Category Archives: Holiday

Review: The Dawn of Christmas @cindywoodsmall

TheDawnofChristmasTitle: The Dawn of Christmas: A Romance from the heart of Amish Country
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Author: Cindy Woodsmall
Genre: Holiday, Christian Fiction
Series: Apple Ridge, Book 3

★ ☆★ ☆ – 4 Stars

Summary
This Christmas, experience learning to trust alongside the Plain folk of Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania in this heart-warming tale of second chances.

Sadie enjoys her freedom away from home and her mission trips to Peru, but after four years, her Old Order Amish family insists it’s time to come home and settle down. Levi, a bachelor who distrusts women after a family heartbreak, also has no desire for romance. To keep their families from meddling in their lives, Sadie and Levi devise a plan—but soon discover that the walls around their hearts are breaking down. Can they let go of their prejudices, learn to trust each other, and embrace a future together?

Review
Sadie sees with her eyes that her fiancé may not be as perfect as she thought, and isn’t the man she wants to marry. People close to her think she has lied, or have been “seeing” things that wasn’t there between her future husband, and the other girl. Sadie was crushed, and thought marriage would never be something to think about again.
Sadie meets Levi when she found his horse, and later found him. Levi was hurt badly, and Sadie saved his life. Sadie and Levi become friends, they decided they would “date” to keep their families quiet about the dating/ courtship life.
Sadie wants to go into Mission work, but her family wants her to marry into the Amish faith, get married and raise a family of her own.
I recommend you grab this easy, fun read. Find out for yourself what happens, and how the story plays out. You won’t be disappointed, and neither was I.

About the Author
CindyWCindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author who has written six novels, three novellas, and Plain Wisdom, a work of nonfiction coauthored with her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud. She’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life.

She’s won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings’ Best Books of the Year. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.

Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Though she didn’t realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and cape dresses. Her parents didn’t allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy’s house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them—afraid that if they didn’t, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann’s because her family didn’t own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults’ disapproval and the obstacles in each other’s lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy’s family moved to another region of the US.

As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children. Over the years Cindy has continued to make wonderful friendships with those inside the Amish and Mennonite communities—from the most conservative ones to the most liberal.

Cindy lives in Georgia with her husband, three sons, two daughters-in-law, a new granddaughter, and a dog named Jersey who wants to dominate the world, starting with the Woodsmall household.

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Disclosure: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group/Blogging For Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 

Review: The Christmas Town @douglaselyse

TheChristmasTownPublisher: CreateSpace
Author: Elyse Douglas
Genre: Holiday, Romance, Fiction

★ ☆★ ☆★ 5 Stars!

Summary
The Christmas Town, by Elyse Douglas, is a new time travel, mystery, romance novel that was released on October 11, 2013.
Traveling home for Christmas, two young women in their 20s are forced to drive together during a snowstorm, and they get lost. They cross a covered bridge and, suddenly, they enter the past, finding themselves in a small picturesque Vermont town in 1943. They meet two handsome soldiers, who are about to be sent off to war, and they fall in love with them, while also struggling to find a way to return home to their own time.
With the soldiers’ help, on Christmas Eve, the two women finally have one chance to return to their own time, but they are caught between their love for the soldiers, and their desire to return to the present. At the last moment, they must make the difficult decision and, because it is Christmas, a miracle happens.

Review
The Christmas town is a beautifully written story. It didn’t suck me in right away, but eventually I was glued around Chapter Four! I wanted to know more, and couldn’t put it down until I knew what was happening. This is a wild, sweet, funny, happy, romantic time travel novel that will make you want to keep flipping pages.
I absolutely loved watching Jackie and Megan’s friendship blossom more than just a couple of strangers fighting over a rental car, ha! I actually enjoyed reading a story that depth was in the 1940s, definitely gave ya a little back in time aspect. A cute, cute read all the way to the end. Would recommend to anyone who loves a little time travel and mystery!
The girls meet 2 soldiers about to go off to World War II, they fall in love, but they don’t tell them their secret. The guys don’t want them to leave. So, do the girls stay? or do their loves come with them into the future?

