Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Kids Christmas Books

Here is a post from my blog A Clever Chick


Last week I took the kids over to the library and checked out a number of kids Christmas books. I love how our library marks the binding with a little candy cane making them easy to find. I'm trying to read a few each day, but so far I've read only three...multiple times. My kids like repetition! I hope to pull a few more from our library bin today, but I thought I'd take a few moments and review the three I read so far.

Dora's Christmas Carol 
by Golden Books (Author), Brenda Goddard (Illustrator), Dan Haskett (Illustrator)


Dora the Explorer takes a magical holiday journey back to the past and into the future to teach Swiper about the importance of giving. Based on the DVD Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure, this full-color hardcover storybook is sure to delight girls ages 3-7.

My thoughts: My kids really are not huge Dora fans. They will sit and watch the television show now and again, but won't seek it out. I wasn't really sure how the book would go over. Well they loved it. Swiper has gotten in trouble by Santa for his swiping and now will not receive a gift unless he learns about the true spirit of Christmas. Dora and Swiper take off on an adventure of Christmas' past and future. My kids really enjoyed the book.

The Perfect Christmas Pageant 
by Joyce Meyer  



The popular Everyday Zoo series for young children by beloved and New York Times bestselling author Joyce Meyer continues with The Christmas Pageant, a heartfelt and humorous story about the true meaning of Christmas. When Hayley Hippo is asked to direct the annual Christmas pageant, she decides this will be her Christmas gift to Jesus and she sets out to make everything perfect. However, after a series of disappointing mishaps, Hayley and her friends learn that they don’t need to be perfect. They realize that Christmas is not about the glittering lights, the perfect setting, or an impressive show, but about Christ.

My Thoughts: I have not read any of the Everyday Zoo books before. I was very interested in this book because I knew it would have a religious sentiment. This is very important to me especially at Christmas. The kids and I really enjoyed the story and I'll be honest and admit to my inner Hayley Hippo trying to make everything perfect. It was a sweet story. I am going to be looking at getting more books in the Everyday Zoo series.

The Crippled Lamb
by Max Lucado 


The inspiring story that has encouraged thousands of children who have felt left out or who have special needs.

In this timeless bestseller, readers experience the tender love God has for those who feel alone and different. Joshua was a lamb with a crippled leg who felt left out because he couldn’t run and play like the other lambs. But God had a very special plan for Joshua’s life, as He does for all who feel alone. Readers can expect a gentle tug on their hearts as the little lamb’s prayers are answered in an amazing way. Original oil-painting illustrations by Liz Bonham brilliantly capture the beauty and warmth of this endearing story.

My Thoughts: I have read one of Max Lucado's children's books and really enjoyed it, so I had a high expectation for The Crippled Lamb. I sat down with the kids and began reading. Within the first pages we were all sad. The poor little lamb. I couldn't imagine what God's plan for him would be. Then it is revealed. I sat there trying not to cry while reading. I did end up in tears. I mean this is an absolutely beautiful story. This is a book I want to read to them again and again because it reminds me how He has a plan for us. Absolutely loved this. 





  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Look of Love by Sarah Jio

“Jio has become one of the most-read women in America.” –Woman’s World




Born during a Christmas blizzard, Jane Williams receives a rare gift: the ability to see true love. Jane has emerged from an ailing childhood a lonely, hopeless romantic when, on her twenty-ninth birthday, a mysterious greeting card arrives, specifying that Jane must identify the six types of love before the full moon following her thirtieth birthday, or face grave consequences. When Jane falls for a science writer who doesn’t believe in love, she fears that her fate is sealed. Inspired by the classic song, The Look of Love is utterly enchanting.

My thoughts...The Look of Love is slightly different from Jio's normal dual storyline. This novel follows current day Jane Williams as she is dealing with a new realized gift of seeing love, though she hasn't experienced it in her own life. The novel is magical and sweet having me falling for a great little group of characters. Everyone around her is dealing with a large gambit of love issues and I really was never sure where any of them was going to end up. The most frustrating part of the novel for me was not knowing what the six types of love were. I kept wanting all these perfect happily ever afters. I actually thought about doing an online search for the six types so I could get everything straight in my head. I'm so glad I didn't. I absolutely loved how Jio tied everything so perfectly together at the end. I sat there going from smiling to crying as a few stories flat our surprised me.

