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Thursday, December 31, 2015

What I read in December

This month was a pretty good month reading-wise, even though I kind of wish it had been a bit more. Here is the list of books I read.
1. City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

I've been working on this since the beginning of November and I finally finished it on the 12th. I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about this book, I will have a longer review up soon. 3/5 Stars.

2. The Christmas Shoppe by Melody Carlson
I loved this novella, it was not what I expected at all. The story was great and wasn't too cheesy. I will have a longer review up soon. 4/5 Stars

3. Praying the Bible by Donald S. Whitney
Several people had recommended this book to me, and I was intrigued by the title- especially since prayer is something that I constantly struggle with. I really enjoyed this book, and it was a quick read! 5/5 Stars.

4.  Passenger by Alexandra Bracken 

I received this book as an advanced copy from Netgalley and Disney-Hyperion. It was interesting but there were definitely things that confused me. I will have a longer review up next week. 3/5 Stars.

5. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Even though there were a few things I did not like about this book it was a great read. I can't wait until the next book comes out!I will have a longer review up soon.  3.95/5 Stars.

6. Hearthland Episode 33 by Chautona Havig 
This was the last novella I read in 2015. I continue to find this serial novel captivating, I am sad to see this series end soon. 3/5 Stars.

Overall, 2015 was a good year all-around, but I did pretty well reading-wise. If you would like to see the books that I read this year here is a link to "My Year in Books" on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2015/8087658?utm_source=fb&fb_ref=Default.

Happy New Year and Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :)

Friday, December 25, 2015

Book Review: The Christmas Shoppe

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Today's review is on The Christmas Shoppe by Melody Carlson.


I didn't know what to expect when I read this book, however, having read other books by Melody Carlson I knew that it would be at least an okay read. This book surprised me in a good way! I've found that most novellas can be pretty predictable from the first few pages, however that was not the case with this novella.

I loved getting to know the characters of Parrish Springs and getting to see what the Christmas Shoppe actually was. I love how even though there was some romance, it wasn't cheesy. The author also did a good job of not rushing to tie up the loose ends.

The Christmas Shoppe tells the story of a small town dealing with the arrival of a strange woman, Matilda Honeycutt, who has bought one of the most prized buildings in the downtown area. As several of the characters deal with all the trouble that her arrival causes they also discover that there is something almost magical about Matilda's Christmas Shoppe.

I really want to say more about the plot, but I can't without giving away spoilers. But I highly recommend this novella, it is a fairly quick read it takes about 1-2 hours. If you are looking for a nice, quick Christmas read, this book is for you!

I am giving this book 4/5 Stars because it was light-hearted, but yet it wasn't cheesy or predictable.

Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :)


Friday, December 18, 2015

Book Review: The Texas Brides Collection

Today's review is on The Texas Brides Collection by several authors.

Since the book is made up of 9 different stories, I am going to do a mini review on each of them and then conclude with what I though of the collection as a whole.

Serena's Strength by Diann Mills: 

This was a sweet, predictable story. I liked the heroine, Serena and how she was developed. However, I felt like the romance was rushed, and that the climax was predictable. However, because it kept my attention I am giving it 3/5 Stars. 

The Reluctant Fugitive by Darlene Mindrup: 

I was not epecting that first plot twist even though it is kind of the basis for the story, unfortunately I cannot say what it is becuase it is a spoiler. Again, the story was short and sweet, and somewhat redictable except for a couple of plot twists that I was not expecting at all (especially at the end). However, there seemed to be several grammatical errors so I am only giving it 3/5 Stars. 

Saving Grace by Kathleen Y'Barbo: 

This was a nice, sweet story, but it was predictable, therefore I am giving it 3/5 Stars. 

An Inconvenient Gamble by Michelle Ule: 

This story had several surprises along the way, even though the ending was predictable. I am giving it 4/5 Stars because it surprised me. 

Angel in Disguise by Darlene Franklin: 

This story was okay, but I felt like it was the worst one in the whole collection. There wasn't much romance until the last 10 pages. The story was a little bit too far-fetched, but it was still interesting. 
I am giving it 2/5 Stars because it was just okay. 

Reuben's Atonement by Lynette Sowell: 

This was another nice, sweet story. It was also predictable. However, it was a good reminder that I cannot earn my salvation and that I have already been saved and cleansed by the blood of Christ. I am giving it 3/5 Stars. 

The Peacemaker by Diann Mills : 

The second story by this author in the collection. I liked how it was linked to the Reubens Atonement, as it is Colt's story (Reuben's younger brother). It was cute, but it was predictable and the roamnce felt kind of rushed. I am giving it 3/5 Stars. 

Outlaw Sheriff by Kathleen Y'Barbo: 

This is also the author's second story in this collection. It is linked to the previous two stories because it is Caleb Wilson's story (brother of Reuben and Colt). It was an interesting concept, but it was kind of predictable. I liked how the author tied up all the loose ends so there were no questions left unanswered. However, the romance comes out of nowhere. I am giving it 3/5 Stars.

A Gamble on Love By Tamela Hancock Murray: 

This story is linked to the previous three stories. It is Benjamin Wilson's story. It was a cute, sweet romance which was predictable, not much happens. I am giving 2.5/5 Stars. 