Jackie said, “This morning, if someone had told me I’d be lying in bed with a complete stranger, in an old town out in the middle of nowhere… well…’ her voice drifted into silence.
‘Jackie’
‘Yes.’
‘Have you noticed that all the old things don’t look that old, even though they are old? They look, well new old.’
‘Huh?’
‘Everything in this town looks vintage, but it looks authentic.’
Jackie didn’t speak…
‘Maybe these people are like Amish people. Maybe they don’t believe in modern day world.’…
‘Jackie?’
‘Yes, Megan,’ she said yawning…
‘Did you see the calendar hanging in the kitchen? The Coca-Cola calendar with the picture of the three Army guys, each drinking a Coke from a little bottle?’
‘No, I didn’t.’
‘Just before Aunt Betty turned off the kitchen light, I glanced at it. The calendar said it was Monday, December 20th, 1943.’

About the Author
ElyseDouglasElyse Douglas is the pen name for the husband and wife writing team of Elyse Parmentier and Douglas Pennington. Elyse began writing poems and short stories at an early age, and graduated from Columbia University with a Master’s Degree in English Literature. Douglas grew up in a family of musicians, astrologers and avid readers. Some of Elyse Douglas’ novels include: “The Astrologer’s Daughter,” “Wanting Rita,” “The Christmas Diary” and “The Christmas Town.” They currently reside in New York City.

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Review: One December Night @Melissa_Tagg

OneDecNightAuthor: Melissa Tagg
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Holiday
Series:  Where Love Begins

★ ☆★ ☆★ – 4 Stars

Summary
Librarian Pennilynn Baxter likes life the way she likes her bookshelves—neat and tidy, arranged just so. Niggling doubts aside, getting engaged to the nice man she’s been dating for two years is the obvious next step, right?

But on the snowy evening of the expected proposal, Penn discovers someone’s been squatting in the old Victorian house she inherited from her grandparents. She finds herself back in picturesque Whisper Shore, Michigan, facing off with an intruder named Will who may not be what he seems.

As charming as the house he’s taken over, Will pushes past the reserve that has kept Penn from living the brave life she craves. And one December night in the house she used to love in the town she used to adore changes everything.

Review
Loved every page of this short novella. Melissa Tagg is an amazing author, and this book is definitely worth the read. It is sweet, light, fun, comical, and romantic all rolled up into 38 pages. I would recommend this to anyone who wants something sweet, easy and fun to read. I loved getting to know Penn, she is corky, funny, and predictable… or is she!? Will love to read more about her, and will even check out the rest of the series.

MelissaTaggAbout the Author
Melissa Tagg, author of Made to Last and Here to Stay, is a former reporter and total Iowa girl. In addition to her homeless ministry day job, she is also the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for writers. When she’s not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever, watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next book. She’s passionate about humor, grace, and happy endings. Melissa blogs regularly and loves connecting with readers at www.melissatagg.com.

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Disclosure: I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review: A Christmas to Remember

AChristmastoRememberPublisher: Forever
Authors: Jill Shalvis, Kristen Ashley, Hope Ramsay, Molly Cannon, & Marilyn Pappano
Genre: Romance, Anthologies
Review Source: NetGalley/Forever

★ ☆ – 2 Stars

Summary
Curl up with this heartwarming Christmas collection!
Jill Shalvis, Dream a Little Dream: Melissa has kept every man at a safe distance-especially firefighter Ian, a sexy friend with sexy benefits. But Ian secretly longs for more. Luckily, ’tis the season for giving love a chance . . .

Kristen Ashley
, Every Year: Holidays don’t come easy for Shy and his brother, Landon. But with the magic of Christmas, along with a little help from Tabby and her family, the Cage brothers are about to get the gift of a lifetime . . .

Hope Ramsay
, Silent Night: Down on her luck and evicted from her apartment, single mother Maryanne hopes to start over in Last Chance. When the snow begins to fall, it looks like her baby might literally spend Christmas Eve in a manger. And Maryanne might celebrate the holiday with a handsome stranger.

