Noelle

by Greg Kincaidas

series: A Dog Named Christmas

 

 

In this fourth installment of the poignant stories of the McCray family and their lovable canines in rural Kansas, matriarch Mary Ann McCray is determined to shake up Christmas by accepting the role as Crossing Trail’s first woman Santa Claus. Mary Ann, always a bit of a rebel, is looking to offer a more progressive voice in the staunchly conservative town at Christmastime and has a few ideas up her red velvet sleeves.

 

 

Noelle is a part of a series it is book 3. I also found out that Hallmark made these books into movies? I’m not sure about that but they would make for good Hallmark or Lifetime movies. I enjoyed Noelle and liked the story and enjoyed most of the characters. I didn’t really have all their backstories and all since I haven’t read A Dog Named Christmas, A Christmas Home or the prequel novella Christmas With Tucker. If they are as good as this sweet book I know I would enjoy them. This book works OK as a stand alone but I do think I would have really loved it more if I had read the previous books. I would have been more invested in the McCray family and the town.  I did like that the very first pages brings forth a hard to talk about issue of puppy mills. You learn that this is how Todd gets his puppy Elle. The author tackles many heavy subjects besides puppy mills. He tackles unemployment, divorce, alcoholism, and many more real life problems in this little book. If you like sweet stories, stories centered around families and pets or just looking for a good holiday read grab: Noelle as well as Christmas with Tucker, A Dog Named Christmas and A Christmas Home. This is a book I would recommend to anyone looking for some holiday themed books to read over holidays.  It will put you in the mood now if only I could have read it while it was snowing outside. 🙂

Thank you Blogging for Books and Random House books for sending me a copy of Noelle. All thoughts and opinions are mine and not influenced by the free book. 

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Chasing Christmas Eve

by Jill Shalvis

Series: Heartbreaker Bay however it is a stand alone

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I will say I haven’t read books 1 – 3 of the Heartbreaker Bay series. I usually don’t go for sappy romance books. Every now and then I will pick one up, however if it takes place during Christmas I’m all for it. I thought this book sounded really sweet and a nice light read. I was right I really enjoyed Chasing Christmas Eve. I’m going to be checking out more from Jill Shalvis and will read the rest of the series as well as grab books 1-3 from my library soon. If you’re looking for a holiday, winter themed book that is sweet than Chasing Christmas Eve might be just the book.

 

 

 

About the Book:   Meet cute…   Run for the hills—temporarily. That’s Colbie Albright’s plan when she flees New York for San Francisco. Wrangling her crazy family by day and writing a bestselling YA fantasy series by night has taken its toll. In short, Colbie’s so over it that she’s under it. She’s also under the waters of a historic San Francisco fountain within an hour of arrival. Fortunately, the guy who fishes Colbie out has her looking forward to Christmas among strangers. But she’s pretty sure Spencer Baldwin won’t be a stranger for long.

Make merry…

Spence’s commitment to hiding from the Ghosts of Relationships Past means he doesn’t have to worry about the powerful—okay, crazy hot—chemistry he’s got with Colbie. Just because she can laugh at anything, especially herself… just because she’s gorgeous and a great listener…just because she “gets” Spence immediately doesn’t mean he won’t be able to let Colbie go. Does it?

…and hope for a miracle.

Now the clock’s ticking for Colbie and Spence: Two weeks to cut loose. Two weeks to fall hard. Two weeks to figure out how to make this Christmas last a lifetime.

About the Author:

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New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website, for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

 

 

 

Thank you HarperCollins and Avon books for allowing me to read Chasing Christmas Eve. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

The B.T.C Old Fashioned Grocery Cookbook

Alexe Van Beuren and recipes by Dixie Grimes

 

 

 

recipe-complemented tribute documents the transformation of a small Mississippi town from a crumbling shadow of past times to a vital railroad hub and agricultural business center, describing the pivotal role of a simple grocery and prepared foods store in promoting empowered community life.

 

 

What started as place to catch up with friend and family while eating some good down home food, it has become so much more. The B.T.C Old Fashioned Grocery has become the heart and soul of the little town of Water Valley Mississippi. The B.T.C. Old Fashioned Grocery has as motto “Be The Change” and it has done just that. This grocery and diner has brought the community together and is just a quint little mom and pop type store that use to be the heart of towns and cities.

The B.T.C Old Fashioned Grocery Cookbook is full of down home, comfort food. From Banana Bread that is super moist and very yummy, to skillet biscuits and sausage gravy. It also has the recipe for chocolate gravy that my husband grew up with and was very happy to know I now have the recipe. I tried it and I love chocolate but this is not a fave of mine. It also has  a recipe for tomato gravy which sounds yummy and a great way to start the morning off with some veggies.This winter I know the recipe for Vegetable Beef Soup with Butter Beans will be a staple in this house! Along with their Down Home Tomato Soup. I l really enjoy soups and make a big pot of it and eat on it through out the week. Add some yummy bread from the bakery and I am set! I added B.T.C’s Broccoli Salad and English Pea Salad to my end of summer menu, let me tell you they are just as good the next day!

