12/12/17

Cut & Assemble Santa’s Workshop - Matt Bergstrom


5 Stars!

ABOUT THE "BOOK" - 
Get ready for Christmas with a fun-filled project that not only offers a holiday activity for the whole family but also makes a charming keepsake decoration. One side of this festive model looks like a traditional cut-and-assemble building and the other reveals the interior of Santa's workshop. The dollhouse-like effect includes scenes of Santa's elves at work and Mrs. Claus in her office, checking off a list of naughty or nice names.
No prior experience is necessary for assembling this easy-to-make scale model. Detailed instructions and diagrams explain every step of the assembly process, from cutting, folding, and gluing to adding the finishing touches.
  
ABOUT THE CREATOR/DESIGNER -
Chicago-based Matt Bergstrom is a graphic designer, photographer, and papercraft artist. His Wurlington Press imprint publishes a series of postcard-sized paper architecture kits that re-create the iconic skylines in miniature. Matt is a fan of road trips and offbeat tourist attractions, national monuments, and unusual natural wonders. He has nearly completed his quest to sketch pancakes at diners and cafes in all 50 states.

MY THOUGHTS -
WOW! This is cool! Difficult, and definitely not for a child, but way cool. I seriously think it will take me weeks to finish it - but I am determined to finish it! This is a very detailed model of Santa's workshop that you (as the title says) cut & assemble.

OK some helpful hints -
* You should definitely have s scoring tool (which I do have luckily). This is light weight cardstock but the small pieces are hard to fold exactly. The more exact you are the better it will turn out.
* I suggest using a strong double sided tape, not glue. Glue is messy and takes longer to dry. But double sided tape works perfect.
* Read all the directions first! And be sure to follow the directions - This project is intricate and a little confusing. You will want to know what you are doing before you forge ahead.
* Take your time and just go one step at a time - and enjoy it as you go!

This is as far as I have gotten -

I would love to post more pictures as I go along. So come back and check out the progress. Maybe I'll have it done by Christmas??

So all-in-all - yes it is HARD... but I think it is so worth it! I mean, I don't think I would have liked it if it had been easy. I do like a challenge. It makes it more fun and it is going to be so awesome when it is done! And I will feel like I really accomplished something. I am just not sure how I am going to store it between Christmases. I may just have to get it its own special box.

There are a couple other ones by Matt Bergstrom. I want more! Maybe the Haunted house next?

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Dover Crafts Thank You!!

Order yours from amazon - HERE

12/11/17

Christmas At Grey Sage by Phyllis Clark Nichols


3.5 Stars

ABOUT THE BOOK -
This Christmas, there's plenty of room at the inn.

Nestled in the snow-covered Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Santa Fe, the Grey Sage Inn looks like the perfect place for weary travelers to escape the craziness of the Christmas season. There's plenty to see in historic Santa Fe during the day, and the inn's owners, Maude and Silas Thornhill, are happy to spend their evenings hosting this year's guests from across the country.

But an unusual snowstorm throws a wrench in the festive mood. The sprawling inn becomes close quarters as stranded guests discover this Christmas won't be the relaxed vacation they expected. Tension and fear mount as the storm worsens, and Silas, a retired doctor, is called away in the middle of the night to care for a neighbor. The snow and stress unlocks tongues-and in the unexpected conversation that follows, secrets and pasts are revealed, and hearts are healed.

In the midst of snowdrifts and fireside conversations, of tales of days gone by, the warmth of Christmas brings a renewed hope as these trapped strangers become friends-proof again that the joy, hope, peace, and love of Christmas can be experienced no matter where you are.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR -
Phyllis Clark Nichols believes everyone could use a little more hope and light. Her character-driven Southern fiction explores profound human questions from within the simple lives of small town communities you just know you've visited before. With a love for nature, art, faith and ordinary people, she tells redemptive tales of loss and recovery, estrangement and connection, longing and fulfillment, often through surprisingly serendipitous events. Phyllis grew up in the deep shade of magnolia trees in South Georgia. Now she lives in the Texas Hill Country with her portrait-artist husband, where red birds and axis deer are her ever-ravenous neighbors. She is an English major and classically-trained musician, seminary graduate, concert artist and co-founder of a national cable network for the health and disability-related programming. After retiring as a cable network executive, Phyllis began leading mission teams to orphanages in Guatemala and now serves on three non-profit boards where she works with others who are equally passionate about bringing hope and light to those who need it most.

