Book Review of Christmas by Accident by Camron Wright

Christmas by Accident by Camron Wright

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Book Review of Christmas by Accident by Camron Wright

I’m not going to hear the end of this one for awhile! I am a very strict, “No Christmas until after Thanksgiving!” kind of gal. My kids want to listen to Christmas music right now, in October, and I say no. So, when they find out that I just read and am now reviewing a Christmas book, well, yeah, they’re never going to let it go. I know they’re going to think it’s okay to put up the Christmas decorations and start going Christmas-crazy. Ummmm…..yeah no. This is a fun little book, though. It’s not all about Christmas—there’s a love story in there too! Want to know more? Read all about it in my book review of Christmas by Accident by Camron Wright.

Blurb:

“There are no accidents where love—and Christmas—are concerned. Carter is an insurance adjuster whose longing for creative expression spills over sometimes into his accident reports. Abby works for her adoptive father, Uncle Mannie, in the family bookstore, the ReadMore Café. Carter barely tolerates Christmas; Abby loves it. She can’t wait past October to build her favorite display, the annual Christmas book tree stack, which Carter despises.

When an automobile accident throws Carter and Abby together, Uncle Mannie, who is harboring secrets of his own, sees a chance for lasting happiness for his little girl. But there are so many hurdles, and not much time left. Will this Christmas deliver the miracles everyone is hoping for?

Camron Wright holds a master’s degree in writing and public relations. He says he began writing to get out of attending MBA school, and it proved the better decision. He is the author of the award-winning novels Letters for Emily (a Doubleday Book Club selection), The Rent Collector, and The Orphan Keeper.”

My Book Review:

Besides the fact that this is a Christmas book, and it’s October, it’s a cute story. I like the writing style because it’s easy to read. It’s hard to describe, but I would say that it’s laid-back and easy-going. Although there are a few intense moments, you never feel rushed through the story. I like it. He describes things well, and even while you’re reading about a car accident as it’s happening, you kind of feel like it’s happening in slow motion. It’s as if he takes the time to notice details that one would never recognize in such an intense moment, and it slows everything down for the reader.  

I like the characters in the story. They’re all likable and easy to relate to. I think they’re well developed and realistic. Abby is my favorite. If I weren’t a teacher, I think I’d be a librarian or work in a book store. Abby gets to work in a book store (I wish it were real because I’d love to try out their treats!) and loves to read, which makes her my new best friend. She doesn’t seem to engage in girl-drama, which is good. She has her priorities straight. I love the relationship she has with Mannie.

Carter kind of floats through his life. He doesn’t seem to have any motivation or ambition. He’s not happy, but not upset enough to change either. I do think it’s hilarious that Carter embellishes his accident reports and makes them sound like intense novel story lines. It’s fun to watch him grow throughout the story.

This is a fun book. It’s not too Christmassy; it could be read any time of the year, but it would be fun to read at Christmas. It’s a little cheesy in some parts, but not too bad. It’s an easy, fun, entertaining read. I liked the little lesson nuggets thrown in throughout the book: honesty, family, love, forgiveness, being brave and going for it, prayer, and miracles. It does have a touch of faith and prayer in it, but it’s not the main focus.    

Content Rating PG+Content Rating: PG+ (There isn’t any profanity or violence, except a couple of car accidents, and the descriptions aren’t overly graphic. There isn’t any “intimacy” except a couple of brief kisses.)

Recommendation: Young Adult and up

My Rating: 3.5/5

3.5 Star Rating

Christmas By Accident Blog Tour

 

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2CHyHFx

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

The Rent Collector by Camron Wright The Other Side of the Bridge by Camron Wright  The Evolution of Thomas Hall by Kieth Merrill
 
 

 

Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter

Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter by Emily Belle Freeman and David Butler

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Book Review of Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter: Children's Edition by Emily Belle Freeman and David Butler

Stores start stocking those yummy mini Cadbury eggs in February! Consequently, it’s easy to get caught up in the commercial aspects of Easter. It’s easy to forget the real reason we celebrate Easter. Celebrating A Christ-Centered Easter: Children’s Edition by Emily Belle Freeman and David Butler can help your family remember.  

Blurb:

“Discover how the people around Jesus during the week of His Crucifixion and Resurrection can lead your family closer to Christ this Easter season. This children’s edition of Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter will guide you through seven meaningful traditions inspired by the people closest to the Savior during His holy week.

