Review/ An Irish Christmas by Melody Carlson

Review/ An Irish Christmas by Melody CarlsonAn Irish Christmas on September 2007
Pages: 189

For Colleen, life is spinning out of control. She just lost her husband, and her relationship with her young adult son Jamie is crumbling. Should she confess to him the secret that has been haunting her for twenty years? Jamie has a few secrets of his own. When he announces his plans to join the military, Colleen decides it's time for the two of them to take a trip together--to Ireland. The truth they discover there could fulfill both their dreams in a way neither ever thought possible. An Irish Christmas is a captivating story of love, deception, and secret passions, from popular and prolific author Melody Carlson.

Today I am going to be doing just a mini review on An Irish Christmas because its this is a novelle book so there isn’t alot to write about without giving away what the book is.

The book takes place in the early 1960’s and a family is grieving the lose of a dad/husband. The book is about Colleen (the mom) and Jamie (her son). For Colleen the world as she knows it is shifting and she doesn’t like it. She has just lost her husband of 22 years and her relationship with her son is going down the drain fast.

The Vietnam War is beginning and Jamie wants to join the Air Forces but Colleen would rather him stay home were he is safe. Jamie has no desire to go into the family show business and to add to that whenever Jamie is asked about his college he gets vague making Colleen wonder how truthful Jamie is being with her and how will she react when Jamie tells her his secret?  Speaking of being truthful, Colleen has been feeling guilty since her husbands death because she has a secret of her own that she thinks its time to tell Jamie about. Will these secrets be to much for each to bare?

Colleen decides that her and Jamie need to get away so she books tickets to spend Christmas in Ireland. She figures this is the perfect time to bond and perhaps share her secret with Jamie. Will Jamie do the same thing?

The book is told in Colleen and Jamie’s point of views so you get the story from both points of views.

I really enjoyed reading this especially this time of the year because you want everyone to be happy and honest with each other. Christmas is a time for loving and being with family no matter what they have done in the past.

 

Review/ Meet Me Under The Mistletoe by Abby Clements

After reading The Winter Wedding I couldn’t wait to dive into Meet Me Under the Mistletoe by Abby Clements. I was so happy that I found this at chapters and the added bonus was it was on the bargain table.

I have to start off by saying I love the cover. Its prettier in person.

This was Abby Clements debut novel and since then she has written six books in total and I have to say after reading two of them I really want to read her other books. One quick thing I should add is that in the back of this book there is a recipe for gingerbread stars and a DIY for a snow globe.

Rachel and Laurie were high school best friends and I think they always envisioned they would be but once out of high school the friends parted ways and grew apart which is normal with most friendships. For Rachel she got married young and had kids and they are living that life of being in a small city with the white picket fence living life and enjoying the simpler things. While Laurie is single. living in the city and has all she can have in life. She has the career in fashion and things are going good until she makes a mistake that could cost her her job. It almost does when she is asked to take a leave of absence.

Its almost a blessing in disguise when out of the blue Rachel contacts Laurie to see if it would be possible to stay with her in London while her mother in law is in the hospital. With things heading south fast Laurie suggests a house swap. This is the perfect thing Laurie need to get out of the city. Both quickly realize how the other lives. Each is a bit shocking to the other. How will each other survive in each others worlds?

The only thing I wish for the book was that there was more of an interaction between Rachel and Laurie. I would have loved to seem them rekindle their friendship. I think Laurie would have benefited from having that friendship back in her life again.

I should tell you that the book is told in Rachel and Laurie’s point of views and that each chapter is dated which I thought was find of fun.

As I was reading this I instantly thought of the movie The Holiday which sort of had the same premise behind it which I loved.

I really enjoyed reading this and I have to say it was the pefect book to read at this time of the year. It was just what I needed to read. It was light hearted and perfect. I have to admit that I didn’t want it to end.

Review/ The Winter Wedding by Abby Clements

One of the things I truly love about being a book blogger and working with publishers is that I get to discover new books and new authors. This was the case for The Winter Wedding by Abby Clements. I was contacted by Simon & Schuster UK asking if I would be interested in reading this and I was. I have to say that I am so happy that I did because I absolutely loved the book and since reading this I managed to find two of her books on the bargain table at Chapters that I had picked up and one will be reviewed tomorrow on my blog.

She has five previous books and they are all stand alones so you don’t have to worry about this being a series of books.

I just have to say this before beginning my review, all of Abby’s books have the cutest covers and I love them all. I tend to find that all the books coming out if the UK always have the best covers. Is that just me?

