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review 2017-12-16 19:14
Colors Of Christmas
Colors of Christmas: Two Contemporary Stories Celebrate the Hope of Christmas - Olivia Newport

Title: Colors of Christmas
Author: Olivia Newport
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Five

"Colors of Christmas" Two Contemporary Stories Celebrate The Hope of Christmas By Olivia Newport

My Thoughts....

Two Contemporary Stories Celebrate The Hope of Christmas:

Christmas in Gold

What a story that had me in tears...What will happen when a older woman [Astrid] falls and breaks her ankle. Then her family wants to put her in an assistant living facility. Wow, what a family! You will just have to pick this one up to see how it will all come out as she meets a Physical Therapist named Carly.

Then next we have....

Christmas in Blue

This was such a wonderful contemporary heartwarming story of 'love, loss and the beauty of family and friends.' What will happen as a mysterious stranger [Gabe] appears in town to help Angela. How will this take a turn and instead of dread there will be 'joy and tenderness in Angela's heart' for this holiday.

Both of these stories are well written and will contain a message that is only for the reader to receive. I found these stories tender, so endearing and hopefully one hearts will be lifted for this Christmas holiday season from the read. I was left to be reminded to be 'thankful and never take anything for granted.'

Thank you to NetGalley and Barbour Publishing, Inc. for a review copy in exchange for my honest review.

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review 2017-11-28 22:28
An Ex For Christmas
An Ex for Christmas (Love Unexpectedly) - Lauren Layne

Title: An Ex for Christmas
Author: Lauren Layne
Publisher: Loveswept
Series: Love Unexpectedly # 5
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Five

"An Ex for Christmas" by Lauren Layne

My Thoughts....

This is definitely one of those read where one will say wow and shaking ones head! Poor Kelly Byme was really having a lots of trouble not being able to see the forest for the woods syndrome but being caught in in 'tea leaves, tarots cards, magic eight balls and gypsies telling the future. So, when Kelly psychic has her thinking she is getting back together with a ex by Christmas...her search will start and oh my god where it will lead her! So, instead of Kelly seeing Mark Blakely who had been her best friend for years, one she could and did count on and was right their in front her her she still goes through her long list of exes. However, I did keep in mind that Mark was just a friends and not a ex. Oh, yes they did share a spunky dog! This will be one funny and have you laughing out loud as this story goes on as Kelly takes Mark along with her on this venture of hers. Will this put a strain among these two friendship? What will happen as Kelly finally starts to see what is right in front of her? This author does a good job at pulling the reader into this story wanting to know what will happen next in this emotional hot, sweet and sexy romantic story. So, as we find Kelly 'working around getting ready for the holiday, working around superstitions, ex boyfriends, ex friends, a friend and a dog' the reader will get one heck of a good holiday story.

In the end will Kelly and Mark get their HEA? Well, you will have to pick up "An Ex for Christmas" to see how this author will bring the readers one entertaining 'fun read with lots of humor and chemistry' giving us a good Christmas read. Would I recommend this novel? YES!

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review 2017-11-10 20:54
The Thursday Night Club and Other Stories
The Thursday Night Club and Other Stories of Christmas Spirit - Steven Manchester

Title:  The Thursday Night Club and Other Stories

Author:  Steven Manchester

Publisher:  Fiction Studio Books

Reviewed By:  Arlena Dean

Rating:  Five



"The Thursday Night Club and Other Stories of Christmas Spirit" by Steven Manchester


My Thoughts.....


What a beautiful collection of three short stories that will really grip the reader especially doing this Christmas season that is very much full of  'emotions, spirit and faith.'


 'The Thursday Night Club' ...we have five college friends that soon changed to four due to a horrible accident. I loved what this group of friends did in order to honor the memory of their dear friend.  This story turned out to be a very inspirational read  that would definitely be one importance read especially during the Christmas season.   It was indeed wonderful seeing as these friends 'undertake the contest, the healing begins as they even  become inspired beyond their expectations.' 


'A Christmas Wish'....Another wonderful story of who a Italian matriarch, Mama that is there for her grandchildren as she shares not only her 'experience, wisdom but so importantly her unconditional love.'  Will the granddaughter Steph be able to learn to have faith and courage and not be afraid of her life?'  What about the grandson Brian? Will they 'both be able to finally find the courage to be true to themselves?' 


'The Tin Foil Manager'....What will happen when a geriatric  nurse Jeanne decides that she will not let Nancy Guillmette who is suffering from dementia give up?  I liked how Jeanne pushed Nancy into remembering her 'favorite childhood Christmas memories of retelling Christmas legends from around the world' that had been told to her by her father a long time ago. In doing this it was beautiful seeing how Nancy remember being loved.  I loved how this memorizing brought back even through smiles and tears that special gift that was greatly shared among the two which helped Nancy regain the will to even want to live. 


