Tag Archives: Happy Holidays

Olive and the Valentine’s Spell by Helen Millman (Book Review)

** 2022 Family Choice Award Winner **OLIVE AND THE VALENTINE'S SPELL by Helen Millman

 
​Olive is a sweet elementary school boy who is afraid to go to school on Valentine’s Day. . .because he thinks he’ll have to get married! Olive’s mom joins in his fight to defeat the “princess of love,” but along the way he learns an even bigger lesson, discovering the true meaning of love.

Olive and the Valentine’s Spell is an inspiring children’s book for all ages that shines a humorous light on Valentine’s Day and overcoming your fears.

 
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
As a parent who’s raised two kids, my children didn’t have fears regarding Valentine’s Day like Olive did in Olive and the Valentine’s Spell by Helen Millman. However, there have been many times they’ve been afraid when it came to other firsts. So, with that said, I’m sure other children will be frightened or have questions regarding their first Valentine’s party. 


If you have children or take care of children, you know that we caregivers go to any lengths to take a child’s fear away. Much like the mommy in the story, we listen to a child’s fear(s), hold them tightly, reassure them everything will be all right, and maybe we’ll toss in a bit of magic. 


While being scared is no laughing matter, Vanessa Alexandre bought a smile to my face with her adorable illustrations. I loved the children’s expressions, and Cali’s glasses were just the cutest! The fairy was also darling. 


There are a couple of words that might need to be defined: humbly and oh vey. While I can see readers (ages 3-7) following along when being read to, I think it’ll prove challenging for them to read independently. No worries though – they’ll be old enough to read this story solo sooner than you think! 

No matter the age, I think it’ll be enjoyed by many! 


Happy Valentine’s! 

 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
Author Helen Millman
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Children’s author Helen Millman is a loving wife and mom. Her three young boys continually inspire her with their wild adventures and vivid imaginations. They even helped inspire her to write her new book, Olive and the Valentine’s Spell!

While living in Vero Beach, FL, she spends her time writing, reading, singing, and growing through her life’s experiences. She knows the importance of “seeing the bright side of life” and encourages her readers to “choose love, even when it seems impossible”. A friendly, optimist Helen has always loved to read to her own children and remembers how much her imaginative voices really helped bring the stories to life. She invites her readers to gather with a beloved book, for it truly is one of the best places to snuggle, giggle, imagine, and make unforgettable memories – together.


connect with the author: website facebook ~ instagram

 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Christmas Cameo:  A Fiona Quinn Quick Mystery by C.S. McDonald (Book Review)

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​A lovely cameo brooch is discovered in Fiona’s late Uncle Wilbur’s house two days before Christmas. The pin bears a romantic Christmas message from Wilbur for his new wife with the initials, D.A.S.

How very strange! To the family’s knowledge, Uncle Wilbur had never been married. So, who is this mysterious woman? Now, Fiona is on a holiday mission to locate D.A.S. and deliver the belated gift. 

Question is, what happened to the marriage? Is D.A.S. still alive after all these years? And if so, can Fiona find her before Christmas?

 
 
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Fiona is not the only person in town who loves a good mystery. Ted Welton, his wife, and Detective Tavia are also eager to solve who’s the mysterious person behind the initials of D.A.S. on a cameo brooch discovered in Fiona’s dead uncle’s house.
 
The investigation leads to a sweet moment between Fiona and D.A.S. They are tears of joy for a man, long gone but never forgotten.


While Fiona is on the hunt for D.A.S., Nathan is on his quest as well. He’s looking for a pickpocket whose slick fingers nabbed the cameo. This perp does not wear all black when he’s looking to unburden a person of their belongings. Nope, he wears a Santa suit.


Since it’s the time of the year for peace on Earth, I don’t think I’m overstepping by saying everyone will receive a Christmas miracle. Yes, even fake Santa. I would encourage fake Santa to get a real job. He doesn’t seem to have any luck with pickpocketing.

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤1/2

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About the Author:
For twenty-six years C.S. McDonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance. Classically trained at Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School, The Pittsburgh Dance Alloy, and many others, she became a professional dancer and choreographer. During that time, she choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. In 2011 she retired from her dance career to write. Under her real name, Cindy McDonald, she writes murder-suspense and romantic suspense novels. In 2014 she added the pen name, C.S. McDonald, to write children’s books for her grandchildren. In 2016 she added the Fiona Quinn Mysteries to that expansion. She decided to write the cozy mystery series that everyone, including teens and tweens, can read and enjoy. Presently, the Fiona Quinn Mysteries nine books with a tenth slated for 2021. The books are also available on audio, narrated by Maren Swenson Waxenberg. Cindy’s newest venture is The Owl’s Nest Mysteries. Once again, she has set her cozy mystery in Pittsburgh. The female protagonist, Alexa Owl, is much different from Fiona Quinn. The Owl’s Next Mysteries has a little grit, a little time travel, a little romance, and a whole lot of cozy! Ms. McDonald resides on her Thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Bill, and her poorly behaved Cocker Spaniel, Allister.
 
