The song becomes engrained in our memory before we begin Kindergarten, seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying, five gold rings! We all know “The TThe song becomes engrained in our memory before we begin Kindergarten, seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying, five gold rings! We all know “The Twelve Days of Christmas. Could there be a lost lyric? Is there a thirteenth day of Christmas? New York Times best selling author of The Wednesday Letters, Jason F. Wright, explores the possibility in The 13th Day of Christmas, his most recent book published by Shadow Mountain.
Charlee Alexander and Marva Ferguson are the odd couple. In terms of friendship, they might be best friends, but it’s a May-December friendship. Charlee is 8 years old and her family has fallen on hard times–dad’s business went bankrupt, the house was foreclosed on and the family has moved to 27 Homes, the same trailer park Marva lives in. Marva is a 72 year old widow, who lives off a nest egg courtesy of her husband’s brilliant idea to sell their land to the developer of 27 Homes. These two characters couldn’t be more different.
The relationship between Charlee and Marva develops into a genuine friendship that knows no bounds. After Charlee is diagnosed with cancer, Christmas elves begin leaving her notes with a clue that suggests there might just be another day of Christmas. Whoever the Christmas angel might be, the notes and clues deliver hope to Charlee, Marva and their family. Does Marva know these elves? Her lips are sealed.
Jason F. Wright delivers hope to every reader of “The 13th Day of Christmas.” If you have ever hoped for one more day, read Charlee’s story (with tissues handy.)...more
“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” and his name is Michael Dale Huckabee. A former pastor, Huckabee wrote “A Simple Christmas: Twelve Stories Th“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” and his name is Michael Dale Huckabee. A former pastor, Huckabee wrote “A Simple Christmas: Twelve Stories That Celebrate the True Holiday Spirit.” Originally published in 2009 by the Penguin Group, this book is a hidden gem of uplifting words of wisdom that spell out the true spirit of Christmas.
Between the big box shops slashing the prices for Thanksgiving day shoppers, to Black Friday bargains and Cyber Monday sell outs, it is not hard to get wrapped up in the commercial element of the season of peace, hope, and joy. In “A Simple Christmas,” Huckabee shares twelve elements, from patience to rewards, that relate to the thrill of opening a Christmas gift, but also resonate with those wishing for the gifts money can’t buy.
In twelve chapters, Huckabee shares a story from his own Christmas’s past. Beginning with a humorous tale from his childhood to his days campaigning as a presidential candidate, Huckabee manages to show the reader the meaning of Christmas. “I’ve come to realize that anticipation helps you appreciate things more.” Although he was referring to having the patience to wait until December 25th before opening his Christmas gifts, the double entendre is evident–whether it be a new job, a new home, or a new baby–the anticipation sweetens the gift.
Reading “A Simple Christmas” is the best gift you can give yourself this holiday season. Give “A Simple Christmas” to the skeptics, to the ones who have lost the Christmas spirit, to the Virginia’s. ...more
Betty Lou Phillips, acclaimed interior designer and translator of European tastes for savvy Americans, teamed with freelance writer Roblyn Herndon toBetty Lou Phillips, acclaimed interior designer and translator of European tastes for savvy Americans, teamed with freelance writer Roblyn Herndon to design a Christmas caper for the couture crowd. Night Before Christmas in Paris is a jolly Christmas story that tells the plight of being Mrs. Santa Claus.
Before the holiday season began, Mrs. Claus needed a little time away from the North Pole. Perhaps she had seen too many letters to her husband begging, “all I want for Christmas is a Louboutin,” or maybe the Claus marriage was getting a bit frosty. No matter, a little pampering can cure all, can’t it? Where does the wife of the greatest gift giver go for some retail therapy? Paris, of course!
Just one week, Mrs. Claus promises, then she shall return to the secret workshop. In September, the City of Lights is transformed during a week of haute couture, celebrations and the grandest show of fashion on Earth. Of all the weeks for Mrs. Claus to decide to visit, she arrives in time for Paris Fashion Week. Between the pampering and pastries, Mrs. Claus finds herself caught up in the wave of wonder that can only happen in Paris.
While Mrs. Klaus takes Paris by storm, an unparalleled disaster is brewing at Santa’s workshop. In her absence, vital Christmas details are left undone. Santa can’t deliver Christmas without his wife! What does the man in the red suit do? To save Christmas for the children of the world, Santa comes a little early for Parisians.
