Review

A Texas Kind of Christmas

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Published: Kensington Books
Date: 29th October 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

A Texas Kind of Christmas has three novellas by three authors. They are loosely linked by place and year. The first is by Jodi Thomas, and here we are taken to the Texas frontier with a mixture of ranchers, lawmen, supposed outlaws, hotel staff and a young woman about to choose her husband.  She has a wealthy father who just wants to see her married off and happy, but her step mother has nasty intentions. She eventually makes her choice as does Katie one of the hotel maids.

Birdie’s Flight by Celia Bonaduce is the second story. We meet Birdie or Bridget, just arrived in Dallas needing a job. Thanks to a few serendiptious happenings she finds one as a seamstress. We also meet the capricious Charlotte who is looking for that perfect dress for the dance. Birdie is fleeing someone, just who and why we have to read on to find out. By the end of the story both girls find the one they love.

Spirit of Texas  by Rachel Miles gives us a ride through Texas to Dallas on a coach along with Eugenie who has come from England to seek out and bring home her mother.  Asher has been designated to guide her to Dallas to the St Nicholas hotel. Its a story of second chances and a ride through the wild country side.

These stories have plenty of a western feel and are a load of adventure and fun. They are short but each of them is satisfying and I felt did not suffer from being a novella.  I picked this book up because of the name of Jodi Thomas, however I have to say I enjoyed each story – all so well written and engaging.

#IMWAYR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.
Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels or anything in those genres – join them.

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And we come towards the end of October! Hope all that celebrate Halloween enjoy it.

Our Spring weather continues to be capricious. I drove into the city in the most stinking heavy rain one day, bumper to bumper and hardly able to see where I was going. Yucky.

I also got some time to read, quilt and do a bit of gardening, earthing up the potatoes that are appearing. I need to plant beans, I am a bit behind. I only like going out on sunny days!

What I read last week:

One audio completed and enjoyed.  A Texas Kind of Christmas was for review and At the Mountain’s Edge was from my own shelf. All good reading.

What I am reading now:

Oops, accidentally picked this up for review  so am now forging ahead!

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And an audio book I bought months ago when there was a sale or something!  Cute cover.

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Up next:

A library book

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Last Week’s Posts

One Wish.  Jodi Thomas

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Review

One Wish. Jodi Thomas

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Published: Kensington Books
Date: 29th October 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

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One Wish is a novella written by Jodi Thomas with her trademark Texan setting and characters. And there is a canyon! Yes I associate canyons with Jodi’s books.

Maggie has a general store in town – she is all alone her parents having died. One evening bad men storm her store and it is only due to Sam Thompson’s quick thinking that she is saved from them. Needing to get Maggie to safety because the outlaw may gun for her, Sam takes her deep into the canyon he calls home. Oh my I loved the description of how his home is built.

It’s a novella so things move fast, there is action,  we meet a few other delightful characters, a couple who are mean and nasty and one surprising character who arrives at the right moment.

It’s a warm delightful little story and I revelled in it as I read.

Review

Christmas in Winter Valley Jodi Thomas

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Published: Harlequin
Date: 24th September 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

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Christmas in Winter Valley is a great example of why I love Jodi Thomas’ books. I have never been to Texas and most likely never will, but I do journey there through her writing. The scenery and sense of country permeates the story. To me it feels like real life ranching and cowboys.

I loved all the characters, the two Holloway brothers at home while brother Griffin is away. Elliott the one that manages the books side of the ranch and Cooper who likes to roam the country on a horse. Then there is Tatum, no more about him, only to say I adored him, but you got to have the surprise of meeting him. Tye Franklin is an older man who rides into the ranch looking for a job and he too is a delight.

There is plenty going on with them all, a number of women running about the place, some like chickens without heads, but they add to the fun. The plot goes along at a wonderful pace and there is always something happening. As well, there are lots of laugh out loud moments, I love the sense of humor is this book.

It goes through December, leading up to Christmas, so its perfect to read before Christmas. You’ll either read it really fast because it almost reads itself, or you might be like me, reading it slowly in small pieces because you want to prolong your time with the Holloways. Five star read.

