Review: Keeping Christmas by Dan Walsh

keepingchristmas_walsh_revellStan opened the ugly ornaments box and pulled out the top three ornaments, the ones wrapped in green paper, the kids’ favorites, and set them on the coffee table. He picked up the first one, the biggest one–Anna’s blue pinecone–and began to unwrap it. Without thinking, Judith walked up, stopped him, and gently took it out of his hand. She wrapped it back up, set it carefully in the box. Then picked up the other two ornaments, put them in the box, and closed the flaps.

“What’s the matter?” Stan said. “Did I do something wrong?”

“I don’t think I can do this.”

Nothing is more beautiful than family

For the first time since their children were born, empty nesters Judith and Stan Winters spent Thanksgiving without the kids, and it’s looking like Christmas will be the same. Judith can’t bring herself to even start decorating for the holiday; her kids always hung the first ornaments on the tree, ornaments they had made each year since they were toddlers. Sure, the ornaments were strange-looking–some were downright ugly–but they were tradition.

With Judith refusing to decorate the bare spruce tree in their living room, Stan’s only hope for saving the holiday is found in a box of handmade ornaments . . . Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Goodnight, Manger by Laura Sassi and Jane Chapman (illus.)

goodnightmanger_zonderkidz_bklkbloggers

Take the story of the birth of Jesus and skip to the evening when Mary is attempting to lull her (in this version) fussy baby to sleep while animals and visitors are causing various levels of chaos, and you have the premise of this hardback picture book.  Written in verse and illustrated in earthy tones, heavy on the orange, this is the most visually active bedtime storybook I have ever seen. Continue reading

Quick Review: The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray by Robert Schnakenberg

bigbadbkofbillmurray_schnakenberg_quirk

I like Bill Murray.  He is an amusing guy and he plays a doofus really, really convincingly well.  I’ve always been under the impression that in person he would be smart, charming and likable.  But I’ve never considered myself a fan.

The coworker (we’ll call him “Kevin”) I share an office with, however, was pretty excited when he looked over my shoulder and saw this book in among the giveaways on booklikes.com, and I caved in to his pressure enthusiasm and entered… Continue reading

Review: Stonebridge Conspiracy by David Moore

stonebridgeconspiracy_moore_selfpubIn honor of America’s Veterans Day, I am reposting reviews of Unmentionables by Laurie Loewenstein (read the review here) and Stonebridge Conspiracy by David Moore that were written before I began blogging.  Each book features a main character who served during World War I and both are books I would highly recommend.  After each review I will include links to my reviews of other historical fiction books with characters who are veterans of America’s Revolution and Civil War.

Following is my review of Stonebridge Conspiracy, with one small edit, originally posted on GoodReads and BookLikes in October of 2014: Continue reading

Review: Unmentionables by Laurie Loewenstein

Unmentionables_loewenstein_akashicIn honor of America’s Veterans Day, I am reposting reviews of Unmentionables by Laurie Loewenstein and Stonebridge Conspiracy by David Moore (read the review here) that were written before I began blogging.  Each book features a main character who served during World War I and both are books I would highly recommend.  After each review I will include links to my reviews of other historical fiction books with characters who are veterans of America’s Revolution and Civil War.

Following is my review of Unmentionables by Laurie Loewenstein, unedited, originally posted on GoodReads in November of 2013: Continue reading