around the class mom block with five-year-old Max–this time with a husband and father by her side. Though her best friend and PTA President see her as the-wisest-candidate for the job (or oldest), not all of the other parents agree.

From recording parents’ response times to her emails about helping in the classroom to requesting contributions of-special-brownies for curriculum night, not all of Jen’s methods win approval from the other moms. Throw in an old flame from Jen’s past, a hyper-sensitive -allergy mom,-a surprisingly sexy kindergarten teacher, and an impossible-to-please Real Housewife-wannabe, causing problems at every turn, and the job really becomes much more than she signed up for.

My Review:

I’m not sure how I came across this book. It showed up in my email as an available book I put on hold with my e-library. I’m so glad I read it. It was the perfect book for a holiday weekend. Plenty of laughs.

Jen is hilarious in the emails she sends to the class parents. Coming from the educator side and the parent side it is so frustrating when the same parents volunteer and some parents are pretty much invisible.

There is a sequel to Class Mom and I’m thinking I will see what it is about.

A Stitch in Time (A Needlecraft Mystyery #3) by Monica Ferris

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Pages: 260

Publisher: Berkley

Published: July 1, 2000

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads:

When a damaged tapestry is discovered in a small-town church closet, needleworkers join to stitch together the clues which lead to a crafty crime.

My Review:

I’ll admit when I started the first book in the series, Crewel World, I was not sure this series would be for me. My mind was quickly changed and I am a huge fan of this series. In fact, I have been trying to find the books I am missing when I visit used bookstores.

Book 3 takes place during the Christmas season and is not your typical murder mystery. Why? Well, we do not have a murder but an attempted murder on Betsy herself. I loved the fact that it took place at Christmas with LOTS of snow while I have been sweltering in a heatwave with no rain until last night. I actually felt cooler while reading as Monica Ferris does a great job with her descriptions.

If you are leery about the book being too religious since it centers around a religious tapestry found in a church you have no worries. Religion is not a focal point. You do learn about saints and attributes but I found that very interesting. Especially the fact that symbols may represent more than one saint.

A free needlepoint pattern for a snowflake is included at the end of the book.

I don’t give 5 stars too often but A Stitch in Time felt very worthy of the perfect rating.

Christmas In Evergreen: Letters to Santa by Nancy Naigle

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Pages: 264

Publisher: Hallmark Publishing

Published: July 16, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

Return to Evergreen, the town where Christmas wishes come true… But only if you know what your heart really wants.

When Lisa takes a last-minute Christmas trip to her hometown of Evergreen, she finds that the historic general store has closed. The place was a beloved local tradition, and she decides to use her skills as a professional retail designer to bring it back to its former glory. She charms a local contractor, Kevin, into working with her, and the pair find themselves facing one surprise after another.
One of the biggest surprises of all is finding the mysterious 25-year-old letter to Santa that never made it to the North Pole. Who really wrote it, and will its request come true at last? And will Lisa and Kevin figure out what they’re truly wishing for?

This sweet small-town romance includes a free Hallmark original recipe for Incredible Apple Dumplings.

My Review:

A great follow-up to the novel Christmas in Evergreen. A sweet, feel-good story that will leave you with a smile on your face. A perfect story to show what grit and determination can help you achieve.

An easy read that is perfect for several generations of the family to share.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher, Hallmark Publishing, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

A Down Home Christmas by Liz Talley

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Pages: 302

Publisher: Hallmark Publishing

Published: July 2, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

Country music star Kris Trabeau heads to Charming, Mississippi, to convince his aging aunt to sell her farm and move into a nice retirement community. She’s not having it, and she enlists her neighbor Tory Odom to help her remind Kris why the farm means so much…especially at Christmas.
After being dumped by her longtime boyfriend, Tory’s not feeling the holiday spirit. Still, she agrees to co-chair a children’s concert and silent auction to benefit the after-school center where she volunteers. As Kris helps her with the concert and spends time with the kids, the attraction between them becomes harder and harder to ignore. Can he trade spotlights and city lights for the place where the music began?

My Review:

A fun, entertaining Christmas read filled with love and the importance of family. Be prepared to laugh within the first five minutes of reading. Hint: Chickens and sweaters. I love Christmas books that feel real and A Down Home Christmas gives you that feeling right from the first page.

For fans of fruitcake, you will love the recipe for Jingle Bell Fruitcake Cookies included at the end.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Hallmark Publishing, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Drawn and Buttered (A Lobster Shack Mystery #3) by Shari Randall

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Pages: 301

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: February 26, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:
The Lazy Mermaid’s business has slowed to a snail’s pace—until a monster lobster claws his way onto the scene…

With the high season behind them, ballerina on-the-mend Allie Larkin and Aunt Gully are finally lying low. But then an unexpected guest arrives at the lobster shack: a crustacean so huge he’s dubbed Lobzilla around Mystic Bay and on social media. Soon, with everyone showing up for a peek in their tank, Allie and Aunt Gully have more on their plate than they can handle.

Meanwhile, another local establishment finds itself in hot water. In exclusive Rabb’s Point, a strange burglary breaches the elegant home of Royal Parrish. Allie takes it upon herself to help with the investigation but, before she can get to the bottom of the case, another alarm sounds: the Lazy Mermaid’s Lobzilla has gone missing and is on the loose! And bodies are beginning to pile up. . .

