Book Review: ‘The Gift’ by Rhonda Hopkins

This Christmas story challenges the reader to assess their values and priorities, and to remember what is most important in life. 

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What do we sacrifice for success without realising? Rhonda Hopkins The Gift
When his life is thrown into turmoil with no notice two weeks before Christmas, Robert faces a number of challenges he had never anticipated. The choices he makes will be the difference between success or failure as a father and family man.
The story itself is well-written and nicely developed. I wasn’t expecting the ending to happen as it did, but the ability to surprise a  reader thus is one mark of a good writer.  ‘The Gift’ is an enjoyable and rewarding short read.
This Christmas story challenges the reader to assess their values and priorities, and to remember what is most important in life.
Silver Acorns
Book Squirrel gives this book a Silver Acorn.
Find ‘The Gift’ on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Fairytale Christmas’ by Merrie Destefano

This was Book Squirrel’s Bookish Advent Event selection on December 20, so it’s lovely to be able to award ‘Fairytale Christmas’ a delicious Gold Acorn on Christmas Eve!

Merrie DeStefano FairyTale Christmas

A magical story of the power of love and its ability to endure despite time and evil. The tension of the opening chapters is gripping, setting the scene for the rest of the story to build and develop.

The seamless blend of original fantasy, paranormal elements and legend makes this book unique and fascinating.

I will definitely be reading the rest of this series.

Golden AcornsThis was Book Squirrel’s Bookish Advent Event selection on December 20, so it’s lovely to be able to award ‘Fairytale Christmas’ a delicious Gold Acorn on Christmas Eve!

Find it at Amazon.

Dec 24 ~ Featured Book: ‘The First Christmas’ by JB Richards.

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 23 is ‘The First Christmas’ by JB Richards.

A brand new release, this is a beautiful retelling of the story of the first Christmas that makes perfect Christmas Eve reading. 

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 23 is ‘The First Christmas’ by JB Richards.

A brand new release, this is a beautiful retelling of the story of the first Christmas that makes perfect Christmas Eve reading. JB Richards The First Christmas

What happened on that very first Christmas day? Were heavenly angels singing praises about a new savior as shepherds looked on in awe as they tended their flocks? Did a magical sign in the heavens lead wise men to a special Child—One who would someday day save the world?

Join James bar Joseph as he relives the birth of his younger brother, Yeshua, and reveals that the miracle of the first Christmas may not lie in myth and legend, but in the hopes and dreams of a family destined to change the world forever.

‘The First Christmas’ is available on Amazon.

 

Dec 23 ~ Featured Book: ‘Nine Ladies Dancing 2017’.

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 23 is ‘Nine Ladies Dancing 2017’.

This collection presents ten Regency romances by bestselling authors— some traditionally sweet, some clean, some mildly sensuous — in a boxed set.

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 23 is ‘Nine Ladies Dancing 2017’.

This collection presents ten Regency romances by bestselling authors— some traditionally sweet, some clean, some mildly sensuous — in a boxed set.

Anthology Nine Ladies Dancing 2017

A Lot Like a Lady — Ladies’ maid Juliet Baines finds that pretending to be a lady isn’t nearly as hard as guarding her heart against the folly of wanting a man who’s completely out of reach.

Love, Unmasked — Armed with a new and sensuous gown, a full-face mask, and complete anonymity, Fidelity Scott is determined to make some scandalous memories to sustain her for the rest of her loveless life. But is her life truly without love?

Healing Hearts — Joanna Leighton has seen what love can do to a person and she refuses to subject herself to that pain. But when the quiet and secretive Colin Aldridge moves to town, she begins to wonder if love is perhaps worth the pain it inevitably brings.

Midsummer Love — Three sweet, clean short stories explore just how much fun Regency romance can be.

The Bartered Wife — When her father informs her she’ll be marrying his stepson the next day, Abigail Cavendish stumbles in shock from the house and directly beneath the hooves of a frightened horse. Unconscious, she’s unable to fight back when her father decides to go ahead with the marriage by proxy.

Four Calling Bards — Faced with a sudden plethora of suitors, vicar’s daughter Amanda Collins must choose between the lord of the manor, his footman, or the butcher. Or dare she remain unwed, caring for her father and advocating for the abolition of slavery?

The Color of Deception — After artist Kitty Sullyard mysteriously disappears, Nathaniel Bexley has only a single clue with which to find her. Will he be able to decipher the secret message she’s hidden in a drawing, or will Kitty be doomed to the hands of her kidnappers?

The Duke and His Bluestocking — Augustus Balfour, Duke of Carlisle, needs a wife. But the only woman he finds interesting has no need of a husband. Is there anything he can say to change bluestocking Georgiana Allen’s mind?

The Golden Goose — Rose Walsh tried to escape one man only to be kidnapped and held prisoner by another. She has lived under disguise as a ship’s boy for eight years. Then she hears the voice of a man that sparks a memory of the woman she once was. Will the bond they form see them to safety — and maybe beyond?

Something Like a Lady — Lady Annabella Price prefers hiding out in an abandoned cottage in the country to being with her stepbrother, the Duke of Wyndham, for even a day. At least she did… until the insufferable Lord Seabrook showed up.

‘Nine Ladies Dancing 2017’ is available on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Team Holly’ by Jane Jago

The mutual love and respect between two young men and their stepmother is the beacon of hope for the dysfunctional family at the centre of this story.

 

 

Jane Jago Team Holly
The mutual love and respect between two young men and their stepmother is the beacon of hope for the dysfunctional family at the centre of this story.  Jago has masterfully created a lovable and realistic pair of heroes and very effectively positions the reader as a member of ‘Team Holly’ as the story begins to unfold.

This book serves to remind us that neither families nor individuals are perfect, and that those fractures that are often easier to overlook at other times of the year often come into acute focus at Christmas.

Its dark themes add depth and gravity to this powerful story, beautifully crafted with wonderful writing that draws the reader into the family home and holds them there, a silent witness of awkward, painful and tender moments alike.
Golden Acorns

‘Team Holly’ is fully deserving of a shiny Gold Acorn.
Find this great book at Amazon.

Book Review: ‘A Steampunk Christmas Carol’ by Angelique S Anderson

This new take on the classic tale is both enjoyable and intriguing.

Angelique Anderson A Steampunk Christmas Carol

This new take on the classic tale is both enjoyable and intriguing.

The steampunk elements added a different element, and the design of the spiritual world which Anderson has created and is really interesting. This spiritual layer of ‘administration’ is superimposed seamlessly over the Victorian society of which Dickens also wrote in ‘A Christmas Carol’, upon which this story idea is based.

The characters of Wylie and Adrian are likeable, and serve as an effective foil to Langdon, whose selfish and greedy ways come under scrutiny as the story progresses.

This novella works quite well as a stand-alone story, but is also interesting enough to make the reader want to read the rest of Anderson’s Dracosinum Tales series.

‘A Steampunk Christmas Carol’ is suitable reading for YA and older readers.
Silver Acorns
This book is a really good read and, as such, is awarded a Silver Acorn.

‘A Steampunk Christmas Carol is available on Amazon.

Dec 22 ~ Featured Book: ‘Goldmayne’ by Kate Stradling.

This is a blend and retelling of two quite obscure fairy tales from French-Canadian folklore. As Quebec is one of Book Squirrel’s favourite places in the whole world, this was a “must” for Christmas reading. 

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 22 is ‘Goldmayne’ by Kate Stradling.

This is a blend and retelling of two quite obscure fairy tales from French-Canadian folklore. As Quebec is one of Book Squirrel’s favourite places in the whole world, this was a “must” for Christmas reading. Kate Stradling Goldmayne

Evil witches, cursed royalty, heroes by happenstance, and happily ever after: Duncan does not believe in fairy tales, but when he runs away from his father’s farm, he tumbles headlong into one. Old Dame Groach recruits him as caretaker of her crumbling estate, where he must tend her poisonous garden, beat her white horse daily, and keep far away from the mysterious closet beneath the stairs… and that’s only the start of his fantastical troubles! A retelling and shameless embellishment of the French-Canadian folk tales, “Scurvyhead” and “Sir Goldenhair.”

‘Goldmayne’ is available on Amazon.