Never has the importance of Mrs. Claus been illustrated so poignantly as when she goes to Paris for a week and forgets to return. Night Before Christmas in Paris is a lighthearted read for the fashionista looking for a little Christmas couture....more
Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy are three angels with crooked halos. While well intentioned, they have a history of making miracles run awry. Just like tShirley, Goodness, and Mercy are three angels with crooked halos. While well intentioned, they have a history of making miracles run awry. Just like too many chefs spoil the pot, too many halos meddle with the marvel. In Angels at the Table, Debbie Macomber’s latest Christmas cozy novel, the trio of angles are joined by Will, an angel-in-training.
The job description of an angel is to “help humans realize how much they can do for themselves with God’s help…without interfering in their lives.” The four angels descend on Times Square for the annual ball drop celebration at midnight. When Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy bring Will to Earth to get “a bird’s-eye view of Earth and these people God loves so much,” the covert mission runs awry.
Will, the angel-in-training, forgets the first rule of being an angel. In his ambition to make a love match, his inexperience causes miracle making to run amok in the chaos. After being nudged together by Will’s wing, Lucie and Aren explore the possibility of a new romance for the new year. The timing could not be worse for either of them. Lucie, a chef, is in the midst of opening a new restaurant, while Aren is the newest food critic for the local paper. How can love survive?
The beauty in this lighthearted read is how Macomber addresses the dilemma of meeting the right person at the wrong time. Can God’s perfect plan be derailed? So often it is said that, “God’s plan and God’s clock are perfect.” Angels at the Table illustrates how His plan and His clock are perfect, even when meddled with by well-meaning angels....more
In A Christmas Garland, Perry brings us to British occupied India during the 1857 rebellion. In December, a prisoner escapes, a soldier dies, and a yoIn A Christmas Garland, Perry brings us to British occupied India during the 1857 rebellion. In December, a prisoner escapes, a soldier dies, and a young medic is charged with the crime. The hero, Lieutenant Victor Narraway, a young commissioned officer barely 20 years old, has been assigned to counsel the defendant.
At first glance, Narraway’s supervisors see the case as being an “open and shut.” The medic is guilty. Under orders to restore the morale of the troops, he must find a reason why the atrocity occurred. With time running out before Christmas, Narraway is under pressure to close the case in time for the holidays. Courtesy of the inevitable twist in any decent mystery, Perry delivers a classic “who dunnit” that questions not only who is the criminal, but questions the definition of justice.
Traditionally, Anne Perry delivers a Christmas story in classic Dickensian detail. A Christmas Garland is a historical fiction novella with an exotic twist. Brew a cup of chai and travel to colonial India this holiday season while enjoying the annual treat from the master of Christmas classics....more
"It won't be pretty for a while, my friends, but we'll get through it together," from page 73 of Jordan Christy's "How to Be a Hepburn in a Hilton Wor "It won't be pretty for a while, my friends, but we'll get through it together," from page 73 of Jordan Christy's "How to Be a Hepburn in a Hilton World" sums up Christy's approach to mentoring women who want to live "with style, class and grace." Unlike a self help book, Christy has written a reference manual of modern etiquette that draws on the wisdom of old-fashioned advice.
In the introduction, Christy acquaints the reader with the "Stupid Girls," who epitomize the antithesis of living with style, class and grace. Christy's aim is to
"make intelligent look attractive! Can we do it? Again, I say YES! But first, you must know what you're up against in a Stupid Girl world. It's easy to slide into stupidity with just a few small, bad choices, so we need to be on the lookout for them ahead of time."
The ensuing chapters provide concrete examples of how one can make the choices that will reap huge benefits towards building the character of a woman who emulates style, class and grace. Her advice may not cover new ground, for example one of her key points is the importance to maintain eye contact during conversation, but what is unique is her ability to convey valuable life lessons in a non-preaching manner. Instead of lecturing on how a woman should act, Christy shares her insight on how a woman can respect herself.
"How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World" reads almost like a diary complied of advice from a woman who with a strong sense of self respect. Jordan Christy inspires the reader to demonstrate self respect from how you spend your time to the people you spend time with, from your words to your actions. In a flawless manner, "How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World" nudges the reader into being a stronger woman.
