Dashing Through the Snow

Macomber, Debbie. Dashing Through the Snow. NY, USA: Ballantine Books. 2015.

SUMMARY:
dashingthroughthesnowWanting to get home to Seattle to surprise her mother for Christmas, Ashley Davison appears down on her luck with no rental car, no airline ticket and only a bit of cash. Needing to arrive in Seattle for a job interview, Dash Sutherland takes the last rental car, appears in a hurry and has the means to obtain what he is after…and has a conscious which allows him to include Ashley in his plans. Through a snow storm, an orphaned puppy, a rental car issue, blowing snow, complete embarrassment, security problems and an affected heart, Dash and Ashley may be set up for the adventure of their lives…all in time for Christmas.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
What a perfect time for another Christmas story. Fun, humorous, heartfelt and seasonal, Dashing Through the Snow delivers a quick, light read for a busy time. From New York Times and USA Bestselling author, Debbie Macomber, this Christmas novel includes a bit of a mystery, humorous banter, a sweet adopted puppy, and a fast-paced romance. As a stand-alone shorter book, it was just not quite what I expected though from a favorite author.  (A few minor words and inferences may be offensive to some.)

RATING:
3.5 (out of 5) pennies

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All Is Bright

Coble, Colleen. All Is Bright: A Hope Beach Christmas Novella. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
allisbrightRun off the road and thrown into the ocean, Delilah Carter almost suffers the same fate her parents did years ago. In the midst of planning a wedding for her friends at Tidewater Inn, Delilah experiences another scare when she starts to receive threatening phone calls and is attacked again. Helped by the local sheriff, Tom Bourne, Delilah is faced with a difficult decision…does she continue with the wedding or save herself?¬† Mystery, previous Hope Beach characters, and romance all mingle together around the Christmas tree…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having read previous works by Colleen Coble, though not any in the Hope Beach series, I was unable to connect characters from this novella yet enjoyed it perfectly as a stand-alone. Just in time for the season of Christmas-themed novels (a favorite of mine), I was happy to start the time with All Is Bright. A quick read which caused me to definitely consider this author’s other series, I will continue to seek works by her. Absolutely a novella to read this time of year!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of All Is Bright from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Get Yourself Organized For Christmas

Lipp, Kathi. Get Yourself Organized For Christmas: Simple Steps To Enjoying The Season. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers.

SUMMARY:
organizedforChristmasReady or not, Christmas is going to happen! Stressful, busy, demanding, dread…all these emotions and thoughts can surround Christmas but do they really have to be a part of it? In her new book, author Kathi Lipp offers suggestions, encouragement and projects for shaping Christmas how it should be…full of faith, family and friends. With ideas for a clutter-free Christmas, quick tips to save time, early planning on gifts and decorations as well as thoughtful projects for special people, Get Yourself Organized For Christmas takes the agony out of Christmas, allowing everyone to focus on the important aspects and enjoy the time…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Decorations are already displayed in the stores, Christmas music is set to begin shortly, and the malls are ready for Santa…no wonder Christmas has become a time of pressure, expectations and anxiety. Already a fan of this author, Kathi Lipp, I knew I was in for good advice when I requested her newest book. Simple, relaxed, thoughtful and focused¬† on faith, family, and friends was a priceless piece of guidance for Christmas. Absolutely a book I plan to pack away with my Christmas items each year and return to often for gentle yet necessary reminders.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Get Yourself Organized For Christmas from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

The Carols of Christmas

Gant, Andrew. The Carols of Christmas: A Celebration of the Surprising Stories Behind Your Favorite Holiday Songs. Nashville, TN: Nelson Books. 2015.

SUMMARY:
carolsofchristmasNot originally composed as Christmas carols, in fact, many not even containing words at the beginning, several Christmas tunes evolved from folk songs, street singing or plain music. Influenced by many nationalities, carols were first sung on the street rather than church but have found their way into the pews to the chagrin of some. Exploring many Christmas songs (O Little Town Of Bethlehem, O Come, All Ye Faithful, even Jingle Bells), author Andrew Gant, composer, choirmaster, church musician, university teacher and writer, shares his great depth of knowledge on the subject. Complete with illustrations, history and interesting tidbits on the carols, The Carols of Christmas is bound to make singing these songs more memorable and meaningful.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With the Christmas season just around the corner and a bit of musical ability in my repertoire, I thought this would be a very interesting and relevant book…I was right. Obviously extremely proficient in his musical wisdom, Andrew Gant went above and beyond in his new book. I found most information to be useful, intriguing and readable; however, some of the information was beyond my curiosity. Definitely enlightening, after reading The Carols of Christmas, I will always reminisce as I carol at Christmas.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Carols of Christmas from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Mr. Miracle

Macomber, Debbie. Mr. Miracle: A Christmas Novel. New York, NY: Ballantine Books. 2014.

SUMMARY:
miracleHome for the holidays, Addie Folsom decides to stay home in Tacoma for good this time. Enrolling in the local community college for a high school credit she missed, she meets her middle-aged teacher, Mr. Harry Mills. Unknown to Addie, Harry Mills is actually an angel on earth still in training with a mentor looking over his shoulder. Soon enough, Harry finds human behavior and emotions may be more intense than he anticipated. With a mission to help Addie get her life back on track and perhaps find a bit of neighborly love, Harry (Mr. Miracle) experiences a few surprises himself…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a favorite author, especially of her books containing angels- Shirley, Goodness and Mercy- I was excited to read Debbie Macomber’s newest edition, Mr. Miracle, which follows on the footsteps of Mrs. Miracle. Definitely a sweet charming story, this book is sure to follow as a Hallmark Channel movie. Full of faith, romance, and humor, Mr. Miracle was just as expected…delightful!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

The Littlest Christmas Kitten

Jackson, Leona Novy. Dupre, Kelly. The Littlest Christmas Kitten. Maryville, MO: Snaptail Press. 2006.

SUMMARY:
kittenOn the holiest of nights long, long ago…a small kitten is lost. Mother cat looks high and low all throughout the stable until she finds him snuggled in the manger which is soon to be used by Joseph and Mary for the birth of the Christ child. Scampering home safely, Mother and Father cats still share the story of the night Baby Jesus shared the manger bed with the baby kitten…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Adorable! With a caring story about kittens and the birth of Jesus, this child’s book reveals how intertwined life and faith can be in the smallest, simplest of ways. A beautiful version of the Christmas story is coupled with magnificent print making illustrations making this book glorious to read and share. Even more, the double-page layout contains smaller artwork pieces which relate directly to the story on each page. A glossary of relevant Christmas symbols (Stable, Nativity, Star, Holly) is included at the back with a special note on cats (keeping them safe, life-long commitments, special friends). Absolutely charming!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Littlest Christmas Kitten from BookCrash as well as the author for my honest review*

Christmas at Rose Hill Farm

Fisher, Suzanne Woods. Christmas at Rose Hill Farm: An Amish Love Story. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2014.

SUMMARY:
WoodsPreparing for her Amish Christmas wedding at Rose Hill Farm , Bess Riehl soon receives a surprise she wasn’t expecting…she is engaged to Amos Lapp yet may still have feelings for Billy Lapp, Amos’ cousin who left the Amish community years earlier without any explanation. When a rare rose is discovered at Rose Hill Farm, Billy arrives to identify it with strong intentions to leave immediately; however, his heart may just have another purpose to pursue…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Being unfamiliar with many of the characters from the Rose Hill Farm Amish community, I was still able to follow the story quite easily. In fact, I plan on returning to Rose Hill Farm now to meet the other neighbors in the community. Well written with a few unexpected surprises yet true to the Amish storyline, I enjoyed Christmas at Rose Hill Farm, particularly at this time of year. I especially found the cover to be very appealing, reminiscent of the story found within.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Christmas at Rose Hill Farm from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

The Christmas Cat

Carlson, Melody. The Christmas Cat. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2014.

SUMMARY:
catGarrison Brown, insanely allergic to cats, must find suitable homes for his recently deceased Grandmother’s six (yes, six) cats. With initial interviews, home visits and follow-up appointments necessary, Garrison wonders if he will ever place all the kitties. With a surprise “insurance” check included when each cat is settled into a loving home, Garrison soon finds himself attached to the Maine Coon, Harry. And could it be? His new neighbor, Cara, may be just the perfect home for Harry…what would Gram think?

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having read each of Melody Carlson’s Christmas novels each year, it has almost become a tradition to anticipate the next one. With a few cats myself as well as a mom with plenty of her own, I was excited to read The Christmas Cat. Truly an adorable, faith-filled, sweet Christmas story, I was not disappointed. Melody Carlson had me with the stunning cover and kept me reading to the end. Especially heart-warming was the dedication to Harry, the Maine Coon cat, who found the author in the middle of winter and worked his way into her heart…aaww! I look forward to next year’s Christmas book addition to my tradition!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Christmas Cat from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

A Simple Christmas Wish

Carlson, Melody. A Simple Christmas Wish. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell. 2013.

SUMMARY:
simplewishDue to an unforeseen event, Aunt Rachel Milligan and her niece, Holly, are about to spend their birthdays and Christmas in a very unexpected manner. Finding themselves in an Amish Ohio homestead, Rachel must deal with her own selfishness as well as the stirrings of her own heart. Through family secrets, regret, heart-break and jealousy, Rachel and Holly learn the true meaning of Christmas.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Another short Christmas story from Melody Carlson…true to the style and deeper meanings I have come to anticipate at Christmas time from her. Short and sweet yet moving at the same time, it has become almost a tradition for me to read a Christmas story from this author. I enjoyed the Amish customs, a family’s forgiveness and even a brief romance all in one read. I am already looking forward to next year’s new Christmas novel.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

One Imperfect Christmas

Johnson, Myra. One imperfect Christmas. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press. 2009.

SUMMARY:
oneimperfectGraphic designer, Natalie Pearce, has problems with balancing her work, marriage, rebellious daughter and her own mother. When her mother suffers a stroke, Natalie must also deal with the “if only” emotions as well as the guilt and anger which require seeking God’s guidance. Natalie must now navigate through unforeseen circumstances…everything considered, definitely not the most ideal/ perfect Christmas that was hoped for…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
“One Imperfect Christmas” was an interesting read as it could be relevant to many lives. Definitely not a light Christmas story, this book was more realistic in looking at Christmas through the lenses of people requiring God’s grace in many situations. Though enjoyable, this book did tend to slow a bit in certain spots; however, the message was good (God has a plan even with the hard and difficult times in life). Living with regrets is never easy but the author, Myra Johnson, did a nice job with it. Well written for a debut novel; I look to reading more of her works.

RATING:
3 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of One Imperfect Christmas from Abingdon Press for my honest review*