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review 2018-02-09 20:20
Christmas at Tiffany's
Christmas at Tiffany's - Karen Swan

Trigger warning: Suicide

 

I dithered about giving this four stars, but honestly, the final third of the book fell apart a bit for me and I ended up giving this three stars. 

 

"Christmas at Tiffany's" has Cassie ready to celebrate her 10th wedding anniversary with her husband Gil. Her school friends, Kelly, Anouk, and Suzy come to Scotland to celebrate with Cassie. Cassie feels out of step with her friends since she spends most of her days/nights alone while her husband works several hours away and she sees to their estate. When she goes to say hello to her best friend/neighbor she finds out that everything she thought was true about her marriage is a lie. Barely stopping to pack, Cassie flees and her three friends decide she will spend the next year living with them why she gets back on her feet.


Cassie's first stop will be New York with Kelly, then Paris with Anouk, and finally London with Suzy. 

So the book is broken up in essence in three main parts. I think my favorite has to be Cassie/Kelly in New York. That said, I still want to go to Paris the most after finishing this book. I think Swan did a great job showing Cassie still trying to find her feet and Kelly doing what she could to take care of her. Also, can I say that Cassie's friends kick ass? They all found her work to do and put her up for 4 months each. I love my friends, but I start getting antsy when they have been there past 3 days. 

 

I will say that at times I didn't like Cassie. She felt a bit too indecisive for me. She really was letting a lot of people walk all over her with her going that's just the way she is. I wanted to say, yes, you're a doormat. I wouldn't have minded so much, but it felt like she always needed someone to stand up for her whether it be her friends, or her friend's younger brother Henry. 


I also hard cringed about Cassie ruining Kelly's business. I felt that was hand-waved away honestly. Kelly obviously has some feelings about it, but it's not really discussed between them that much.

 

My least favorite part of the book was Paris. Yes I know I said I loved the city, and yes Swan makes it come alive. But she had some of the worst characters show up in the book during Cassie's months in Paris. I didn't like Anouk and thought a reveal came right out nowhere. I hated that a suicide was shown in a book tagged as holiday romance (I am so glad I did not read this around Christmas). And I felt like Cassie gave up on her dreams way too easily after Paris and there are some loose threads that I still don't know how they got resolved.


I was okay towards the London portion. Suzy is laidback and fun. I do think that this portion was more rushed than anything. We have Cassie finding out the truth some more about someone close to her and I went bah towards the whole thing. Sorry, the hero sucked (IMHO). 

 

I was meh about all of the love interests. I wish at the end of the year she went traveling somewhere else and or settled in a final location embarking on a new job. 

 

I did enjoy the writing though I think that Paris could have been edited down a bit. The flow was up and down the most in that section though it was really good in the New York and London bits. 


The settings were so well done. I now know why this book was over 500 pages long. Swan takes a very long time (happily) describing the in and outs of New York, Paris, and London. This book made me long to see Paris, though not to get involved with any man while there since the author shows the residents hard shrugging about affairs. Swan does a great job in all three settings also changing up Cassie a bit so that she gets a makeover that reflects the cities she is living in at that time. I did have to laugh though about Cassie going from blonde to brunette and back to blonde again.


The ending was okay, I just don't know how believable I found it to be. We have Cassie somewhat on her way to a happy ending and we get to check in with all of her friends and their husbands/partners too which I liked. I wish that Swan had just had all of the women back together catching up with each other without the men there, but it's fine. 

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review 2018-02-08 21:46
Good holiday read
Christmas Candy - Samantha Jacobey Christmas Candy - Samantha Jacobey

Christmas Candy by Samantha Jacobey is an entertaining Christmas story.  Ms. Jacobey has delivered a book that is full of realistic characters.  Some you love right away, some you don't like but they kind of grow on you.  Gary and Candy's story is packed with drama, bits of humor and spice.  I enjoyed reading Christmas Candy.  This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.