These simple experiences are not meant to add chores or stress to a reverent holiday season but to offer something different. They will give your family an opportunity to slow down from the candy and egg hunts and instead spend time reflecting on the Savior’s ultimate sacrifice and triumphant Resurrection.

This interactive book invites children to get to know various people in Christ’s life during those sacred days and to discover the lessons they learned in their encounters with Him. It encourages children to ask what they might have done if they had been there on the days when Jesus was crucified and resurrected.

Seven colorful Easter ornaments have been created to accompany the lesson each person teaches. Displaying the ornaments throughout the Easter holiday will remind your children of the lessons they are learning from Christ’s magnificent act. Download the ornaments at christcenteredcelebrations.com.”

 

My Review:

You know me; I love children’s books, especially holiday books. We have several Easter books, and even though my children are getting older, they still enjoy reading them. This book will be a fabulous addition to our Easter collection. You start reading it on the Sunday before Easter, and you read one section a day. On each day you read the scriptural account, you learn about a person, and you do a very small activity. There are ornaments to go with each day that you may download from the website to help remind you. I like that it takes the focus off the Easter Bunny and all the candy, and puts it back on the Savior. The illustrations are beautiful. I like this book a lot, and am excited to read it with my children this week.

Content Rating GRating: G (Clean!)

Age Recommendation: Toddlers and up

Rating: 4.5/5

4.5 Star Rating

To purchase this book click here: https://amzn.to/2DYgKQk

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 
 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

  ChristCenteredHome  Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas by Emily Belle Freeman and David Butler  Even This by Emily Belle Freeman

[Book Review] Christmas Jars-The Collector’s Edition by Jason F. Wright

Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright

[Book Review] Christmas Jars: The Collector's Edition by Jason F. Wright

Blurb:

“Hope Jensen is a young, single woman and an aspiring newspaper writer, and when she receives a much-needed but anonymous Christmas gift, she’s determined to find her benefactor. That search leads her to an unusual family with a longstanding Christmas tradition. Sensing a front-page feature article, Hope desperately wants to publish their story, but doing so would be a breach of trust. What she decides to do will changer her life forever. Destined to become a classic Christmas tale, Christmas Jars is a heartwarming story that will restore your faith in mankind and make you want to start your own Christmas Jar tradition.”
 

My Review:

Over the years I have read a lot of Christmas books, and have loved many of them. This book is definitely somewhere at the top of my favorite list! It’s well written and engaging, and the characters come to life on the page. I felt as if I were there with them; we are best friends now, and I’d love to meet them! Not only that, but the story serves a larger purpose in that it explains what a Christmas Jar is and how Christmas Jars help both giver and receiver. I’d never heard of this before, but what an amazing idea! At the beginning of the year you take an old, empty jar and put it in a safe spot. Then each day when you get home from school or work, you take the change out of your pockets and you put it in the jar. You do this every day all year long. Then the week before Christmas, you take your now-full jar, and you secretly deliver it to someone in need (you could also put a copy of the book with the jar to explain it, but it’s not necessary).
 
You could give the jar to someone with a financial need, but it could also be someone who needs a gift of hope or love. Sometimes the receiver could be someone who needs to know she’s not alone. The possibilities are endless! I love this idea so much! I’ve already talked to my husband about starting our own jar for next Christmas. I’m going to read this book to my kids after Christmas, and we’re going to start a new tradition of a Christmas Jar. My only problem is that I never have cash or change on me, so maybe I’ll need to begin using cash more.
 
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The story is heartwarming, and the real experiences at the back of the book are just as good! I loved reading them. You’ll need a box of Kleenexes handy, but it’s worth it! And who knows? Maybe you’ll want to start your own Christmas Jar tradition!
 
If you want to read more about this book, learn about the author, or read more amazing Christmas Jar stories, head over to: http://christmasjars.com/
Or you may go to the Christmas Jars Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/christmasjars/ 
 
 
Content Rating G

Rating: G (There’s no profanity, “intimacy,” or violence.)

Recommendation: Everyone!

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
 
 

Other Christmas Titles You May Enjoy:

Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas by Emily Belle Freeman and David Butler   The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson   A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
 
 
 
 
 

[Book Review] Celebrating A Christ-Centered Christmas by Emily Belle Freeman and David Butler

[Book Review] Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas by Emily Belle Freeman and David Butler

Blurb:

“Discover how each figure of the Nativity can lead your family closer to Christ this Christmas season. This children’s edition of Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas will guide you through seven meaningful traditions inspired by the Nativity setting. These simple experiences are not meant to add more to an already crowded holiday season but to offer something different. They will give your family an opportunity to escape from the frantic bustle of the Christmas season and spend time reflecting on the baby Jesus and the miracle of His birth.
 
This interactive book invites children to watch each figure approach the waiting manger and encourages them to ask what they might have done if they had been there on the night Jesus was born. Seen beautiful ornaments have been created to accompany the lesson each figure teaches. Displaying the ornaments throughout the Christmas holiday will remind your children of the lessons they are learning about the baby Jesus. Your free download of the ornaments can be found at www.christcenteredcelebrations.com.

 

My Review:

Children’s picture books are one of my favorite things, and Christmas books are even better! I love reading them, and I especially love reading them to my kids…still! Even though they are big (my baby is 9!), they will all sit and listen. This book will be a wonderful addition to our Christmas books, I am so excited to share it with them! I love the illustrations in this book; they are beautiful; whimsical, and yet so full of emotion.
 
You’re supposed to begin reading this book a week before Christmas. Each day you read another page and add another figure to the Nativity scene. There is a question for every day, and as you answer the questions and ponder about the person discussed, you learn more about yourself and your feelings toward the Savior. There is also a quick activity you may do with your family that is suggested for each of the seven days. For example, on the second night it says,
 
What secret act of Christmas kindness could your family participate
in this season? As you perform your secret act, think of Joseph. 
His quiet acts went uncelebrated, but they were
so needed. When you have finished this activity,
place Joseph’s figure in your waiting stable.
 
The activities are mostly activities you may do anyway, and I’m sure you could do your own activities if you already have these traditions. It’s just a simple way to get the family together at the end of the day and remind them of the true meaning of Christmas. There is also an ornament for each day. You may purchase them ready-made or there is a free download on the website listed above. There’s also a cute banner that you may purchase, along with a simple Nativity scene. You don’t need anything fancy; just spending time together thinking of the story of the Nativity will bring the true spirit of Christmas into your home. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it!
 
Content Rating G

Rating: G (Clean!)

Recommendation: Everyone

 
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

[Book Review] The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderson

The Little Match Girl
by
Hans Christian Anderson
Retold by
David Warner
Paintings by
Greg Newbold

Blurb:
“It’s Christmas Eve, but for one little girl, there will be no stockings hung lovingly above the fireplace or shiny presents wrapped under the tree. The best that the little match girl can hope for is a warm, dry corner of the street to protect her against the freezing snow that has been falling for hours. Helpless and cold, the child seeks a bit of comfort from the only source she has–the bundle of matches in her apron pocket. She had struggled all day to sell even one, but the crowds of people had only hurried past her with hardly a glance as they finished up their holiday shopping and rushed home to begin their feasts. Alas, at least she has the matches now, each one holding the promise of a few short seconds of warmth and light. But as she strikes each match, she discovers a truth that sets her heart soaring–all along, even in times when she has felt most alone, she has been lovingly watched over by those who have gone before her and have anxiously awaited a joyous reunion. She learns she is not forgotten, and in the learning shares a poignant message of love and service. The tender tale of the little match girl reminds each of us to take notice of the least of those among us and to do our part to extend a kindly hand–at Christmastime and always.”
My Review:
Happy December everyone!! I wanted to get this review out earlier today, but life happened! I did go for a run and get my house cleaned though, so that was something. I wanted to start December out with this beautiful Christmas picture book. The illustrations are amazing. Seriously. They are so beautiful! The story is so sad, but very well written. I haven’t read it before, so I wasn’t prepared. Grab your Kleenexes my friends, you’ll need them. Even though it is very sad, there is a little bit of hope for something better. In the intro. it says,
Though on the surface, the little girl seems the picture of misery and despair, her story is one of 
hope for a better life and assurance that a joyous reunion in heaven is awaiting even God’s most helpless children. Despite her suffering, the little girl finds warmth and light, ever believing that all will be right in the end. It is a message that has stood the test of time–and one that reminds each of us to look for ways to bring warmth of love and light of understanding to others. 

