Hello, beautiful readers! I have not had much time to read lately, but I spent most of yesterday finishing one book and reading multiple short stories and novellas. They were all such great reads that I wanted to share them with you all. As always, you can find my reviews here, but these needed a bit more attention. Enjoy! :-)
by Jan Sikes
When a book makes me in cry (in public, no less!), you know it's an amazing story! Normally, you look at Christmas stories and immediately think of Hallmark love stories, but this story had no romance whatsoever, but there was plenty of love. Cole was a famous singer with the world at his feet, but he was miserable because of a string of regrets from his past. This story takes you through his journey to fix those mistakes.
I absolutely loved this story! The author does an incredible job of pulling you into the story from the get-go. I loved how an unwanted interview kept pushing the story along through memories. My heart ached for Cole and his losses. The scenes were described so perfectly and I felt that I was with Cole on every step of his journey. And then we meet his brother, and my heart just melted over and over again.
This story was flawlessly written and is full of so much love that you will feel it from your heart to the tears flowing from your eyes. (Be forewarned - you may just find yourself crying in a public place!). I will definitely recommend this book to everyone! :-)
by Staci Troilo
I really enjoyed this novella (and can't wait to read the next one). We are introduced to Piper as a hotheaded, strong-willed journalist who loses her job and heads back home to regroup. And you know what happens when you go back to your childhood small town? The hot guy who Piper had a crush on (and still fantasizes about) just happens to come around. So, does the guy who has played the best friend role even though he's always wanted more.
I loved how the author took us through Piper's thoughts, even though I wanted to bop her upside the head for having blinders on. Everyone in the story BUT HER knew that Tommy wasn't the one for her, but her character stayed true to her stubbornness. Some people just have to experience things for themselves to learn their lessons.
The blurb says that Piper couldn't help but notice Jack in an unsisterly way, but I honestly didn't get that feel at all. She barely gave him any attention until the very end. That is probably my only critique. Well, I also felt the end was a bit rushed and she should have had to work a little harder for her happy ending. lol!
Still, the writing in this story was flawless, and I completely felt myself in every scene. I would definitely recommend this story to others. :-)
by Harmony Kent
This was a cute, holiday story. The story opens with a powerful scene of Charlene being dismissed and humiliated as she hobbles to meet her surgeon for a hip replacement. Not only did she lose her husband in a car accident, she also lost one of her legs and her self-esteem. She gained weight from the lack of exercise/mobility, which was creating an issue for having the surgery. A thin, silver lining came with her physiotherapist, which just happened to be sexy and charming (at times). The author switches POVs so readers can see that both John and Charlene like each other and have no idea how to express themselves.
The miscommunication was both hilarious and frustrating. It's easy to feel for these two because they are their worst enemies because they allow their fears to prevent them from taking a chance. There was a moment or two where I felt John was out of character with his treatment of Charlene, but I also knew it was meant to move the story along with the miscommunication. Still, it felt harsh and made me wonder if Charlene should even want to be with him.
I don't like giving stories away, so I'll try to be vague about the ending. I am happy with the outcome, but I felt it was a bit too rushed with the depth of emotion and would have preferred perhaps a bit more subtlety or just the asking of a first date or something.
I was also a bit disappointed that Charlene lost all the weight and became the sexy lady at the end. The story started with her as an overweight amputee, and although I'm all for people losing weight and getting healthy, a part of me wanted her to learn to love herself as she was. After all, that is how John fell in love with her. Maybe that's silly of me, but I loved the fact that her character didn't fit the typical character you read about. Those are just my own thoughts; this paragraph didn't affect my rating because the author has every right to create her characters as she sees fit.
That being said, I enjoyed the story and would definitely recommend it to others. It is written well and is a great way to spend an afternoon. :-)
by Breakfield and Burkey
I first met Jacob and Petra in The Enigma Factor, so when I saw that this story was about them, I immediately grabbed it. I wasn't disappointed. In The Enigma Factor, we watched their romance begin. In this story, they are married with a son. I loved seeing them not only dote on their son but also on each another. They created a tradition that they would each give a surprise gift to the other on Christmas Day. Normally, they come up with the perfect gifts, but Petra struggled to find something special for Jacob this year. This story was full of the Christmas spirit and love and joy, and the ending was perfect! I recommend this book to everyone at any time during the year. :-)
by Wanda Adams Fischer
I enjoyed this short story! It's crazy how easily a man could lock up a disobedient wife in the '40s. Thank goodness, times have changed since then! This story follows Edna as she's locked up in a mental institution. While there, she meets Anne, who becomes her best (and only) friend. They spend decades making the most of the situation.
The author does a fantastic job of leaving the reader wondering whether Edna is truly sane or isn't living fully in reality as she believes herself to be a famous poet. Does she remember her moment of being committed accurately? Does her doctor share the true situation of that day, or is he just trying to convince her to believe his reality? Or does she know the truth but continues to keep the façade of being a famous poet to stay locked up in the only home she has left?
I enjoyed the friendship between Anne and Edna and how it showed Edna's personality and emotions. Throughout the story, Edna longed for connection with someone through the touching of hands, even if only through a pane of glass. The ending was very touching (pun intended). I would definitely recommend this book!
by Mae Clair
I read this book during a busy time in my life, so I couldn't read it in one or two sittings, but I think that worked out perfectly because it allowed me to really savor each story. Every story has its own unique feel to it, showing the vast talents of this author. Each one pulled me in and made me feel as if I were part of the tale. I have a soft spot for fantasy, so those were some of my favorites, but I also loved how this author weaved surprises within the stories. Some of my favorites were "Yesteryear Treasures," "Yellow Bird," "Miss Lily Makes a Wish," "Father's Day," and "I've Got a Plan." The author's ability to tap into emotions, whether it be regret, sadness, or humor, created riveting tales. I highly recommend this collection of short stories to everyone. :-)