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review 2019-01-20 16:08
Audio Book Review: Fairytale Christmas by Merrie Destefano

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

We start with the banishing of the faery from Ireland by the Milesian. Then see through Eire's eyes and mind that the fair folk are dividing, and she's losing standing with her people. But, Eire will find another life years from now.

Sally has a slight accent that fits the tone and place of the story. It's not strong, but slight so to feel the story setting. The nice thing here is there are lyrics of songs for Eire to sing, and Sally does sing them. It's lovely to hear. I'm starting to think my iPod is acting up, but it sounds okay for other stories. At times it sounded as Sally was in a bucket and not near the microphone. Then the next chapter it's back to normal. There were a few small moments of mouth noise, closing or opening lips. There are moments that Sally sounded a different feel to her words than what felt to flow with words afterward or in the moment I would have thought would have fit. But these last two items were limited in listening. The lilt she uses to tell the story feels true to the characters and a lovely addition to the story.

This is a tale of the battle the faery folk have to fight, how it started. Not only do they have an enemy that comes to take their beloved land, but as they travel to exile their people start to divide between the queen who's lost her husband in battle and the man who's stepped up to control the army.

People, immortal and mortal, are not perfect but in terrible times what one experiences steers them to what they will do. Their actions then starts to drive who they are. We start to see this with the faery folk.

Eire is the Queen of Faery in Ireland, and who the story is focused on. When the faery are exiled and the betrayal of one of her own, it brings her to another life she'll live. Yet Eire still has some strong allies and carries a love for her people as she's on the run for her life and her twin boys.

I very much enjoyed the Celtic and faery feel to the story along with events that take place. It feels as the old stories were used to create this story and the world we find them in.

This is a short story but each chapter moves forward for Eire and tells how she comes to where she is in the end. And how she finds love. This story is not a light read. It's deeper with Eire's story and the events that come to pass. Each event important to move the story quickly along. There is also a dark blood magic that is present in the story as well.

The story does bring us to Christmas time, making it a very nice creation for a Christmas story. There's a blend of Christmas brought to an Irish Faery.

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review 2019-01-20 15:37
Audio Book Review: Mr. Dickens and His Carol
Mr. Dickens and His Carol: A Novel - Sam... Mr. Dickens and His Carol: A Novel - Samantha Silva

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

A November warm day, Charles Dickens is lost in writing his next adventure for Chuzzlewit. However, his publishers show up. Chuzzlewit is not selling and they have an idea. They "suggest" Charles writes a short Christmas book. With a ghost. And it's scheduled to be read on Christmas Eve. Charles doesn't like the idea, but finds his family has become use to a style of living and he likes to make donations so in order to continue with life as they know it he'll have to write the Christmas book he doesn't want to write. His feeling of the book idea seeps through into his life and he'll have an eye opening season.

I've never listened to Euan Morton until now. I found I enjoyed his proper sound and accent from the beginning. It fit for the time setting and people present in the book. I felt as though I was sitting, drawn to his voice, listening to him tell me a Christmas story. Euan also gets to voice parts of Christmas Carol at the end as well. So well done with all the voices. Euan has the tone that fits a Christmas story, perfectly.

I adore Charles's interaction with his kids and wife. There is so much love there, and they have fun. But Charles always wants to give them everything, which helps drive home that his chapters for his current adventure isn't doing as well. This is what starts to drive a wedge between him and his family.

As Charles lives his life, after learning he will lose money if he doesn't do the Christmas book, you see sparks of what influences A Christmas Carol. He tries to teach his children there is more to Christmas than toys, in a means to try to "cut back". It doesn't go well, but there is truth in his words and a hint of what will come in his book he'll ultimately end up writing. I understand Charles's worries over income. He's seeing how his family lives and his attempts to "cut back" are squashed at every try. Though, in his families defense, they didn't know what he was trying to do or why. So, he decides to write the Christmas book.

Charles seems to struggle to find his own way through Christmas. He grows frustrated by the threat of losing income, and that his family has grown to love spending so much (they don't realize it). He tries to point out others and needs at this time of year, but it goes unnoticed or acknowledged. He wants his kids to see more in the holiday than what they get. Charles starts to lose his way and the feel of the holiday while frustrated with events around him. Charles goes looking for his muse to get through. This book is Charles living his own Christmas Carol, while crossing flashes of the story to come.

Samantha has taken an old tale and sprinkled it into the life of the original creator, creating a new story of her own with links to the original story. There is also history drizzled in for our enjoyment. Samantha touched on emotions in me. There were a few places that I smiled, but she did have me tear up as well. It was toward the end and with Timothy, of course. But it was the moment that felt right, like Charles was starting to make that last turn to himself again and even feeling better about himself. Then, in the end, I did cry. Such a great moment to be brought to.

This book felt true to the characters present and was a wonderful Christmas Carol rendition to highlight Charles Dickens. Wonderful story.

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review 2019-01-20 15:21
Audio Book Review: Spirited Christmas
Spirited Christmas: A Jonathan Shade Holiday Story - Gary Jonas

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Jonathan arrives at the office one cold December morning to find a little girl has been balled up waiting for him for an hour. Madison wants to hire him to take care of the ghost that haunts her house at Christmas and grabs at her.