Unforgettable is the best description for "How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World," as well as this reader's rating. This is a fantastic gift for a high school graduate!...more
Despite the availability of recipes online, nothing replaces a genuine cookbook to flip through during those times when you need to find just the righDespite the availability of recipes online, nothing replaces a genuine cookbook to flip through during those times when you need to find just the right menu for an occasion -- whether it be a mundane Tuesday evening or a dinner party to celebrate a milestone. I have found few cookbooks which I can honestly say that I would try each recipe, and Donatella Cooks is definitely one of them. Each recipe is the perfect blend of artisan and sophisticate.
Beginning with hors d' oeuvres and progresses through a six course meal, ending with dessert, author Donatella Arpaia provides clear instruction and precise advice on where to find specialty ingredients. Some recipes include the notation, "Donatella Clicks," which lists the alternatives for where one might find specialty items or a directs you to a website for purchase. The recipe for "Baked Buffalo Ricotta" includes the suggestion to find fresh ricotta at www.buonitalia.com. In addition to the purchasing suggestions, Arpaia provides menu suggestions for seasons and occasions.
Donatella Arpaia is a restaurateur in New York City and well as a judge on the Food Network's Who will be the next Iron Chef? On Tuesday, April 13, 2010, Ms. Arpaia appeared on NBC's Today to demonstrate how to prepare the Gruyere and spinach souffle from Donatella Cooks. The instructional video and recipe can be found on Today's website by clicking here.
Photographer Anna Williams must be acknowledged for capturing the recipes to mouth watering perfection. Between the recipes, food styling and photography, Donatella Cooks is an unforgettable cookbook!...more
David K. Hatch has compiled a collection of stories and quotes that truly provide the reader "inspiration for a meaningful life." Everyday Greatness iDavid K. Hatch has compiled a collection of stories and quotes that truly provide the reader "inspiration for a meaningful life." Everyday Greatness is divided into seven examples of living a meaningful life, each example is then examined through three principles. The commentary from Stephen R. Covey introduces the three principles which illustrate an aspect of living a meaningful life. Each of the twenty-one chapters concludes with a wrap-up and questions for reflection.
Everyday Greatness is more than a compilation of short stories first published in Reader's Digest. This publication is an accumulation of motivating words compelling the reader to choose to act, to live with purpose and with principles. After reading over four hundred pages of thought provoking anecdotes, Covey provides an afterword with six suggestions on how to put the principles of Everyday Greatness into practice.
The most distinguishable characteristic of Everyday Greatness is that it reads as though it was custom written for me. In each story, I could relate to either the person I am, or the person I aspire to be. In chapter ten, Covey begins with,
"All things are created twice. All things. Vision is the first creation."
Without vision, there can be no action. In the ensuing pages, I realized that I had lost my vision a long time ago. Everyday Greatness replaced my blindness with a desire to envision the life I want, so that I can act upon that vision. I highly recommend Everyday Greatness to any reader wanting to find more greatness in their life. ...more
Robert Troy's first novel, Denial of Sunlight, is 333 pages of mystery, shock and awe. Beginning with a life changing discovery made by two brilliant,Robert Troy's first novel, Denial of Sunlight, is 333 pages of mystery, shock and awe. Beginning with a life changing discovery made by two brilliant, yet greedy, post-doctoral candidates on Christmas eve 1987, the story hooks the reader into a world of chemistry and physics leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The independent story lines and their characters are woven together to create an explosion of strong characters driven by a cohesive plot. While much of the mystery is based on an engineering project with details only a physics professor would be familiar with, Troy explains just enough of the science to allow the lay man to understand its importance to the plot. ...more
On his blog, J.W. Nicklaus writes, "If I've done my job properly, the stories may just remind each of us of what it is to be human, and certainly of oOn his blog, J.W. Nicklaus writes, "If I've done my job properly, the stories may just remind each of us of what it is to be human, and certainly of our affinity for the slightest glint of Hope." In "The Light, The Dark, and Ember Between," Nicklaus has exceeded his own aspirations. Each of the fifteen short stories are unique, and yet there is a strong, seamless connection to the collection.
This is the book that inspires and soothes. The vignettes of life that often pass as an ordinary moment will resonate with those struggling with mortality or the death of a loved one. ...more