Review

The Little Teashop on Main by Jodi Thomas

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Publisher: Harlequin
Date: 7th May 2019
Source: Little Bird Publicity via NetGalley

 

Set in Laurel Springs, The Teashop on Main, is a beautifully crafted story of friendship and love. Jodi Thomas brings this little town in Texas alive, with her dusty creek beds and shadowy figures that are very much a signature of her stories.

Three young girls bond over a tea party –  a bond that is going to take them right through life. There is Zoe – daughter of Alex, a single mom. Zoe is a free and beautiful spirit, who cares about others and their happiness, and searches for her own sense of “home”.

Shannon has been raised by her Dad – Mack, her mother having walked out on them. He is often away working but there is no doubt of his love for Shannon and the other two girls.

Lastly Emily, somewhat lost and unhappy, with a mother who has smothered her. But… she has Zoe and Shannon who support and worry over her. And then their is Fuller who has a special reason to keep an eye on her. And lastly Jack, who loves all three girls and would do anything for all of them. But… he has a strong attraction and eventually a special love for one of them.

The story ranges over a good time period, so that we see the young people grow up, seek to find themselves and their place in the world, but always is the ongoing friendship that is so strong, that it is forever friendship. And their is that ritual of joining for tea that so important to them.

I loved this story and while tears slid down my cheeks as I finished, I closed the book, with some heartache and a whole lot of admiration for the friends and their various relationships.

#IMWAYR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Mid April

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.
Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels or anything in those genres – join them.

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On Saturday I went to a 6 year old party for my grand niece. And what do you take for a gift when you are a booklover and so is she!!   Well books of course and not just one. I had a great time picking them off  the shelf at the bookstore.

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What I read last week:

I read The Little Teashop on Main – a review book, Love Letters is a continuing series and I have to say this one wrapped me round its little finger, and I finished listening to the delightful Mariah Stewart The Goodbye Cafe – so well narrated it put it into the 5 star category for me.

What I am reading now:

I have just started listening to this. I read it when it published in 2017 and now doing a reread via audio. I love Cathy Lamb books – thanks to Shellyrae who shared a review of one of her books on Book’d Out, and totally hooked me into her books.  Bloggers are influencers!

I am reading this from the backlist of Kristin Hannah, it won’t be as heavy as her more recent ones and that’s totally okay. Another author I read anything she writes.

Up next:

I need a funny good feel book for my next read as that is a challenge book for this month. When I saw a review for this from Trish at Between My Lines , it sealed the choice. She says “It is loaded with laugh out loud moments that had my stomach in a knot.” Has to qualify don’t you think!

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Last Week’s Posts

Come From Away Genevieve Graham

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#IMWAYR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.
Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels or anything in those genres – join them.

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It’s been a little cooler here! I even put on some woollen socks on Saturday because I was feeling cold! And then on Saturday it was so cold I lit a fire, and I wasn’t the only one! Autumn has arrived for us. And we ended daylight saving, which as you know sort of knocks you around for a little while.

This week I watched three movies – which I hardly ever do – all old ones but I enjoyed them nevertheless. The Enchanted April. The Descendants and Moana.

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

Still listening to this – well into it now…

And picked up from TBR from books bought at book fair year few years ago. From the Rose Harbor series.

Up next:

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Review

The Valentine’s Curse by Jodi Thomas

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Published: Kensington Books
Date: 18th December 2018
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Rating 4.5 stars

 

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Set in Texas after the civil war The Valentine’s Curse is a short (74 pages) novella, however it makes a very satisfying read and it was an absolute pleasure to lose myself in the pages for a little while.

Brody is a Yank and not that well received by the other cowboys on the ranch that he works on, they were on opposite sides of the war. So he is an outsider.

Valerie has lost two husbands and its said in town she has a widow’s curse and anyone who touches her will die by evening. So she too is an outsider.

But… these two outsiders are upstanding and outstanding people and what does it matter what others say or do?

Perfect reading for a wet afternoon.

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Guest Post

Mistletoe Miracles with Jodi Thomas

Today I welcome a favorite author to The Book Date. Jodi is sharing with us about her latest book published this month.

