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.

 

Red Boots 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.

Red Boots by Kate Willis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Maybe another time, Maggie.”

*Inward sigh.*

An old shopkeeper has a chance to bring joy to a young heart in Red Boots by author Kate Willis.

Get ready for a small helping of good old-fashioned Christmas warmth and cheer! There’s a touch of whimsy to this short story, with a pair of boots “listening to the voices” of the shop’s shoppers and “the cash register’s song” filling the atmosphere.

Sure, it can be easy for a pleasant tale as quick as this one to be all holiday schmaltz. But the ingredients of a little regret and a dash of sacrifice make this dessert more than a Christmas popcorn ball.

If you enjoy stories that can give you a Gift of the Magi kind of feeling, check out this little number.

 

Coming Home: A Very Short Story by Steven F. Freeman

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.

Coming Home by Steven F. Freeman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

Josh has been battling loneliness in the months since his former fiancée abruptly called off their wedding. Now the arrival of a mysterious package with an insistent message could take Josh around an unexpected bend in Coming Home: A Very Short Story by author Steven F. Freeman.

While I’ve got a few of his thrillers waiting in my library, this is my first time reading this author. Just needed a little tale to snack on, and I ended up enjoying this tale more than I thought I would.

Some of it is on the corny side, but not necessarily in a bad way, especially for romantic folks who appreciate feel-good reads. I like a quick and simple story that still has something “different” to it, something worth guessing about, as this one has.

 

Out of Time by C. J. Darlington

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.

Out of Time by C.J. Darlington

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

A busy woman rushing to make it to Bible study, a husband and father who’s just been laid off, and a hurting teenager with a secret are all running… Out of Time, a collection of three short stories by author C. J. Darlington.

I promise I don’t only read short stories when/because I’m running short on time myself. Even though it’s convenient to get in quick reads, I appreciate the short story form for what it is, and this trio is rather good, especially the title story.

I could have cried at the end of that one. It’s not a new message or a surprising tale to me, but it’s so real. It shows how we humans are, how sometimes we really just don’t get it. But it’s a motivating story, too.

Now, while I do like author’s notes that give background or “behind the scenes” info, I can do without explanations about a story’s moral or lesson, especially the shorter a story is. I think it’s more powerful when brief and sharp fiction is left to speak for itself, and the reader will catch the message just fine.

This is my first time reading this author, and I plan on doing so again.