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Friend Request – Book Review #1

Well, my Goodreads challenge is not off to the flying start I was hoping for! I seem to be having trouble finding any time to sit and read at the moment which means I’m already 1 week behind.
It was really annoying only being able to read Friend Request for about 10 minutes a night because I was itching to find out what really happened back at the school leavers party!

Hopefully, things will start calming down again and I’ll be able to catch up soon 🙂

Friend Request

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren’t. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria’s sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she’d severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there’s more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what’s known to Maria–or whoever’s pretending to be her–is known to all.

My Thoughts

I’ve had this book for a while. I knew it was going to be the first on my list for my 2019 Goodreads challenge.
Any books with social media at the heart are for me. I do love being able to keep in touch with family and friends who live far away from me, but I also know it can be a dangerous place.
Anyone can get any Facebook profile they like. It’s always being used in ways it was not designed for and it can be a powerful tool for the bullies out there.

Friend Request is about bullying in school, but where we are usually told the story from the victim’s point of view, this time we’re hearing from one of the bullies.
I wouldn’t have thought I’d have much sympathy for a bully, but I did feel for Louise and liked the person she had grown into.

She was full of remorse for her actions and her behaviour back in school has had a negative impact on the rest of her life, just like it can with the victim and I found it refreshing to see it from this angle.

I’ll be on the lookout for more Laura Marshall books.

Friend Request by Laura Marshall book cover

Goodreads 2019 reading challenge 1 book read


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The Christmas Town By Donna VanLiere – Book Review #52

Well, I’ve completed my challenge and over a month early as well! The Christmas Town is the 8th book in this series and the 9th has recently been released.

The Christmas Town

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Lauren Gabriel spent many years of her childhood in foster homes, wishing her mother would come back for her and be the family she needs. Now twenty-years-old, she still longs for a place that she can truly call home. Her work as a cashier is unfulfilling, and at Christmas it’s unbearable with the songs and carols and chatter of Christmas that she hears throughout the day.

When Lauren ends her shift one night, she finds herself driving aimlessly in order to avoid returning to her lonely apartment. And when she witnesses a car accident she is suddenly pulled into the small town of Grandon, first as a witness but then as a volunteer for the annual fundraiser for Glory’s Place, a center for single mothers and families who need assistance. Could this town and its people be the home she has always longed for?

My Thoughts

I think this is probably one of my favourites of the series. I love the notes that Ben writes then drops them in their grocery bags while he’s packing them.
It’s lovely that everyone wants to go to the till where Ben works so they can get one of his special messages. They don’t care how long the line is, it’s worth the wait for them!

I’m now back to my thrillers, but I’m staying with the Christmas theme and reading The Advent Killer by Alistair Gunn.


The Christmas Town By Donna VanLiere

Goodreads 2018 reading challenge - 52 books read and challenge completed


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The Christmas Light By Donna VanLiere – Book Review #51

The Christmas Light is the 7th book in this series.

The Christmas Light

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

In the small town of Grandon, five very different people discover the true meaning of Christmas. Jennifer and Ryan are both single parents, struggling with their own losses and heartache as they attempt to move forward in the present while still holding onto the memories, joy, and heartache of the past.

Sixteen-year-old Kaylee is faced with a life-changing situation that has affected her whole family. Stephen and Lily are happily married and ready to start a family. All of them are facing their own struggles, and all are finding their way through the dark. When they are brought together for a rather unconventional church Nativity, they will learn that with strength, courage, and love, there is always hope.

My Thoughts

I’ve enjoyed all of these books and I’m a little sad that I’ve only got 1 more to read. I’ve decided to just add the last book to my wishlist rather than buying it now because I don’t know if I’m going to get time to read much more now with Christmas fast approaching.

I enjoyed this book as I have done all the others. I must say, though, that I’ll be happy to get back to reading a thriller or two. It seems I can have too much Christmas schmaltz after all!

The Christmas Light By Donna VanLiere

Goodreads reading challenge 2018 51 books read


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The Christmas Note By Donna VanLiere – Book Review #50

The Christmas Note is the sixth book in the Christmas Hope series of books by Donna VanLiere.

The Christmas Note

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Gretchen Daniels has recently moved into a condo with her two children to be closer to her mother, Miriam. As they build a life together in their new community, they notice a mysterious young woman, Melissa McCreary, who lives next door. She has few possessions, little personality, and keeps to herself. One day a local landlord who is looking for Melissa knocks on Gretchen’s door for assistance. Melissa’s mother has died and in the coming weeks the landlord needs Melissa to empty her mother’s apartment. Gretchen reaches out and offers to help Melissa, but the apartment is a gut-wrenching shamble of a home. There is little worth saving except for a few photos and a note that is discovered on the crate beside the bed. It is unfinished, but in the two scribbled lines, Melissa discovers secrets about her family that she never could have imagined. Can two very different women embark on a journey that explores a long-buried need for forgiveness, hope, and redemption?

My Thoughts

This book has also been made into a movie and I enjoyed both the book and the film. As with previous movies made from this book series, I knew what the twist was before it came. I do wish I’d have known about the series before seeing all the movies!

It’s another feel-good Christmas story and I love seeing characters pop up from previous books. It makes you feel like you’re a part of this charming little town!

The Christmas Note By Donna VanLiere book cover

Goodreads 2018 reading challenge 50 books read


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The Christmas Secret By Donna VanLiere – Book Review #49

The Christmas Secret is the fifth book in The Christmas Hope series of books by Donna VanLiere.

The Christmas Secret

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

When a struggling young single mother saves the life of an elderly woman, she sets into motion a series of events that will test her strength, loyalty, and determination, all the while setting her on the path to finding true love.

Christine Eisley is the mother of seven-year-old Zach and five-year-old Haley. Her ex-husband provides little, if any, child support and makes life difficult for Christine by using the children as pawns. She works long hours as a waitress to make ends meet, but her job is in jeopardy because she’s often late to work due to the unreliable teenaged sitters she’s forced to use. When Christine saves the life of a woman who works in Wilson’s department store, the owner of Wilson’s wants to find her, to thank her, but Christine has disappeared, losing another job once again. He sets his grandson, Jason, to the task of finding the mysterious “Christy.” Jason, an accountant by trade who has lost his job to downsizing, thinks he is “above” working at Wilson’s. Soon, he discovers that this new task gives him more than he bargains for.

The Christmas Secret is a novel for anyone who wants to see how love is a gift that keeps giving back; that hope is a treasure that never runs dry, and that faith is a miracle that is reborn with each new day.

My Thoughts

I remember seeing the movie of this and absolutely loving it so I was really looking forward to reading the book.
It didn’t disappoint, but I think seeing the movie first kind of ruined the book for me because I knew what was going to happen.


The Christmas Secret By Donna VanLiere

Goodreads 2018 reading challenge 49 books read


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The Christmas Promise By Donna VanLiere – Book Review #48

The Christmas Promise is the fourth book in Donna VanLiere’s Christmas Hope series, the first three being The Christmas Shoes, The Christmas Blessing and The Christmas Hope.

The Christmas Promise

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Each Christmas we are given a promise from heaven. And each year on earth we make promises to each other.

This is a story about how a promise from one person to another shows us the true meaning of faith, remembrance, and love.Seven years ago Gloria endured a family tragedy that almost shook her faith entirely. Each Christmas she places a card in an envelope on her tree, restating a promise she made to her husband before he died.

Now, having moved from her small town and all the painful memories it held, she is building a life by caring for people in need. Whether it’s a young mother who can’t pay her electric bill or a family who needs some extra food, Gloria always finds a way. Miriam is a thorn in Gloria’s side. Miriam is a constantly critical, disapproving neighbor who looks with suspicion at all the good things Gloria does. When a twist of fate makes them roommates instead of neighbors, it’s the ultimate test of patience and faith.

Chaz has a good job as head of security at Wilson’s Department Store, but each night he returns home to an empty apartment. He longs for a wife and family of his own but realizes that the life choices he’s made have alienated him. He befriends a young boy whose mother has fallen on hard times, giving him a chance to have a life he thought impossible.In The Christmas Promise, the lives of these characters collide and we learn that even as we move ahead, the past is never far behind. And when we are forgiven much, we love much.

In this warmly humorous and deeply poignant story, we are reminded that the Christmas Promise is the promise of second chances.

My Thoughts

We’re introduced to more characters in this 4th book and it got a little confusing at times. I read the book in a day, however, because I was on holiday and spent the day relaxing. If I’d had to keep stopping I might have found it more confusing trying to remember who each person was!

It was still an enjoyable read and Miss Glory is a lovely character.

The Christmas Promise By Donna VanLiere book cover



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The Christmas Hope By Donna VanLiere – Book Review #47

The Christmas Hope is another of the series that has been made into a movie. We’re planning on buying them all!

The Christmas Hope

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Patricia and Mark Addison have long given up the hope of having a meaningful Christmas. But this year, Patricia’s job as a social worker will lead her to a very special five-year-old. Against her better judgment, Patricia bends the rules and takes the little girl to her own home.

Through the presence of Emily in their house, and her penetrating questions about heaven, the Addisons learn that there is no sorrow so great that faith cannot help you find your way through. And Christmas will once more be a time of joy in their home.

My Thoughts

I’d seen the movie but hadn’t realised it was part of this series. The movie didn’t make me cry as much as this book did!