All three of these reads will definitely get one into the holiday spirit and put a smile on your face as you are turning the pages of these well written stories.  Would I recommend "The Thursday Night Club and Other Stories of Christmas Spirit?"   YES!


Thank you to the author for another good read!

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review 2017-11-10 20:37
Merry and Bright
Merry and Bright: A Novel - Debbie Macomber

Title:  Merry and Bright

Author:  Debbie Macomber

Reviewed By:  Arlena Dean

Rating: Five



"Merry and Bright" by Debbie Macomber


My Thoughts....


This was quite a thoughtful good Christmas read that will keep your attention all the way till the end.  What will happen for Merry Knight when her mother and brother [Patrick] decide to give her a special birthday present which happened to be on December 24th? What will she do when Merry finds out that she has been signed up on a dating website... 'Mix and Mingle' due to the fact that she worked all the time and had been so busy with college [taking out a year out to work] and the upcoming holidays?  Merry's mom  has MS, a son with special needs and a husband that travels with working a lots. So, she felt that life was passing Merry by and just wanted to do something special for her. Well, for Merry everything was looking up for her until she finds out she has been signed up with a certain person that she didn't care for. Merry Knight and  Jayson Bright [her boss] didn't get along very well almost clashing on just about everything at work.  However, it seemed like Merry and Jayson liked chatting together behind their computer screens.  What will happen when Merry finds out just who her on line date is? Will these two be able to come together as it was with each of these two individuals come from different backgrounds?   We find Merry was born near the Christmas holiday and even the spell of her name showed how much she loved all there was to offer about the holiday, however, Jayson was more of what one would call a 'Scrooge' which he never had any good memories of that holiday. So, yes they both have different childhoods but with them both wanting something more meaningful and real in their lives will there be a  friendship that will develop more for each other? To find out what all happens you will have to pick up "Merry and Bright" to see how well this author will bring out the 'romance, drama and misunderstanding and in the end a very happy "Merry and Bright" Christmas all out so very well to the reader.  Yes, this story maybe a little predictable story but still a good read.


I liked how this author was able to give the reader quite a emotional heart-warming read with a host of well developed characters that will give the readers one memorable and delightful holiday story. This is also definitely one of those reads that will get one in the mood for a good fun family Christmas season. 

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review 2017-11-10 20:07
12 Days at Bleakly Manor
12 Days at Bleakly Manor: Book 1 in Once Upon a Dickens Christmas - Michelle Griep

<!-- [if lte IE 9]> <![endif]-->Title: 12 Days at Bleakly Manor Bleakly Manor
Author: Michelle Griep
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Series: Book 1 in Once Upon a Dickens Christmas
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Four

"12 Day at Bleakly Manor" by Michelle Griep

My Thoughts.....

This was quite a interesting story of Christian historical romance and mystery during 1850's holidays in England. I liked how this author brings to the readers some really intriguing characters during the '12 Days at Bleakly Manor' that had a particular reason for being at this location. Be ready for a fast paced, fun, quirky read with a Gothic and mysterious setting with some great descriptions given and even a little bite of danger.

What happens when Clara Chapman who was once from a well to do family, rejected by her father and later by her fiancé now found to be poor living with her Aunt Deborha receives a cyptic invitation?

"The Twelve Days of Christmas
As never's been reveled
Your presence, Miss Chapman,
Is respectfully hearld.
Bleakly Manor's the place
And after twelve nights
Five hundred pounds
Will be yours by rights."

Who was Benjamin Lane who had been in prison for stealing and is to be deportation to a labor camp from another country. Now what on earth does he have to do with all or this? Well, as the reader continues to read we find that Benjamin believes he was been betrayed by someone he once had loved and that he was also innocent of all of this mess he had been accused of. What will happen when he receives the same invitation to Bleakly Manor that 10 others had received? Now, what will Ben be promised?

Will Clara and Ben [the two main characters] who had some huge misunderstandings be able to work through it all out just be able to come to a better understanding of it all?

I enjoyed how this author was able to bring in the Christian elements [with trust and faith elements] in this very realistic story that will keep you turning the pages to see what was coming next in this story that was of 'second chances and choosing between revenge ad forgiveness.' I did notice that the '12 day of Bleakly Manor 'started on December 24th and ending January 5, 1851 which I thought was somewhat strange but as I was reading I get this idea from the author was done for a particular reason.

This was quite a interesting story after all is said and done. To find all of the answers to the above questions and so much more you will have to pick up this good read that has so many twist to see it's a good story of second chances and redeemed love. This is definitely one of those stories that will keep one guessing until the very end! Even though this novel is around Christmas holiday, I found that it's the kind of read that one can be read at any time of the year.



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