Monday, November 10, 2014

FOUR Book Reviews Today! AND A Giveaway!

So, you know how I released a new novella today?  I have to say, ever since I've been done with that, I've gone on a reading binge.  I have FOUR books to tell you about today!  And there's a giveaway at the bottom, too, so scroll all the way down!

The first one is in keeping with my goal to read books in November that will help me get in the Christmas spirit come December.  I was really looking forward to reading this book, too, because I think I might incorporate it into our family traditions.

It starts out in the introduction with the author and her daughter driving down the road and her daughter says, "Mom, you believe in Jesus and I believe in Santa Claus." That makes the author think back to all the traditions and everything they'd been doing to get ready for Santa's visit and how they may have missed the most important reason for the season.

The thing I liked best about this book is that Ms. Freeman's idea (that she tells how to do in the book in order to have a Christ-centered Christmas) is easily adaptable to my family.  Anyone can do this and it's simple and sweet and meaningful.  She goes through and explains how she makes her family Christmas truly special by using the figurines in a Nativity scene.  Each one has the author's perspective and thoughts, an activity, story, and scripture in the book that could be read and pondered before you put the figurine in its place as you build the nativity.  I loved how easy it was and how relatable the stories were.  I can definitely envision myself doing this and making it a Bellon family tradition.  This is a short and sweet book that touched me and I know you'll want to have it, too!

If this looks like something you may be interested in, you can buy it here

And here's the video based off the traditions discussed in the book:

The second book I want to tell you about is also a Christmas story, called Peace and Goodwill by Lee Strauss.  I've really enjoyed her Minstrel series, and this novella is part of it, but you don't have to have read the books to understand the characters in this one.  

Peace and Goodwill tells the story of two women, Anna and Belle, who aren't looking forward to the Christmas season ahead.  Anna is dying of cancer and is about to get kicked out of her apartment for being unable to pay rent.  All she has is her dog until she meets Rhys Williams, who is in town to visit family.  It was so sad and poignant, but also funny and sweet.  It really made me think about the people around me and what the holidays might mean to them when they are alone or suffering.

Belle works in a used bookstore and has no family.  She's dreading the holidays until a soldier on leave comes in to buy a book.  Their love story kept me turning pages to see what would happen and because the two characters made me smile. The dialogue between them was really well done and I thought the characters were given a depth that is sometimes hard to find in short novellas.

I kept wondering how these two stories would intersect and if they even would, but when it finally came I was surprised.  It will definitely put you in the Christmas spirit, but be sure to have some tissues nearby when you read this short, but sweet story!

If this looks interesting to you, you can download it herefor $1.99!

The third book I want to tell you about is Carla Kelly's new one, Softly Falling.  I really enjoyed the depth of this one.  Lily is sent to the Wyoming wilderness to be with her father, but he's not really equipped to take care of her because of his alcoholism.  There is a man named Jake from the next ranch over that works hard to help Lily and her father.  I have to say, Jake was one of my favorite characters in this book right from the very beginning. He's just so complex.  He's got his own hopes and dreams, but those seem to be slowly changing to maybe include Lily as he gets to know her and sees the circumstances she faces.  Lily was also high on my list of things to like about this book. She was so easy to like, even in her most difficult moments.  She's strong because of the circumstances and prejudice she's had to face, but she's also vulnerable and easy to relate to. 

The romance was sweet and slow, but the story itself is so riveting as these people try to survive through a horrific winter.  Nothing is sugar-coated here and while there is loss and heartache, there is also hope and a sort of redemption in a way. I better not say too much so I don't spoil it for you!  Let's just say it was very well-written, with a great setting and two main characters that pull on your heartstrings as they suffer through, triumph over, and try to figure out where life is going to take them.

The last book I want to tell you about today is The Match Maker by Karey White.

Match Maker

Blog Tour hosted by I Am A Reader November 4th to 21st 

As you all know, I wasn't happy with the ending to The Husband Maker, the first book in this series, because of it's abrupt cliffhanger ending.  This one, The Match Maker, also has a cliffhanger ending, but I was expecting it this time.  While I didn't necessarily like it, because not much is really resolved per se, I knew it was coming and was prepared for it so it made it a little better.

Other than the ending thing, though, I thought this story was really well done.  I love this author's style.  She does great dialogue, has wonderful characters that make all kinds of mistakes that everyone makes when they're dating, and has the story set partly in San Francisco and Scotland that made me want to visit both places!

I like the growth I'm seeing in the main character, Charlotte, as she figures out her personal life.  I loved Flynn and how sweet and patient he is.  I could totally imagine his Scottish accent every time he talked!  This was a great addition to the series and I'm looking forward to the third and final one so we can get some resolution.  

Be sure to scroll down and enter the giveaway!

Match Maker Book Cover

The Match Maker by Karey White (The Husband Maker #2) (Summary contains spoilers if you have not yet read book #1 The Husband Maker) It’s been six months since Charlotte and Kyle broke up, and the Husband Maker strikes again. Kyle is officially engaged, while Charlotte is still nursing a broken heart. In an effort to get Charlotte out of her rut, she and her best friend decide it’s time for some good old-fashioned matchmaking. While Aleena arranges for Charlotte to meet up with a handsome Scottish tourist, Charlotte gets her two best friends together. But when sparks start to fly between Aleena and Angus, Charlotte is left feeling more alone that ever--at least until the charming Scotsman becomes more than just a safe, rebound guy and teaches her that maybe, just maybe, she can dare to open her heart again.

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The Husband Maker by Karey White

Husband Maker Cover

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Coming Spring 2015
The conclusion to The Husband Maker Series
The Wife Maker by Karey White
Wife Maker 2

    $25 Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/30/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


Debra Erfert said...

Wow, what a selection of books. Thanks!

Lee Strauss said...

Thanks for the feature and your kind review!