Book Review: Christmas in Evergreen by Nancy Naigle

Evergreen, Vermont is about to be in the rearview mirror of Allie Shaw’s vintage red pickup truck. It’s hard to say goodbye to her small town and her veterinarian practice, but she’s moving to Washington D.C., where her big-city-loving boyfriend lives.

Ever since Ryan Bellamy’s wife died, he hardly knows how to celebrate Christmas. He’s decided to take his daughter Zoe to Florida, and Evergreen is just a quick stop on the way to the airport. While they’re there, Zoe partakes in a local tradition, making a Christmas wish on the snow globe at the town diner.

But neither Allie’s nor Ryan’s Christmas goes as planned. They’ve checked their wish lists twice, and they didn’t say anything about meeting someone new…or about a fresh chance at love.

This magical, feel-good romance includes a free Hallmark recipe for Vermont Christmas Card Cookies.

This book just oozed charm from start to finish. The story, the characters, and the town of Evergreen were all so delightful, I didn’t want the book to end. I absolutely loved it and would recommend it to anyone who loves a sweet Christmas story.

The book is a terrific concept from Hallmark Publishing, who recently began selling print books. It’s based on the movie that debuted on the Hallmark Channel last year. I personally think it’s a phenomenal idea, because there is nothing better than a sweet and sappy Christmas movie. Unless it’s a sweet and sappy Christmas book.

Christmas in Evergreen is scheduled to be released on July 10th. You can preorder it at Amazon. They also have the DVD of the movie available for preorder (it comes out June 26).

* I received an e-copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

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The New Disney Princess Book Tag

The Rules:

  • Mention where you saw the tag/thank whoever tagged you because that’s always good fun.
  • Tag Book Princess Reviews and Zuky with our posts so we can check out the wonderful Princess fun throughout the blog world (Book Princess is this link and Zuky’s is here).
  • Play a game of tag at the end!

Snow White

This book (like the movie) started it all
Favorite Debut Book From an Author

I adore Jane Austen. Though my favorite of her novels will always be Pride and prejudice, I also hold a special place in my heart for Sense and Sensibility.

Cinderella

A diamond in the rough
Just Like Cinderella, You Either Didn’t Expect Much Out of This Character in the Beginning But Turned Out to Be a Total Jem

Snape is a character that I have always had mixed feelings about. I think it’s not unfair to say that he’s not a good guy. No matter what his history with Harry’s parents, the way he treats him is definitely out of line, especially considering he’s a full grown adult dealing with (at the very beginning) an 11 year old child. However, as the series goes along, his motives are more clear, and I grew to at least feel sympathy for him. I don’t know that I’d say I love him, but I understand him and think he was, in the end, a good man.

Aurora

Sleeping Beauty
A Book That Makes You Sleepy or Just Could Not Hold Your Attention

I know this is a beloved book, but it just bored me to tears. I finished it, but it was not one I enjoyed.

Ariel

Under the sea
A Book With a Water/Ocean Setting

Water water everywhere, and big old sharks, too. This is a fun, totally over the top and unrealistic gem of a book.

Belle

Beauty and the Beast
Name a Book With the Best Bookworm/Book Lover

Ok, this one may be a bit of a cheat. But it’s the first book I thought of. And it’s a good one.

Jasmine

The Thief and the Princess
Name Book with an Unlikely Love Story (Either in Terms of Romance or a Book You Didn’t Expect to Love So Much)

This was one I passed over time and again because it did not look like something I’d enjoy. But then I saw a few episodes of The Expanse, the Syfy show based on the series and decided to give the books a shot. It has become one of my favorite series. The show was recently dropped by Syfy, but Amazon picked it up so 🤞 it’ll be around a while.

Pocahontas

The real life Princess
Name a Book that is Based on a Real Life Person You Want to Read/Have Read

Wild is Cheryl Strayed’s memoir about her journey along the Pacific Crest Trail. It explores grief, resiliency, and solitude. It’s at times an uncomfortable story, but it’s one I’m glad to have read.

Mulan

The Princess that saved her country
Name the Fiercest Heroine You Know

Jane McKeene is a fantastic heroine. She is smart, fierce, and loyal, and she totally kicks zombie tail. I loved this book, and I’m hoping for a sequel.

Tiana

The Princess with the coolest and most diverse crew
Name a diverse book whether it is a diverse set of characters (like Tiana’s group of Naveen, Louis, Ray, and more) or just diverse in general

This one was more difficult for me to decide on. I feel like this was a pretty diverse, if not fabulous, book. The concept behind it, Anastasia in space, was a great idea, but the execution was lacking. There were pacing problems within the story, and I wanted more backstory and less love story. It was ok. Just not what I was hoping for.

