Saturday, September 17, 2011

This Book Room: Christmas and series books!

“Todd, they always want you to adopt a dog. That’s what they do. Besides, we don’t need another animal around here, and most definitely not a dog.”When Todd McCray, a developmentally challenged young man still living on his parents’ Kansas farm, hears that a local animal shelter is seeking temporary homes for its dogs during the days leading to Christmas, he knows exactly what he wants for the holidays. His father objects, but Todd’s persistence quickly wins out. Soon the McCrays are the short-term foster family for a lovable pooch the young man names Christmas. But what about all the other dogs who will be forced to spend the Yuletide season in cages? In the days that follow, Todd uses his special gifts of persuasion to encourage his hometown to participate in the “Adopt a Dog for Christmas Program.” What follows from his small act of kindness will teach his family, and his community, about peace on earth and good will toward men—and animals.

My thoughts: This was a pretty good read. If you like animals and Christmas, you'll like this story. But this isn't one of the best Christmas books I've read so if you're not really into all that, I'd skip this one.

The Christmas Candle - In a small village in the Catswolds, nothing out of the ordinary ever happens. Except at Christmastime. Then a mysterious angel suddenly appears in a lowly candlemaker's shop. There the holy and the human collide in a way that only God could imagine.
A Christmas Child - A Chicago journalist finds himself in a small Texas town on Christmas Eve. Lonely and alone, he encounters old faces and new facts . . . a hand carved manger, a father's guilt, a young girl's faith. The trip into the past holds his key to the future, and a scarlet cross shows him the way home.
An Angel's Story - Journey back in time to the very throne of God . . . and witness firsthand the glory, the wonder, and the battle that took place on the very first Christmas.

My thoughts: Max is one of the best Christian writers EVER. I haven't read a lot of his books yet, but oh, I plan to. This collection of stories was uplifting and unique. I particularly enjoyed An Angel's Story and The Christmas Candle. This is a must-read Christmas book.

Meg Cabot continues the hilarious adventures of Mia Thermopolis, a very ordinary teenager whose life takes an extraordinary turn when she learns she's the heir apparent to the throne of a small European country. In this third installment of The Princess Diaries, Mia's self-deprecating wit, self-absorption, and adolescent angst are as entertaining as ever as she struggles with the realization that despite being a princess, she isn't guaranteed any fairy-tale endings. Mia discovers yet another branch on the royal side of her family tree when she meets her cousin, Sebastiano, an up-and-coming fashion designer. Mia worries that Sebastiano might want her dead, since he's next in line to inherit the throne, she's not yet willing to toss him aside -- his dress creations are not only exquisite, they are perfectly tailored to bring out the best in Mia's flat-chested, big-footed physique. Life is looking better on other fronts as well, for Mia finally has a boyfriend. Unfortunately, it's Kenny, her study partner, good friend, and fellow classmate, whereas the real love of her life is Michael, the brother of Mia's best friend, Lilly. But not only does Michael seem clueless about Mia's affections; it looks like he has a girlfriend. While bemoaning her inability to compete for Michael's affections, Mia spends her time trying to avoid Kenny's kisses, pondering the best way to break up with him even as she wonders why he hasn't asked her to the big Christmas dance. Adding to Mia's stresses are her upcoming final exams, her mother's incessant morning sickness, the usual unwanted media attention, and the ongoing torments of her fellow classmate and nemesis, Lana. While Mia's sometimes simplistic view of life remains intact and her adolescent shallowness is often apparent, she also shows an evolving maturity as she prepares for her royal role under Grandmere's overbearing guidance. But never fear, the seriousness is kept in balance with plenty of fun, tons of laughs, and several amusing disasters. And, if Mia isn't careful, she might even get that fairy-tale ending.

Additional notes: This is the third book in the Princess Diaries series. You can read my review of the first book here and the second book here. This series has since finished, but there are about 16 or so books (including companion books) in this series.

My thoughts: By far, my favorite book in this series yet. The characters are growing stronger and developing, and I really found myself wanting to read all the books in this series when I finished this book (I did find myself checking out several of these books at the lib when I visited yesterday...).

Four years ago, rodeo celebrity Wade Ryan gave up his identity to protect his daughter. Now, settled on a ranch in Big Sky Country, he lives in obscurity, his heart guarded by a high, thick fence.
Abigail Jones isn't sure how she went from big-city columnist to small-town nanny, but her new charge is growing on her, to say nothing of her ruggedly handsome boss. Love blossoms between Abigail and Wade--despite her better judgment. Will the secrets she brought with her to Moose Creek, Montana separate her from the cowboy who finally captured her heart?

Additional notes: This is the first book in the Big Sky Romance series. This book was just released this summer, but I'm sure other books are planned for release.

My thoughts: What drew me to this series was that it was written by Denise, and I liked other books by her. And I liked that it was set in Montana, which I have a not-so-secret obsession with. But this book fell flat. I do not plan on continuing this series. The plot = uninspired, the characters = boring. Skip this one.

Traditional meaning of Pink and White Roses: I love you still and always will.

Caitlyn Marsh stopped believing in happily-ever-after when high-school sweetheart, Gideon Garza, left for Iraq. Now she raises her small son while her matchmaking gardening club members drive her crazy. Then Caitlyn's world turns upside-down when Gideon swaggers back to Twilight. Gideon had left town in the middle of night with threats ringing in his ears. A lot of things have changed since then. This bad boy-turned-Green Beret bears scars from the war, the timid girl he loved is an independent mother, and the father who refused to recognize his son in life has, in death, left him a vast cattle ranch. He still aches for Caitlyn, and now there's a dark-haired boy who looks exactly like Gideon did at that age. Could the child be his? And can this war-weary soldier overcome the scars of the past to claim the family he so richly deserves?

Additional notes: This is the fourth, and latest, book in the Twilight, Texas series. You can read my review of the third book here. This series, so far as I know, is ongoing.

My thoughts: This book was just... okay. I don't think I'm going to continue reading this series. It just... didn't grab me. It just didn't. It didn't do anything! Skip this one, too.

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