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/ 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

Review/ The Mystics of Mile End

Review/ The Mystics of Mile EndThe Mystics of Mile End by Sigal Samuel
Published by HarperCollins on October 13th 2015
Pages: 320
Source: ARC From Publisher, Book From BEA 2015
Goodreads
Genres: Family Life, Fiction, Jewish, Literary

Sigal Samuel’s debut novel, in the vein of Nicole Krauss’s bestselling The History of Love, is an imaginative story that delves into the heart of Jewish mysticism, faith, and family.“This is not an ordinary tree I am making.“This,” he said, “this is the Tree of Knowledge.” In the half-Hasidic, half-hipster Montreal neighborhood of Mile End, eleven-year-old Lev Meyer is discovering that there may be a place for Judaism in his life. As he learns about science in his day school, Lev begins his own extracurricular study of the Bible’s Tree of Knowledge with neighbor Mr. Katz, who is building his own Tree out of trash. Meanwhile his sister Samara is secretly studying for her Bat Mitzvah with next-door neighbor and Holocaust survivor, Mr. Glassman. All the while his father, David, a professor of Jewish mysticism, is a non-believer.When, years later, David has a heart attack, he begins to believe God is speaking to him. While having an affair with one of his students, he delves into the complexities of Kabbalah. Months later Samara, too, grows obsessed with the Kabbalah’s Tree of Life—hiding her interest from those who love her most–and is overcome with reaching the Tree’s highest heights. The neighbors of Mile End have been there all along, but only one of them can catch her when she falls.

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.

I was lucky enough to attend a Book Blogger event when I was at BEA 2015 and pick up this little hidden gem while I was there.

Two things I loved about going into this book was one that it takes place here in a part of Montreal called the Mile End and secondly this is a Canadian author. I am making it my mission in 2016 to read more Canadian authors.

I should let you know that this is a debut novel. I love reading debut novels.

The books is broken down into four parts and each telling a part of the story. The four parts are Lev, Samara, (who are a brother and sister) David (their father) and the Mile End.

In the first section is about Lev and his journey. This was such a fun section and I loved how Lev kept trying to match up his dad with is teacher or vise versa. You can tell that he just wanted his dad to be happy after his mother died. What kid doesn’t want that for their parent?

As a young boy he doesn’t realize that his dad has already met someone else. He thought when he smelt the perfume it was his dad spraying himself with the mother’s perfume. I have to say that I wish Sigal would have touched more on the friendship that Lev had with Alex and what happened.

Also in this chapter we meet the very eccentric neighbor Mr. Katz. He is quite the character and I think he was another character I would have loved to know more about. I loved how he was building a Tree of Knowledge in his front yard. We are also introduced to Mr. Glassman who is taking care of his sick wife who has had a stroke and over time she isn’t doing well. I loved how Mr. Glassman would tell Lev about the numbered tattoos on his arm and so much more. Mr. Glassman reminded me so much of my parents and when my dad got sick and passed away, my mom didn’t want to be left behind on her own and Mr Glassman was the exact same way he didn’t want to live without his wife. This was so touching and sad and yes I did cry. So be prepared for the tears to flow.

The second section is about David. David is Lev and Samara’s dad. I think once his wife died he become more distant from his children and in their religion. David provides the back ground story and what happened the night his wife was killed in a car accident. We also discover another side to David that even his children don’t know about and what his father has been up to all this time.

The third section is about Samara. Samara is like the wild child, reckless and dangerous in a way. Behind everyone’s back she goes a head and takes classes so that she can do her Bat Mitzvah. Its with Mr. Glassman’s help that she does this. I think with everything going on she abandons it until discovering her father’s manuscripts and this seems to entice her. But can she be saved before its too late?

Finally the last chapter is about the Mile End and this is where I feel as though I was missing something along the way. With Samara hallucinating about the Tree of Knowledge and physically climbing Mr Katz’s hand made Tree of Knowledge in his front yard. I just didn’t quite understand that.

This certainly won’t detour me from reading future books from Sigal. I am determined to reread this book again to see if perhaps I missed something. Did I miss something?

 

Review/ Starry Night by Debbie Macomber

Review/ Starry Night by Debbie MacomberStarry Night by Debbie Macomber
Published by Random House on November 21st 2013
Pages: 272
Goodreads

Perfect Christmas women's fiction from international bestseller Debbie Macomber.'Tis the season for love and second chances ...Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge first: Carrie must score the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author.Living in Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a bestselling book about surviving in the wild. But he stubbornly declines to speak to anyone, and no one even knows exactly where he lives. With her career at stake, Carrie sacrifices her family celebrations and flies out to snowy Alaska. When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she expected. And soon Carrie is torn between pursuing the story of a lifetime and following her heart.

I have to admit right from the beginning that I have never read anything by Debbie Macomber before reading Starry Night. I have to thank my friend, Jennifer for introducing this author to me. I really enjoyed reading Starry Night.

