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review 2018-09-23 20:52
The Christmas Wishing Tree. An Eternity Springs Novel - Emily March

A cute, delightful, holiday romance that was sweet and innocent.  The characters were good, the plot was entertaining, the pacing was believable, and the passion was very very very tame.  Several kisses, but nothing else. In that department it lacked what I look for in a good romance.  If you like the tame and sweet romances, then this is perfect for you.  If you prefer to have some steam coming of the pages, go into this book expecting to be let down.  If I knew going into it that it would be tame, I would have been ok.  I did like the plot.  I did enjoy the characters and the conflict.  I did enjoy the story. But I do like to have passion in my romances, so that was the only let-down to this book.

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review 2018-09-04 00:52
An enchanted town, the power of believing, a mystery, and the perfect romance.
The Christmas Wishing Tree. An Eternity Springs Novel - Emily March

I am thankful to St Martin’s Press for offering me an ARC copy of this novel that I freely chose to review and for the opportunity to participate in the blog tour of its launch.

 Although I am not a big fan of Christmas, I do enjoy some Christmas stories, movies, and songs (especially out of season, when one isn’t surrounded by it). The offer to read and review this novel reached me in the middle of a pretty hot summer and it felt like the perfect way to combat the heat. It worked, for sure, and although I had never read any of the other novels in the Eternity Springs series, I quickly became enamoured of the place and its inhabitants. I can reassure you, though, that the story goes beyond the Christmas theme, and there are wonderful scenes that take place in other seasons (the Fall, the Fourth of July…) and other locations apart from Colorado (Nashville, Florida, Australia, and the Caribbean).  But I have to agree that the overall theme of the novel, and the spirit that suffuses it, is that of Christmas.

The novel, written in the third person, shares the alternating points of view (and locations) of a part-time resident of Eternity Springs, Devon Murphy (the son of Cam and Sarah Murphy, and brother to Michael, long-term residents of the town), and Jenna Stockton, a doctor specialising in Obstetrics and Gynaecology whom we meet in Nashville. While Devon seems to be a free-spirited man who loves the sea, boats, fishing, and women, but avoids commitment like the plague, Jenna is a model of responsibility. She is a single mom to Reilly, whom he adopted after looking after his mother, a young woman down on her luck who died when the boy was a toddler. She works hard and would do anything to ensure the safety and happiness of her son. But he has a Christmas wish that is out of her hands. Somehow, luck, magic, or the power of believing puts Reilly and Devon in contact, and in a roundabout way, the destinies of the three of them intersect in the wonderful town of Eternity Springs. Both main characters have secrets (as readers of the genre will probably expect): Devon has a traumatic past in the relationships department and has a lot in common with Reilly, and Jenna’s life is haunted by a stalker who seems intent on upping-the-ante and putting her and her son’s lives at risk.

I liked the characters and their relationship, that follows the well-known formula of will-they/won’t-they so successful in the romance genre (they both have very valid reasons for their hesitation, although if you get easily impatient, I must warn you that the book is quite long and the story develops over close to two years), and I liked many of the secondary characters as well (despite not having read other novels in the series, I got a fairly good sense of who they were, and I did not feel I could not fully enjoy the story because of lack of background information. And I wouldn’t mind getting to know more about many of them), particularly Celeste, her resort, and the wonderful idea of the Wishing Christmas Tree that gives the book its title. She has a touch of the magical and is the fairy godmother of the town and all the characters (and I’d love to meet her).

What I most enjoyed of the book was the town of Eternity Springs. I have read a number of novels that take place in charming towns (islands or other locations) where outsiders come and are quickly adopted by the community, becoming, in many cases for the first time, part of a big family. I always enjoy the fact that the town becomes a protagonist in its own right and when the novels works well, you feel as if you had spent time in a real place and look forward to future visits to the magical location. Eternity Springs is one of those towns, and to add to its attraction, it is located within a marvellous natural setting, and the writer does a good job of introducing us to parks, lakes, mountains, taking us on sledge rides, fishing, camping, and exploring the wonderful facilities and the traditions of the place. Although it has more than a touch of the fairy tale (everybody seems to be well-off, everybody is fairly happy, apart from the main protagonists, temporarily, and even the bad things that happen are pretty mild) and it can be a bit sugary at times, I think it would take a very cold heart to read the novel without falling for the magic of the town and its inhabitant. (And perhaps shed a tear or two. Good tears, though).

If I had to point out some things that readers might have issue with, one would be the mystery element. Jenna’s background story and her circumstances bear heavily upon her actions and how cautious she is when it comes to meeting new people and possible romances. Although the mystery element ramps up the tension and adds to the interest of the story, on occasions it seemed to be more of an afterthought and an opportunity to show Devon and his friends (all male) as a team capable of investigating and keeping everybody safe (and yes, some elements of the rescue fantasy and the knight in shining armour were clearly at work there). Although Jenna herself complains at times about being treated like a weak woman in need of protection —despite being a competent professional who had managed well by herself until that moment— this novel keeps to conventional and traditional gender roles rather than challenging them. I know that such plots and story-lines are typical of many romantic (wish-fulfilment) novels but might not suit all readers, especially those who prefer women in charge of their own destinies. As a reader of thrillers and mystery novels, I did not feel the mystery would have satisfied fans of the genre, as we are not given enough information to solve it (we get some details of the case but others are brushed over quickly and the resolution, when it arrives, is somewhat anticlimactic), and it takes a backseat to the romantic part of the story. Having read other books that mix both genres, and this being a romance with some mystery thrown in, rather than the other way round, I did not think its intended readers would be too disappointed.