Rapunzel

Let your longggg hair down
Name the Longest Book You’ve Ever Read

I read a lot of long books. I don’t have an easy way to verify this, but I think this is my longest read (at around 1,300 pages) It’s also one of my very favorites, and I have read it multiple times. It’s fantastic. If you’ve not read it, I highly recommend it. Read it, and then come talk to me about it. There’s also a mini-series from the 90’s which is wonderfully cheesy but definitely worth watching.

Merida

I determine my own fate
A Book Where There is No Love Story/Interest or Isn’t Needed

I think I can safely say there was no love story in this one. I mean I am sure Jack and Wendy had a love story at one point, but this book wasn’t it.

Anna/ Elsa

Frozen Hearts
A Book in a Winter/Cold Setting

I got this one recently from Net Galley (my full review is coming soon – the book comes out next month). It’s like warm chocolate chip cookies by a fireplace on a cold stormy night. It is everything cozy and sweet. And it takes place, surprise surprise, during winter.

Moana

How far I’ll go
A Character That Goes on a Journey

I listened to this one on audio a few years ago. It was my first Bill Bryson, and it was hilarious. It made me want to hike the Appalachian Trail. Then I remembered that I like looking at nature through a window in an air conditioned room. But it was still a fabulous book. Seriously, if you haven’t read it, you should. There’s also a film with Robert Redford and Nick Nolte which is cute but not nearly as good (or informative – funny as the book was, I actually learned a ton).

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Book Review: The Usual Sacrifices by Yvonne Navarro

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Sam and Dean Winchester have spent their lives on the road, battling every kind of supernatural threat. Over the years, after dozens of bloody adventures, they have faced everything from the yellow-eyed demon that killed their mother to vampires, ghosts, shapeshifters, angels and fallen gods. With the help of allies-both human and supernatural-they’ve discovered that every threat they vanquish opens a new door for evil to enter in. Visitors passing through Brownsdale, Kentucky are often never seen again. The locals claim that it’s easy to fall victim to the vast local caves if explored unaided, but when two young girls go missing Sam and Dean set out to investigate. As the brothers start to suspect something far more sinister in the town, and possibly lurking in Mammoth Cave, they realise that someone is determined to protect the town secret-even if it means killing Sam and Dean himself.

I have been on a bit of a Supernatural kick lately. Every time I find myself alone around the tv (usually when my little monkey is napping), I’ll turn Netflix on and “watch” an episode or two. I actually am usually reading or doing something else while it’s on in the background, but I often find myself distracted by it and will end up lost in the world of Winchesters. There’s just something comfortable and familiar about the show that I love. So I’ve also been reading the tie-in novels a lot lately. I tend not to read them in order. I don’t have all of them, but I’m slowly collecting them. The last one I picked up, The Usual Sacrifices, is actually the last one that’s been written so far. I’m hoping it’s not the final one ever, but I have a sinking feeling it might be.

The Usual Sacrifices takes place during season 10. Why the cover photo looks like Sam and Dean from season 3 or 4 is anyone’s guess. It bugs me. Do these cover artists not watch the show? Sorry. Went off on a tangent there. Anyway, at this point ::::SPOILER ALERT IF YOU’RE NOT CAUGHT UP WITH THE SHOW:::: Dean has the Mark of Cain and Charlie is back from Oz (she’s not in this one, unfortunately). None of that is particularly relevant to the plot, but it’s where they are in their timeline.

So, these books run from reading just like an excellent episode and they should totally make this into an episode (Fresh Meat by Alice Henderson) to this is kinda sucky and I wonder if the author has actually watched an episode (Coyote’s Kiss by Christa Faust). Where does this one fall on the scale? I’d say pretty close to excellent. Not quite as good as Fresh Meat, which also featured Bobby, so you know, how could it really compete? But better than most of the others I’ve read. The story was really good. Definitely one I could see the show running (though very dark because there were a couple of young victims. It’s always darker, I think, when you’re dealing with kids). It’s got the creep factor that’s always a plus in the show and the books. If you’re even a little claustrophobic, this one’s going to get you. My only complaint is the portrayal of Sam and Dean. For the most part, the characterizations are pretty spot on, but I got the feeling that the author sort of sees Dean as somewhat of a bumbling meathead whose only thought is of his next meal. Maybe not that big of a stretch, but I don’t think he’s quite as dumb as she wrote him. Other than that one minor quirk, I thought this was an excellent addition to the world of Supernatural. I just hope it’s not the final one.

Book Review: The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett

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Unrepentant book thief John Charles Gilkey has stolen a fortune in rare books from around the country. Yet unlike most thieves, who steal for profit, Gilkey steals for love – the love of books. Perhaps equally obsessive, though, is Ken Sanders, the self-appointed “bibliodick” driven to catch him. Sanders, a lifelong rare book collector and dealer turned amateur detective, will stop at nothing to catch the thief plaguing his trade.” “In following both of these eccentric characters, journalist Allison Hoover Bartlett plunged deep into a world of fanatical book lust, and ultimately found herself caught between the many people interested in finding Gilkey’s stolen treasure, and the man who wanted to keep it hidden: the thief himself.”.”With a mixture of suspense, insight, and humor, Bartlett has woven this cat-and-mouse chase into a narrative that not only reveals exactly how Gilkey pulled off his crimes and how Sanders eventually caught him, but also explores the romance of books, the lure to collect them, and the temptation to steal them. All collectors have stories of what first made them fall in love, and Gilkey and Sanders are no different. Bartlett puts their stories into the larger context of book passion, collection, and theft through the ages.
This one was in turns interesting and dull. It was short (I listened to it on audio, and it was only 6 hours) but still managed to seem to drag in spots. I liked the information she provided about the rare books, when she would talk to the booksellers. The parts about Gilkey were less interesting to me. He was an odd one. His theft of rare books didn’t seem to me to stem from a particular love of books. It seemed like he just stumbled on something that was valuable and had a sort of intellectual status he was looking for. It just didn’t feel like he loved books. More that he felt life, and other people, owed him something. As much as I enjoyed some aspects of the story, Gilkey just didn’t seem to warrant an entire book being written about him.

This Week’s Free Audiobooks from AudioFile

My Name Is Not Friday by Jon Walter
Well-mannered Samuel and his mischievous younger brother Joshua are free black boys living in an orphanage during the end of the Civil War. Samuel takes the blame for Joshua’s latest prank, and the consequence is worse than he could ever imagine. He’s taken from the orphanage to the South, given a new name — Friday — and sold into slavery. What follows is a heartbreaking but hopeful account of Samuel’s journey from freedom, to captivity, and back again.

Come August, Come Freedom by Gigi Amateau
In a time of post-Revolutionary fervor in Richmond, Virginia, an imposing twenty-four-year-old slave named Gabriel, known for his courage and intellect, plotted a rebellion involving thousands of African- American freedom seekers armed with refashioned pitchforks and other implements of Gabriel’s blacksmith trade. The revolt would be thwarted by a confluence of fierce weather and human betrayal, but Gabriel retained his dignity to the end. History knows little of Gabriel’s early life. But here, author Gigi Amateau imagines a childhood shaped by a mother’s devotion, a father’s passion for liberation, and a friendship with a white master’s son who later proved cowardly and cruel. She gives vibrant life to Gabriel’s love for his wife-to-be, Nanny, a slave woman whose freedom he worked tirelessly, and futilely, to buy. Interwoven with original documents, this poignant, illuminating novel gives a personal face to a remarkable moment in history.

You can download both audiobooks to your Overdrive app at www.audiobooksync.com

The Shining by Stephen King

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Danny is only five years old but in the words of old Mr Hallorann, he is a ‘shiner’, aglow with psychic voltage. When his father becomes caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, his visions grow frighteningly out of control. As winter closes in, the hotel develops a life of it’s own. Somewhere, somehow there is an evil force, and that too is beginning to shine.

Oh this book. It is brilliant. There’s no doubt about that. Stephen King definitely knows how to set the scene and keep you pinned on the edge of your seat. I can’t say that I loved it. Or even liked it. It made me extremely uncomfortable. It is by far the scrariest thing I’ve ever read. And if I’d had a brain in my head there’s no way I’d have finished the last 120 pages at close to midnight. It took hours to get to sleep because my heart was pounding so hard. Anyway, I will concede that this book is a work of genius. And then I never want to think about it again.

Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly

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Smart, bookish Belle, a captive in the Beast’s castle, has become accustomed to her new home and has befriended its inhabitants. When she comes upon Nevermore, an enchanted book unlike anything else she has seen in the castle, Belle finds herself pulled into its pages and transported to a world of glamour and intrigue. The adventures Belle has always imagined, the dreams she was forced to give up when she became a prisoner, seem within reach again. The charming and mysterious characters Belle meets within the pages of Nevermore offer her glamorous conversation, a life of dazzling Parisian luxury, and even a reunion she never thought possible. Here Belle can have everything she ever wished for. But what about her friends in the Beast’s castle? Can Belle trust her new companions inside the pages of Nevermore? Is Nevermore’s world even real? Belle must uncover the truth about the book, before she loses herself in it forever.

This is a delightful middle grade / YA book that takes place in the middle of the Beauty and the Beast story, right after Belle is introduced to the library. It starts off full of all the magic you’d expect, drags just a bit in the middle, and finishes up with a nice little moral lesson.

I was never a particular fan of the original Disney Beauty and the Beast, but I do love the newer one with Emma Watson. So I went into this with warm and fuzzy feelings towards most of the characters, and of course a book about books is always an easy pick for me. I really loved the story and the additional characters added in Nevermore. If you love the original story or have a love of books and books about books, this is quite a perfect little book. And honestly, who can resist that cover??