This month I am trying to post as many Christmas book reviews as I can (to give you some stocking stuffer ideas for the book lover in your life)  so I have to say this is sort of a Christmasy read but I would say its more of a winter read. Its the perfect read for this month in my opinion. I love reading light, heart warming, magical kind of books this time of the year. Its a quick and easy read.

Hazel and her twin sister, Lila are living and working in London. It has always been Hazel and Lila and then Lila meets Ollie and they fall in love and are getting married. So with that Lila is moving out of the flat leaving Hazel to wonder about her own life. She is trying to have it all and she is trying to make it work. She wants things to stay like they are but she realizes that they aren’t. So the first step she makes is finding a roommate and thankfully someone at her work (Amber) is looking for a place.

I think Hazel and Amber make the perfect team and they seem to compliment each other.

Things getting interesting when Lila asks Hazel to help with the wedding planning because she is busy with her dancing. Lila takes her up on it because her real life job is the pits and she is tired of being tried like crap and busting her butt off for nothing really. She works hard and someone else takes the credit with no chance and advnancing.

Hazel quickly realizes how much she is enjoying the wedding planning and seeing her sister’s wedding turn into a success she is quickly snatched by friends of Lila and Ollie’s to plan their weddings. Hazel has to decide does she risk it all and go out on her own or does she stay with what she knows?

I loved this book and the characters and I can’t wait to read more of Abby’s books.

 

Review/ An Amish Second Christmas

Review/ An Amish Second ChristmasAn Amish Second Christmas by Beth WisemanKathleen FullerRuth ReidTricia Goyer
Published by Thomas Nelson Inc on October 14th 2014
Pages: 297
Source: Book Bought
Goodreads
Genres: Amish & Mennonite, Christian, Contemporary, Fiction, General, Romance

Celebrate Second Christmas, a treasured, lighthearted time of community, with four Amish romances.  “When Christmas Comes Again” by Beth Wiseman Katherine knows the first Christmas without Elias will be hard for her and the children. But when a mysterious Englischer appears with photographs of her late husband, Katherine  begins to wonder what other blessings Christmas could have in store.  “Her Christmas Pen Pal” by Ruth Reid Joy was expecting a wedding proposal from Henry; what she got instead was news of another woman. But when her heartfelt letter to a cousin ends up in the hands of a young cabinetmaker, an unexpected correspondence between two strangers gets interesting fast. “A Gift for Anne Marie” by Kathleen Fuller Anne Marie and Nathaniel have been best friends since they were kids. Now things are evolving . . . in ways everyone else predicted long ago. But when her mother suddenly decides to remarry in another state, Anne Marie’s new chapter with Nathaniel looks doomed to end before it begins.  “The Christmas Aprons” by Tricia Goyer Vanilla crumb pie has been Esther’s mem’s calling card for decades. But when Esther finally gets her hands on the secret recipe, she discovers that vanilla crumb pie is more than just dessert . . . it’s bachelor bait.

An Amish Second Christmas is a collection of three Amish stories and they are all connected to the Amish celebrating a second Christmas. The first day of Christmas is family and then the second day is for family and friends.

I just realized that the cover I am showing is for the edition that has four authors and the one I have is just with Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller and Tricia Goyer. Sorry about that.

The three stories are quick and easy reads and its a perfect way to break up the day.

The first story is When Christmas Comes by Beth Wiseman. Is about a woman named Katherine and she is spending her first Christmas without her husband, Elias and she knows its going to be hard for her and the children. She has been noticing a stranger almost following her around and she confronts him but quickly discovers who this mysterious Englischer is and is shocked to find out who he really is and the reason he came to town will shock her.

The second story is A Gift For Anna Marie by Kathleen Fuller.  When Anna Marie’s mother announces that she is going to be remarrying during the Christmas holidays and moving to another state Anna Marie’s world is shocked and she realizes that things are going to change for her family, her and her friend Nathaniel. Nathaniel and Anna Marie have been best friends since they were kids and its always been that way until some one enters the picture forcing both Anna Marie and Nathaniel to finally come clean about their true feelings for each other. But will they both be honest with each other before its too late?

Finally the last story is The Christmas Aprons by Tricia Goyer. I think this was the cutest story of the book and I loved how a Vanilla Crumb Pie brought the two unlikiest people together. Ester’s mom has sent her the family secret recipe for Vanilla Crumb pie to bake for the fireman’s auction but what Ester doesn’t know is that its actually a win a pie and date with the baker. Ester’s not happy at first but then goes with the flow and the outcome is beautiful.

If you love reading Christmas short stories then I have to recommend this if you can find it. Its a beautiful and quick read. I managed to read it pretty much in one sitting because I had a hard time putting the book down.

 

Review/ A Plain & Simple Christmas by Amy Clipston

Review/ A Plain & Simple Christmas by Amy ClipstonA Plain and Simple Christmas by Amy Clipston
on November 29th 2010
Pages: 204
Source: Book Bought
Goodreads

In the tradition of her widely popular Kauffman Amish Bakery series, author Amy Clipston tells the tale of Anna Mae McDonough who was shunned by her family four years ago when she left her Amish community in Lancaster County, PA, to marry an ''Englisher'' (non Amish) man and move with him to Baltimore. Now, eight months pregnant when her first child, she longs to return home for Christmas to reconcile with her family, especially her stern father, who is the religious leader for her former Amish church district. So Anne Mae writes a letter to Kathryn Beiler, her brother's wife, to enlist her help. Kathryn asks her husband, David, if she should arrange Anna Mae's visit. David cautions her that a visit would cause too much stress in the family and instead suggests they visit Anna Mae and her husband in the spring. However, Kathryn arranges the visit anyway, believing in her heart that it's God's will for the family to heal. When Anna Mae arrives in Lancaster for Christmas, she doesn't receive the welcome she expects and her world begins to fall apart, leaving her to question her place in her family and her faith in God. A book filled with love, the pain of being separated from one's family, and the determination to follow God's will regardless of the outcome, A Plain and Simple Christmas is an inspiring page-turner that will keep you guessing what happens next right to the very last page.

Last Christmas I was reading quite a bit of Christmas books and before I knew it 2016 rolled around and I didn’t feel comfortable posting Christmas book reviews in the new year so I decided to schedule them for this Christmas.

Not sure if this book is still available to purchase as a physical book but you might be able to get it as an ebook from Harlequin.

For some reason I love reading anything about the Amish and I don’t read nearly as much as I should. Hopefully this year I made more of an effort to read more Amish books.

A Plain & Simple Christmas is about Anna Mae who was an Amish girl who ended up falling in love with a English guy named Kellan. She has been away from her Lancaster County home since being shunned four years ago. With a baby on the way Anna Mae misses her family and would love to be reunited with them so that her parents can get to know her upcoming baby.

Kellan encourages Anna Mae to contact someone back home who would be able to help her plan her trip. She knows it won’t be easy and is fearful of the outcome. Anna Mae knows the perfect person to write and ask for help and its her long life childhood friend and sister in law Kathryn.

Anna Mae sends of her letter to Kathryn who is beyond thrilled and sets a plan in motion to get Anna Mae home for Christmas. Kathryn has planned the best secret trip for Anna Mae but when her husband David finds out he is not happy that Kathryn went behind his back and involved family to help her. He knows that this won’t end good.

A few days before Christmas Anna Mae and Kellan arrive and its not the welcoming they were expecting. Will the family be able to hell their past wounds or will Anna Mae’s baby grow up not knowing the family back in Lancaster County?

I loved reading this story and throughout the book I kept rooting for this family to heal and over come the fact that Anna Mae was happy and in love with someone even though he wasn’t Amish. Would this family be able to heal and forgive?

I loved how strong Anna Mae really was and I am sure it wasn’t easy for her to leave her family but she followed her heart and did what was best for her. I know towards the end I didn’t like her father and wonder how parents could turn their backs on their children? I know its to do with their culture and I don’t think I could ever turn my back on my son.

Review/ I Hate Myselfie

Review/ I Hate MyselfieI Hate Myselfie by Shane Dawson
Published by Simon and Schuster on March 10th 2015
Pages: 240
Goodreads
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Entertainment & Performing Arts, Essays, Form, General, Humor, Personal Memoirs

The book that more than 12 million of Shane Dawson's YouTube subscribers have been waiting for!From his first vlog back in 2008 to his full-length film directorial debut Not Cool, Shane Dawson has been an open book when it comes to documenting his life. But behind the music video spoofs, TMI love life details, and outrageous commentary on everything the celebrity and Internet world has the nerve to dish out is a guy who grew up in a financially challenged but loving home in Long Beach, California, and who suffered all the teasing and social limitations that arise when you’re a morbidly obese kid with a pretty face, your mom is your best friend, and you can't get a date to save your life. In I Hate Myselfie, Shane steps away from his larger-than-life Internet persona and takes us deep into the experiences of an eccentric and introverted kid, who by observing the strange world around him developed a talent that would inspire millions of fans. Intelligent, hilarious, heartbreaking, and raw, I Hate Myselfie is a collection of eighteen personal essays about how messy life can get when you’re growing up and how rewarding it can feel when the clean-up is (pretty much) done.

The newest trend for 2015 seems to be youtubers becoming authors and I have no problem with that as I do enjoy quite a few youtubers and look forward to reading their books and supporting them.

I am going to admit that I don’t watch alot of Shane Dawson’s vlogs https://www.youtube.com/user/shane/featured and https://www.youtube.com/user/ShaneDawsonTV (are his two channels) because of the language mainly and his content. Having a minor in the house you tend to be careful what you watch but that makes Shane who he is and he won’t change for anyone.

As you know from reading my blog I don’t read autobiographies and that is just due to the fact I don’t like them but with this one I was willing to give it chance. I did enjoy reading it and it actually explained alot about Shane and I think after reading it I grew to respect.

I Hate Myselfie is not about his whole entire life to date but snippets of his life. He tells us these in eighteen stories. I have to admit there was some funny parts in the book and I would laugh thinking this could not possible have happened. Is it true or is he just trying to entertain us?

Shane has not had the ideal life but its nice that he can look back and laugh at it. This is what made Shane who and what he is today. You gotta respect the guy for that. I am sure he is laughing in the faces of some of the people who  wronged him.

I have to say after reading about his unhealthy obsession with Canada I loved him just a little bit more. How can you not love someone who is obsessed with Canada?

I think if your a Shane Dawson fan you will enjoy this book or if you happen to be a new fan of his I think you would enjoy it.

 

Review/ Mira’s Diary Home Sweet Rome

Review/ Mira’s Diary Home Sweet RomeMira's Diary: Home Sweet Rome (Mira's Diary, #2) by Marissa Moss
Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky on April 2nd 2013
Source: Book From Publisher
Goodreads

As if traveling to a new country in search of her missing mother weren't difficult enough, Mira has to do it dressed as a boy. In a different century.
A new postcard from her time-traveling mother points Mira to the 16th century Rome. But before she can rescue her mom, she must follow the clues left around the city to find Giordano Bruno, a famous thinker and mathematician, who discovered something so shocking that important Italian officials don't want it revealed. All the while avoiding the Watchers--time-traveling police who want Mira back in her own time.
It's another whirlwind adventure for Mira, and this time she is determined to bring her mother out of the past.
Praise for Mira's Diary: Lost in Paris
"An engrossing, diary-style blend of history, mystery, and time travel."--Publishers Weekly
"With an engaging story, accessible history, and a spunky heroine, Mira's Diary is an absorbing, fast-pace adventure."--School Library Journal
"Mira's Diary: Lost in Paris is a passionate celebration of honor and integrity...fast paced and compelling."--Karen Cushman, Newberry Medal Winner and New York Times bestselling author

I received this book for free from publisher/pr firm in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

If your like me you probably have quite a few reviews that have been sitting in a draft pile on your computer just waiting to be posted. Well I decided that it was high time they came out of the draft pile and onto the blog.

This is my first one. Not quite sure why it was never posted but it was read.

This is the second book in the series and like the first one its filled with action, mystery and a little bite about history which I think is perfect for the middle grade kids. Not only are they reading a great story they are learning a little as well.

Mira knows she is just like her mother and that they both are time travelers. This is all new to Mira so she is trying to figure it all out will trying to avoid the danger of the Watchers.

Home Sweet Rome brings Mira Rome with her brother and father. Its when Mira touches a touchstone that she is whisked  to a 16th century Rome. It is there that she meets the famous artist Caravaggio as well as the thinker Giordano Bruno.

We all know that  Giordarno Bruno is a famous mathematician and philosopher but he had revolutionary ideas about the modern world and this was in direct contradiction to the Church during the Inquisition. Bruno said that the earth revolves around the sun and that all matter is compiled of the same small particles of life, it was there that Bruno was threatened to be burnt at the stake, and that the  Church would destroy his works and destroy his intents at allowing his ideas to be developed in the future. Mira is trying to help him but has to be careful that she doesn’t draw the attention of the Watchers who are set on destroying her plans.

Mira has to control her power but can she?

I don’t want to give too much away since this is book two in the series but I will tell you that its a fun and enjoyable read. I know I read this much faster then I should have.

The book is told in diary format with drawings throughout the book. I highly recommend reading Lost in Paris the first book to fully understand what is going on in the book but I do think you can read it as a stand alone.

There is a third book called Mira’s Diary: Bombs Over London