Find out more about Phyllis at http://www.phyllisclarknichols.com.

MY THOUGHTS - Book 3 of my Holiday reading!
A fun, interesting, and original Christmas story! While this won't go down as my favorite one, I did have trouble getting into it at first (it was slow in the beginning for me). Overall it was still a very good read. There definitely some thoughtful and heartwarming moments in here. I have never read a Christmas story based in NM so that was nice. Great descriptions!

I can't say I felt the character development was strong but the characters were very interesting! A group of strangers, all different personalities with different backgrounds and different issues they were dealing with - all come together to end up having a great Christmas together!

A nice, easy flowing sweet Christmas read that is all about what Christmas should be!

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Litfuse Thank You!!
Order your copy from amazon - HERE

12/8/17

Christmas Recipes From Five of Your Favorite Authors - Sharon Kleve, Jennifer Conner, Angela Ford, Jennifer Chambers, & Ella Medler


ABOUT THE BOOK -
5 Incredible Authors — 50 Amazing Recipes

What's better than sharing some favorite recipes for the holiday season? It brings together family traditions and love.

There is a recipe for everyone. Including: vegetarian, vegan, main courses, side dishes, drinks, and of course luscious desserts.

MY THOUGHTS -
OK first off - the cover - ADORABLE!!!! Props to whoever chose that one! 

I am a vegetarian so there are a few recipes in here that I would not eat, but my husband would like a few of the ones I don't  :-)
I know he would like Sharon's "Christmas Eve Barbecue Ribs" - Can I tell you a secret... shhhh - I have never made ribs! I wouldn't even know how... until now! I think I could actually do it following these very simple directions.

OK Sharon - the Christmas Morning Frittata - YUM, now that I would make and eat! and the whiskey glazed sweet potatoes. Now you're just making me hungry!

Some other great recipes -
Raspberry Margaritas - I seriously might have to make these!
Candy Cane Dark Chocolate Cookies
Loaded Baked Potato Casserole - to make it vegetarian I would use veg broth instead of chicken and leave out the bacon - then it would be perfect!
Julene's Hearty Clam Chowder - Holy crap - now you're talkin!
Hot Candy Cane Nog -  all this need is a little Rum!
Cinnamon Spice Coffee - Did I mention I am a coffee-aholic!???
Yammy Burritos - Whaaat? A vegetarian dish! This sounds really awesome. I really think I might make these the day after Christmas when my daughter and her hubs come down for a few days! Thank you Jennifer Chambers for making my planning a little easier!
Millionaire's Best Kept Secret - (Shortbread/chocolate bars with bourbon). Alright- you had me at Bourbon!


And that's just a few of the delicious recipes in this book! So much good yumminess!

Thanks Sharon Kleve for sending this my way!

Order your copy from amazon - HERE



12/7/17

A Little Christmas Faith - Kathryn Freeman


4.5 Stars!

ABOUT THE BOOK -
Is it time to love Christmas again?
Faith Watkins loves Christmas, which is why she’s thrilled that her new hotel in the Lake District will be open in time for the festive season. And Faith has gone all out; huge Christmas tree, fairy lights, an entire family of decorative reindeer. Now all she needs are the guests …
But what she didn’t bank on was her first paying customer being someone like Adam Hunter. Rugged, powerfully built and with a deep sadness in his eyes, Adam is a man that Faith is immediately drawn to – but unfortunately he also has an intense hatred of all things Christmassy.
As the countdown to the big day begins, Faith can’t seem to keep away from her mysterious guest, but still finds herself with more questions than answers: just what happened to Adam Hunter? And why does he hate Christmas?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR -
I was born in Wallingford but have spent most of my life living in a village outside Windsor. A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also loves to write romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero… 
I’ve two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to bother buying a card again this year (yes, he does) so the romance in my life is all in my head. Then again, my husband’s unstinting support of my career change goes to prove that love isn't always about hearts and flowers - and heroes can come in many disguises.
The author is adorable, isn't she?
Check her out -

MY THOUGHTS -
Book 2 of my Holiday reading!
Cute, cute, cute! I have read a handful of books about starting a new Hotel/Inn/B&B and I am finding that I really like that story plot. It reminds me of The Gilmore Girls when Lorelei was starting her own Inn, The Dragonfly Inn and she did the test run with her friends and parents. It makes for fun reading! This one is crafted very well. There are a few little things happening in the background that all come together perfectly.

