Sometimes I don’t feel like writing a full review for whatever reason, either because life is busy and I don’t have time, or because a book didn’t stir me enough. Sometimes, it’s because a book was so good that I just don’t have anything to say beyond that I loved it! Frequently, I’m just wayyy behind on reviews and am trying to catch up. For whatever reason, these are books that only have a few paragraphs of thoughts from me.
Trading Christmas by Debbie Macomber – 3.5*
Sometimes you just need some relaxing holiday fare. Macomber isn’t my favorite romance author, since her books tend to be higher on the fluff scale than I prefer, but I actually checked two of her books from the library this season. In this one, Mr. Grumpy-Pants-I-Hate-Christmas Charles trades homes with Emily. Emily lives in Leavenworth, Washington, a town known for its obsession with Christmas, but wants to spend the holidays with her daughter, who is going to college in Boston. Charles wants to get out of Boston for Christmas, and mistakenly thinks he is heading to the Leavenworth with the prison, which he figures should be pretty un-Christmasy.
Overall this was a fun little story that you just have to read in the spirit its meant – Hallmark Channel-y. It felt like Charles’s about-face was rather abrupt, and I was mildly concerned at how fast Emily fell in love, but hey, it’s Christmas! A short, fun read, if somewhat lacking in any kind of character development whatsoever.
The Forgetful Bride by Debbie Macomber – 3*
There was a bonus story in Trading Christmas, so I went ahead and read it. I didn’t like this one as well, mainly because a main character who is extremely stupid on picking up on obvious clues from her best friend aggravates me excessively. This one was perfectly pleasant but rather bland.
Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber – 3*
Last Macomber book for this post, I promise. First off, I had trouble with this book because the main character’s name is Cain. Cain?? Seriously?? As in, the first recorded murderer in Biblical history?? So I had trouble bonding with him because of that. Anyway, Cain is a total grump, and his neighbor, Julia, is super friendly. Julia is up for a new job, but because of the nature of the job, part of her interview process is creating a blog and gaining new followers for it. Julia’s best friend has the brilliant idea that Julia should befriend grumpy Cain and “kill him with kindness.” As with Charles in Trading Christmas, Cain’s personality change seemed a little abrupt, but it was still a perfectly happy little story.
The Coat-Hanger Christmas Tree by Eleanor Estes – 3*
This is one I’ve had on my shelf forever, but didn’t really remember reading, which is kind of ridiculous considering it’s only 78 pages long and has a lot of pictures. Still. Marianna and Kenny (elementary-aged) have never had a Christmas tree because their mom doesn’t believe in “being like every Tom, Dick, and Harry.” They really, really want one, though, so they rescue a tree (and then some more) from the trash and bring them home in hopes that their mom will let them have one. In the meantime, Marianna also befriends a girl from school who isn’t very popular. Marianna finds out that Allie actually lives on a barge with her family, which is why she sometimes misses school for several days at a time.
I’m usually a huge fan of Estes, and there were things about this book that I really enjoyed – the close relationship between Kenny and Marianna was very touching, and I loved the way that Marianna reached out to Allie. But reading this as an adult, I couldn’t see past how utterly and completely selfish and ridiculous their mother was for not letting them have a Christmas tree. Estes gives us hints that their mother doesn’t really like Christmas that much (her mother died around Christmas; the children’s father is out of town for work and she hasn’t heard from him because of Christmas mail; etc.), but I still couldn’t get over it. Letting them have a tree was such a simple thing to do, and she just wouldn’t for literally no reason other than that she didn’t feel like messing with it. What a jerk.
The Wonderful Tumble of Timothy Smith by Doris Faber – 4*
I have read a few not-Christmas books this month as well, and this was one. It’s another short children’s book that I’ve had on my shelf since I picked it up at a book sale in 2005. Turns out that it was absolutely adorable – the illustrations by Leonard Shortall definitely helped. Young Timothy falls out of an apple tree and sprains his wrist, which means he can’t do all the things young boys normally do on summer vacation. He and his sister go to the library to try and find a book on a project Timothy wants to work on while he wrist is injured, and along the way are able to help the library find a new home, benefitting everyone. The story is told quite well, the illustrations are adorable, and Timothy is a delightful little character. I’m definitely going to have to see if I can find some more of Faber’s books around.