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review 2018-02-06 18:04
Single, Female and Religious Calling?
And Then There Were Nuns: Adventures in a Cloistered Life - Jane Christmas

Jane has been dating Colin in a long distance relationship (Canada and England) for awhile and he has finally proposed. This proposal comes at the same time that Jane has seen an advertisement for a religious order. She asks her fiancee to have patience with her as she goes on the retreat. While at the first convent she finds that she has found something that she needs and goes on a trek to a Catholic Monastery and Convent in England and then another Anglican Convent. The Catholic Convent says she is too old to become a nun and that her former marriages, children, and divorces keep her from being a nun and that she can never marry again if she wants to have a relationship with God. This attitude forces her to leave where she is staying early. It is at the Anglican convent that she again finds herself and helps her to forgive herself for something that happened to her long ago. 

 

I really enjoyed this story as it gave insight into religious and the government's attitude toward them and sometimes their attitude to others. 

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review 2018-02-05 02:59
Great Story and Characters
The Christmas Cowboy Hero (Heart of Texas) - Donna Grant

Ex-Navy Seal Clayton East had to come home to his family’s ranch after his father’s health declines. Abby Harper has been taking care of her younger brothers since her mother left them. When her brother’s rebellion goes too far, she’s grateful that Clayton believes in second chances. Maybe this bad event is exactly what her family needed.

This was a very sweet book. I loved both of the main characters. They are exactly what the other needs. I loved how he and his parents were able to embrace Abby and her brothers. I highly recommend.

**I voluntarily read and reviewed this book

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review 2018-01-26 02:08
Angel On Assignment (Elf on The Shelf Alternative) by Wanda Carter Roush
Angel on Assignment: Move over elf. It's time to share the shelf. - Wanda Carter Roush,Mike Motz

If your family loves the Elf on the Shelf and you want to keep the fun going, check out Angel on Assignment. It's a children's activity book that offers a Christian alternative to the elf, teaching children about the angels who watch over them, not just at Christmas but all year long. With beautiful illustrations and rhyming verse, Angel on Assignment takes readers through the angels' roles in the Christmas story and presents the ways guardian angels look out for boys and girls today--and how children can act as angels in disguise for friends who need help. See how many angels your child can find--some are hiding!

Amazon.com

 

 

 

In recent years, it seems the Elf On The Shelf holiday tradition has become nearly as standard an element as gingerbread cookies and numerous twinkle light displays. Wanda Carter Roush, former Sunday school teacher and author of Angel on Assignment, after witnessing her daughter battle Dravet Syndrome-induced epilepsy, wanted a special spin on the elf tradition. Roush wanted something that would teach young readers about the role of angels not only during the holiday season -- though the nativity story is incorporated -- but throughout the entire year, reassuring each reader that an angel has your back nonstop, watching and protecting you every day of your life. The intent of this is to not only instill hope and wonder in the hearts of children, but Roush also urges children to think of these angels and be inspired to carry out charitable acts of their own each day, to aspire to make it a natural way of life as they grow towards adulthood. 

 

From a poor simple stable and a bed made of hay, 

To the cross on a hill, in a borrowed tomb he lay.

Angels were there from the start to the stone,

When the greatest gift to the world was made known.

 

      ~text from page 6 of Angel on Assignment

 

But there's more than just a mere story here. Readers are given a fun interactive experience throughout! In addition to a heartwarming tale told in rhyming verse, Angel on Assignment  features wonderfully colorful illustrations done by Mike Motz as well as a "spot the angels" game in each illustration. At the back of the book, there are also pages that instruct children on how to make their own paper angels (with adult supervision, of course) and encourages children to post their creations to the book's Facebook page. The last page of the book is an inscription page where families can record the date that they first started the Angel tradition in their home. 

 

 

 

 

Since being released in 2017, Angel On Assignment has gone on to be awarded the Gold Medal Christian Book Award in Young Kids category as well as the Bronze Medal Readers' Favorite Book Award in the General Christian category. The rhyming is done in a pleasant rhythm, flowing nicely without being TOO simple in vocabulary or awkward & clunky in pace. Roush's spin on the classic Elf tradition offers a refreshing alternative to parents looking to incorporate more "reason for the season" kind of celebrating into their family festivities during the Christmas season. 

 

FTC Disclaimer:  BookCrash.com and Ella's Pearl Publishing kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own. 

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