A Family Under the Christmas Tree by Terri Reed – Book Review

A Family Under the Christmas Tree  By  Terri Reed

Published By  Howard Books   October 4, 2016

Genres:   Christian, Romance

Pages:  240

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

In this heartwarming tale set during the Christmas season, a single father and a fashion photographer are brought together by a young boy and a mischievous Bernese mountain dog—but first they must learn to set aside their differences if they are willing to let their relationship bloom.

David Murphy never knew much about kids. But when his brother dies unexpectedly, David is granted custody of his six-year-old nephew, Troy, who he’s only seen once a year since he was born. He already has his hands full running his business, and he has no idea how to help the grieving boy. When Troy runs off one day, David finds him at a park playing with an adorable and rambunctious Bernese mountain dog—who leads him to Sophie.

Sophie Griffith has spent her life traveling around the world as a photojournalist. She has never stayed in one place for long, and her new assignment—helping her grandmother for a few weeks—is just temporary. Once Christmas day comes, Sophie is off the hook and can leave for a new adventure. Caring for her grandmother is a piece of cake—but caring for her new Bernese mountain dog, Riggs, is a different story. It doesn’t help that Riggs strikes up a friendship with a lost little boy one day at the park—and leads her to David.

Neither David nor Sophie have time for romance. But as they spend more time together, they start falling for each other even though they know it can’t go anywhere. Sophie will be gone after Christmas, and the last thing David needs is another distraction as he tries to comfort Troy. But as their faith and growing love for the boy and dog unites them, they wonder whether it’s more than a holiday romance…and maybe Troy might finally get his Christmas wish for a family.

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Story Notes

Terri Reed’s latest Christmas story is a JOY to read and really grabs readers with its heartwarming story that also takes a look at what really matters in a person’s life.

I have yet to read one of Terri Reed’s books that doesn’t hold my attention and make me sad to reach the end. This book was no exception and I can’t wait to share it with my friends and family. Ms. Reed begins her story with a really lovely character named Sophie Griffith who has come to share Christmas holidays with her grandmother, Louise, who is nursing a badly sprained ankle. Sophie has built a good name for herself in the world of photography and is looking forward to the new year and an athletic wear company’s exclusive shoot for which she’s hoping to win the bid. She is only in town for a few weeks and believes she cannot take time for romantic connections if she wants to be the best in her business. That belief will be challenged when she meets an adorable 5 year old named Troy and his very handsome uncle David. Ms. Reed’s co-main character David Murphy is a good opposite for Sophie and his reluctance to start a relationship with someone who is leaving soon becomes one of the main plots of this story. I loved that Ms. Reed made David real in that he didn’t have all the answers and made mistakes in his relationships with both his nephew Troy and Sophie. David was suddenly made guardian of his young nephew upon the accidental deaths of his brother and sister-in-law and he is still struggling six months later to be a single dad to a very active and somewhat angry 5 year old. David owns a multi-million dollar software and app company and has been working from home while Troy is out of school in an effort to complete a project that could help his company land a new account. Having grown up very poor, David has a hard time accepting help or assistance from others without making sure he pays them back fiscally or in favors immediately. Ms. Reed  used Sophie to show David that accepting help is not a sign of inability or weakness but a chance to allow others to receive a blessing. I really like that Ms. Reed did not shy away from taking on the issue of broken families and resentment. Sophie’s rocky relationship with her parents and her desire to prove herself to them is what drives her need to keep looking for more and better photography assignments. And this will be the way in which Louise prays will to bring David and Sophie together – their mutual desire for a whole and loving family. I really enjoyed the “suspense” of whether or not David and Sophie would end up together – there were so many obstacles I just wasn’t sure how Ms. Reed would navigate around them. I literally cheered when I reached David and Sophie’s declaration of love and read of Troy’s true joy at his realization he was going to get his Christmas wish: A family for Christmas. I had such fun reading all the happy times these families had throughout the book and could almost taste all the wonderful treats they made together. I remember hay rides at my grandparents growing up and the fun my family always had going to pick out a tree for Christmas. And since it is the week before Thanksgiving, this book made me excited for the fun times with my family we always have throughout the holidays. I was almost sad when I got to the last page because I wanted to keep reading about this new family that was coming together – so I hope Ms. Reed will perhaps make this into a series. What a wonderful start to the holiday season this book brought. I can’t wait to see what Ms. Reed will bring out next – hopefully it will be another holiday romance. I will most certainly recommend this book to my friends and family and will hopefully be able to purchase a copy of this book for my shelves soon.

I received this E-book from Howard Books via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.

Miracles for Nick by Holly Jacobs – Book Review

Miracles for Nick  By  Holly Jacobs

Published By  Bellebooks/Imaginn Books   August 02, 2016

Genres:   Humor, Romance

Pages:  166

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

***NEWLY RE-RELEASED***

The fairies are determined to find Nick Aaronson his true love. And they’re not taking ‘no’ for an answer . . .

Nick Aaronson is a practical, realistic, and a little cynical. He’s a lawyer who believes in logic, the law. . . but definitely not fairies. Unfortunately for Nick, Myrtle, Fern, and Blossom believe in him.

Glory Chambers is divorced, discourage, and disheartened. She’s desperate for a little good luck, and gets it when she learns that a long lost aunt has left her a diner. Finally, things are starting to look up . . . until she unwittingly hires the fairies—who are immediately sued!

Who do you get to represent three fairies in a civil suit? Nick Aaronson, the best lawyer in Erie, PA, of course! Thrown together in a trial of mythical proportions, Glory and Nick draw closer, despite their differences.

But Myrtle, Fern, and Blossom aren’t faring as well. With their reputations in ruins and their confidence at an all-time low, do they even have what it takes to pull off a . . . Miracle For Nick?

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Story Notes

The third installment of Holly Jacobs delightful series “Dear Fairy Godmother”  is a light-hearted read with lots of fun dialogue and a romance sure to please any reader.

Glory Chambers is done with men, and is ready to reinvent herself at her late aunt’s diner. She has given up the corporate world and all the strings attached to it, seeking instead to do what makes her happy and brings her joy. And with a little help from the three Fairy Godmothers Myrtle, Fern and Blossom she will discover all she hoped for and more. Nick Aaronson is not looking for a wife or even a girlfriend. He is happy as he is, asking out beautiful women who do not require further commitment from him than dinner and a good time. Nick has worked hard to build his reputation as an attorney and the last thing he needs is to be saddled with three “fairy” clients who are being sued for “not providing a promised happily, ever after”. And against his better judgement, he allows his clients to talk him into taking the suit to trial. What follows is a hilarious turn of events that ends with Nick and Glory finding what they needed all along – their own happily ever after. I have read the two prior books in this series and have found them all to be quite nice. Ms. Jacobs creates fun characters who, in spite of frequent mishaps, show readers that there is such a thing as true love and sometimes it needs a little help. Nick and Glory are the perfect foils for each other and their dealings with the Godmothers left me laughing as I felt the frustration they had as they tried to make sense of fairy logic. I also find it really neat that Ms. Jacobs expanded on the idea of Fairy Godmothers from Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and made them modern and fitting to her story. Further, the vocabulary she includes was also a little more advanced than expected in a short book but Ms. Jacobs writing improves with each book of hers I read.I can’t wait to read the final book in this series to see what will happen to Myrtle, Fern and Blossom.

My two problems I had with this book kept me to 4 out of 5 stars instead of the 5 I longed to give it – Very frequent inclusion of mild profanity and several references to sexual encounters. As much as I love Holly Jacobs DFG books, I still find them butting up against my personal preference for curse free literature. The frequent inclusion of mild profanity just made me cringe when I read it because it was not necessary to the plot or the progress of the story, and it made Nick look a bit immature since he couldn’t find better words to express his feelings. My second issue is one that I found went against the Godmother’s rules as well as my own. The Godmothers make a big deal about humans avoiding sex before marriage and then they set up the main characters for a night alone together. I could see it coming as the story progressed but hoped Ms. Jacobs would not choose to use that device. It was sad to see the Godmothers, who had been successful with several others love stories, stoop to this tactic when they have so many others at their disposal. It made me uncomfortable and I quickly skimmed over those pages and this will keep me from purchasing this particular book in this series. I might recommend this book to others who I know would be mature enough to handle it but must offer a word of warning for these two issues.

