Monday, November 24, 2014

This Book Room: 2014 Christmas edition, part 1

After years abroad, Garrison Brown returns home to Vancouver to build a new life. When his beloved grandmother passes away a few weeks before Christmas, Garrison goes to her house to sort out her belongings, including six cats who need new homes. While Garrison hopes to dispense with the task quickly, his grandmother's instructions don't allow for speed. She has left Garrison with some challenging requirements for the future homes of her furry friends--plus a sizeable monetary gift for the new owners. Garrison's job is to match the cats with the right owners without disclosing the surprise gift. Along the way, he may just meet someone who can make him stay. Humorous and heartwarming, this latest Christmas story from bestselling author Melody Carlson is the perfect gift for pet lovers and anyone in whose heart Christmas holds a special place.

My thoughts: This was a fun and quick read, which is just in line with what I've come to expect from Melody Carlson. The story was unique and silly. If you love animals and Christmas, this book is definitely for you.

In the small town of Grandon, five very different people discover the true meaning of Christmas.
Jennifer and Ryan are both single parents, struggling with their own losses and heartache as they attempt to move forward in the present while still holding onto the memories, joy, and heartache of the past. Sixteen-year-old Kaylee is faced with a life-changing situation that has affected her whole family. Stephen and Lily are happily married and ready to start a family. All of them are facing their own struggles, and all are finding their way through the dark. When they are brought together for a rather unconventional church Nativity, they will learn that with strength, courage, and love, there is always hope. The New York Times bestselling author of the beloved The Christmas Hope series returns with this new heartwarming, inspirational story about the power of love and faith to reveal the possibilities that lay right in front of you.  

My thoughts: Oddly, I wasn't a huge fan of this book, even though I'm a huge fan of this author and her other Christmas books. The characters in the book just didn't tug at my heartstrings enough, I guess, and the story was not that fascinating. I was honestly disappointed. If you love this author, though, you'll probably want to give this book a go.

In Sandra Dallas' novel A Quilt for Christmas, it is 1864 and Eliza Spooner's husband Will has joined the Kansas volunteers to fight the Confederates, leaving her with their two children and in charge of their home and land.  Eliza is confident that he will return home, and she helps pass the months making a special quilt to keep Will warm during his winter in the army.  When the unthinkable happens, she takes in a woman and child who have been left alone and made vulnerable by the war, and she finds solace and camaraderie amongst the women of her quilting group.  And when she is asked to help hide an escaped slave, she must decide for herself what is right, and who can she can count on to help her.

My thoughts: Sandra Dallas is always hit or miss for me. I've enjoyed several books of hers I've read to the finish, while I've picked up other books by her and have not made it past page 20. This book was positively glorious. I consider this a must-read this holiday season.

Twenty-year-old Ruth Stutzman is a wonderful caregiver . . . but she has no experience with children.
Laid off because of budget cuts from her job at a retirement home, she's relieved to find work—even if it means temporarily watching widower Martin Rhodes's brood of six!

Martin has been doing his best since his wife's passing, but he and the children need help. Their house, once full of laughter and light, has been darkened by sadness. Soon after Ruth arrives, the children are drawn to her warmth and gentleness, and so is Martin, even though he feels it's wrong. But the harder he tries to ignore her, the deeper he begins to care for this attractive young woman who has brought joy back into his children's lives . . . and his own.

Each passing day brings the Rhodes closer to Ruth . . . and closer to Christmas, when she will have to say goodbye. Ruth cannot deny the bond she feels with the children—and with Martin. When her old job becomes available again, Ruth finds herself torn: How can she stay with the Rhodes? And yet how can she go?

Additional notes: This is the fourth book in the Days of Redemption series. You can read my review of the first book here, the second book here and the third book here.

My thoughts: This book was honestly fun to read. The children made the story that much more fun and relatable. If you're a fan of Amish fiction, even if you haven't read this particular series or author, you'll want to check this book out.

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