Very good character development! I really liked Faith. I think I would have liked her for real as a person. Sorry, I do that with characters LOL... I try to think of them as real people living near me and could I be friends with them. And I think I could be friends with Faith! I wasn't too sure about Adam, he was very stand-off-ish at first (but he was supposed to be) but then of course he won my heart. I think it first happened fairly early in the story - when he helped and kind of bonded with Chloe.
Oh, and that brings me to Chloe, Faith's teenage niece.  When she was first introduced I thought "Oh no, and here's the teen angst." but again - she won my heart!! There are also a lot of minor characters that have great spotlights in the story. Kathryn ties them all together very nicely.

A fun, sweet, endearing Christmas story that will win your heart too! This is my first one by this author. I had actually never heard of her before, but Kathryn Freeman has quite a few other books out there. I would definitely love to read some more of hers.

*  There is a bit of sex in here but nothing overly graphic! It is all tastefully done.

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Rachel's Random Resources Thank You!!
 
Order your copy from amazon - HERE

12/4/17

The Gift of Christmas Past - Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall


4 Stars!

ABOUT THE BOOK -
Arson wasn't the only fire that ignited between them.
Promises shattered.
Lies spoken.
She was arrested.
He returned to the safety of his wealthy parents.

Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialists in the field of speech therapy. They meet again . . . thrown together to help a four-year-old-girl rendered mute after being rescued from a fire.

Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized child and her family.

Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all?

ABOUT THE AUTHORS -
Cindy Woodsmall is the "New York Times" and CBA best-selling author of eighteen works of fiction. She's been featured in national media outlets such as ABC's "Nightline" and the "Wall Street Journal." Cindy has won numerous awards and has been finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in Flowery Branch, GA.


Erin Woodsmall is a writer, musician, wife, and mom of three. She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade. She is very excited about their first coauthored book.





Find out more about Cindy and Erin at http://www.cindywoodsmall.com.

  
MY THOUGHTS - Book 1 of my Holiday reading!
This was a great quick Christmas story. It was sweet and very heartfelt and a little suspenseful at times.

Good solid character development. I wasn't sure how I felt about them at first. I wasn't in love with either of the main characters - Hadley and Monroe. They were both just OK for me, but I did grow to like them both very much as the story developed.

At first you are reading a flash back and I actually really liked this part (even though I didn't love the characters). Then it jumped 10 years in the future. The transition was a little uncomfortable for me. I felt a little lost at first - it didn't feel smooth enough. But... again, it redeemed itself and the story started getting interesting again.

I love Cindy Woodsmall as a writer but I had only read her Amish stories. Erin is new to me.
I would have to say that I think I like Cindy's Amish books better but I will certainly be willing to more books like this as well. This was a very enjoyable read!

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Litfuse Thank You!!
Order your copy from amazon - HERE 
 

12/3/17

Tis the season...

of Christmas reading...

And reviewing!

As I do every year, I will be reading and reviewing only Christmas (and winter themed) books all month! I love this month. Not only because we get to celebrate our Savior's birth but - I love reading Christmas books! So stay with me all month for some great stories, a few giveaways and even some etc.!

Have a wonderful Holiday season no matter how you celebrate!

 

11/30/17

Killer Holiday - Amy Korman - GIVEAWAY!

4 Stars!

on Tour October 23 - November 30, 2017


ABOUT THE BOOK -
Kristin Clark and her offbeat crew of Bryn Mawr socialites are ready for a fun and festive winter holiday—one that involves sipping martinis by a crackling yule log, hot guys beneath the mistletoe, and Gucci under the Christmas tree. But this year, Old Saint Nick has something more dangerous in store.