I received this E-book free of charge from Bellebooks/Imaginn Books via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either of these companies for this review.

A Whole Latte Murder by Caroline Fardig – Book Review

A Whole Latte Murder  By  Caroline Fardig

Published By  Random House Publishing Group – Alibi   November 08, 2016

Genres:  Mystery and Thrillers

Pages:  347

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

Juliet’s personal and professional lives have recently received an extra jolt of energy. Her romance with the hunky detective Ryder Hamilton continues to simmer, and business at Java Jive has never been better. But her good mood quickly turns as stale as day-old espresso when she finds out that Ryder has been promoted to his precinct’s homicide division. With him risking his life to catch the worst kind of criminals, Juliet’s growing sense of unease ignites when a local college student goes missing.

Suddenly every Nashville resident is on high alert, especially Juliet’s neighbor Chelsea. Juliet does her best to calm the girl’s nerves, but her worst fears are confirmed when she finds Chelsea dead. Even though she tries her best to stay out of it, Juliet’s involvement puts a strain on Ryder’s first homicide case.  The situation soon becomes even more personal for Juliet and her best friend Pete Bennett when one of their employees disappears during her shift. As a killer lurks in the shadows, Juliet, Pete, and Ryder seek out a double shot of justice.

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Story Notes

Although this latest book by Caroline Fardig provides the reader with a good mystery and engaging dialog not all readers will be pleased with the inclusion of so much profanity and crude language.

I’m going to have a bit of a rant here at the beginning, not because I didn’t like this book as a whole but because it grieves me that a good writer includes profanity and crude language in an otherwise well written book. Authors like Ms. Fardig have a gift for sharing stories and creating characters we would all like to know or be like. However, it is disappointing to me that she resorted to including so much profanity in her book. And not just the milder forms that a majority of authors include – there were some of the strongest words and a pretty healthy dose of crude anatomical terms as well. This made me cringe while reading because this book was funny, engaging and a good thriller otherwise. I wish I could make authors see that good stories only require a three things: a good plot, well developed characters, and witty/intelligent dialogue. When there is profanity and crude language included the book suddenly becomes  a lesser version of the great work it could have been. I am sure Ms. Fardig is a very intelligent person with a fairly large vocabulary but she makes her characters seem rather childish and ignorant with their many offensive words. It is my hope that she will realize this and seek to make her books more acceptable for all readers. It is for these reasons that I am only able to give this story 2 stars.

Now, as to the actual story that Ms. Fardig presents, this was fairly well done. I really enjoyed how Ms. Fardig gave only hints of the person who committed the murder so that the reader has to read to the end to figure out the mystery. I also was glad to see that she found resolutions for past crimes and mysteries as well. I am always fascinated when I  see that an author will not answer all questions or mysteries in one book when they intend to write a series. This device gives a continuance and cohesion to a series and helps the reader recall past facts and clues. It was interesting to me that Ms. Fardig further had two of her main characters who have had a fairly good relationship together break up – this will definitely give her opportunity to either develop the relationship again or provide a new and better one in her future books in this series. Its hard to read books that are part of a series when you haven’t read the previous ones but this book did a good job of providing the essentials the reader needed to become involved in the story with little trouble. I personally was able to follow the story and the friendships included pretty well and didn’t really need the previous books to understand the main mystery in this book. However, I would need to read the previous books if I wish to know details of the murder of Ryder’s wife and how it has become a cold case. I would also need to read the previous books to understand the past mysteries that have been solved that were referenced in this story. So, while I might wish to share this story with others, I would have to be very cautious whom I recommended this to and make sure they would not be offended by the content. I will not be purchasing a physical copy of this book as there are several in my home who would be offended were they to read this book.

This E-book was provided to me by Random House Publishing/Alibi via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.

Prepare Your Heart for the Midnight Cry by R. T. Kendall

Prepare Your Heart for the Midnight Cry  By  R. T. Kendall

Published By  Charisma House   November  01, 2016

Genres:   Christian, Religion and Spirituality

Pages:  224

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description