The number 1 recipe I LOVE and make weekly is Coulter’s Red Beans and Rice! Oh my how I love a big old pot of Red Beans and Rice, I was so happy when I found good old chicken andouille sausage in my local grocery store. We have it but it’s usually so expensive but they now carry authentic andouille from the good ole south that is maybe a tiny bit healthier. Coulter’s Red Beans and Rice is just like you would get in Louisiana!  Plus they include the recipe for perfect white rice. I  know what your thinking brown rice is healthier and better for you, but for me white rice is Red Beans and Rice! 🙂

All and all I’ve used this cookbook many times and know it’s one that eventually I will have the recipes memorized from constant use. What sets this cookbook a part from other cookbooks is all the wonderful stories and tales! It makes you feel like you’re at The B.T.C Old Fashioned Grocery.

And Then There Were None

by Agatha Christie

And Then There Were None was my first jump into Agatha Christie. I love a good mystery and classics so I’m not sure why it took me so long to read one of the legend’s books. This was a good one to start with because besides Murder on the Orient Express I believe this is just as popular. I also grabbed the recent movie remake from the library so I could watch the book come to life afterwards.

And Then There Were None (Book): This book was so fast pace and non stop action. Every time I thought I might know who it was they were no longer in the picture. This was a book I couldn’t put down and ended up reading it all in 1 setting. This book hooked me and I want to read and collect all of her books. I can see why she is called the Queen of Mystery. Even now so many years later her books are still so good. I’ve always said you can’t go wrong with a good classic and this proves it. The characters were all a little unlike-able but I think that was the point. They did horrible things and got away with it. What really made this atmosphere seem eerie and upped the mystery factor was the nursery rhyme and the little solider pieces. Each murder followed the nursery rhyme and then a pawn would be missing. I really liked the plot line of each character being a pawn in this persons game. It was an angle that I wasn’t expecting and really made the story fit together so well. It did read a little dated but not so much that it would be hard for the younger generations to read and enjoy it. My classic bookworm reader in the house loved it and she even figured it out. If any one ask me for some good thrills and chills books to read I will be telling them they have to read this book!

And Then There Were None (Movie): The movie did change-up some of the story line and while I knew the changes since I had just read the book it didn’t ruin the movie for me. I was fine with the changes. That being said there was  only thing I would have taken out. The party scene where they were all doing drugs. I mean yes drugs were around even back then but it didn’t really add anything important to the movie so I would have left it out. The characters in the movie seemed a little less evil and I liked them a tiny bit better than I did in the book. Most of the time I will say the book was better sometimes way better. In this case yes the book was better but for me the movie was just as good in its own right. I think if someone watched this having never read the book or any Agatha Christie books they might just go to their library or bookstore and grab some of her works.

This combination hooked my bookworm and I and we decided we are going to read and collect all of Agatha Christie’s books. We hope to find more movies or TV Shows based on the books so we can continue the Read and Watch with not only Agatha Christie but with more classics. We are making October Agatha Christie binge read and see just how many we can read. We also want to read Murder on the Orient Express before the remake comes out on the big screen November 10th.

The Perfect Recipe For Love and Friendship

by Shirley Jump

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The first book in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shirley Jump’s new series featuring the O’Bannon sisters.

Bridget O’Bannon is ready for a do-over. After years of pretending she had a happy marriage and denying that she missed the friends and family she’d left behind, she’s headed home to restart her life.

But working alongside her family every day at their bakery isn’t as easy as whipping up her favorite chocolate peanut butter cake. Her mother won’t give her a moment’s peace, and her sister Abby is keeping secrets of her own. And there doesn’t seem to be enough frosting in the world to smooth over the cracks forming between them.

Bridget can see the recipe for a happy life—including the possibility of a new romancewritten out before her, but first she and her family will need to lay bare their secrets and rediscover the most elusive ingredients of all: forgiveness, laughter, and love.

About the Author

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When she’s not writing books, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shirley Jump competes in triathlons, mostly because all that training lets her justify mid-day naps and a second slice of chocolate cake.
She’s published more than 60 books in 24 languages, although she’s too geographically challenged to any of those countries on a map.

