Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

SUGAR PINE TRAIL by RaeAnne Thayne

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Bring On the Christmas Novels and Romances!!

Oh, it’s my favorite time of year and the time I love to enjoy a light and happy read of folks finding love at Christmas. I have to be honest == I used to scoff at these type of books. True Confession! However, I told myself that I should not turn them away until I actually READ one (easy to be critical of things you don’t actually now about). I started reading them about ten years ago and I can’t tell you how happy they make me. Some times, in the stress of life, you just want to read a sweet book where you know that everything is not going to end up like the evening news. You can trust that there is going to be a happy ending. They make me smile.

So – this was the first one I read this year. I read it way back at the end of summer and read it in a day. It’s a true feel good story and I completely related to the main character as she was like me when I was single. I even had a list like she did. And yes, I met my husband right before Christmas time — and we’ve been married 15 years — my own happy ending! 🙂

Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for my e-copy!

Here’s the overview:

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Litfuse Tour for THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR by Ace Collins

I’m part of the Litfuse Publicity Blog Tour today for Ace Collins’ THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF YEAR – A Christmas devotional. This is a super little book chock full of scripture, reflection, recipes, and crafts. I plan to share mine with my family.Thank you for my review copy!See below for more info and to enter the fun giveaway!The Most Wonderful Time of the Year Ace Collins

Make this upcoming Christmas holiday a Christ-filled season of joy and wonder with the help of Ace Collins’ new devotional, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. From December to New Year’s Eve, reawaken the Christmas season with daily scripture and inspirational readings of stories behind popular Christmas traditions, carols and movies. Enjoy a wealth of fun activities to help make the most of the season, including heartwarming holiday recipes and homemade gift ideas. Download a free sampler of the book by clicking here.

About the book:

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Abingdon, October 2016)

Celebrate 31 days of a Christ-filled Christmas season.

For Christians worldwide, the month of December is filled with joy and wonder as we anticipate the celebration of Christ’s birth. There is no other time of the year that can compare to the Christmas season for both the young and young at heart.

With this soon-to-be-cherished holiday devotional, best-selling author Ace Collins will capture your imagination and help to make each day of December more memorable and meaningful to you, and those you love, by shining a light on the real spirit of the season.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2frWQG8

About the author:
 
 
Ace Collins defines himself as a storyteller. He has authored more than sixty books that have sold more than 2.5 million copies. His catalog includes novels, biographies, children’s works as well as books on history, culture and faith. He has also been the featured speaker at the National Archives Distinguished Lecture Series, hosted a network television special and does college basketball play-by-play. Ace lives in Arkansas.
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Join Ace’s Christmas festivities by entering to win the Magic of Christmas Prize Pack. Create new traditions this holiday season with your family and friends with the goodies included in the giveaway.

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One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! 

The giveaway ends on November 21. The winner will be announced November 22 on the Litfuse blog.

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Litfuse Publicity Tour for GOD BLESS US EVERYONE by Eva Marie Everson

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Today I’m taking part in the Litfuse blog tour for Eva Marie Everson’s new novel: GOD BLESS US EVERYONE. This is a title I’d classify as Christian romance. Here’s the overview:
About the book:

Charlene Dixon—called Charlie by family and friends—is devastated at the recent loss of her job. 
For the last five years, the twenty-seven-year-old has blossomed as the activities director of an exclusive all-girls school. But when a misunderstanding with the headmistress leads to a pink slip right before the holidays, Charlie packs up her dreams and returns to her grandmother, Sis, who raised Charlie as her own in the mountains of North Carolina.

When Charlie arrives—broken and confused—Sis immediately puts her granddaughter to work behind the scenes of the local school’s Christmas play, A Christmas Carol. Charlie prickles at working with Dustin Kennedy, the drama teacher and her old crush from schooldays, but is even more put out at that the choice of the Dickens’ classic for the holiday performance. When she discovers her estranged father’s involvement her world turns on its head once more. But when Sis and Dustin encourage her to take a deeper look at the story behind A Christmas Carol, Charlie learns about trust, faith, and forgiveness and the needs of people in their own community.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2bUfaqD

About the author:
 
 
Eva Marie Everson is an award-winning speaker and author of The Road to Testament,Things Left Unspoken, This Fine Life, Chasing Sunsets, Waiting for Sunrise, Slow Moon Rising, and The Potluck Club series (with Linda Evans Shepherd). She is the president of Word Weavers International, Inc., a member of AWSA, ACFW, RWA, the director of Florida Christian Writer’s Conference, and the contest director for Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference. She and her husband make their home in Casselberry, Florida.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest
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This was my first novel by Ms. Everson. It read quickly and easily (in one day) and I enjoyed the plot and storyline. I did have a slight challenge accepting Charlie’s reason for termination at her job (probably because I work in a similar setting!), but that was just a way to get the story rolling. Of course I wanted Charlie and Dusty to get together, and I always enjoy a Christmas theme and one that encompasses forgiveness. One clever aspect of this story was the way that sections of the original A Christmas Carol started off each chapter and were tied in to the plot.
If you enjoy Christian romances, then you should pick up this one for the holidays!
Thank you for my review e-copy and for making me part of the tour!
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Saturday Snapshot – Some Favorite Ornaments

I have been collecting Christmas ornaments since I was a little girl. I took pictures of a few to share here.

We love to get an ornament each time we travel somewhere. Also my children have lots of special ornaments that they’ve gotten over the years, too.

One of our favorites is this Charlie Brown Christmas tree one — you can press a button and hear Linus speaking about the true meaning of Christmas.  
If you know us, you know that Disney is one of our favorite places!!


Above (l to r): Tiffany bulb from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a Joan Walsh Anglund one I’ve had since I was young, Empire State Building globe that lights up, and an Irish cross we got on our honeymoon.

Eiffel Tower from Paris (another favorite place!), “Beth” – one of my four Little Women ornaments, Disney (again!) and the Disney Cruise ship, and Hershey Kiss Carolers from Hershey Park.

Tree on the left is the children’s tree (artificial) filled with all their ornaments. Tree on the right is the (real) family tree.

Happy Holidays to all who celebrate and Best Wishes for 2016!

Saturday Snapshot is hosted at westmetromommyreads.com.

Please see her site for full participation details.

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Two for Christmas!

If you know me, you know I love Christmas! I recently got two books from Net Galley that focus on the Christmas season.

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This is how Net Galley describes A STUBBORN SWEETNESS AND OTHER STORIES FOR THE CHRISTMAS SEASON by Katherine Paterson (one of my fave children’s book authors!):

A Stubborn Sweetness and Other Stories for the Christmas Season is a collection of modern-day short stories by Katherine Paterson, award-winning author of Bridge to Terabithia and The Great Gilly Hopkins—both loved by children and adults for over twenty years. This compilation includes stories of real-life people such as a shopping mall’s night watchman, a lonely widower, a pregnant teenage runaway, a political prisoner in China, a grieving mother, and a privileged American, who have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas because of loss, pain, greed, or circumstances. Through unexpected and uplifting ways, each is reminded of the first Christmas story and the vision of hope and peace it offers the world. They realize that even in the darkness, the light and song of Christmas can be seen and heard.

This heart-warming gift book, filled with stories of realistic people finding hope, courage, and faith amidst life’s circumstances, radiates the spirit of the season and reminds each of us what Christmas truly means. Originally written to be read during her church’s Christmas Eve service, this collection of holiday stories is perfect for individuals, families, and churches to read and share during the season.

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I love, love, loved this compilation of short but touching stories which have as their theme the true meaning of Christmas. I read one each night before I went to bed. Highly recommended for a calming read at night or to give as a thoughtful gift of the season.

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I loved the title of this book and was drawn to it right away. I love not only the Narnia chronicles but C.S. Lewis’ adult writings on faith.

Here’s how Net Galley describes it:

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“Walking into Advent can be like walking through the wardrobe.”

With its enchanting themes of snow and cold, light and darkness, meals and gifts, temptation and sin, forgiveness and hope–and even an appearance by Father Christmas–C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe fits naturally into the Advent season. As the reader seeks a storied king and anticipates the glorious coming of Christmas, these twenty-eight devotions alternate between Scripture and passages from the novel to prompt meditation on Advent themes. Each devotion also includes questions for reflection. The book also provides several resources for churches, including four sessions for small group discussion and ideas for creating a “Narnia Night” for families. Readers will ultimately come to know God better while journeying through Narnia.

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This was a series of devotions and reflections that the author, Heidi Haverkamp, had done, in part, with her own church congregation. What a brilliant idea! While I loved reading this on my own, I would have loved even more having a group to share this with.

As always, thank you for my review copies, Net Galley and Westminster John Knox Press. Both books are available online or at your favorite indie. Merry Christmas!!

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Saturday Snapshot: Christmas at our House

We love this time of year – Christmas!
Here are some pictures of Christmas at our house. We like to have two trees – a real one in the living room with our family (and breakable!) ornaments, and an artificial one for the kids in the family room with their ornaments.

Happy Holidays to those celebrating and Happy 2015!

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Great Deal on a Debbie Macomber Christmas book for your kindle!

I get the book bub email every day with promotions of ebooks, but I just wanted to share this one online as I’m a big Debbie fan and I know many of my readers are, too. For just a couple of days her THE CHRISTMAS BASKET is just $1.99 for kindle.

Here’s a link to it on Amazon (where I am an Associate):

The Christmas Basket

Happy Reading!

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FREE Christmas Novels for your Kindle!

So the other day I was saying to my husband that I have a bit of a thing for FREE Christmas novels for my Kindle. They are usually light and with a happy ending and with them being free, they are a bit of a guilty pleasure. I’ve been pulling them off Book Bub (the best daily email for e-book deals that I know of!), but then I just searched it up on Amazon and eureka! What a bonanza of freebies!

Here is a link to a whole page of items (over 500 apparently) – something for everyone!

FREE Christmas books for your Kindle

Happy Reading!

(please note – I am an Amazon Associate)

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Three for Christmas — from the Ho Ho Ho Readathon

I had a great time reading and participating in the Ho Ho Ho Holiday Readathon this past week! I set a goal of three books for myself, and I easily reached it (I also finished two more to review and started a third – guess I had time to read!).

The first book I read was A NEW YORK CHRISTMAS by Anne Perry. In this novel (and apparently Anne Perry writes a Christmas novel every year) it is 1904 and Jemima Pitt has accompanied her friend Phinny to New York from England for Phinny’s marriage. Poor Phinny doesn’t have much family and her mother left her while she was quite young under what seems to be mysterious and unfavorable circumstances. Jemima is hardly there when a dead body shows up – Phinny’s long-lost mother – and Jemima appears to be the main suspect in her killing (though with little motive). Determined to prove her innocence, Jemima joins forces with local policeman Patrick Flannery to figure out who the real killer is.

This was a fun read – and very quick for me (a few hours – less than 200 pages). Call me stupid but I never could figure out exactly WHY the murder took place and what it served. It seemed to stir up a lot of trouble, that’s for sure.

This was my first Anne Perry book, but she has a legion of fans and several other Christmas stories.

You can see it on Amazon where I am an Associate (and thanks, Net Galley, for my copy):

Next I read CHRISTMAS TRUCE by Aaron Shepard. This was a children’s picture book that I got a pdf of from Net Galley. It tells the story of the WWI Christmas truce in fighting between the front lines of British and German men. This was a beautiful (and true) tale, with lovely illustrations by Wendy Edelson. Great for a read aloud to children!

You can see it on Amazon where I am an Associate (thanks, Net Galley!):

Finally, from Blogging for Books, I got The 13th Gift: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle by Joanne Huist Smith. I just loved this book. This author lost her husband unexpectedly in the fall of 1999. They had three children, aged 10 to 17. That Christmas was incredibly painful and difficult for them. This true story tells how some unknown “true friends” delivered to them small surprise gifts each day leading up to Christmas and, in essence, helped them to feel the spirit of Christmas again. Not only was this a heart-wrenching read, especially because the grief was so poignant on these pages, but it was so inspiring to read the end and how the whole 13 gifts tradition got started, why, and how. What a beautiful and inspiring story — truly a favorite Christmas read for me.

You can see this on Amazon where I am an Associate:

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Getting Cozy! Two Reviews: “Hiss and Hers” (Agatha Raisin) by MC Beaton and “The Twelve Clues of Christmas” (Royal Spyness) by Rhys Bowen

As you all know, I love my cozy mysteries! I recently read two new ones: one which I got at my library and one which I received from my husband for Christmas.

“Hiss and Hers” is the latest Agatha Raisin mystery. I just love cranky yet vulnerable Agatha! In this installment, Agatha, along with half the village, has a mad crush on the local gardener. Sadly he turns up murdered. Agatha is determined to figure out who killed him, but as she investigates she learns that just about every but her had been sleeping with the victim. There is no shortage of suspects, along with a couple of subplots as well. While I do love these Agatha mysteries, this one had me a bit befuddled in its quick wrap up and in the number of people I was trying to keep track of, though I had guessed the murderer early on. The “hiss” refers to the murder “weapon” – poisonous snakes.

For Christmas I received “The Twelve Clues of Christmas”- the latest Royal Spyness mystery. I do so love reading historical cozy mysteries (this one is in the early 1930’s in England). Georgie Rannoch, our heroine, has just the right amount of spunk, intelligence, and awkwardness to make her likable. For this story, Georgie is staying at a manor house and serving as a hostess during their “Aunthentic English Christmas” event. Unfortunately, locals start turning up dead on a regular basis. Georgie joins forces with the dashing Darcy to uncover just what is happening in this sleepy little town. One thing I loved about this book is that Georgie and Darcy’s relationship is finally progressing – yeah! I thought this novel was cleverly plotted – though perhaps a bit far-fetched. It was an enjoyable read. And can I just say how much I love the character of her maid, Queenie?

See these books on Amazon where I am an Associate:

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