Tag Archives: Melody Carlson

If you liked Catching Christmas . . .

12 Dec

My book club read Catching Christmas this month. This heartwarming novella is a departure from Terri Blackstock‘s normal fast-paced suspense, but we all really liked it. It was just the right length for a very busy time of year, it was sweet and touching, and the author’s afterword was an inspiration. So what to read next? If you too liked Catching Christmas, consider the following books for the days leading up to Christmas.

The Christmas Town by Donna VanLiere

Lauren Gabriel spent many years of her childhood in foster homes, wishing her mother would come back for her and be the family she needs. Now twenty-years-old, she still longs for a place that she can truly call home. Her work as a cashier is unfulfilling, and at Christmas it’s unbearable with the songs and carols and chatter of Christmas that she hears throughout the day.

When Lauren ends her shift one night, she finds herself driving aimlessly in order to avoid returning to her lonely apartment. And when she witnesses a car accident she is suddenly pulled into the small town of Grandon, first as a witness but then as a volunteer for the annual fundraiser for Glory’s Place, a center for single mothers and families who need assistance. Could this town and its people be the home she has always longed for?

An Irish Christmas by Melody Carlson

For Colleen, life is spinning out of control. She just lost her husband, and her relationship with her young adult son Jamie is crumbling. Should she confess to him the secret that has been haunting her for twenty years? Jamie has a few secrets of his own. When he announces his plans to join the military, Colleen decides it’s time for the two of them to take a trip together — to Ireland. The truth they discover there could fulfill both their dreams in a way neither ever thought possible.

 

 

Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh

Rick Denton lives his life on his terms. He works hard, plays hard, and answers to no one. So when his mother calls on Thanksgiving weekend begging him to come home after his stepfather has a stroke, Rick is more than a little reluctant. He’s never liked Art and resents the man’s presence in his life, despite the fact that his own father abandoned the family when Rick was just twelve. When what was supposed to be just a couple days helping out at the family bookstore turns into weeks of cashing out old ladies and running off the homeless man who keep hanging about, Rick’s attitude sours even more.

Still, slowly but surely, the little bookstore and its quirky patrons — as well as the lovely young woman who works at his side each day — work their magic on him, revealing to Rick the truth about his family, his own life, and the true meaning of Christmas.

 

Advertisements

Top 10 Tuesday — Cozy Winter Reads aka Christmas Novellas!

4 Dec

Nothing says cozy to me more than a wonderful Christmas novella. And since ’tis the season  . . . here is a list to warm your heart as you snuggle with a hot beverage next to the fireplace. Even if it is 90 degrees where you live, these Christmas novellas will give you a warm feeling that won’t make you sweat 😉 . Funny, poignant, or just plain full of the Christmas spirit, these books run the genre gamut. Grab one (or two, or more) and get ready for some great reading!

For more great cozy winter reads, check out the bloggers who have shared their lists at That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top 10 Cozy Christmas Reads

The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury

Catching Christmas by Terri Blackstock

The Christmas Angel Project by Melody Carlson

The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere

The Christmas Remedy by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall

The Christmas Star by Ace Collins

An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti

The Ornament Keeper by Eva Marie Everson

Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh

Unexpected Christmas Hero by Kathi Macias

 

What’s your favorite cozy Christmas book?

Book Review: A Christmas by The Sea

23 Sep

When Wendy Harper inherits her family’s beachside cottage in Seaside, Maine, she sees it as a way to finally pay off the debts that have mounted since her husband died. But before it can be sold, the neglected property must be renovated. She and her 12-year-old son Jackson move in — temporarily, she reminds him–in order to do the work themselves, even though Christmas is coming. The charming town, along with local craftsman Caleb Colton, pulls on both Wendy and Jackson, who even registers himself for school in a bid to get his mom to move them there permanently. Wendy knows that the most responsible thing to do is to sell the cottage and return to Ohio, but the lure of the sea is hard to resist.

 

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her novels range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in My Flip-Flops) but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, TrueColors,etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including Romantic Time’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, visit her website at http://www.melodycarlson.com/.

 

My Impressions:

A Christmas by The Sea is a charming novella with a quaint coastal Maine setting. Featuring a young single mother and her preteen son, the book celebrates the power of place and family and the presence of God. Wendy Harper and son, Jackson, make their way to Seaside after a few years of struggle and heartache. Wendy had grown up visiting the cottage she has inherited and treasures the memories from happier days. Jackson wants a new start for his small family and does his best to influence Wendy into staying put in the welcoming town. Enter Caleb, a business owner even more charming than the town. Everything is set for a heartwarming tale of love.

I loved the setting of A Christmas by The Sea. Maine has long been on my bucket list of must-see destinations, and the fictional town that Carlson has created just reinforces that desire. I hope the real thing will live up to the great fictional world of Seaside! Characters are real and relatable in their struggles, doubts, fears, hopes, and dreams. I especially liked Jackson and his determination to find happiness for his mom. The book is short, so the action comes fast. The romance probably develops a bit more rapidly than in real life, but I didn’t mind. This is a Christmas romance after all! The theme of God’s provision is naturally woven throughout the narrative –but it’s never preachy.

If you are looking for a quick and cozy Christmas read, A Christmas by The Sea fits the bill. It is a recommended read.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Revel for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday — Book Title Mash Up

7 Aug

That Artsy Reader Girl is challenging bloggers to a Book Mash Up! We are supposed to take two books that combined together would make one awesome new book. I’m afraid my brain is a bit creativity-challenged, so I tweaked the topic this week to a Title Mash Up — two book titles combined to create a fun book with little in common to the originals. Won’t you join the fun by leaving a comment with some mashed together titles?