There are many other subplots I have not mentioned, including dogs, pregnancies, health scares, fishing, older motherhood, baking, National Parks, love of nature, adoption, social media, stalking, counselling, vocation, tropical storms, family, traditions, Santa Claus, magic, traumatic relationships… There are wonderfully vivid and memorable scenes, the style of writing is easy and fluid, and the descriptions bring to life both the locations and the characters (without going overboard with the physical descriptions of the protagonists and love interests, although yes, don’t worry, they are attractive), and there are some sad moments, some funny ones, and many emotional and heart-warming scenes as well. There is plenty of sexual attraction and tension between Devon and Jenna, but there is no graphic sex and although there are some thrilling scenes, the doors stay firmly closed behind the protagonists when it comes to that side of things.

I know readers of romantic novels expect a happy ending. Well, you won’t be disappointed here. What’s more, I know some readers can get really upset if they feel there are elements in the story that are not fully solved and hate it when they feel that writers are using hooks and unresolved issues to keep them buying books in a series (not everybody feels the same, though). As I have said before, this novel can be read independently from the rest of the series, and all the plots and subplots of the story, even the secondary ones, are solved satisfactorily. So don’t hesitate to pick up this novel just because it’s part of a series. You will feel sad it has ended but it won’t keep you awake at night trying to guess what happened next. I kept imagining this novel as either a movie, or better even, a TV series, and would be surprised if some production company didn’t snatch it up. Done well it would be irresistible.

In sum, this is a novel that takes place in a magical location, in gorgeous settings, with a Christmas theme and a hopeful message, a romance that includes elements of mystery/thriller, with likeable characters that will make you feel home. I, for one, won’t hesitate to visit Eternity Springs again in the future.

 

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text 2018-06-07 21:47
Finished And Then There Were (N-one) by Sarah Pinsker
Uncanny Magazine, Issue 15: March/April 2017 - Lynne M. Thomas,Michael Damian Thomas,J.Y. Yang,Stephen Graham Jones,Beth Cato,Kameron Hurley,S. Qiouyi Lu,Sarah Pinsker,Elsa Sjunneson-Henry,Sam J. Miller,Paul Booth,Dawn Xiana Moon,Shveta Thakrar,Brandon O’Brien,Cassandra Khaw,Bogi Takács,Lisa M. Bradl

So far, this is three in the novella category for the Hugos.   Need to finish Provenance and the second in Lee's series for novels, although I want to read the first book in Lee's series - which I have signed - before I read the second, because things went down in book one, that much is clear. 

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text 2018-05-01 13:00
Round-Up for March and April 2018

 

I cannot believe we are actually going into May already, the time is just flying by. 

Sadly I was super busy, sick  or had some dental work done and really didn't get a lot books read in the last couple months,hence the double round-up this month. But some book I actually just combined or a all in one addition came out for review. So the actually books read or reviewed I shoulds say is not as much. I have  few more but I still have to write up some reviews so it will have to wait.

 

I'm actually thinking about putting up a new blog since while it is also refreshing to to have one, I also miss it. But if I do I will not put so much stress on myself and just post whatever and whenever , just for fun. 

But we shall see lol.

 

I should however post a book haul it has been forever and it its getting out of control but I think I wait toll after may since there are a few books coming out yet that I really want to get and add .

 

I hope everyone is having a great time and enjoying the nice weather and everyone is reading some great books. 

 

Here are my books for March/April 2018

To get to the reviews of the books, just click the covers ;)  

 

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The Norse Chronicles by Karissa Laurel

 

The Norse Chronicles - Karissa Laurel

 

 

4 ½-5 ★


Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop

 

Vision in Silver - Anne Bishop

 

4 ★


Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

 

Fangirl by Rowell, Rainbow (2014) Paperback - Rainbow Rowell

 

4 ★


Shocking the Medic by Elizabeth Otto 

 

Shocking the Medic - Elizabeth Otto

 

1/2★


Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

 

Gemina (The Illuminae Files) - Jay Kristoff, Amie Kaufman

 

5★


Unraveled by Kate Jarvik Birch

 

Unraveled (Perfected) - Kate Jarvik Birch

 

4 ½ ★


Forget You by Nina Crespo

 

Forget You (The Kingman Brothers #1) - Nina Crespo

 

1 ½ ★


Pestilence by Laura Thalassa

 

Pestilence - Laura Thalassa

 

2 ½ -3★


Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

 

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe) - Neal Shusterman

 

5★


The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

 

The Sea of Monsters - Rick Riordan

 

5 ★


 

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review 2018-04-24 15:55
Great Graphic Novel Featuring the Civil Rights Movement
March (Book One) - Andrew Aydin,Nate Powell,John Robert Lewis

I have to say that this graphic novel was fantastic. I loved the writing and the art. I cannot wait to get book #2.


"March: Book #1" follows Congressman John Lewis is John Lewis's first hand account of the American Civil Rights Movement. We follow Lewis's family and his first meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King. You get to read the rules that those who participated in the lunch counter sit-ins as well as some awful scenes depicting what people said to those who were protesting, how they were beaten and treated. 

 

What was great though was that we have Lewis preparing to attend President Barack Obama's inauguration and you get to see how happy he and many other African Americans were that they got to witness the first African American president. The graphic novel segues between this and Lewis remembering his past until we get to the end of book #1. 


I recently went to the National Museum of African American History & Culture and there are tons of displays that showcase the Civil Rights Movement and talk about how it first got started and highlights those who participated like Rosa Parks, John Lewis, Dr. Martin Luther King, and so many others. I loved reading the displays and looking at the pictures on display. Seeing this in graphic form though made it feel more real to me. 

 

I read this on my Kindle Fire so I was able to blow up some of the scenes in order to read the speech bubbles. I do wonder how this would look if I had a hard copy in my hand though. 

 

The art was so great. Though I have to say I don't know what's worse, reading people being bigoted and racist in written form or via a graphic novel. 

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