Tag Archives: Christmas

Review of Let It Snow, by Nancy Thayer

I won a paperback copy of Nancy Thayer‘s Let it Snow through Goodreads. I read it now, in September, so that I can put it in the Little Free Library with the other holiday themed (or set) books in December.

Description:

Christina Antonioni is preparing for the holidays at her Nantucket toy shop, unpacking last-minute shipments and decorating for her loyal Christmas shoppers. But when her Scrooge of a landlord, Oscar Bittlesman, raises her rent, it seems nearly impossible for Christina to continue business on the wharf.

Even so, Christina hopes there is a warm heart underneath Oscar’s steely exterior. When she bonds with Wink, his sweet, young granddaughter who frequents the shop, it becomes clear that perhaps he isn’t so cold after all. And with the help of Wink’s uncle, who happens to be a charming and very handsome bachelor, this may be the best Christmas any of them could have ever imagined. Nancy Thayer’s enchanting Nantucket setting provides the perfect backdrop for this holiday love story. 

Review:

This is a hard book for me to review, because everyone’s taste varies and this particular kind of book makes me cringe. At about the halfway mark I thought, “This is the sort of book people who like the Hallmark Channel would enjoy.” It’s completely true. At one point the main character even sits down and watches it herself. Unfortunately, that particular brand of wholesome, clean (read bland in my opinion), never rings true for me. I dislike it extremely. But I also acknowledge that there is a reason the Hallmark Channel has been around as long as it has. There are people out there who love tis kind of feel-good cheese. I’m just not one of them.

So, I’ll give it a middle of the road three stars. Acknowledging that the writing is perfectly solid and though I can’t relate to a 3-week romance culminating in a proposal, or the crass talk of who is rich and who is poor, or even the fact that everyone refused to get involved in the business issue and that was somehow supposed to be fair, others will no doubt love this.

Review of A Lowcountry Christmas, by Mary Alice Monroe

A couple weeks ago, I did a Christmas Challenge. I read the four paperbacks that had been languishing on my shelves because they were all Christmas novels. I figured what better time to get them read? I finished it and, low and behold, another one landed on my doorstep. I won Mary Alice Monroe‘s A Lowcountry Christmas through Goodreads. Again, I figured there was no better time to get it read that Christmas Eve.

Description:
As far as ten-year-old Miller McClellan is concerned, it’s the worst Christmas ever. His father’s shrimp boat is docked, his mother is working two jobs, and with finances strained, Miller is told they can’t afford the dog he desperately wants. “Your brother’s return from war is our family’s gift,” his parents tell him. But when Taylor returns with PTSD, the stress and strain darken the family.

Then Taylor’s service dog arrives—a large black Labrador/Great Dane named Thor. His brother even got the dog! When Miller goes out on Christmas Eve with his father’s axe, determined to get his family the tree they can’t afford, he takes the dog for company—but accidentally winds up lost in the wild forest. In the midst of this emergency, the splintered family must come together and rediscover their strengths, family bond, and the true meaning of Christmas.

Review:
For those who enjoy this sort of book, I imagine this will be a winner. Personally, I gave it a shot, but I call this sort of book Misery Porn. Yes, there is a happy ending and you get a taste of it in the prologue to know it’s coming. But the whole rest of the book is people being miserable.

I can sense Monroe had a good intent. She obviously wanted to inform readers about PTSD and the healing powers of service dogs. But the book often felt didactic and I felt the ‘healing’ happened too abruptly.

Further, I had a hard time buying into the whole, “The splintered family must come together to rediscover their strengths, their family bond, and the true meaning of Christmas.” when the father is so obviously left out of the equation. He’s the only family member without a POV and until you’re supposed to go “awww” and believe everything suddenly happy he’s the antagonist of the book.

The writing however is perfectly readable and the book seems well-edited. I honestly think this is just a matter of wrong book for the reader. But it’s Christmas Eve and I wanted to read a Christmas book.

My 2017 Christmas book tree!

I made a book tree this year! I’ve wanted to do this forever, but was never able. This year however, I have a seven-month-old puppy, which I took to be a perfect excuse to not put up a traditional Christmas tree. Can you even imagine the temptation a tree full of shiny baubles would represent? I shudder.
I mean look at this little girl. She’s adorable, but there is no way a tree would survive. So, after running the idea past my family. It was decided I could do something alternative this year. We only really celebrate Santa anyhow, so it’s not like I would be impengining on anything religious. So, this year I got my book tree! 

It’s been two days since I put it up and I’m still just beyond chuffed with myself. I keep staring at it and noticing different books. “Oh look, The Bhagavad Gita ended up next to Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice for all Creation.” Or things like how I used heavy, hard backs at the bottom and paperbacks at the top. So the tree gets progressively less serious as you travel from Plato at the bottom to Birthday Fortunetelling at the top. I bet no one else has Malachi Martin’s Hostage to the Devil of How to Bang a Billionaire on their tree. It’s like an endless stream of amusements. I’ve not read them all…YET, but I sure like looking at them.

What I really want to do is list every single book used in the construction of this tree, but obviously that’s not reasonable. So instead, I’m going to post a million pictures and ask you if you see any of your favorites. If so, I want to hear about them!

So, here it is, my book tree, from every angle I can manage without destroying it. Which really just means all but from the back. Sorry, if your favorite is back there it’ll have to stay a secret. Feel free it zoom in.