Enjoy the Poodle Skirt by Kate Willis

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Enjoy the Poodle Skirt by Kate Willis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Canary and her siblings are spending the end of their summer vacation helping out at their aunt and uncle’s ’50s diner. It’s already a fun week, but when Canary comes across a mysterious hand-drawn map left at a table, it gives her an exciting little case to solve in Enjoy the Poodle Skirt by author Kate Willis.

Here’s a simple, pleasant short story that’s pretty much as sweet as the sundae on the cover looks. A quick pick-me-up like an afternoon dessert.

The mystery is uncomplicated, which fits fine with this story. It would’ve been more interesting if its resolution included certain particulars, at least one or two key pieces of info about the subject at the heart of the mystery. We know the characters have a discussion, but since we don’t hear the details they discuss, their discovery ends on a rather vague note for the reader.

Still, this is a good read for anyone who can appreciate a wholesome snack, especially middle grade readers.

 

Jonah: A Comedy

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Jonah: A Comedy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Countless people are familiar with the biblical account of Jonah, the prophet who ran from his sacred duty and got himself swallowed by a big fish for his trouble. While I’ve always found enough in the story to take seriously, I’ve seen enough in there to shake my head at, too. But this may be the first time I genuinely chortled at it, reading Jonah: A Comedy, retold by Matt Mikalatos.

The Bible isn’t immune to the way that various ideas get lost in translation when writings in one language are written into another. So it was cool to read someone’s take on the book of Jonah in a version that brings out the humor that tends not to fully translate all the time.

That is, I’m not sure I would necessarily call this a translation, as I think there’s a difference between a translation and a paraphrase. Still, the storyteller’s notes on the matter are as interesting as the story itself.

For me, the experience was like a cross between reading the biblical book, reading an ancient tale in my World Lit class back in college, and reading a historical short story written in contemporary times. If you’ve got a few minutes and an interest in biblical themes, check this little book out—and don’t skip the notes in the back!

Oh, and, yeah. Don’t be like Jonah, either. In general.

 

Bears, Bobsleds and Other Misadventures by Gary Dyck

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. Online Book Club provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Bears, Bobsleds and Other Misadventures by Gary Dyck

Humor

Here’s a batch of comical short stories, from Gary’s childhood mishaps with his young neighbors to awkward situations he faces as a married man. The humor is sometimes subtle, sometimes blatant, can get a little irreverent at times, but Gary maintains a level of tact in his storytelling.

Of course, I’m referring to Gary, the main character, not Gary the author. But are these in fact true stories about Gary the author? Well, now. You’ll have to ask Gary about that.

Officially reviewed at OnlineBookClub.org with a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. Take a look!

 

The Best Gift by Morris Fenris

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

The Best Gift by Morris Fenris

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Emma is planning a surprise for her first Christmas with her new husband, but an unexpected emergency could put a damper on their holiday. Years of working in advertising has made Christmastime a stressful season for Julie, but this year will remind her what the season is about. These two tales are paired up in The Best Gift by author Morris Fenris.

Pretty sure it was the cover that once drew me to these short stories, as I had no idea what they’re about until I read them. They’re out-and-out Christmas tales that highlight simple holiday joys, and it was nice to read about two married couples at different stages in life. Plus, I suspect one of these stories might have a little fantasy dust sprinkled in.

I’ll admit I liked the stories better than the style they’re written in, as there’s an awkward, novice kind of feel to much of the wording. Toward the beginning, I almost felt like I was reading a summary about a story instead of the story itself, and the ending of the second one is a little abrupt.

Still, the Christmas lover in me couldn’t help but to enjoy these simple, warm, quick reads.

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These two short stories, First Christmas and A Christmas Wish, are now in a boxed set called The Miracle of Christmas.