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MISTLETOE MIRACLES is a book I decided to write about how people pretend.  Maybe we all pretend as some point.  Not lie exactly, just don’t show the whole truth.

I like to do this on planes. When I start talking to someone I tell them I’m a writer.  They usually want to tell me their story.  I know when I’m listening to them that even the villains in stories think that they are the hero.  I also find that talking to me, knowing they’ll never see me again, gives them a kind of freedom.

So in my new book, MISTLETOE MIRACLES, I had fun giving my characters reasons why they have to pretend. Great fun.  Wait until you meet the Johnsons.  He’s a soldier for two weeks with no home to go to.  She’s a drama teacher who has told the school board she’s married.  She has good reasons for lying.  

When he falls asleep and wrecks his rental car, the sheriff in the small town of Crossroads takes him home—-to the only Johnson house in town.  The sheriff thinks he has to be the teacher’s husband, after all, she said he was in the army. 

This story moves through the book as the Johnsons pretend their way into falling in love. Hope you enjoy the Johnsons and the rest of the characters.
 
Thanks,
Jodi

Jodi also says…    A Very Special Giveaway

I’m very excited about our new contest for a three day vacation at Red River, New Mexico–either a weekend or during the week. You’ll be stepping into an enchanted place that is very personal to me.
Years ago, my sons were wanting to learn to ski and every time we would go to a little town in New Mexico, it seemed to cost us a fortune. I saw some condos up there and I thought, you know, if we bought a little condo that would solve the problem. Turned out to be the best thing I ever did. Many times a year I go up there whenever I’m reading through a book I’ve just written or if I’m trying to think of an idea. There’s something about sitting out on my patio and watching a branch of the Red River go passing by.

The town of Red River has always been a special place for me. It’s in the enchanted circle in northern New Mexico. Now we have a little bitty place up there, a little bitty hideaway where I go up to write. And It’s always fun. My favorite thing to do in the fall is to curl up in a blanket out on the balcony and watch the Red River go by as I begin a book. Red River, New Mexico is an enchanted place I hope you will enjoy as much as I do.

A word from Kathryn…

You can enter on Jodi’s website. Wouldn’t you love to win. It sounds fabulous.

I haven’t read Mistletoe Miracles but it is an auto-buy for me, its pre-ordered and will be winging its way to me on publishing. I loved the podcast below where Jodi talks about the book and her author life – well worth the listen.

Podcast with Jodi and Jason Boyett at Hey Amarillo

Review

Mornings on Main by Jodi Thomas

book coverPublished:Harlequin
Date: April 10th 2018
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 315
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

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Goodreads callout

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In Mornings on Main there is another delightful story by Jodi Thomas, set in a small town in Texas that has perhaps seen better days. But what counts are the warm hearted characters that populate the town and with the touches of humor that Jodi Thomas does so well, this book was all I had hoped for.

But wait… there’s more! I hadn’t realised that one of the shops on Main is a quilting shop and that Gram, the darling old lady is a wealth of knowledge and has such a love for the many quilts that have found their way into her shop. I just loved finding out about the various quilts – their history and the way in which they told  the stories of people from the town.

Wandering into this small town is Jillian – a wanderer since birth really. She now has nobody – totally alone, her father ditched her when she started college, and she has kept up the wandering ways she learned as a child with him. Right from the beginning she has made it clear, she isn’t stopping, just spending a few months and then moving on.

Connor is the mayor, and owner of a lot of property in the town. But that doesn’t make him rich as a lot of it is now land with old disused factories that knew better times. He is a part time unpublished writer, father of teen Sunnie and carer of his ageing Gram. It sure keeps a man busy. When he meets Jillian though, his heart begins to pine for something he has been assured he can’t have.

So the mix of the quilting, the interaction of the characters, the small mysteries, the humor and warmth of the story kept me happily reading along. Yes and some romance too of course, sweet and gentle – perfect. For more than one set of characters too!

And of course it all ended too soon, I so hate leaving these small towns where I feel like I could just fit in so well.