If you are looking for just an all around enjoyable read, grab this! Reading The Look of Love will warm you up during this cold season. Also a perfect Christmas gift (but seriously, all her books are amazing and would make fabulous gifts)! I am a HUGE fan of Sarah Jio and I absolutely enjoyed this from first to the last page. Jio proves again why she is my favorite must read author! Highly recommending.







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Friday, November 21, 2014

Spotlight: BLEEDING HEART by Liza Gyllenhaal + Giveaway

Liza Gyllenhaal has charmed readers with her
gripping and deeply perceptive” (Ben Sherwood, Author of Charlie St. Cloud) novels. Now the author of A Place for Us brings us a captivating new story about a woman’s struggle to rebuild her life after scandal destroys her marriage....

After her accountant husband disappears with millions of dollars stolen from his company’s clients, Alice Hyatt flees New York City and moves to her family’s longtime summer home in a small town in western Massachusetts. There she begins to make a new start, reconnecting with old friends and finding peace—and a growing sense of pride—as a landscape architect.

When extremely wealthy newcomer Graham Mackenzie asks her to design an elaborate garden for him, she can’t turn down the opportunity despite misgivings about Mackenzie’s energy company, which specializes in the controversial practice of fracking.

But just as the project nears completion, she learns Mackenzie’s offer is not all that it seems. Once again, Alice finds herself embroiled in someone else’s crimes, this time putting her newfound success—and possibly her life—in jeopardy....

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

On my Wishlist...

Hello From the Gillespies by Monica McInerney


For the past thirty-three years, Angela Gillespie has sent to friends and family around the world an end-of-the-year letter titled “Hello from the Gillespies.” It’s always been cheery and full of good news. This year, Angela surprises herself—she tells the truth....  The Gillespies are far from the perfect family that Angela has made them out to be. Her husband is coping badly with retirement. Her thirty-two-year-old twins are having career meltdowns. Her third daughter, badly in debt, can’t stop crying. And her ten-year-old son spends more time talking to his imaginary friend than to real ones.  Without Angela, the family would fall apart. But when a bump on the head leaves Angela with temporary amnesia, the Gillespies pull together—and pull themselves together—in wonderfully surprising ways....

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Paris Winter by Imogen Robertson

Imogen Robertson's break-out novel - a deep, dark and opulent tale of Belle epoque Paris, and the secrets and dangers hidden beneath its luxurious facade. Maud Heighton came to Lafond's famous Academie to paint, and to flee the constraints of her small English town. It took all her courage to escape, but Paris eats money. While her fellow students enjoy the dazzling joys of the Belle epoque, Maud slips into poverty. Quietly starving, and dreading another cold Paris winter, Maud takes a job as companion to young, beautiful Sylvie Morel. But Sylvie has a secret: an addiction to opium. As Maud is drawn into the Morels' world of elegant luxury, their secrets become hers. Before the New Year arrives, a greater deception will plunge her into the darkness that waits beneath this glittering city of light.

My thoughts...In this breathtaking tale, Robertson takes you to Paris 1909. I could see, feel and touch the poverty surrounding Maud Heighton. Her English background keeps her from letting anyone around her know of her dire circumstances. She is so close to completing her time at Lafond, she just needs to get through one more Paris Winter. I'm not sure I've met a protagonist I could relate more closely with than Maude. Her integrity meant so much to her. When a job for the Morel family falls into her lap, it seems an answer to prayer. The perfect job. She quickly becomes friends with Sylvie and wants nothing more than to help her, carelessly forgetting to be wary of something being too good to be true. Suddenly with almost no warning the tides change. Maude is no longer the quiet English girl.

The first part of the novel, I simply loved reading the beautifully written detail, getting to know the characters, being carried away by the romance and beauty of the time and yet at the same time seeing poverty and darkness the rest of Paris had to offer. Then I kept waiting for something bad, something big...when things for Maud begin to unravel I was taken aback. I wasn't ready nor could I figure out what was going on (I love that!). I had to know. I had to understand.

The twist and turns of The Paris Winter had me reading into the late hours. Not only was the story itself keeping me fully engaged, but the characters themselves. I wanted to watch how everything would come together or fall apart. I don't want to say too much about the end because I'm not a fan of spoilers and if I say too much I take away from the reader experiencing everything. I will say the closer to the end of the book the harder and harder it became to walk away from the story. Light a fire, cuddle up with a blanket and a copy of THE PARIS WINTER! Highly recommending!




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The books we review on this site (A NOVEL REVIEW) are sent to us by publishers, authors or downloaded from Netgalley. This is a very common practice. We never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are our own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.