This was the year that I really got into reading Christmas themed books and I think that was due to the fact Jennifer passed on so many great books to me. I have to start off by saying that I loved the cover of the version I had and it was the glittery Starry Night that hooked be as I try to avoid reading what the book is about. I love going into a book not knowing what its about.

I was hooked into the story right away and I practically read this in one sitting which says alot about the book for me. It had all the right things I love about a book. I love when I book hooks you in right away and there is enough action, suspense and love to keep you into finding out more.

Carrie is a reporter for the Chicago Herald. She loves where is she is working but is getting tired of writing for the society page. When push comes to shove she goes into her bosses office and basically says she wants another position or she is prepared to leave there all together. I love Carrie and her determination to move forward with her career because she knows what she can and can’t do.

Her boss tells her if she wants to advance she must score a exclusive interview with the famous author Finn Dalton. Finn has never given any kind of interviews or been photographed since his book has become the best seller. Every reporter has tried to locate him and none has been successful until Carrie comes along. Carrie is determined to find him and heads to Alaska to begin her search.

Finn has made it his mission to basically remain out of the spot light and hidden away. No one knows who he is and he probably could be walking beside you and you wouldn’t even know it. So needless to say he isn’t happy when his friend drops Carrie off outside his cottage in Alaska. His actions let Carrie know she isn’t wanted around and as soon as the storm clears she is on a one way ticket back home.

As the story progress you can see that both Carrie and Finn are breaking down the walls and they are both starting to develop feelings for each other. Will they be able to live apart knowing that Finn wants nothing to do with the city life? Or will their love be enough to overcome that?

If your looking for a fun clean read then I highly recommend this book. Its the perfect holiday read in my opinion.

 

Review & Blog Tour/ The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse

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Book Title The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse – in Canada by Gwyneth Jane Page and Illustrated by Megan Elizabeth
Category:  Children’s fiction, 72 pages
Genre:  Adventure / travel
Publisher:  Self-published
Release date:  Feb 13, 2014
Available for review in:  Print, ebook (PDF)
Will send print books:  Internationally
Tour dates:  Nov 30 – Dec 18, 2015
Content Rating:  G

Book Description:

PJ Mouse, an adorable little stuffed animal, was lost and alone until young Emily heard his cries for help. Now, along with his new family, PJ gets to travel the world-discovering exciting new places and people along the way!

Come join PJ on his first adventure across Canada as he hikes on a glacier in the Rockies, finds a salt lake in the prairies, and walks on the ocean floor in Nova Scotia.

Buy the book:
Author’s Website
Amazon
Amazon.ca
Barnes & Noble

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Book Title The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse – in Queensland by Gwyneth Jane Page and Illustrated by Megan Elizabeth
Category:  Children’s fiction, 60 pages
Genre:  Adventure / travel
Publisher:  Self-published
Release date:  Dec 2014
Available for review in:  Print, ebook — mobi (for Kindle), ePub, PDF
Will send print books:  Internationally
Tour dates:  Nov 30 – Dec 18, 2015
Content Rating:  G

Book Description:  

PJ Mouse, an adorable little stuffed animal, was lost and alone until young Emily heard his cries for help. Now, along with his new family, PJ gets to travel the world – discovering exciting new places, people, and animals along the way!

​Come join PJ on this, his second adventure, along the coast of Queensland, as he snorkels at the Great Barrier Reef, chats with a Loggerhead turtle in the midst of a great undertaking, and explores the tropical rainforest- until he has to be rescued by one of the local friendly wildlife.

Buy the book:
Author’s Website
Amazon
Amazon.ca
Barnes & Noble

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I was so happy when I was selected to be a part of this blog tour because I have to say the books sounded really cute and I knew I had to support Canadian authors.

They both are quick reads. I loved the illustrations in  both books. I loved how almost every page had a little illustration on the pages.

I am going to combine both my reviews in this one post. You don’t have to read the books in order but I think you might want to to get the feel of who everyone is and how PJ Mouse came to Emily and her family.

In Canada we are introduced to PJ Mouse who gets lost from his original owner and he is scared and calls out for help and Emily founds him. She takes PJ Mouse home and cleans him up. I should warn you now that PJ Mouse is a very special mouse and only a selected few get to hear speak.

PJ Mouse has arrived just in time because Emily and her family are going on a cross Canada adventure in a motor home. They are traveling from the west coast of Canada to the east coast. Their first stop is the Rocky Mountains. Its at the Athabasca Glacier that I thought we lost PJ Mouse (because he fell through a crack of a glacier) but with the smart thinking of family they rescue PJ.

I loved how the story included some facts about each of their stops. I loved that they stopped in Quebec City and The Bay of Fundy. Two of my favorite places.

In Queensland, everyone is flying to Australia. The adventures continue for PJ Mouse and Emily’s family. PJ is included in every activity the family does. After reading this my desire to Australia one day is very real and seeing it through PJ’s eyes makes me wish I was on that trip with him because he goes wake boarding, snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, and he gets to go and visit the rain forest.

I think the cutest part of the book was when PJ mistook a kangaroo for a mouse. I guess if you have never left your own little world you would think the same thing.

This is very much like the first book in which you are learning something as you read the book.

I am excited for the third book in the series because I can’t wait to see what PJ Mouse’s next adventure will be.

the-travel-adventures-of-PJMouseAuthors Meet the author and illustrator:  

Gwyneth Jane Page (Jane), who holds an MBA from Simon Fraser University, has called many countries home. She grew up in such places as England, Peru, the USA, and the Caribbean, and has also lived in Australia and Canada. She now resides in Victoria, BC with her husband and four children. The PJ Mouse books are based on Jane’s family trips with the real stuffed animal, PJ, who was found by Emily, Jane’s youngest daughter.

Megan Elizabeth, Jane’s second oldest daughter, has lived in Canada and Australia and travelled extensively with her family-and PJ. Having been artistic since she was a little girl, illustrating the PJ Mouse books has enabled her to combine her love of travel with her love of art. Megan completed her studies at VanArts and is now building her career as a professional photographer as well as an illustrator. She currently resides in Victoria, BC with her family.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook

The third book in The Travel Advetures of PJ Mouse is called The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse In a Small Corner of England and its out now.

I just want to quickly thank the author for doing this quick guest post for me.

A Little Bit About Me by Gwyneth Jane Page

I grew up as an only child (pretty much – I have a half brother 12 years older than me, and step sisters, but no full siblings) and lived all over the world. I loved going to all the different countries. It made my childhood very memorable with so many distinctive scenes that stand out in each place. The down side to living in so many countries (USA, England, Canada, St. Lucia, Peru) without siblings, and having to make new friends all the time, is that it was a bit lonely. I now greatly value having a larger family and being very close.

I am married with 4 kids, ages 22, 21, 16 and 14. We have always travelled with our kids from the time they were tiny. I love the time together as a family, away from everyday demands, and I also value the education that exploring the world gives to my kids. Having fun with my family and being the best mom I can be is one of my top priorities.

We have lived in Victoria, BC and on the Gold Coast in Australia. We have good friends in both places but I prefer the climate and lifestyle of the Gold Coast. In the future I would really like to move to England to be closer to my extended family and to be able to travel to various parts of Europe easily.

Tour Schedule:

Nov 30 – Experiencing Parenthood – reviews

Nov 30 – That Artsy Reader Girl – reviews / giveaway

​Nov 30 – The Pen and Muse Book Reviews – reviews / author interview / giveaway

Dec 1 –    Heidi’s Wanderings – reviews

​Dec 1 –    Christy’s Cozy Corners – reviews / giveaway

Dec 2 –    Working Mommy Journal – reviews / giveaway

​Dec 2 –    Fantastic Feathers – book spotlight / giveaway

Dec 2 –    Book Loving Hippo – reviews / author interview / giveaway

Dec 3 –    Sara’s Organized Chaos – reviews / guest post / giveaway

Dec 3 –    The Autistic Gamer – reviews

​Dec 3 –    alwaysjoart – reviews / giveaway

Dec 4 –    Rockin’ Book Reviews – reviews / guest post / giveaway

Dec 4 –    Sincerely Stacy – reviews

​Dec 4 –    Cindy’s Love of Books – reviews / guest post / giveaway

Dec 7 –    One Frugal Girl – reviews / giveaway

Dec 7 –    Bless Their Hearts Mom – reviews / giveaway

Dec 7 –    A Mama’s Corner of the World – review of Queensland

Dec 8 –    fuonlyknew – reviews / giveaway

​Dec 8 –    Laura’s Interests – reviews / guest post / giveaway

Dec 9 –    One Curvy Blogger – reviews / guest post

​Dec 9 –    Bookworm for Kids – reviews / giveaway

Dec 9 –    T’s Stuff – reviews / giveaway

Dec 10 –  Bookroom Reviews – reviews / guest post / giveaway

Dec 10 –  I’d Rather Be At The Beach – reviews / giveaway

Dec 10 –  #redhead.with.book – book spotlight / giveaway

Dec 11 –  Writer With Wanderlust – reviews / giveaway

Dec 11 –  Blooming With Books – reviews / author interview / giveaway

Dec 14 –  Create With Joy – reviews / giveaway

Dec 14 –  Library of Clean Reads – reviews / giveaway

Dec 14 –  Maddie & Books – reviews / author interview

Dec 15 –  Jorie Loves a Story – reviews / guest post

​Dec 15 –  JBronder Book Reviews – reviews / guest post

Dec 16 –  Pause for Tales – reviews / guest post

​Dec 16 –  Bound 4 Escape – reviews / giveaway

Dec 17 –  Singing Librarian Books – reviews / author interview / giveaway

​Dec 17 –  The Cubicle Escapee – reviews / giveaway

Dec 18 –  Jessica Cassidy – reviews / author interview / giveaway

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