As usual, with my reviews, I will not give a summary of the stories, just my impressions and thoughts.
Kittens and Snow Flurries (Lynnette Bonner) – The story was good, I feel like there was some weakness, but cannot identify it. Maybe it was the people, who were nice acquaintances that I waved good bye to at the end of the story, ready to move on to meet new friends. Maybe they just weren’t my type. I like the transitions and the growth in faith during the challenges the family faced. The story did not grip me, but that’s OK, read it you may enjoy it more than I.
Finding Christmas and You (Jan Cline) – This was a typical everything worked out in the end story and sweet as Christmas candy. It started out very hard with a nightmare situation, but ended up very well. It showed how love, kindness and patience can help someone win a big battle in life. I wish I could have liked the people more, kind of like the first story, not much made me want to get to know them better. But, I give an extra kudo for the one who was a true friend, patient and fore-bearing.
Once Upon A Christmas Star (Kathleen Freeman) – This story was amazingly unique. The romance was cute and sweet and sometimes awkward “young love”. I really liked the story AND the characters. The father and daughter were wonderful together. The ending was heart-warming without being ooey gooey. Good story line and compelling characters.
A Christmas Hallelujah (Dori Harrell) – I liked the people in this story and the little boy completely stole the show. He was adorable and a unifying force among the main characters. I also enjoyed learning a little about alpaca farming, it was a unique background for a story, a new one for me. Watching the people deal with the difficulties they faced, sisters abandoned by their mother to run the family farm, a single dad trying to raise his son, all learning to pray, learning to trust God. It was encouraging and inspiring. (This is Dori Harrell’s debut novel. Great start, great job!!)
Second Noel (Chautona Havig) – Refreshing …. After 4 romances, this was refreshing, having little to do with beating hearts, visceral attractions growing into love. There was mention of love between a husband and wife, and a young couple’s awkward attempts at dealing with some feelings of attraction. This is about a community pulling together to help with a very real issue, the need for a DAD … no not that kind … a Diabetic Alert Dog, used for people, mostly children, trained to alert the person or family members to dangerous rises in blood sugar levels, especially used when it is difficult to regulate the levels. I have a small bias to this story, because I am very familiar with the city and it’s suburbs, as I have “traveled” through the area and “visited” with many of the residents, via the author’s prolific story telling. The story is compelling and draws you into the family’s struggles and the town’s care and concern.
Home for the Holidays (Lesley Ann McDaniel) This was an amusing story and a bit scary. It brings to light the idea that there are many people in the church today with ulterior motives, masquerading as Christian. Of course, they should be treated with love and kindness, BUT with a great deal of caution. However, God can use anything to bring someone into His kingdom and this story makes that clear. I liked the young lady who befriended Victoria. She was very real and open.
Montana Skye (Sylvia Stewart) A story that brings to focus the aftermath of abuse and neglect from a husband to his wife and the effects of alcoholism on a family. Another sweet little boy helps to draw people together. There is one moment where I was made to feel a bit conflicted …. relieved at the death of a character. It didn’t make me happy that I felt relief. It made me face a wicked part of my heart. But that’s what Christian fiction, such as this is for. It helps us face some of our wickedness in a “safe” environment, allowing us to ponder how we would deal or feel in a real situation. I don’t know if that was the author’s intent, but that’s what it did for me.
All in all, if you want to read a wide variety of stories this winter or Christmas season, treat yourself to Wonderland Wishes.