Not On My Read-Again List

Keeping Christmas image“Nothing is more beautiful than family”. With this theme as its tagline, Keeping Christmas is Dan Walsh’s newest Christmas novel released by Revell. Ultimately, it is a story of heartache and depression which ultimately transform into joy and hope. Empty-nesters Stan and Judith Winters are facing their first Christmas with none of their children or grandchildren able to come home. As the 25th of December draws nearer, Judith becomes more depressed and despondent. Stan, beside himself to help his wife, is faced with a difficult decision that will fill their home with Christmas joy once again, while simultaneously letting down a friend and crushing a dream.

With this plot in place, it is easy to see the setup for a heartwarming, sweet surprise at the end of the story. A reader’s journey along the way, however, is slightly tedious, a little unbelievable, and even somewhat depressing. To begin with, Continue reading

Sure to Become a Christmas Tradition

Twenty-one Candles imageMany families have a special collection of Christmas stories they enjoy reading, year after year. Often this is a cherished tradition. And the only thing more fun than actually DOING a cherished tradition is adding to it – in this case, by finding new stories! If you are looking for new stories to add to your Christmas collection – stories that are unique, meaningful, and suitable for all ages – then I am happy to share with you a new volume that I have just discovered this Christmas season… “Twenty-one Candles: Stories for Christmas” was written by Canadian author Mike Mason, chapter-by-chapter over the course of many years, and collected into a single volume in 2014. As stated on the back cover, this book peers into the deeper meaning of the holidays and is filled with: “Silly sages and the wisdom of the simple. Stones and rockets and hand-written notes. Presents that unfold endlessly, and presents already open, if only we would notice.” Continue reading

A Simple Christmas Wish review

A Simple Christmas Wish imageAre you looking for a sweet, heartwarming story to read this Christmas season?  Maybe you like a story with a little drama, a hint of mystery, and enough emotional twists to make you laugh and even cry – just a little?  Or perhaps your ideal Christmas story contains personable characters who find a home for their hearts during the holidays.  Well, your search may be over.  A story that fits each of these conditions is available from bestselling author Melody Carlson, and is called A Simple Christmas Wish.

Published by Revell in the fall of 2013, A Simple Christmas Wish is a continuation of the annual tradition started by Melody Carlson, who delights readers with a heartwarming Christmas novella each holiday season.  For readers who have enjoyed her stories in past Decembers, or those just discovering these holiday treasures, A Simple Christmas Wish is sure to delight with its unique simplicity.

A very special quality of this story is the strong bond of love between Rachel Milligan and her brother’s child, Holly.  While babysitting her beloved niece in Chicago just a few weeks before Christmas, Rachel’s world is turned upside down with tragic news of her only surviving family members.  Just as she picks herself up from the terrible turn of events, yet another unwelcome surprise confronts her, leaving her with only one option.  Drive to the heart of Amish country, visit a family she never knew existed, and convince them not to take her niece away.  Will this be the worst Christmas imaginable, or will Rachel – and Holly – receive the wishes of their hearts?

A Simple Christmas Wish very much reflects its title…  It IS simple, both in writing and plot.  The writing style is very basic, and you will not be blown away by brilliant dialog or incredible imagery.  The characters occasionally lack the emotion their scene demands, and the children’s words do not always reflect their age.  However, this story possesses a big heart, and the interwoven theme of the importance of family pardons a less-than-perfect writing style.  All aspects considered, A Simple Christmas Wish is a sweet and simple story of love and hope at Christmastime and – if you can forgive a very basic writing style – just may become your new holiday tradition.

“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group”.