You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch by Paula Moldenhauer

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.

You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch by Paula Moldenhauer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

Every year, Rick dresses up like the Grinch and delivers rhymes to promote the town of Christmas, Florida. But the town postmaster, Edie, isn’t moved by Rick’s charms. Perhaps he’ll need to be a bit more insistent in his pursuit of Edie in You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch by author Paula Moldenhauer.

Since I either skimmed or skipped reading the blurb before picking up this book, I didn’t realize it’s a romance involving an older couple. A bonus! I enjoy stories about people finding new love later in life, along with some of the perks and practical complications they may have on their hands.

This novella is heavy on its faith theme. Though I especially like how a supporting character owns it in one scene (out of the mouth of babes!), I think a “less is more” approach would’ve been a good fit for this book. It seems the story, perhaps inadvertently, gives the impression that the level of God’s goodness is based on how much a person gets what they want.

Also, the characters’ feelings seem rushed after a certain point. I think tension can be all the more meaningful when characters wrestle with that middle area, when they don’t go to extremes of “I love you” or “I’m done with you” too suddenly.

Still, this quick read should be right down the alley of plenty of Christmassy ChristFic romance fans.

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You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch is Book One in the Tinseled Tidings series.

 

 

The Wife Degree by Aisha Ford

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 Wife Degree by Aisha Ford

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

Madison is back home from college, and her childhood crush, Jordan, still lives next door. He used to make fun of Maddy all the time, but he seems to have changed during her absence. Maddy thinks there may be a chance for this crush to become more–but maybe there are a few practical skills she’ll need to pick up first in The Wife Degree by author Aisha Ford.

Maddy is a returning character from an earlier novel. So if you might want to read Stacy’s Wedding sometime, it’d be cool to read that book first, though it isn’t strictly necessary.

This story started out pretty slow for me; I was almost ready to set it aside after a couple chapters or so. Then it started getting rather fun, and I recognized the reasons why I enjoyed it the first time, when I read it years ago. The funnier stuff in here is romantic comedy material that got some laughter out of me.

The story isn’t all fun and games, though, as it addresses some serious issues, even outside of the romance. Now, evangelism is spread on thick through the plot, and it doesn’t come off too naturally. On a lighter note, something like the ability to cook is a life skill, not a wife skill, and equal partnership in a marriage doesn’t necessarily equate to equal housework. Different marriages work differently, of course.

But I don’t think it’s this story’s real point to drive home a homemaking message, so much. Besides, the romance is interesting without depending on melodrama to give the hero and heroine their challenge. Other fans of sweet ChristFic romance should like this one.

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Maddy is a returning character from Stacy’s Wedding.

 

Lone Witness by Rachel Dylan

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. Bethany House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Lone Witness by Rachel Dylan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

Sophie recently earned a promotion at the district attorney’s office, and she has a fraud case on her hands involving a local bank employee. Then one terrifying night, Sophie is on the scene of a brutal double homicide. Since she’s now at risk as both a prosecutor and an eyewitness, her father hires a private security guard, Cooper, to keep her safe in Lone Witness by author Rachel Dylan.

This second novel in the Atlanta Justice series can stand on its own, though it brings back a few characters from the previous book. Like that first book, this novel’s strength is in the legal side of things, how the cases unfold in and out of the courtroom. I anticipated the more explosive moments of danger, but there were other key twists I didn’t see coming.

While this novel is labeled as romantic suspense, I’m not sure I’d call it that. Because it includes the perspectives of several characters, two of which are involved in their own subplot, it’s more of a story about various people than about a romantic couple.

Also like the first book, the romance thread isn’t the novel’s strong point. There’s a lot of clichéd phrasing, a trite feel to the development, and though the story tells us Sophie and Cooper have “intense physical chemistry,” I wasn’t convinced of it. The turning point/climax of their relationship comes about with a major change of mind, but we don’t get to see a gradual process or a momentous event that brings about that specific change, to make it more believable.

Nevertheless, Sophie’s contrasting roles as lawyer and witness kept me interested, and other fans of ChristFic legal suspense should enjoy this read.

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Here’s my review of Book One in the Atlanta Justice series, Deadly Proof.

 

As Time Goes By by Lori Wick

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.

As Time Goes By by Lori Wick

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

Boys will be boys, perhaps, but the way Jeffrey Taylor once hurt Roberta “Bobbie” Bradford’s feelings was still inexcusable. Now that Bobbie is returning to Santa Rosa after a five-year absence, Jeff will finally have the chance to make it up to her in person. But her arrival back home throws Jeff strangely off-kilter in As Time Goes By by author Lori Wick.

Here’s another novel I’ve now read thrice, which I think I first read in my teens.

I once loved this second book in The Californians series for various reasons, including that the heroine is considered to be rather plain. Bobbie also wears spectacles, and no, when she comes back to town, she’s not an ugly-duckling-turned-beautiful-swan who’s done away with her glasses to conveniently make her gorgeous. Not that romances have to make a big to-do about a heroine’s physical looks either way (they most certainly do not), but it’s still refreshing to see something different from this author’s norm.

“Plain girls have dreams too, you know.” Bobbie is competent and personable with a cheeky sense of humor, and she’s regularly ready to cut folks some slack.

Even with the super cool heroine, though, I’ll admit I don’t feel the same about the story as I used to. It’s often pretty schmaltzy and not the most natural. Having jumped straight to the second book in the series this time, I can see how certain minor characters and scenes don’t really matter unless you already care about those characters from the previous book. Also, this novel has a lot of talk about salvation, prayer, and Bible reading, which I think can work if a novel’s plot calls for it, but it feels overdone in this story.

Nevertheless, this is a feel-good kind of read for fans of ChristFic historical romance who can appreciate something that’s easy to digest.

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Again, I skipped Book One this time around, but you may want to start at the beginning of The Californians series.