A stranger dressed in a Santa suit has Kristin’s friends on his naughty list. First, Sophie’s favorite handbag is blasted by a bullet. Then, Father Christmas shatters her brother Chip’s car window with a golf club and leaves a threatening note demanding fifty grand. Both are convinced it has to be a mistake. But when Chip goes missing, the stakes become deadly.

Eula Morris is also back in town for the holidays, more bossy and boastful than ever after winning a mega-jackpot in the lottery. She’s returned from a luxury cruise around the world with a handsome new boyfriend (who looks oddly familiar…) and a Samsonite suitcase filled with gold bars. When the suitcase is snatched, Eula implores Kristin and the team to track it down.

Where is Chip? Why is a vengeful Santa targeting the gang? Who stole Eula’s suitcase? And how are these events linked? The WASPs and Kristen’s basset hound Waffles are on the case—before this white Christmas turns even darker…

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: October 24th 2017 by Witness Impulse
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 0062431366 (ISBN13: 9780062431363)
Series: A Killer WASPs Mystery, #4
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

Bootsie McElvoy burst through the front door of The Striped Awning, a bag of ice in her right hand and the biggest bottle of Maker’s Mark bourbon I’ve ever seen in her left. She dug into her L.L. Bean tote for a bottle of red wine, a shaker of nutmeg, and a bag of fun-size candy canes, all of which she deposited next to a display of 1940s barware near the front of my antiques store.
“Kristin, it’s December fifteenth, which means it’s time for you to start offering shoppers a specialty cocktail the minute they set foot inside your store,” Bootsie told me. “I’m going to mix up a batch of the Delaney family Christmas drink, the Bourbon Blitzen, which never fails to produce a White Christmas vibe. One sip and you’ll feel like you’re singing and dancing with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye at a snowy Vermont inn. This should double your sales totals for the month.”
“Thanks!” I said gratefully, since Bootsie’s family’s boozy drinks are known throughout our village of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, for their potency and tendency to produce unwise purchases.
“The drinks sound good, but you’re also going to need about four thousand more of these pinecones, triple the greenery, and eight hundred additional strands of lights,” Joe Delafield informed me; he’d arrived twenty minutes earlier to help me decorate my store for the Christmas rush.
To lure in passing foot traffic, I’d brought in armloads of holly and spruce branches from my backyard (cost: free, thankfully), spray-painted pinecones silver (the paint was only $5.28 at the hardware store), and added some cheerful-looking blinking white lights. This would probably bring tons of holiday shoppers through my front door!
Joe paused, eyeing the room with his signature critical stare. “The effect I’m going for is that a bunch of HGTV-crazed elves with subscriptions to Veranda magazine snuck in and decorated for four straight days. Gerda, we’re going to need the blinking lights to stop blinking, pronto. Pull the plug, please.”
Joe’s assistant for the day was the eponymous owner of Gerda’s Bust Your Ass Gym, which is housed inside the beauty salon across the street. Since Gerda stands a lofty six feet tall in flats (or sneakers, which is her usual footwear, since fancy shoes aren’t her style), she’d agreed to hang ornaments, bringing her signature grim attitude to the proceedings.
“Cute idea,” Bootsie observed, casting a dubious stare at my front window, which was filled with antique silver-plated candlesticks, flatware, and wineglasses. “Is that your holiday inventory?”
“Nobody going to want that stuff,” said Gerda, who moved here from her native Austria a few years back. Gerda, who’s incredibly muscular and brings in sell-out crowds at her Pilates classes, isn’t the most tactful person in the world. “People want, like, scarves and Fitbits and iPhones.”
I sighed, knowing Gerda was right. Those were the gifts on most holiday wish lists.
“Luckily, I’ve solved all your problems,” Bootsie told me. “I ran into Eddie from the Pub this morning, and he needs a place to hold some late-night poker tournaments this month, so I brokered a deal for The Striped Awning. You’ll be hosting twice-weekly games from 10 p.m. till 1 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays till Valentine’s Day.”
“What!” I erupted, alarmed by this idea. “First of all, that doesn’t sound legal.”
“It’s fine,” she told me, waving away my concerns. “I mean, it’s not like it will be a professional betting operation. Eddie’s limiting each night to ten players and three hours. Some cards, a few drinks, a few small wagers. What could go wrong?”
“A lot!” I said. “They’ll blow cigar smoke and drop Dorito crumbs everywhere. Not to mention get arrested for operating a casino without a license. A lot could go wrong!”
“You worry too much,” Bootsie informed me dismissively. “Plus, he’ll pay you two hundred dollars a night.”
I opened my mouth to respond, but no words came out. Bootsie knew she had me—there’s no way I can refuse an extra four hundred dollars a week, even if it puts me on the wrong side of the state gaming commission.
Just then, though, the front door was thrown open by one Sophie Shields, a tiny blonde who at the moment was looking slightly wild-eyed.
“Ya won’t believe what just happened!” shrieked Sophie. “The Colketts were helping me put up curtains in my new dining room, since Joe here never finished decorating my place—and the curtains are orange silk, by the way, they’re totally Elle Decor meets a J. Lo red-carpet gown. So Tim and Tom Colkett were talking paint colors when I heard a horn honking, so I opened the front door, thinking it was the delivery boy from the Hoagie House. I figured I’d go out and pay the driver, when boom!
“A guy dressed as Santa leaned out of the driver’s seat of a black SUV that had pulled right up in my driveway and aimed a gun at me and the Colketts!” The Colketts are the town’s leading landscape designers, who’ve lately turned their talents to party planning and interior design.
“Then the guy yelled, ‘Hey, Sophie, this one’s from your ex, Barclay!’ and shot my favorite handbag!” Sophie finished. “I was reaching into it to pay for the hoagies, thank goodness, so it acted as a protective shield. Also, I think maybe this Santa guy doesn’t have great aim.”
We all stared at her for a moment.
“Are you sure, Sophie?” said Bootsie finally. “Because this sounds like BS.”
“Yeah, Sophie, maybe you been hitting the wine bottle today,” seconded Gerda. “I know the Colketts are day drinkers. Maybe you been guzzling alcohol, too.”
“It’s true!” Sophie bleated. “Just look at this Ferragamo satchel! If it hadn’t had gold hardware to block the trajectory of the bullet, me and the Colketts would have been toast!”
***
Excerpt from Killer Holiday by Amy Korman. Copyright © 2017 by Amy Korman. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:
Amy Korman is a former senior editor and staff writer for Philadelphia Magazine, and author of Frommer’s Guide to Philadelphia. She has written for Town & Country, House Beautiful, Men’s Health, and Cosmopolitan. Killer WASPS is her first novel.