 

Top 10 Book Title Mash Up!

 

The Captured Bride Most Begrudging 

She really didn’t want to get married.

 

Carolina Reckoning at Gossamer Pond

Let’s move the action down South.

 

Chasing Secrets of A Charmed Life

Must discover that secret!

 

Dressed for Death in The Shadows

You have to look good!

An Endless Christmas Angel Project

A women’s project gone awry!

 

Imperfect Justice Betrayed

Justice just can’t catch a break.

 

Lead Me Home at Last

Can’t wait to get there.

 

Phoebe’s Light My Fire 

Sounds like a story of a racehorse.

 

A Rebel Heart Between Us

You just can’t trust the heart.

 

Rules of Murder at The Flamingo

Let’s make sure we follow the rules.

 

What are some more titles that make a good mash up?

 

Book Review: A Will, A Way, And A Wedding

21 May

As Daphne begins making reluctant plans to let Aunt Dee’s house and life go and pick up the pieces of her fractured life, the guy she’s been dreaming about begins to change his tune. Of course, another huge obstacle pops up at about the same time, threatening to ruin what might finally be true love. Meanwhile, she continues writing the advice column, learning more about love and commitment than she ever thought possible. But will she cinch the deal in time?

To purchase, click HERE.

 

 

 

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller”. Her novels range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in My Flip-Flops) but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, TrueColors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including Romantic Time’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, visit her website at http://www.melodycarlson.com/.

 

My Impressions:

A Will, A Way, And A Wedding had been on my shelves waaay too long. The final installment to Melody Carlson’s Dear Daphne series had been whispering my name for *gasp* a couple of years! I finally succumbed to it, having been shamed by my admission of unfinished series. What had I been waiting for!? This charming and funny finale is a winner!

Daphne Ballinger has spent the better part of a year looking for a husband due to the peculiar terms of her great aunt Dee’s will. But only one man out of many has caught her eye and her heart. Unfortunately there always seems to be something that comes between them. This set-up is the perfect foundation for a fun romance. Carlson puts her main character through the ringer 😉 , as Daphne decides if love and marriage are really in her future, or does God have other plans. I liked that despite the meddling of best friend Sabrina, Daphne puts her plight in God’s hands. Daphne’s faith journey is naturally woven into the story. She relies on God’s wisdom, prays in all situations, and rests in His will. Nothing about the novel seems preachy or contrived. I also liked the small town setting of Appleton and its sometimes quirky residents. A Will, A Way, And A Wedding takes on the small town’s slower pace, even as the deadline Daphne faces looms ahead. Supporting characters are great, especially those closest to Daphne — adopted daughter Mabel and neighbor Sabrina. Daphne comes to the realization that she can face an uncertain future with her friends, family, and God by her side.

I wouldn’t attempt reading A Will, A Way, And A Wedding without first reading the other books in the series. Each novel builds upon each other. But don’t worry, all are great books and are quickly read, so a fun binge is in store for you!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to WhiteFire Publishing for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Series I Really Love, but Hate That I Haven’t Finished!

15 May

Because we always want to keep it positive here at By The Book, I chose to tweak the theme of this week’s Top 10 Tuesday (yet again, LOL!). So instead of highlighting books I hated, I am featuring the series I loved, but haven’t finished yet. In most cases I lack only 1 book to check the completed box. How in the world can I NOT finish a series, especially when the last book waits impatiently on my shelf? Here’s my rationalization: books in a series are usually released once a year. There are so many shiny books that come out between the installments that I just can’t resist, hence leaving very deserving books languishing. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Update: This post shamed me into action! I am currently reading A Will, A Way, And A Wedding by Melody Carlson. I’ll be able to check this one off in a few days.

What about you? Have you ever left a series you absolutely love unfinished? What’s your reason?

Be sure to head over to That Artsy Reader Girl where, hopefully, other bloggers are sharing the love not the hate! 😉

 

Top Series I Have Not Finished

 

The Bowers Files by Steven James

 

Crisis Team by Candace Calvert

 

Dear Daphne by Melody Carlson

 

Elite Guardians by Lynette Eason 

 

Inn At Shining Waters by Melody Carlson

 

Kanner Lake by Brandilyn Collins

 

Secrets of Roux River Bayou by Kathy Herman

 

What series do you need to finish?

Top Ten Tuesday — The Neglected TBR Pile

6 Feb

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme should be titled the Shame Pile, at least for me. Bloggers were charged to search their shelves (and other places hoarders collectors stash their books) for the books that have been waiting the longest to be read. Oh dear! I have to close my ears as I walk past the shelves that fill the rooms of my house because the books whisper, whine, and sometimes shout Pick Me! I’d like to say that the books I chose this week have been on my shelves the longest, but the task was so overwhelming that I settled for random selections. I had such high hopes when I bought these books (and the other fifty gazillion that await). I just knew I would love them because I had loved their sisters and brothers — the books written and read by their fabulous authors. And I am sure I will love them . . . someday. *sigh*  As I lovingly returned them to their places of honor, I promised that one day, they too would join the ranks of the read.

To find out what books other bloggers have waiting, please visit the Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 10 Neglected Books from My TBR Mountain

The Beach House by Sally John

Hope Springs by Lynne Hinton

June Bug by Chris Fabry

Leaving Yesterday by Kathryn Cushman

‘Mater Biscuit by Julie Cannon

The Passion of Mary Margaret by Lisa Samson

River’s End by Melody Carlson

Ruby’s Slippers by Leanna Ellis

Sandpiper Drift by Vanessa Del Fabbro

White Picket Fences by Susan Meissner

What book do you have on your shelf that needs to be read?