I've listened to previous Jonathan Shade books and Joe does a great job, as he always does, with Jonathan. Joe knows Jonathan inside and out as he voices Jonathan when joking and being serious. You know what Jonathan is up to by Joe's voice. I'm so glad Joe has continued to carry through as the voice of this series. As always, the audio is clean and clear listening. I'm not distracted from the story in any way.

I love how Jonathan is with Madison. She's young, ten, and he treats her so well. When Esther tells him he wasn't going to not help this little girl, he is great at his payment as Madison only has change to pay with - all her money in the world. This is a small Christmas gift to the young girl so she can enjoy Christmas. Madison made me smile with her humor and personality. She could give Jonathan a run for his money on humors remarks. lol. She is a cute little girl. I enjoyed her interaction with Jonathan.

Jonathan finds that there's more to the ghost haunting than expected. In true Gary Jonas fashion, there is much more to the story than one would expect. Jonathan has a soft heart and it shows in this book. He's determined to do what's right but also what is wanted. The two do go hand in hand from time to time.

The ending brings the feeling of the heart of the Christmas spirit story, like many endings of Christmas stories. It made me smile as it warmed my heart. Also we have Jonathan in his fun remarks with Kelly as friends at the holiday.

The novella is marked at 9.5 in the series, but it's placed before the first book. There are things still in place for the first book or two. If you listen or read this novella, you can do so at any time. Read it before you get to the series or any time during the series. It gives nothing away for the events in the novels but gives a feel for Jonathan and Kelly, the major characters in the series. So, pick it up for the holiday this month!

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review 2019-01-09 17:26
Part of an anthology, a story of healing and getting what you want.
Christmas in Kilts: A Highland Holiday Box Set - Lecia Cornwall,Bronwen Evans,Lavinia Kent,May McGoldrick,Terri Brisbin

A Scot for Christmas - Emma loved Dougray from afar for years. He mourned his dead wife, until he admitted he needed to provide an heir. I loved Emma's tenacity to get what she wanted before living the life of a spinster. His growth as he learned to move on seemed a natural thing although he hung on to his guilty. Angus was a funny and interesting secondary character. I enjoyed this story, although the end felt a bit rushed.

I received an ARC for A Scot for Christmas, and this is my unsolicited review.

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review 2019-01-05 03:58
Review ~ Anthology | Holiday
Tangled Lights and Silent Nights - Claude Bouchard,Michael Meyerhofer,Gail Cleare,Ciara Ballintyne,Erica Lucke Dean,Kelly Stone Gamble,Brenda Vicars,C. Streetlights,Nicole Evelina,Kate Birdsall,Victor Catano,Reece Taylor,Diane Byington

3.5 (average)

 

Book source ~ ARC. My review is voluntary and honest.

 

In the spirit of giving, the authors have generously opted to donate all profits to The LifeAfter—Visions of Hope Project, whose passion is to shatter the stigma and spread awareness to three taboo topics that underscore society today: Suicide, Substance Abuse, and Domestic Violence.

 

Mystery, fantasy, paranormal, contemporary - there’s something for everyone in this Christmas-themed collection. Some are connected to a series, others are independent. What they all have in common (besides Christmas) is that they are all pretty good. I've read a few of these authors and while I enjoyed visiting with them again, I think what I enjoyed most is trying out all the others who are new-to-me. Looks like I'm adding more authors to my never-ending list and that's never a bad thing.

 

The Moment I Knew I Would Love Ethan Forever ~ Brenda Vicars (4 bites)

 

Yuletide Homicide: A Liz Boyle Short ~ Kate Birdsall (4 bites)

 

A Crazy Christmas (Cass Adams, #0.5) ~ Kelly Stone Gamble (5 bites) The ending to this one made me LOLOL and then LOL some more. Because I read Book 1. ;)

 

Rowans’ Gift (A Dragonkin story) ~ Michael Meyerhofer (3 bites)

 

A Merry Mugging (A Vigilante Series Short) ~ Claude Bouchard (3 bites)

 

A Vanderbilt Christmas ~ Nicola Evelina (3 bites)

 

Another Bloody Festival ~ Ciara Ballintyne (2 bites)

 

Holiday in Hartland ~ Gail Cleare (3 bites)

 

Some Carry-tail: A Gabriel & Orson Christmas ~ Victor Catano (4 bites)

 

A Twin Oaks Christmas ~ Reece Taylor (3 bites)

 

The Christmas Jacket ~ Diane Byington (4 bites)

 

A Muse-ing Christmas ~ Kelley Kaye (4 bites)

 

Building Cairns ~ Darren Leo (4 bites and a nibble)

 

A Katie Christmas ~ Erica Lucke Dean (4 bites)

 

Convergence ~ Stacey Roberts (4 bites)

 

Caesar’s Gift ~ LeTeisha Newton (3 bites)

 

A Gift for Momma ~ Debbie S. TenBrink (4 bites)

 

Literally Christmas ~ C. Streetlights (3 bites)

 

Father Christmas ~ Timothy Woodward (4 bites)

 

And Mercy Mild ~ Justin Bog (2 bites and a nibble)

Source: imavoraciousreader.blogspot.com/2019/01/tangled-lights-and-silent-nights.html
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