 
Catch Up With Ms. Korman On:

MY THOUGHTS -
Sometimes you are prepared to read a more serious book and sometimes you just want a book for fun! This was one of those books :-)  This one was super fun, cute, quirky, and in my opinion even Chick-Lit-ish (which I happen to love).

This story talks a lot about using social media. I love that in books. It makes it so much more "today", fresh. Personally I don't do FB or Instagram but if you don't know someone who totally lives by social media - I don't know what world you are from. And, it just makes good fun reading.

Good character development, but there were a lot of characters to keep track of, all of them entertaining to read about with their interactions and antics!

This was a very light, fun, zany chick-lit/mystery (light on the mystery) and a very enjoyable read!
I also want to mention that this takes place in Bryn Mawr PA, just NW of Philly - I live in central PA! I like when I can have a personal connection like that.
And then there's also -
"Even Gerda had been in a good mood, keeping her dire warnings about how an American harvest holiday had somehow become a gravy and stuffing-fest that did permanent damage to arteries and would rather be celebrated with a Tofurkey and a healthfully prepared puree of pumpkin that included no butter, salt, sugar, or flour!" - Ha! I love it! I am a vegetarian so... Amen to that sister!
I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Partners in Crime Tours Thank You!!

Tour Participants:

Visit the other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!  

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Amy Korman and Witness Impulse. There will be 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of KILLER PUNCH by Amy Korman. The giveaway begins on October 23 and runs through December 3, 2017.
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