Jan. 2nd, 2017

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Title: The Magic of Christmas
Author: Trisha Ashley
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 412
Date read: December, 2016

In the pretty Lancashire village of Middlemoss, Lizzy is on the verge of leaving her cheating husband, Tom, when tragedy strikes. Luckily she has welcome distraction in the Christmas Pudding Circle, a group of friends swapping seasonal recipes – as well as a rivalry with local cookery writer Nick over who will win Best Mince Pie at the village show…

Meanwhile, the whole village is gearing up for the annual Boxing Day Mystery Play. But who will play Adam to Lizzy’s Eve? Could it be the handsome and charismatic soap actor Ritch, or could someone closer to home win her heart? Whatever happens, it promises to be a Christmas to remember!

Not really very Christmassy until the last few chapters, but very much a cozy comfort book, so I enjoyed it all the same. I liked reading about life in a small village, and even though I did feel the romance was tied up a bit too quickly, there'd been signs throughout the book, so I only really minded because I thought a certain guy was assuming too much, and didn't really care for that.

There were a few surprises along the way, but I'd guessed the final twist concerning Tom's death at a fairly early stage. Just glad it all got sorted out though.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Wish Upon a Star
Author: Trisha Ashley
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 5/5
# pages: 468
Date read: December, 2016

Single mum Cally’s life is all about her little girl Stella. She’s resigned to the fact that the only romance she’s going to get is from the rom-coms she watches, and with her busy job and her daughter, she doesn’t have time to even think about love.

But life gets very tough when Stella gets sick. Balancing her job as a recipe writer and looking after Stella is all consuming, so when Cally meets handsome baker Jago the last thing she wants to do is fall in love, especially when she’s been badly burned by a Prince Charming from her past. Can laid-back, charming Jago unlock Cally’s frozen heart and help her find true love and magic under the mistletoe?

Not really sure why this is labelled a Christmas book? It's even less so than "The Magic of Christmas". But it's so sweet and adorable that I loved it all the same, and was actually disappointed when I turned the last page.

Trisha Ashley writes little-town communities so very well. True, her books do get a bit formulaic, but they're so charming that I don't really mind. I loved Cally, Stella and Jago, and would have liked to read more about them. And it was so refreshing to read about main characters with a spine for a change! Even if Aimee and Adam need need more than subtle clues to finally get the point!

Lovely book, and though total fluff, it still deserves a five star rating for pure enjoyment and a fairly realistic description of subconscious courting :-)
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Breaking Free
Author: Beth Moore
Genre: Christian non-fiction
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 289 pages
Date read: December, 2016

Do you want to know God and really believe Him? Do you want to find satisfaction in God, experience His peace, and enjoy His presence? Do you want to make the freedom Christ promised a reality in your daily life?

In Breaking Free, Beth Moore embarks on a study of selected passages from the book of Isaiah, drawing several parallels between the captive Israelites and today’s Christians, in order to show how to make freedom in Christ a daily reality. Moore teaches readers to remove obstacles that hinder freedom by identifying spiritual strongholds in their lives and overcoming them through the truth of God’s Word—truth that will set us free.

I've only ever heard good things about Beth Moore's books, so it was with high expectations that I approached this book. Unfortunately it couldn't live up to my expectations. I found her main points interesting and relevant, but unfortunately her examples and anecdotes were much too vague for me to be able to draw any sorts of parallels to my own life. Her reasoning was not to lock the reader into thinking those were the only situations relevant, but unfortunately it didn't work for me.

At the end of the day, I remember her main focus-point (escape satan's strongholds in your life, by seeing his lies for what they are, and focusing on Christ's truths instead) - which is the important thing, of course, though nothing I didn't already know - but nothing else... and I have no better understanding of how to apply that to my life than I did before reading this book.

So I guess I'd recommend the book to a new Christian - but "experienced" Christians (for want of better word) probably won't get much new out of it.


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