 
Connect with the author:  
Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Happy Holidays!!

Thank you for your continued support. 

 

 

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Second Chance Christmas by Lori Wilde (Book Showcase)

 

New York Times bestselling author Lori Wilde returns to Twilight, Texas, with a love story filled with the magic of the season, about a couple who discover an abandoned baby on Christmas Eve-Eve.

 

It’s Christmastime in Twilight, TX. The lights are twinkling, carols are being sung, and the cookies are baking. And this year, best friends Joel and Jana discover a shocking surprise: as they are organizing the living Nativity, they find a sweet little baby in the manger with a note saying the mother will return…soon.

Jana tucks the infant into her arms, and she and Joel make the impulsive decision to take the baby home. Jana is spontaneous, Joel is a planner, but they agree that it’s better to care for this precious bundle for the holidays, in hopes that the mother really will come back by New Year’s.

As the days pass, the pair begins to fall in love with the child and they’re also forced to face facts: their relationship goes far deeper than friendship. As the spirit of Christmas—and the magic of Twilight, TX—takes over, this unlikely couple must open up to the feelings they’ve been hiding from each other all along. 

 

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EXCERPT

 

What on earth was she going to do?

It was three days before Christmas and she had no money, no food and no place to stay. Every measly thing she owned was tucked inside the battered backpack weighing heavy on her shoulders.

Shivering in her in her thin jacket, not nearly warm enough for the winter storm rolling through North Central Texas, the teen tightened her grip on the tiny bundle in her arms.

Some dude she barely knew had said she could couch surf with him for a couple of days, but the guy had been adamant. No brats allowed.

Panic rose in her throat, swelling and bubbling like the sourdough starter Grammy fed on her kitchen counter. No, not anymore. Grammy and her sourdough were gone forever, and she was all on her own.

A gust of wind blowing off Lake Twilight, shook the tinsel garlands strung from quaint lantern lampposts. Gaily colored lights flickered through the thickening darkness like fickle beacons. On-off. On-off. Her teeth chattered, braces clicking together. Her bare knee, poking from the hole in her jeans, turned as numb as her nose.

For the past three hours, she’d ringed the entire town square, entering boutiques and restaurants to get in out of the cold, leaving when shop owners started giving her dirty looks.

In one restaurant, with hunger gnawing a hole in her stomach, she’d pretended to need to use the restroom, then slipped into the dining area targeting an un-bussed table and flitching leftovers.

It wasn’t stealing, she’d told herself. The food was getting thrown out.

Then she saw a ten-dollar bill on the next table and her heart leaped. That was stealing. She inched over, reached for the ten, and had it in her fingers when one of the servers caught her.

“Put that back!”

She dropped the ten. “I wasn’t—”

“You were.”

“I—”

“Get out. Now!”

Ducking her head, she moved toward the door. As she passed, the server whispered “you’re disgusting” with a curled lip. Then the woman’s gaze landed on the baby tucked up underneath her jacket and the curl had become a full-on snarl. “For shame! What kind of mother are you?”

That was a knife through her heart. She was a horrible mother. She knew it. The baby would be much better off without her.

“Get out.” the server said. “before I call the cops.”

 

Click HERE to read the excerpt in its entirety!

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Holiday Ever After: One Snowy Night, Holiday Wishes & Mistletoe in Paradise by Jill Shalvis (Book Showcase)

Three fan-favorite Jill Shalvis novellas are together for the first time in this holiday anthology!

 

One Snowy Night

It’s Christmas Eve and Rory Andrews is desperate to get home to her family. Problem is, her only ride to Lake Tahoe comes in the form of the annoyingly handsome Max Stranton, her long-time crush, and his big, goofy, lovable dog. A long road trip in a massive blizzard might be just what they need to face their past…and one steamy, snowy night is all it takes to bring Max and Rory together at last.

 

Holiday Wishes

When Sean O’Riley shows up for his older brother’s bachelor weekend, the last person he expected to see is Lotti Hartford, the woman he lost his virginity to a decade ago. As the weekend continues, Sean realizes he wants to leave his hook-up life behind, but can he convince Lotti to open her heart to him again?

 

Mistletoe in Paradise

Years after their secret fling ended, Hannah isn’t eager to see James during their families’ annual joint holiday-themed yacht adventure. But when they’re the only people who show up, James and Hannah are stuck together on the high seas for days. As the former lovers try to make the best of the Christmas snafu, they soon realize the best things in life can’t be planned, and sometimes love is sweeter the second time around. 

 

 

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