Monday, December 30, 2013

Back to Christmas by Dennis Canfield

Back to Christmas by Dennis Canfield

This book was so cute! A great Christmas story that I can see being made into a movie.

Marmel, head labeling elf he is in charge of labeling the naughty and nice and he is in a tizzy because Santa changed the rules and now no one is on the naughty list but Marmel has found a whole family (The Krumwerth’s) that he thinks should be on the permanent naughty list, no more chances they are just bad, bad, bad, at least according to Marmel. However Santa wants to give them a chance to redeem themselves, much to Marmel’s chagrin. According to the rules Marmel must inform the family they are in danger of being on the naughty list forever, so he heads to the house and informs teenaged Amanda of the family’s fate. We also get to see Santa’s brother RC (Reverse Claus) who lives on the South Pole and wears green and has green and white candy canes, which I will never look at without thinking of RC again!

I enjoyed the Krumwerth family too they used to have fun on Christmas but have somehow forgotten their Christmas spirit, but they aren’t the only ones Marmel seems to be having a problem with this himself and for and Elf that is a very bad thing to happen.

The story is told by Marmel & Amanda in alternating chapters as you see how they try to get their Christmas Spirit back. I enjoyed the family stuff and know what it is like when Christmas becomes more of a chore than the fun and family it is supposed to be. I also enjoyed the scenes in the South Pole and hope maybe RC will get his own book one of these days!

I truly enjoyed this book and can so see it as movie **Hello Hollywood… Do You Hear Me?**

I highly recommend this fun book, even if you are done with your Christmas reads for the year I say pick one more up. I will be buying a paper copy for our library.

4 ½ Stars

I received this book from Netgalley for a fair and honest review.

PS I see there is an audiobook version of this that I am sure would make a fabulous roadtrip book for you and your family!

Additional Info:

I listened to the audiobook, and I was not disappointed, Ralph Lister’s narration was fantastic all the characters, voices and accents were fabulous!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Blackout (Blackout #1) by, Robison Wells narrated by, Ray Porter

Blackout (Blackout #1) by, Robison Wells narrated by, Ray Porter

This book suffered from not enough world building and possibly an editing problem, not the usual to many words but this felt like it had been over edited there were times when I felt like I’d missed something the story seemed to jump so fast.

I do enjoy this authors writing I just wish there had been more world building.  I am hoping that there will be more explanation in the coming books which I will at least give a try. I am also going to read the ebook prequel Going Dark and see if that gives us a bit more world building and will be back to let you know!

I enjoyed Ray Porter’s narration, though at times it felt like a straight read and then he’d suddenly start doing voices, but I would listen to him again.

I liked this book enough to be curious about the rest of the series because I did like the characters and am curious about where they will end up.

2 ½ Stars

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Comfort and Joy by India Knight, narrated by, Anne Flosnik

Comfort and Joy by India Knight, narrated by, Anne Flosnik

Hmm what to say about Comfort & Joy, first of all this isn’t your normal sappy with a good moral Christmas story it is more Sex in the City meets AbFab Christmas story. And that is exactly what I liked about this book it was fun and had many laugh out loud moments, but not one you want to listen to in public without earbuds in it does get a little racy in spots but that is half the fun of this book.

I liked the characters in this book, Clara was trying to do the best she could and I like that she included not only her exes but their families too so her children would still have family there for Christmas, which I found very refreshing. She is a bit of an A personality when it comes to planning the big Christmas meal and was happy that on the third Christmas in the book they went to Marrakesh and she let others do much of the work.

I related to Clara so much, trying to plan the perfect Christmas for a bunch of people you’re not sure you even want to spend time with let alone what’s supposed to be a happy holiday. But I loved how she handled it, I myself would have drank much more!  I loved Clara’s wit and sarcasm, I am a bit sarcastic myself so I enjoyed this aspect of Clara’s personality immensely!

Anne Flosnik’s flawless narration helps this book along at times and who knew she had such good comic timing, she embodies Clara and all the other characters, as always Anne’s narration was spot on!

Just a warning if you are reading or listening to this in public there are some laugh out loud moments and you may get sideways glances from people around you, I would also recommend not eating or drinking anything while reading especially the first half or you may ruin your book and/or your clothes from spitting whatever you have eaten or attempted to drink!

If you like your Christmas stories on the bawdy, funny side I highly recommend this book. Just don’t go into it thinking you are getting a heartwarming sappy read because that’s not this book!

4 Stars

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Wedding Gift , by Marlen Suyapa Bodden narrated by, Jenna Lamia & January LaVoy

The Wedding Gift , by Marlen Suyapa Bodden narrated by, Jenna Lamia  & January LaVoy

This was a great story. If you enjoyed The Kitchen House I think you will enjoy this one! Set in the time of slavery the story is told by slave Sarah and slave owner Theodora.

This was a fascinating story and made me realize something awful, so many slave owners had children with their slaves but never considered them their children, just their property to buy and sell and abuse at a whim. I just can’t understand how these men could treat their own flesh & blood this way that it is very disturbing.

There were times I thought for sure Sarah would see some very tough times because she seemed to talk about running away a lot and in front of people she shouldn’t trust.  Her mother was an amazing woman who took care of her children the best way she knew how and did things she had to do to keep her children safe and close, I think the realization of that really hit her daughters when certain things happened to Belle, when Emmeline decided to try to stand up for herself and learned a hard lesson.

Then we have Theodora who came from a family that called its slaves servants and treated them much better than the family she married into, the Allen family is a much tougher bunch with not only its slaves but its women too. Theodora’s marriage isn’t a happy one no matter how hard she tries, add to that the fact that her husband is having relations with one of the house slaves, Emmeline and has fathered a child with her. But Theodora is an amazing woman and rises above the abuses her husband doles on her and everyone else and her and Emmeline actually become very close. Their daughters Clarissa and Sarah grow up together never realizing (till later) that they are sisters but these two girls grow up best friends spending all their time together including doing schoolwork, even though it is illegal for slaves to learn to read and write Theodora sees nothing wrong with this, but will she eventually pay the price for teaching Sarah to read & write?

Thoughts on the audio production, I am already a huge fan of Jenna Lamia but this was my first time hearing January LaVoy and I must say I was very impressed and will be finding more books narrated by her. The narration of this book was so perfect both narrators bring these two women to life with such ease, I was very impressed with the narration and it ranks up in the top 10 of the year.(2013)

If you haven’t guessed I truly loved this book, I thought it was a very well written story, and I enjoyed seeing things from both perspectives.

I highly recommend this book especially on audio!

5 Stars