Snowflakes over Holly Cove
by Lucy Coleman
Tia is facing her first Christmas without her mother. She also has a painful distancing from her brother Will and his family. She is returning to her job as a journalist after a breakdown, but as we see her take on a feature assignment in isolated Holly Cove, she is depicted as a strong and resilient woman.
As Lucy Coleman’s Snowflakes over Holly Cove unfolds, Tia finds herself in the middle of other familial dysfunctional relationships that include Clarissa, her successful but manipulative boss, and Nic, the owner of the house she is renting. She also meets Max, a reticent retired Navy officer who is her temporary neighbor. Everyone has secrets, and some of those secrets might tie the characters together.
There are many interesting, vying, plot threads as Tia interviews couples for her feature articles and tries to sort through what makes a relationship sustainable. The story ends with some surprising action scenes and lots of genuine moments of compassion and reconciliation. This is a novel that rises above the typical Christmas feel-good story; readers will appreciate its depth.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Aria for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Romance, Women’s Fiction
Publication: September 18, 2018—Aria
Strangely, I find myself repeatedly drawn to the window to marvel at the hostility of the sea. It’s a top to bottom, wall-to-wall steely greyness, that is like a blanket and it’s hard to see where the water ends and the sky begins.
“Money and possessions, I came to appreciate, create mistrust and envy. They bring out the worst in people.”
I truly believe that the spirit of Christmas is embodied in this room, today. It’s not about the gifts, or the amount of money you have to lavish on the occasion. It’s about the desire to make it special for other people and in doing so, it makes it special for you, too.
McDuff Moves In
by Rosemary Wells
illustrated by Susan Jeffers
I had a delightful trip back in time as I read Rosemary Wells’ McDuff Moves In. It is being republished with original illustrations for a new generation of readers. Set in the 1930’s, its main character is McDuff, a West Highland White terrier (Westie). As Wells says in her forward, “Lucy and Fred’s loving rescue of homeless McDuff adds to their lives and shows the beautiful change that kindness and care can make for any homeless dog.”
This is a short picture book with colorful, appealing illustrations and a sweet story. You’ll love learning how McDuff got his name! There is added information about rescuing and fostering homeless animals and references to other books with a similar theme. McDuff Moves In is a fun book that children will ask for again and again.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Gryphon Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Children’s Fiction
Notes: Rosemary Wells is a prolific children’s book author as well as an artist. Her books include the Max and Ruby books, the Sophie books, and many others that feature lovable animals. She also has several more McDuff titles.
Publication: October 25, 2019—Gryphon Press
Amish Front Porch Stories
by Wanda E. Brunstetter, Jean Brunstetter, and Richelle Brunstetter
What are the fruits of the Spirit? Galatians 5:22-23 in the New Testament of the Bible states that they are love, joy, peace, longsuffering (a willingness to stick with things), gentleness (kindness), goodness, faith, meekness (not needing to force our way in life), and temperance (self-control). These are certainly admirable qualities for anyone, but do you ever ponder how these play out in the life of a Christian?
Amish Front Porch Stories is a collection of tales by Wanda E. Brunstetter and two other writers from her family. These stories demonstrate the challenges for those trying to live in such a way that the fruits of the Spirit are evident in their lives to the people around them. It is not always easy to submit your will to God to try to be like Jesus. In each story, the main character faces a dilemma, and she learns to recognize a problem in her life like pride or resentment, often with the help of a friend, mentor, or family member. She confesses to God and asks for the Holy Spirit’s power in overcoming the problem.
None of the short stories have overly complicated plots, but they address real issues people face, whether they are Amish or not. I enjoyed reading this as I prepared to go to sleep in the evenings. It was relaxing and helped me focus on positive things rather than worries. Each story ended with a Bible verse that relates to the specific focus of the story.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Barbour Publishing (Shiloh Run Press) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Christian, General Fiction (Adult)
Publication: November 1, 2019—Barbour Publishing (Shiloh Run Press)
“But the most important thing you can do to bring joy back into your life is to think about and quote some Bible verses out loud.”
If your day is hemmed with prayer, it is less likely to unravel.
“Kindness is a good thing. It can heal ourselves and others too.” “I agree with you. It’s not always easy, but it is worth doing.”
Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage
by Kate Ginger
If you enjoy a book that starts with personal disaster and ends in triumph, a tale with sadness underlying humor, and a story that emphasizes the good in people, you will have an enjoyable read with Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage. Esme Kendrick is a food technologist; she creates the delectable dishes shown on the famous Felicity Fenchurch’s cooking show. Esme’s life is headed for disaster, however, when she stands up against the theft of her beloved grandmother’s recipes and her long time boyfriend has a less than pleasant surprise for her—all in the same day.
She heads home to Sandchester in defeat, but regroups determined to find success. Fortunately, her lovable and crazy (in a fun way) parents are supportive as are a small group of quirky friends who drive in from London periodically. Esme is a likable character, but you may find yourself yelling at her periodically to stop as she heads for catastrophe.
Will she return to her controlling ex-boyfriend? Can she help her teenage crush recover from a past that haunts him? Is it possible to create a successful blog and find happiness outside of bustling London? Can Esme layer up enough clothes to survive the winter in quaint, but unheated Mistletoe Cottage? Join a cadre of happy readers as you immerse yourself in this Christmasy read that is perfect for any season of the year.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to HQ Digital for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: General Fiction (Adult), Romance
Notes: Contains some bad language, including British vulgarisms
Publication: October 11, 2019—HQ Digital
This was why Esme loved cooking so much. It was history, their history. It meant her grandma who had helped her through so much, whose loss she had felt so deeply, would never be forgotten if her recipes were still being cooked, and the love that went into them still existed.
“If I lived near him I’d key his car—” “He doesn’t own a car, Mum. No one does in London.” “Well then, I’d put itching powder in his underpants and cut the arms and legs off all his suits.” Esme suppressed a smile. “Has Dad only stayed married to you all these years because he’s too scared to leave?”
Life was a large dark hole that she was falling deeper and deeper into, and at the moment there didn’t seem to be a bottom, or a way back to the top. She was just tumbling endlessly downwards.