Overall this whole collection was a nice read and the stories weren't cheesy. All of these authors were new to me, and I look forward to reading more of their works in the future. I liked how the last 4 stories were connected to each other. This is something one could read if they want something lighthearted or want to read something with more romance. I am giving the whole collection 3/5 Stars. 

I will definitely read more of these collections put out by Barbour publishing, in fact I have another collection called The Log Cabin Christmas collection in my TBR pile at the moment. 

Happy Reading, 
Janelle 

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out. :) 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Book Review: Winter (Lunar Chronicles #4)

Today's review is on Winter by Marissa Meyer
Ever since I started reading the Lunar Chronicles series in May, this has been one of my most anticipated reads of 2015. I was not disappointed! Marissa Meyer did a good job with concluding the series on a high note.

Winter is basically a retelling of Snow White, but it also concludes the stories of Cinder, Scarlet and Cress. I loved how the author used the various elements of the fairy tale to bring the story to life without it seeming like a regurgitation. Winter is the villain's step-daughter but based on Lunar tradition she cannot become the next queen. However, as in the original story, Queen Levana is still jealous of Winter's beauty and one thing leads to another (I don't want to say too much because it will spoil some of the plot).

Winter is also kind of insane because she refuses to use her Lunar gift and as a result of suppressing it she has crazy hallucinations (again, I can't say too much, read the book!). Her best friend is Jacin who is a part of the royal guard and basically answers to her stepmother. Their relationship is sweet and complicated at the same time.

The novel takes place on Luna - the moon. Meyer does a good job of describing this world and it felt like I was there.

There isn't really anything else I can say without giving too much of the plot away, but fans will be satisfied with this conclusion and don't worry Meyer does not do what Veronica Roth did in Allegiant (Divergent #3).

Even though I really loved this book, I am sad to see the series end and to say goodbye to the world and the characters that I had come to love. I am looking forward to the release of the short story anthology, Stars Above which comes out early next year. :)

I know I have probably said this in my other reviews of Marissa Meyer's books, but I am a huge fan and I will continue to read her works in the years to come.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out. :) 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Book Review: Love in the Details (A Year of Weddings 2 #12)

Today's review is on Love in the Details by Becky Wade
Every once in a while, I like to take a break from reading full-length novels and enjoy a good novella, or a collection of novellas. I started reading this after finishing Winter, after an intense read like that it was nice to read something that was light and fluffy.

This is the first Becky Wade novella that I have read and I liked it. I want to try one of her novels sometime in the near future. It wasn't the best story line, but it was a nice relaxing, read-in-an-afternoon kind of read, which I love, especially during the winter months.

The plot was predictable, it was obvious that the two main characters were going to end up together. I felt like the part where they got together was rushed because for most of the novella there was constant tension and then they make up and that's it...I just don't know if that is realistic. I know it is a novella and there wasn't  a whole lot of time to develop these things, but it felt too quick.

Also, I don't know if it is because I received an ARC or not, but there were a lot of words that needed to be capitalized. But other than that it was a sweet story. I may or may not read more of the novellas in this series...the problem is that there are so many books to read and so little time to actually read them.

I want to thank NetGalley and Zondervan for sending me a complimentary copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

P.S. If  you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December 2015 TBR

If you saw my post on books I read in November, you probably saw that I had a good month, even though some of them were for school. I am hoping that December will be another good month, but I don't know. This is a more ambitious TBR list, mainly because I will be on Winter Break, but also several of the books on this list I have already started and I just need to finish them.

1. The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien 
I am half way through this book, but I haven't picked it up since June. I love Tolkien's writing and the descriptions are beautiful, but I also find myself needing to take breaks every so often.

2. City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare 
I am currently reading this book, so this might be the first book I finish in December. I don't know how I feel about it, but a friend told me that the rest of the series is better.

3. Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay 
I started reading this during Thanksgiving break and I will try to finish it after City of Bones. I am excited to read another novel by Katherine Reay.

4. The Christmas Shoppe by Melody Carlson
One of the groups I belong to on GoodReads is going to read this book, and since it is a novella and it is the month of Christmas, I am going to try and read along with the group.

5. 31 Kisses by Chautona Havig 
What is December without a couple of Christmas books? I really hope I get a chance to read this because I am a fan of Chautona Havig's work and this has been sitting on my kindle for two year!

6. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell 
I am hoping to read this book in preparation for writing my senior thesis in Fall 2016. Elizabeth Gaskell is potentially one of the authors I want to take a closer look . This will also be my first Gaskell novel that I have read.

7. A Girl's Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher for my honest review. I love Debbie Macomber's books because they can easily be read in one sitting.

8. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
I just really want to read this book, the concept sounds interesting.

9. A Log Cabin Christmas Collection  by Various Authors
Another Christmas book that I am hoping to get to this month, although I don't know if I will be able to read

10. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
I am excited to continue this series, maybe I will actually read it this month, who knows.

11. The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen 
Julie Klassen is one of my favorite authors and it has been a while since I have read one of her books. I am also in the mood for some historical Christian fiction.

12. The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson
It's been almost a year since I read one of Melanie Dickerson's books, and I am intrigued by the idea that it is a mix of Swan Lake and Robin Hood.

13. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling 
I am busy reading through this series slowly, so far I have only read the first two, and I really want to find out what happens next to Harry and his friends.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :)