Monday, October 7, 2019

Book Review: Christmas in Winter Valley

Ransom Canyon, #8 
Jodi Thomas
Genre: Contemporary / Western / Holiday Romance Publisher: HQN Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Number of Pages: 288 pages
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Ransom Canyon welcomes you back for a Christmas that has everything you’re looking for: romance, family, and a whole lot of Texas.
Cooper Holloway would take nature over people any day—especially visiting relatives. That’s why he’s headed for a rustic cabin in remote Winter Valley, where he’ll care for a herd of wild mustangs. But Cooper’s plans are quickly thwarted by the arrival of two unexpected guests: one, a stranger in desperate need of his help, and the other, a very attractive young veterinarian.
Elliott is busy trying to keep Maverick Ranch running smoothly with Cooper gone, which is no easy task with family visiting. And when a long-lost love suddenly reappears in his life, Elliott knows he’ll have more than just books to balance this season.
With a big, chaotic family Christmas around the corner and love blooming in surprising ways, the Holloway men will have to make big choices about the future—just in time for the holidays.

PRAISE FOR CHRISTMAS IN WINTER VALLEY: "This book has everything you would want. Laughter, drama. And tears both happy and sad. I highly recommend this book." -- Patty Champion (5 Stars, Goodreads Review) “I could not put this book down once I started it and longed for more once I was done.” -- Melanie (5 Stars, Goodreads Review) "I got lost in the world that she [Jodi Thomas] has created and enjoyed seeing her characters with their overlapping and interconnected stories find a happiness that none of them expected to ever find." -- B. (5 Stars, Goodreads Review)

I received this book for free, though this review is my own thoughts and opinions.

Already finished reading my first Christmas book for the year and it's only October! I always like to read themed books for when the different Holidays roll out. If I were you, I would add this book to your list of Christmas books to read this year.

At first, I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this book. I loved the cover and it's not a usual selection for me, so I thought of reading something out of my typical reading, which is mainly biographical/autobiographical, mystery and manga. And right off the bat, this was a nice change of pace for me. 

I'm not going to lie, it was a little slow for me to get into at the beginning, but I still gave it a chance and the story really picked up like a snowball going downhill. I would be reading this book during my lunch break and not wanting to go back to work. Thus, such is life. The story overall was very well written, but I think what really got me interested were the characters. At the begnning, the characters tend to be more closed off to the world and to the reader, but as you keep going through the pages, you start to learn how more complex they are, who they are, what they like, what they've gone through and they become relatable people. It was definitely as if I was getting to know real people as most you will not know a lot right off the back, but as time goes on, the walls break down bit by bit.

I was also happy on the level of romance this book gives you. It's not overally romantic, but subtle and sweet like kiss on the cheek that makes your heart warm up. I appreciate this aspect as I love, love, but I don't like the excessiveness that some romance novels play out. 

Overall, this was a wonderful read and it really got me into the Holiday spirit. I'm excited to read more from this author and more Christmas books in general.

With millions of books in print, Jodi Thomas is both a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over fifty novels and countless short story collections. Her stories travel through the past and present days of Texas and draw readers from around the world.
In July 2006, Jodi was the 11th writer to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. With five RITA’s to her credit, along with National Readers’ Choice Awards and Booksellers’ Best Awards, Thomas has proven her skill as a master storyteller.
Thomas was honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas and served sixteen years as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.
When not working on a novel, or inspiring students to pursue writing careers, Thomas enjoys traveling with her family, renovating an historic home, and “checking up” on two grown sons and four grandchildren.

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October 3-13, 2019
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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Book Review: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

 Hello all you beautiful people in the world! I've actually finished this book in June, but hadn't had the actual time to sit down do a whole review on this due to other book review commitments, but I'm really excited to tell you all about this book! It's one that I don't have any negative things to say about it, so read on if you are curious to learn more about the novel, Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.

A Little Bit About The Author

She was born in Seoul, South Korea and immigrated to Queens, New York with her family in 1976 when she was seven years old. Lee is a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science and was inducted into the Bronx Science Hall of Fame. At Yale College, she majored in History and was awarded the Henry Wright Prize for Nonfiction and the James Ashmun Veech Prize for Fiction. She attended law school at Georgetown University and worked as a lawyer for several years in New York prior to writing full time.

From 2007 to 2011, Lee lived in Tokyo where she researched and wrote Pachinko. As of the fall of 2018, she will be based in Boston, where she will be working on American Hagwon, the third diaspora novel of “The Koreans” trilogy. From 2019-2022, she will be a Writer-in-Residence at Amherst College. She serves as a trustee of PEN America and as a director of the Authors Guild.

A Little About The Book

The story starts off in the early 1900's, before WWII came into play. We find the life of teenager Sunja go from typical to a Lifetime movie in a matter of a couple of chapters. She soon finds out that she is pregnant from a wealthy stranger who she finds out has a different life in Japan. She leaves the stranger and decides to marry a gentle minister who was passing through her mother's inn on his way to Japan. Her decisions lead her on one epic journey that only one could believe in writing.

What Was Most Interesting

If you are a history buff then you are going to LOVE Pachinko. A story set in post and pre WWII Japan. I learned so many things that I never learned in school and haven't watched on the History channel. The story goes into great detail about the Koreans who moved into Japan, how they were treated and how the ones that were born in Japan grew up and what life was like in a place that I consider to be quite friendly. It kind of pops my bubble a bit, but always good to know.

This story also reminded me of Memoirs of a Geisha in the way the story was told, you just want to keep learning more about everyone's life during this time. It's so mesmerizing, especially for people, like me, who don't know much about this part of history.

This story is definitely a page-turner. I could not put it down. I wanted to read the whole thing in a day, but let myself read it slow to take it all in. When you have a good page-turner book, you are going to have feelings. Tons of feelings. You will feel the main character's happiness, sadness, devastation, love and everything else in between. It's a true roller coaster that you just quite don't want to get off from.

 What Was Least Interesting

There is really nothing that I would personally put here. The author went through great lengths to make sure her story was accurately portrayed and accurate to the time and she did a fantastic job.


Overall,  I definitely recommend this to anyone. It's a wonderfully, tragic story that reels you into the human heart and tugs at it's vessels. Until next time, Happy Reading my friends!