My Review:
A delightful read that is full of quirkiness and laughter that you will not want to put down. Aunt Gully is the aunt we all wished we had in our lives. She is supportive, loving and ready to jump into the fray with you.

Drawn and Buttered is the third book in the Lobster Shack Mystery series but you can jump into the series at any time. Beware, once you take the plunge you will never want to leave. The series is your typical cozy mystery series with clean language, no gory detailed violence, and no offense sex scenes.

The vivid descriptions of Aunt Gully’s lobster rolls and chowder will have your mouth watering and your mind convincing you that you need to drive to the Connecticut coast immediately. Pretty soon I think my phone is going to automatically book me a plane ticket.

One of my favorite characters is Bronwyn and I keep hoping she makes more of an appearance that an occasional one. She is a great balance to Allie and Verity.

I hope you take a chance and visit my friends in Mystic Bay, Connecticut. I really think you would enjoy.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Previously reviewed on my website:

  1. Curses, Boiled Again (Book 1) January 2018
  2. Against the Claw (Book 2) July 2018

With Winter’s First Frost (Every Amish Season #4) by Kelly Irvin

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Pages: 352

Publisher: Zondervan Fiction

Published: February 5, 2019

Rating 5 out of 5 stars

Widow Laura finds herself feeling a little useless as of late especially since she has given up working as a midwife and filling in at the local bookstore. When a close friend of hers needs her after the difficult birth of her newborn twins, Laura finds herself enjoying life again taking care of babies, cooking for the family and taking care of the house. There is one exception to this, widower Zechariah, the great-grandfather of the babies. He suffers from Parkinson’s disease and finds himself very grouchy especially when his grandkids and kids don’t think he can do anything for himself.

As the winter progresses he finds himself falling for Laura and Laura feels the same. Can they both let go of the past and let love fill the rest of their days?

What an emotionally charged story that will make you look at love in the elderly in a new way. Laura and Zechariah have imprinted my heart and will not be leaving for a very long time. I want to be them when I grow old, I want to be able to love that unconditionally with everyone in my life. So beautiful and moving. This story will change your life.

What you don’t believe me? Find out yourself by buying a copy on release day of February 5, 2019, from your favorite bookseller.
Every Amish Season Books in Order:
1. Upon A Spring Breeze 4 stars
2. Beneath the Summer Sun 4 stars
3. Through the Autumn Air 5 stars
4. With Winter’s First Frost 5 stars

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Zondervan Fiction through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

The Forgiving Jar (The Prayer Jars #2) by Wanda Brunstetter

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Pages: 320

Publisher: Barbour Publishing/Shiloh Run Press

Published: February 1, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

In book two of The Prayer Jar series, we focus on Sara. Sara is the real granddaughter of Willis and Mary Ruth and the young lady Michelle had been impersonating. Sara is struggling with her faith and with forgiving those she feels has betrayed her throughout her life, including her deceased mom. As she continues to live with her grandparents she finds jealousy rearing its ugly head. Especially when Michelle seems to be getting her life together and the community is forgiving for her sins. Christmas arrives with a friend of her grandparents and Michelle and Sara finds herself liking him as more than a friend. Can Sara find forgiveness in her heart and learn to let jealousy go? Will the prayer jar she finds in her grandparents basement become her saving grace?

I am still reeling from this book. I have not had an Amish book hit me in the feels as this one did in a bit. I still get teary-eyed thinking about it. In book one I was very angry with Michelle impersonating Sara and felt like Sara had a right to be upset and very angry but as book two opened I came to understand Michelle more and realized sometimes when you are at rock bottom you find yourself doing things you never would dream of doing. As for Sara, I could not imagine a parent dying and finding out I had a family I never knew about. I admire Sara for her bravery in contacting and going to live with her grandparents I do not admire her jealousy against Michelle or her feelings against her stepfather. She definitely had a lot of growing up to do in book two. By the end, you will love both Michelle and Sara as if they were a part of your family.

As always with a Wanda Brunstetter book, you will find yourself laughing one moment and in tears the next. I suggest you read book one, The Hope Jar, first. I am eagerly anticipating the third book in the series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing/Shiloh Run Press through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

When Calls the Heart at Christmas (Heartfelt Devotions from Hope Valley) by Brian Bird, Michelle Cox

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Pages: 179

Publisher: Broadstreet Publishing Group LLC

Published: September 4, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A Christmas devotional centered around the Hallmark TV series, When Calls the Heart. Stories from old and new are incorporated with family traditions, recipes and prayers to make you think of the real reason of the season, the birth of Jesus.

I am not a true Heartie (yet) as I have not taken the time to sit down and watch the series from beginning to end. I have watched a few of the shows and understand the phenomenon around the show. I love how faith is one of the main focus’ on the show. The same goes for this devotional. It is inspiring. I already have plans to start this devotional again on December 25 and read a devotion a day and focus my heart on the stories and prayers. I also cannot wait to make some of the yummy recipes that have been included.

For fans of the show new and old, this is a book to buy and treasure.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Broadstreet Publishing Group LLC through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.