This book is a wonderful way to start the Christmas season. Christmas is a wonderful time of year to remember those around us, and to try a little harder to help and serve those around us who are in need of our help, love, kindness, smile, comfort, friendship, and service. With that, I thought I’d share this wonderful opportunity with you. I don’t do this often, but I think this one is important. It is put together by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon Church), but it is non-denominational. It is people and service oriented. It’s called “Light the World,” and it’s 25 ways to serve for 25 days. It started today. Each day from now until Christmas there is a short movie clip and an idea for an act of service. I’ll post the first movie here. If you would like to participate (you don’t sign up or anything, it’s just on your own), you may go to www.mormon.org to find out more information and to see the daily videos. Merry Christmas everyone!!!

[Book Review] Marysvale by Jared Southwick

Book Review of Marysvale by Jared Southwick

Marysvale 
by 
Jared Southwick

Summary:

“John Casey was ten years old when his mother was murdered…and ten when his father hid the truth from him. Without that knowledge, he has no idea of the enemies that lie in wait. Now grown up, John lives a solitary life, in a world enslaved by ignorance and superstition, when anyone unusual is treated with distrust and even killed…and John has some very unusual gifts. When he is accused of witchcraft, John does the only thing he’s ever done–Run! That is, until he meets Jane who lives in the bleak, imprisoned town of Marysvale. Life outside the safety of the town walls means certain death from the brutal monsters that hunt there. However, life inside, under the rule of a tyrannical leader, means no life at all. As the love between John and Jane grows, the dangers of Marysvale unfold; and for the first time in his life, John discovers that there is something worth dying for.”

My Review:

I really liked this book. I like Mr. Southwick’s style of writing. It is fast-paced and keeps you on your toes. I couldn’t just stop at the end of the chapter, I’d have to keep reading, which turned into some very long nights. I really liked the character development in this book. I felt connected to each of the main characters, and even to some of the characters that only appeared once or twice, like the man who saves John when he is running from the town authorities. The descriptions Mr. Southwick uses to describe the characters make you feel as if you are actually face to face.  I liked the story line even though I sometimes have trouble relating to “monsters.” In this book the “monsters” seemed plausible and were scary. I read a lot at night when I can’t sleep, and can usually read on the couch, but with this book I had to read in bed with my husband next to me because it kind of freaked me out in the dark.

I liked that there was none to very little language in this book. I can’t remember any profane words, but there may have been one that I can’t remember. There is violence, and some of it is scary and graphic. There is a lot of “monster” killing, and fighting. There is a section that talks about human slavery, which I didn’t really like, and thought it was graphic, but it only lasts a page or two. There are deaths in this book, and it can be dark at times, but there are also light-hearted and tender moments. There is some romance going on with kissing. One part that was quite disturbing was when John had to listen to two of his girl friends (not girlfriends) be tortured. You find out that it was only physical, not sexual, but during the scene it is almost implied. That scene was disturbing.

Overall I really enjoyed the book. There is a theme going on about how people will choose to lose their freedoms in order to be safe. I know this argument goes on every day here in the United States of America, and it was interesting to see why these people chose to give up their freedoms, and then how they wished they had them back, but it was too late.

Rating: PG-13+ (almost R) No language, but violence and death. There is the scene where the women are being tortured and there is also a scene about human slavery. It is also scary. At least it had me freaked out during some scenes.

Recommendation: I’m going to have to say maybe 15 or 16 and up. My 9 year-old who has read all the “Harry Potter” books asked if he could read it and I said no. It’s not because of language, it’s just that there are some scenes that I think would be too much for that age group. I don’t want him reading about women being tortured and people being sold into slavery. I know that happened in history, but seeing it through Mr. Southwick’s descriptions made me cringe. And, I don’t want him coming into my room with nightmares of the “monsters.”

I highly recommend this book. I hope I didn’t make it seem too bad. It’s not, it’s just those couple of scenes. I loved it. I loved the tension, the scariness, the characters, the twists and turns, and the writing style.

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

*Note* I originally published this review on 8/9/11, updated on 10/29/14 and 10/31/17.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children 
by
  Ransom Riggs

