A Dog’s Perfect Christmas (by W. Bruce Cameron) … joy of life through the eyes of a dog

I wasn’t sure I would enjoy this book when I first began reading.  However, it didn’t take long before I was chuckling out loud and was invested in the lives of the characters.  There is a lot going on as you read through the pages…a family is in crisis.  A daughter with the typical teenager attitude.  A grandfather with no enthusiasm for life.  A mother with an identity crisis.  A father struggling to provide for his family and succeed in his job.  An old dog that misses life the way it used to be with his mom and dad.  And young twin boys who are all out and such a hoot!

Then you factor in a health crisis, a stray puppy, and a love life competition for the grandfather at the playground among three women.  Life begins to change and the family members realize how much they love and appreciate each other.  It is painful to experience Ello’s difficulties with popularity and how she does not value herself.  How much a person can make a difference in one person’s life.  Are you willing to be that person?  I hope I would be able to be the positive influence that the “new boy” was.

I love the viewpoints of the Winstead, grandfather’s faithful dog, and Ruby, the stray puppy.  Your heart will ache one moment and soar the next.  The joy of life through a dog’s eye is uplifting! Thank you to NetGalley and Forge Books for my advanced review copy.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.

In a Holidaze (by Christina Lauren) … Groundhog Day reinvented in a heartwarming story

I am not a romance book fan.  However, In a Holidaze was more than just a romance book.  It was a Groundhog Day rewind.  I loved how Maelyn ends up having to figure out how to become the person she is meant to be.  This is a story of self-discovery and growth.  There are wonderful relationships and it was enjoyable getting to follow Maelyn as her relationship with Andrew begins to change and develop beyond the family friend one they’ve known all their lives.  And I loved Uncle Benny!  We all need an Uncle Benny in our lives!

The Christmas traditions were wonderful and made me wish that my family had developed those over the years.  This is a heartwarming story and full of love, laughter, and wonderful characters.  If you are looking for a light holiday read, this is a must read!

Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for my advanced review copy.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.

A Christmas Table (by Donna Vanliere) … warm cozy story of love, family, faith, hope and recipes

I have only read a few of the books in this series.  I don’t think it made a difference, though I am glad that I read the previous book (The Christmas Star).  This was a wonderful sequel and I believe that it made The Christmas Table a pleasure to read because of the information I learned in The Christmas Star.

This was such a warm and cozy book filled with love, family, faith, hope, and recipes.  Ahhh!  So delicious recipes!  The dual timeline flowed smoothly and pulls you into the story and has you invested in the lives of the characters.  The simple kitchen table will bring together family and friends and enrich their lives in many ways.  Such wonderful blessings are shared throughout the pages.  Your heart will be warmed and your spirit lifted as you experience the love between themen and women who become part of the story.

I am definitely going back and reading the earlier books in the series and will continue to follow them as the author hopefully continues the Christmas Hope series.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for my advanced review copy.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.

A Death Long Overdue ~ Lighthouse Library #5 (by Eva Gates) … wonderful mystery with books in a lighthouse!

I love the lighthouse library series.  I am familiar with the lighthouse where this series takes place and know that there is no room for a library.  But I would LOVE to be able to work in a library located in a lighthouse.  The characters are wonderful…so well developed and you have strong feelings about many of them throughout the series.  And this seventh book in the series brings in more characters which will evoke a reaction to their personalities.

I love mysteries, but when you factor in the location in a library, I am a huge fan.  The plot is well developed and has you guessing until the end.  There are great twists and a delightful surprise at the end that has you anxiously waiting for the next lighthouse library book.

Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for my advanced review copy.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.  The next book will definitely be on my to-read list!

The Menu (by Steven Manchester) … heartwrenching and touching story of relationships and the intertwining of lives

Before you open this book and lose yourself in the touching story, make sure you grab at least one box of tissues.

While partly a romance, it’s more an adventure of living life, making choices, faith, and redemption.  There are so many lessons shared throughout the pages.  What choices do we make from the menu of life?  And what price must we pay for those choices?

The relationships will touch you deeply.  The lives are intertwined and their stories will move you emotionally and, at times, in heartwrenching sobs.  We are reminded that we are never alone.  God is always there.

Thank you to the author and Luna Bella Press for my advanced review copy.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.

The Skylark’s Secret (by Fiona Valpy) … heartwarming WWII historical fiction

I love historical fiction books based on WWII.  And the fact that this is a dual timeline book, it was automatically going to be a favorite read.  This was a different take on WWII because it was based in Scotland.  And while you were exposed to negative aspects of the war, you don’t endure the atrocities experienced in the concentration camps.

What a lovely story of redemption of a mother and daughter.  They each share their story and you travel through their lives and how they experience growth, maturity, and self-discovery.  And what a wonderful sense of community and caring and support by those who lived in the village.  The folk songs, traditions, delicious food, secrets, and sacrifices shared made this such a delight to read.  I highly recommend you put this on your to-read list.

Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for my advanced review copy.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.

Christmas Cupcake Murder ~ Hannah Swensen #26 (by Joanne Fluke) … delightful addition to the Hannah Swensen series

This delightful addition to the Hannah Swensen series was different.  We are taken back to before the time when Hannah has just opened her store, has not started finding dead bodies, and provides lots of delicious recipes.  I hope to try some of the recipes soon.  They had my stomach growling and my mouth watering!

This was a great mystery.  I love the characters in this series and John Doe, a homeless man, has your heart breaking as he tries to gain back his memory.  This is just a good wholesome book that has you cheering Hannah on as she works to try to help John. Thank you to NetGalley and Fleming H. Revell Company for my advanced review copy.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.

Eli’s Promise (by Ronald Balson) … WWII historical fiction

I really enjoyed previous books by the author that involved Taggert and Lockhart.  However, Eli’s Promise did not appeal to me as much.  I enjoy historical fiction, especially about WWII.  And the author does a good job telling the story of Eli Rosen who suffers through the horrors of the Nazi invasion.  I wasn’t as happy with this book.  I felt like the story was a little stilted and the characters were not as well developed.  I just could not get invested in the book.

While I enjoyed the mystery portion of the book and the multiple time lines, I felt like I needed more from the characters beyond Eli and Max.

I look forward to reading additional books from the Taggert and Lockhart series and hope the author will spend some time taking us back to the adventures we experience with them. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for my advanced review copy.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.

Murder at the PTA ~ Maya and Sandra #1 (by Lee Hollis) … wonderful cozy mystery with a jaw-dropping twist at the end

I have enjoyed several cozy mysteries by the author, Lee Hollis.  This was the first book in the series and has me looking forward to additional books.  What a twist at the end!  It was a jaw dropping, gasp in shock ending to me.

I enjoyed getting to know the characters…especially Maya, a private investigator, and Sandra, a housewife whose husband is a Senator.  In the political climate we live in today, it was interesting to see how Sandra’s life was affected by her husband’s political aspirations and the difficulties in the marriage.  Their developing relationship was fun to watch.  There were a couple of twists throughout and then a big whammy at the end!  I’d say the author has a winner on her hands with the Maya and Sandra team. Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Publishing for my advanced review copy.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.

Hope Your Heart Needs: 52 Encouraging Reminders of How God Cares for You (by Holley Gerth) … put this book on your to-read list!

I really needed to read this book at the moment that I picked it up and opened up the first page.  It challenged and encouraged me.  This is a definite book to put on your to-read list and should be in every church library.  I have been receiving Holly Gerth’s emails for several years and have shared many of her daily messages on Facebook.  They are profound and touching and are often just what I need to read on a particular day.

This book will lift you, encourage you, and have you sitting back and taking a look at your life and your heart.  Are you doing all you can for others?  Is God working through your life?  I strongly encourage you to purchase this book and read it as soon as possible!  You will be touched. Thank you to NetGalley and Fleming H. Revell Company for my advanced review copy.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.