Final Girls

by Riley Sager

I got a copy of Final Girl as the BOTM (Book of the Month) July book selection. I joined 3 months ago when they were running a special 3 months for 30 bucks and a copy of Into The Water by Paula Hawkins for free. I love that you pay for 3, 6 or 12 months up front so that amount of months is paid for in advance. You get to pick your book and can skip 1 month each membership time-table. I’m doing another 3 months to see if it’s something I want to keep up and maybe sign up for a longer period. OK on to this 5 star book…

 

 

Final Girls was so good I’m not sure where to begin. I knew I wanted to read this a long time ago when I first heard about it. I love horror movies and in all there is that final girl who is the sole survivor to an unthinkable act. This book was dubbed as a must read for fans of those movies. This book was so good. I was hooked from page one and was even reading while cooking  – which is hard to do when it involves making burgers and fries. The writing style was good and I liked the way the story flowed. The characters and there were a lot were well developed and I didn’t get confused by who was who and what back story did they belong to like some other books. There were a lot of backstories within the main story and I liked reading about all of them. I will say I figured out the who was behind everything fairly early on in the book but still enjoyed it so much. I didn’t have the why and back story of the character so I had to keep reading to see just what was wrong with that character. Final Girls are strong girls and survivors and Quincy had some issues of being the sole survivor. She blocked out everything which was her coping mechanism. She also had trust issues, I mean who can blame her right? Overall I think the author portrayed her well-rounded for having been through something that horrible. I really think Final Girls would make for a great movie or 1 season TV show. The ended kinda seemed like it could continue but I’m not thinking that is the case. Maybe the author left it open for us to decide or for them to return to if they ever want to.  Overall I would say this by far is my favorite book I’ve read this summer and will be top 3 for 2017. I recommend this book to anyone who loves a great well-rounded page turning book that keeps you up at night or in my case getting up at 4 am because you can’t sleep another wink till you finish the book.

about the book: Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life-like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

Jane in Austin

A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility

by Hillary Manton Lodge

 

Oh my gosh I fell hard for this book it was such a sweet – charming – heartwarming tale. Usually Jane Austen retelling’s don’t grab me but this one sure did. The cast of characters were all very real feeling. Jane, Celia, and Margot were the sweetest sisters and I loved their closeness even when they were starting to drift a little apart due to strain and stress they still looked out for each other and had each other’s back. Jane and Celia have guardianship of Margot after their dad broke a lot of laws and went into hiding. To stay afloat and start over new they opened a Tea Shop! Oh my how I love my tea so I loved the idea of having a cute little tea shop that offered tea and pastries. My tea shop would also have used books so I could combine my love of tea – books and yummy treats (especially macarons!) They lose everything yet again and pack up to stay with family in Texas. Oh the cast of characters in Texas all have such big personalities. Some are great and have big hearts to go with the saying everything is bigger in Texas. However there is one in particular that I knew was just a little to good to be true from the very beginning. I really wanted someone else to capture Jane’s heart. Retired Marine Captain Callum Beckett was shattered and picking up the pieces not only from his injury but from losing the last member of his family. He had lost his mom when he was young, his brother while he was a Marine and his dad at the very moment he also lost a lot of his Marine team and his leg. I can’t even imagine how someone could lose all so much and still be standing. He was a strong guy that was working through a lot. Jane was that quirky girl who captured his heart with her bold – blunt – a bit odd in her love of tea plants more than people personality. I’ll leave the review at that, since I don’t want to spoil anything. If you’ve read and remember Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility than you know how it ends. The author really has a wonderfully fun writing style and I’ll be checking out her other books very soon. Oh I forgot to mention the best part – the book has recipes! I love books about food that include yummy recipes. There are a few I will be trying very soon. Most of the recipes are sweet treats but there are a few savory ones as well. You probably already guessed it but the sweet treats have a tea twist in the fact that tea is incorporated into the recipe somehow – LOVE it! Oh I almost forgot the rating: I give this book a 100% A+ no actually this one gets over 100% because I’m giving it extra credit for being such a sweet (clean) romance! so A++ this one will be a top 10 of 2017.

about the book: This hip contemporary romance combines Jane Austen-inspiration and foodie fiction in a witty and engaging tale of two sisters who are forced to uproot to unfamiliar Austin, Texas, after high rent and broken relationships force them away from their San Francisco life.  Just a few years after their father’s business scandal shatters their lives, Jane and Celia Woodward find themselves forced out of their San Francisco tea shop.The last thing Jane wants is to leave their beloved shop on Valencia Street, but when Celia insists on a move to Austin, Texas, the sisters pack up their kid sister Margot and Jane’s tea plants, determined to start over yet again. But life in Austin isn’t all sweet tea and breakfast tacos. Their unusual living situation is challenging and unspoken words begin to fester between Jane and Celia. When Jane meets and falls for up-and-coming musician Sean Willis, the chasm grows deeper. While Sean seems to charm everyone in his path, one person is immune – retired Marine Captain Callum Beckett. Callum never meant to leave the military, but the twin losses of his father and his left leg have returned him to the place he least expected–Texas. In this modern spin on the Austen classic, Sense and Sensibility, the Woodward sisters must contend with new ingredients in unfamiliar kitchens, a dash of heartbreak, and the fragile hope that maybe home isn’t so far away.

Thank you Waterbrook Press and Blogging for Books for the copy of Jane in Austin. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.