Blurb:
“A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of peculiar photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its decaying bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that Miss Peregrine’s children were more than just peculiar. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow-impossible though it seems-they may still be alive.”
My Review:
Months ago my book group decided to read this book in October for Halloween. At that point I got on the library’s website and there was a very long waiting list for this book. I managed to get the book a few days before book group, which I was really excited about. Then I got sick. And I did nothing but read and sleep for two days. I missed book group, but I finished the book. I love the uniqueness of this book. I love that it’s based on real collections of old photos. When I started reading this book I didn’t realize that the photographs were real. These photos are old, and peculiar is definitely a good way to describe them! I enjoyed looking through the photos; that was one of my favorite parts of this book. The writing is well done; it is easy to read, flows well, and is interesting. There are twists and turns along the way that keep you turning pages. As you read you become involved in the lives of each of these different characters and you begin to care about them. You begin to be scared, happy, and worried about them. Jacob is a good kid. He witnessed a horrible scene and was thrown into a world that he didn’t even know existed. I liked him as a character and thought he was well written. Overall, I enjoyed this book. It’s a little dark, a bit depressing, and very peculiar, but at the same time it speaks of loyalty, friendship, and taking care of those who can’t take care of themselves. 
Rating: PG-13+ (There is some profanity. There’s not a ton, but the words used are a little harsher than just the “normal” ones. There’s no “intimacy” besides the hint of romance and some almost-kissing. There is some violence. Animals are slaughtered and several characters die in graphic ways.)
Recommendation: 16 years-old and up. ( I have a 15 year-old son, and I didn’t feel comfortable with him reading that profanity, so I decided to make him wait a year or so longer. I know he hears profanity at school, but that doesn’t mean I feel comfortable having him read it.)

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever!

I know it’s past Christmas, but……
Merry Christmas!!!!
I have been completely preoccupied for the last six weeks! (You could probably tell that I have not posted as much as I usually do.) I have been subbing full-time for my daughter’s class at school. Her teacher had a baby and asked me if I would sub her class for the next 12 weeks. Wow. It has been crazy! I haven’t worked full-time in 14 years, since I had my first baby. That was when I taught first grade, but it has been 14 years! Let’s just say that jumping back into it has been a HUGE adjustment for all of us. I’m halfway through! Six more weeks to go and then hopefully I can get back to my usual routine! I usually do my reading at night when everyone is asleep and I can’t sleep. However, the last six weeks I have fallen asleep so fast that I haven’t been able to do much reading. I did, however,  manage to read this book. I love this book! I have read it many times, but it’s been a few years; so I was excited to pick it up again. 

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

Blurb (from amazon.com):

The Herdmans are the worst kids in the history of the world. They lie, steal, smoke cigars, swear, and hit little kids. So no one is prepared when this outlaw family invades church one Sunday and decides to take over the annual Christmas pageant.

None of the Herdmans has ever heard the Christmas story before. Their interpretation of the tale — the Wise Men are a bunch of dirty spies and Herod needs a good beating — has a lot of people up in arms. But it will make this year’s pageant the most unusual anyone has seen and, just possibly, the best one ever.”

My Review:

I love this book! It’s so cute and full of wonderful lessons; for Christmas time and all year long. The narrator is hilarious and engaging. She has a funny personality that makes you care about her and her story. The mom is so patient and usually has a positive outlook. The Herdmans are awful. I read this to the kids and I had to stop and talk about how unhealthy smoking is, and how stealing and setting fire to things are bad choices. However, it sets a great stage for what is to come in the story. Their bad behavior makes the change that much more poignant. I won’t give it away, but some of the lessons learned are to actually think about the things we do, instead of just going through the motions, and to really think about the things we believe in. It also teaches the importance of not judging others, and to not gossip. It’s a quick read, yet it is such a great book to read at this time of year. Reading this book helps put things in perspective. 

Rating: PG+ (It does talk about the kids smoking, burning things, and doing all sorts of bad things. It does have a religious overtone to it-just fyi.)

Recommendation: As long as mom or dad are sitting there discussing the poor choices that the kids are making, this book is fine for about first grade and up. As a silent read I would say third grade (but I would still recommend that a parent discusses it with them).


Christmas Bookmarks!!!

I have a VERY talented friend! Her name is Colette, and she is the amazingness (Yes, I know that’s not a word, but it describes her perfectly!) behind 

If you ever need any sort of printable (planners, calendars, fabulous subway art, 
bottle cap prints, candybar wraps, Halloween BOO signs….anything, go to her site first 
(I found that out the hard way! I spent hours searching on Pinterest for something and I finally found it! Guess whose it was?? Yep, Colette’s; I should have gone there first and saved myself a lot of time!). Anyway, she has this darling FREEBIE printable bookmark
that she said I could share with all of you! I know my kiddos love bookmarks, and holiday
ones are the best! So please, check out her site, and go grab your cute
Christmas Bookmarks!!!

Here is the link: