Ino’s Love by Marianne Sciucco

christmas-books-4

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.
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Five Gold Stars

 Ino's LoveIno’s Love by Marianne Sciucco

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“You’ll know, Ruby. Your boys will scatter across the country chasing their dreams, and as painful as it may be, you’ll want them to live their own lives.”

Eighty-year-old Innocenzia Bellarosa hasn’t been well, but she perks up when her CEO son, Ray, calls to let her know he’ll be stopping by to visit before Christmas Eve. Yet, while Ino and her home health aid, Ruby, prepare dinner for Ray’s visit, love during the holiday extends to more than just family in Ino’s Love, a tale by author Marianne Sciucco.

This short Christmas story is perfect for when you have a little time–and a little Kleenex, just in case. I saw much of what was coming in the story, but watching it unfold still tugged at my heartstrings anyway.

While some little bits seem to unnecessarily state (or repeat?) the obvious, the tale doesn’t shy away from taking an honest look at human nature. In a situation that’s pretty wrong, Ino is pretty right (that’s what tears me up!), and she finds a way to still make Christmas, Christmas.

A quick and bittersweet read that ultimately made me smile, even if I might’ve been teary.

That Gift! by Sheryl Fawcett

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.
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That Gift! by Sheryl Fawcett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some husbands have a knack for selecting perfect Christmas gifts for their wives. A certain husband in 1983 has no such knack, and his wife, though grateful, is rather disappointed in his holiday surprise for her. Thirty years later, he may have finally improved on that old gift—or he may have not—in That Gift!, a Christmas tale by author Sheryl Fawcett.

I often say that I’m not big on book blurbs, that I usually only skim them or skip them altogether before reading the book. In the case of this short story, I’m quite glad that I only skimmed the description’s first line or so and did not read the rest of it beforehand, particularly not the Goodreads one. I feel that it all but gives away the story’s “aha moment,” and I found it more enjoyable to discover the “aha” for myself, rather than have the blurb essentially hand it to me ahead of time.

But anywho, enough of that!

I got such a kick out of the title and cover, here: cute, fun, and catchy without being too silly, and it’s all very much on theme. The tale itself is the kind of delightful holiday goodness that’s right up my alley.

There was a minute or two when I felt like the story might be stalling, but those minor details do give a good sense of the husband and wife’s family life. In all, it was similar to reading another Christmas short I’m pretty fond of; I wish the story here hadn’t literally mentioned it, as doing so felt too “obvious,” but that’s likely nit-picky of me.

A quick, meaningful, and satisfying dose of holiday warmth, this is!

Clean Indie Reads Christmas in July Sale 2017

Clean Indie Reads, the Home of Flinch-Free Fiction, is holding a Christmas in July sale
July 17th-21st, 2017.
Pick up some holiday ebooks for $2.99 or less. Enter the sale here.

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Christmas on Mistletoe Mountain by Dora Hiers

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.
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Christmas on Mistletoe Mountain by Dora Hiers

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

Sydney has her hands full, caring for her disabled father and volunteering at Grace Nest, a home for pregnant teenagers. While she dreams of romance, Sydney doesn’t think she’ll ever get to have it—not even with Kane, a kind and supportive man she’s known all her life. She fears he’ll find out about a terrible past mistake that still haunts her in Christmas on Mistletoe Mountain, a romance by author Dora Hiers.

In this holiday novella, the first book in a (coming?) series, both the hero and heroine are struggling with accepting grace for their lives, past and present. It’s a story that goes to some sorrowful places, but it also has its share of holiday warmth, and I’d say the romance is on the steamier side of ChristFic. The storytelling can feel rather melodramatic or oversweet at times, and some little parts are rushed here and there, but it’s a fitting read for a sitting or two.

All in all, a short, sweet, Christmassy, and redemptive tale.