It’s a tear jerker but still such a lovely story of love, loss, but most of all hope.
I love how all the characters end up tied in some way and I totally wish I lived in this town with all these people!

The Christmas Hope by Donna VanLiere Book Cover



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The Christmas Blessing By Donna VanLiere – Book Review #46

The Christmas Blessing is the second book in the Christmas Hope series by Donna VanLiere. I’ve been looking forward to reading these all year!

The Christmas Blessing

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

In The Christmas Shoes, young Nathan Andrews was a child who lost his mother to cancer. Now his deepest wish is to become a doctor. When a stranger named Robert gave him the money to buy his mother a pair of shoes for her last Christmas, both Robert and Nathan learned the deepest lessons of love and giving. Now a medical student in his third year, Nathan realizes there are still things to be learned about faith, blessings, and sacrifice. Lessons he will learn from Meghan Sullivan-a young woman born with a hole in her heart that has not kept her from becoming a champion runner. And lessons learned from a young boy named Charlie, who teaches how to live a life of true courage. Together, they will help guide Nathan through the darkest period in his life. The Christmas Blessing is an inspiring about hope existing in the darkest places, and love is always the greatest gift of all.

My Thoughts

Loved it 🙂 I don’t usually get weepy when reading, (unless I’m reading a true story about horrible things that have happened to a child, however, I don’t read those kinds of books anymore because it makes me too sad) but this one brought a tear to my eye.

I enjoyed reading more about Nathan and seeing the man he’s grown in to.

This second book has also been made into a movie but it’s called Miracle Of The Heart rather than The Christmas Blessing.

The Christmas Blessing By Donna VanLiere Book Cover

Goodreads 2018 reading challenge 46 books read


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The Christmas Shoes By Donna VanLiere – Book Review #45

KayCee and I love The Christmas Shoes, movie. We watch it every year and every year it makes us cry!

The Christmas Shoes

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Sometimes, the things that can change your life will cross your path in one instant-and then, in a fleeting moment, they’re gone. But if you open your eyes, and watch carefully, you will believe….

Robert is a successful attorney who has everything in life-and nothing at all. Focused on professional achievement and material rewards, Robert is on the brink of losing his marriage. He has lost sight of his wife, Kate, their two daughters, and ultimately himself. Eight year old Nathan has a beloved mother, Maggie, whom he is losing to cancer. But Nathan and his family are building a simple yet full life, and struggling to hold onto every moment they have together. A chance meeting on Christmas Eve brings Robert and Nathan together-he is shopping for a family he hardly knows and Nathan is shopping for a mother he is soon to lose. In this one encounter, their lives are forever altered as Robert learns an important lesson: sometimes the smallest things can make all the difference. The Christmas Shoes is a universal story of the deeper meaning of serendipity, a tale of our shared humanity, and of how a power greater than ourselves can shape, and even save, our lives.

My Thoughts

There were a few things different in the book compared to the movie, but that’s always the case so I was expecting it. It didn’t ruin the book or the movie for me, I love them both!
This is the first book in the Christmas Hope series by Donna VanLiere. I bought them all for KayCee last Christmas. I’m going to read them all and I’m not worried about getting fed up of them as I did with some of the Harlan Coben series I read earlier in the year because each book is set in the same town, but is about different characters.

They’re not very long books either, I read half of this on the Monday night and the other half on the Tuesday morning before work!

This book was inspired by the song of the same name by a group called Newsong.

The Chirstmas Shoes By Donna VanLiere

Goodreads 2018 reading challenge 45 books read


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This Year It Will Be Different by Maeve Binchy – Book Review #44

I don’t know if I’ve read any other Maeve Binchy books but after reading This Year It Will Be Different, I’ll be on the lookout for more of her books 🙂

This Year It Will Be Different – Maeve Binchy

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Circle of Friends, The Glass Lake, and Evening Class comes a stunning collection of fifteen Christmas stories filled with Maeve Binchy’s trademark wit, charm, and sheer storytelling genius. In A Typical Irish Christmas, a grieving widower heads for a holiday in Ireland and finds an unexpected destination not just for himself, but for a father and daughter in crisis. . . . In Pulling Together, a teacher not yet out of her twenties sees her affair with a married man at a turning point as Christmas Eve approaches. . . . And in the title story, This Year It Will Be Different, a woman with a complacent husband and grown children enters a season that will forever alter her life, and theirs. . .

My Thoughts

I loved this nice, easy to read book. I was surprised at how very short the first short story was! I soon got used to it, though, and found myself actually enjoying reading just a snippet of people’s lives rather than an in-depth tale.

This Year It Will Be Different By Maeve Binchy Book Cover

Goodreads 2018 reading challenge - 44 books read


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