Molly Cannon, Have Yourself a Messy Little Christmas: Lincoln is a bachelor who’s set in his ways-until a professional organizer dressed up as Mrs. Claus changes his life, one tip at a time. . .

Marilyn Pappano, A Family for Christmas: War widow Ilena doesn’t mind spending Christmas alone. But when a new doctor blows into town with the winter wind, will she get her secret Christmas wish?

Plus: Excerpts from upcoming novels!

Review
There was only two in this bunch that I really liked, and I wish there was more to the short stories, because they all ended mostly abruptly. However, I did really enjoy Dream a Little Dream, it was my favorite out of them.
I also think this was a good idea for the authors to make the readers want to go out and buy their books, just give them enough to want more.. and that is exactly how I felt. I couldn’t even finish the last book due to knowing I was going to go through the thought of it ending so soon, and be left hanging in the dark. I have never tried a short story like this one, with five authors, and from reading this one, I don’t think I will pick up another book like it… UNLESS the books are full short stories, and not “excerpts”.
On a positive note, I loved the fact that the authors wrote letters to the readers, it was a nice touch to the abruptly endings.

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Disclosure: I received this book for free from NetGalley/Forever. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review: By Proxy

byproxyPublisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Author: Katy Regnery
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Holiday
Review Source: Won

★ ☆★ ☆★ – 5 Stars!

Summary
A HOLIDAY SURPRISE
Stubbornly small-town Jenny Lindstrom has misgivings when she promises to stand proxy in her best friend’s wedding—misgivings that are fulfilled when tall, handsome Sam Kelley walks into the courthouse an hour late. In order to keep her promise, an afternoon favor turns into a weekend of startling but undeniable attraction, threatening the well-ordered world that keeps her heart at arm’s length from any more pain.
Sam’s plan is to fly to Livingston, Montana, take vows for his favorite cousin, and return to Chicago as quickly as possible. But his plan is turned upside-down when he must spend a weekend with Jenny in Gardiner in order to keep his word. He doesn’t want to fall for the prim, proper schoolteacher whose small-town life seems to him like selling out, but the more time he spends with her, the harder it is to say good-bye.
When city and country come together for Christmas, the unexpected gift is true love.

Review
Love, Love, Love!! One of the top books this year. I absolutely loved the humor, and the characters had a round aspect on life, Katy got the characters to become more than life through her words.
I read this book as we was traveling around through the holidays. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a clean romance.
Jenny & Sam collided into one another, this was by far a “love at first sight” book, but you got to build with Jenny & Sam. They were not perfect, and I loved how Jenny’s brothers didn’t just automatically “know” Sam, like where he lived, his reason for being there, etc. It was fun to see the “guys” talk, so to speak. I also loved how we got to see how Jenny thought about Sam, and then how Sam thought about Jenny. It gave me a different angle, and made the story more rounded. It was kinda like watching a movie develop right in front of you. Ohhhh Katy, That is a great idea: a MOVIE!
With this being a series, I will definitely be looking out for the next book! This is by far one of the best, and the littlest of things would make me smile.

Even if there had been, Jenny would have probably kept him at a respectful distance, especially at school where she honored the simple inherent wisdom of: Don’t get your nookies where you get your cookies. ~28% Kindle

About the Author
Katy Regnery Author PhotoKaty Regnery, winner of the 2013 NECRWA First Kiss and 2013 Maine RWA Everything But the Kitchen Sink contests, has always loved telling a good story and credits her mother with making funny, heartwarming tales come alive throughout her childhood. A lifelong devotee of all romance writing from Edwardian to present-day, it was just a matter of time before Katy tried her hand at writing a love story of her own.
As it turned out, one love story turned into a series of five Heart of Montana romances, following the love lives of the Yellowstone-based Lindstrom siblings. In addition to small-town contemporary romance, Katy is presently writing a paranormal romance that takes place in northern New England and the forests north of Quebec.
Speaking of forests, Katy lives in the relative-wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut where her writing room looks out at the woods and her husband, two young children and two dogs create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories of all are the messy and unexpected ones.

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Disclosure: I won this book in a giveaway. I did not have to do the review, and this review is my honest opinion.