Tuesday, January 5, 2010

On the Twelveth Day of Christmas: The Christmas Dog

Title: The Christmas Dog
Author: Melody Carson
Christmas Cheer Rating: 4

I started this challenge with a book by Melody Carlson and I'm ending with another book of hers. Thankfully, I enjoyed this book a lot better than I did the first one. I guess this is why you shouldn't give up on an author because of one bad book.

The Christmas Dog is the story of Betty Kowalski, who has become quite cranky in her old age. She particularly doesn't like her new neighbor Jack Jones. She is ready to take drastic measures when a scroungy mutt and her granddaughter arrive just before Christmas. Betty learns a valuable Christmas lesson from the two abandoned souls and her ornery neighbors.

This book starts a little slow, but it picks up towards the middle, the reason I didn't give it a 5 rating. Even in such a short book, I connected with all the characters. I loved Avery and Jack. I also liked the way Carlson included the message of judging people by what they seemed. It added a nice layer to the story. This story is more on the caliber that I expected from Carlson.

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas: Unwrapping Christmas

Title: Unwrapping Christmas
Autor: Lori Copeland
Christmas Cheer Rating: 3

This is the first book I've ever read by Lori Copeland. I wanted to read a different book for my Christmas book challenge, but I couldn't get a copy. I decided to try another one and I must say that I wonder how good the other book would have been.

Rose, the protagonist, is busy. So busy that she doesn't have time to cook meals for her family. Christmas becomes just another task on her already crowded calendar. Her family tries to warn her about her active life, but it's not until she finds herself in a situation where she can't do does she learn the real meaning of Christmas.

A part of me can relate to Rose's life. Sometimes I feel like my life is out of control, but that's where the relation ends. Rose has an almost neurotic approach to her life that got annoying after about the first 15 pages. She's not very likeable and I found myself wishing that someone would knock her upside her head. The fact that I kinda got my wish was one of the highlights of the book.

I may try and read another Lori Copeland book, but this one wasn't very heartwarming.

On the Tenth Day of Christmas: Christmas Letters

Title: Christmas Letters
Author: Debbie Macomber
Christmas Cheer Rating: 2

This is the second Debbie Macomber book that I've read on my Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge. The first one was sorely disappointing. This one was only marginally better. I think this may be the last book that I read by Debbie Macomber. This is really surprising because Macomber is a very popular writer that has graced the bestseller list more than once. Her books are promoted as heartwarming books, but I found them flat.

In Christmas Letters, Katherine O'Connor writes Christmas letters for extra money, which I thought was an interesting concept. She spends her days in a cozy cafe and one day she meets Dr. Wynn, a child psychologist who doesn't believe that children should believe in Santa Claus. This creates some tension between Katherine and Wynn, but they find a definite attraction to each other.

What I think the two books that I've read lack is tension and conflict. In both books, I found myself not caring about the characters. I think that the thing that kept me reading was I found Wynn's ideas about child-rearing interesting. But that is not a good reason to read a book. I also kept getting tripped up over Katherine’s nickname, K.O. I kept thinking about boxing.

I will be hard pressed to pick up another book from Debbie Macomber.

On the Ninth Day of Christmas: A Texas Legacy Christmas

Title: A Texas Legacy Christmas
Author: DiAnn Mills
Christmas Cheer Rating: 5

When I created my original list of the books I wanted to read for Christmas, this book ranking high. At first, I couldn't seem to get a copy from the library, even through the interlibrary loan. Thankfully, CBD.com had a sale on Christmas books and I was able to buy a copy. I'm so glad I did because this book certainly added to my Christmas cheer.

Zack Kahler is heading back to Texas to run his own newspaper, but not before he has a run-in with two six year-old pickpockets. The two orphans touch his heart and before he knows it, he started the adoption process. This isn't the first time for Zack. At one time in his life, he helped another social outcast, Chloe Weaver, and is surprised when their paths cross again. He soon finds he's got his hands full raising two children and developing a relationship with Chloe.

I loved the characters in this novel. Zack, and the twins. They won my heart early on in the novel. I was fascinated by the concept of a single father raising two children. Chloe also provides the novel with a feminine touch that isn't annoying. She doesn't spend the story whining about her problems. Her issues seem realistic and I found myself caring what happened to her.

This is truly a magical book add to any Christmas bookshelf. I’m looking forward to reading more of Mill's books.