Friday, November 18, 2016

*Deja Revu #23*

Déjà Revu is a weekly review round-up that is open to all book review blogs.

*Mail Call* September 2016

So I'm clearly still behind, but with the completion of this post, I will be caught up on mail call posts. I'm pretending that counts for something (until November 2nd when I will probably be behind again.) So without further ado, here is the book mail I got in September. 

The Rains by Gregg Hurwitz

Photo Credit: Goodreads

In one terrifying night, the peaceful community of Creek’s Cause turns into a war zone. No one under the age of eighteen is safe. Chance Rain and his older brother, Patrick, have already fended off multiple attacks from infected adults by the time they arrive at the school where other young survivors are hiding. Most of the kids they know have been dragged away by once-trusted adults who are now ferocious, inhuman beings. The parasite that transformed them takes hold after people turn eighteen—and Patrick’s birthday is only a few weeks away. 

Determined to save Patrick’s life and the lives of the remaining kids, the brothers embark on a mission to uncover the truth about the parasites—and what they find is horrifying.

Battling an enemy not of this earth, Chance and Patrick become humanity’s only hope for salvation.

Friends is Friends by Greg Cook

Photo Credit: Goodreads


Friends Is Friends tells the story of complicated friendships through a series of funny, bittersweet vignettes. Greg Cook's deceptively sweet storybook world is imbued with grown-up humor that is both dark and whimsical. The result is a fable for adults, where the only clear moral is this: friendship isn't easy, whether you're a hobo or a snowman or a ghost.

Friends Is Friends is indie-favorite Greg Cook's first major work in over a decade. This long-awaited tragicomedy is a great stand-alone work for both new and established graphic novel readers.

Being Josie by Darcy McInnis

Photo Credit: Goodreads

The dream was terrifying and vivid, but when Seattle resident Josie Pace awakes, all she can remember are two details: a newspaper headline from the 1970s and an unusual name—Tambra.

Certain the dream means something, Josie digs into the past and discovers a woman named Tambra Delaney who died in a nearby city in the seventies, murdered by her neighbor, Vivian Latham. 

Josie can't shake the feeling that the official story of Tambra’s murder is deeply wrong, and Vivian was innocent. She continues to dig, discovering Tambra’s daughter and husband are still alive.

Something powerful binds Josie to Tambra, driving the young woman to the site of Tambra’s death. She’s determined to right a decades-old injustice. There’s just one problem: she has no proof beyond her own inexplicable connection to the murder. 

And then there’s policewoman Laura Ramirez. Josie is drawn to her too. That attraction, at least, is easily explained. Or is it? As Josie gets to know Laura she begins to suspect that there's much more to her attraction to the policewoman than meets the eye.

A metaphysical crime drama, Being Josie follows two women separated by time, yet somehow intimately connected.

Self-Esteem by Matthew McKay, PhD and Patrick Fanning

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Self-esteem is essential for our survival. Without some measure of self-worth, life can be enormously painful, with many basic needs going unmet.

One of the main factors differentiating humans from other animals is the awareness of self: the ability to form an identity and then attach a value to it. In other words, you have the capacity to define who you are and then decide if you like that identity or not. The problem of self-esteem is this human capacity for judgment. It’s one thing to dislike certain colors, noises, shapes, or sensations. But when you reject parts of your self, you greatly damage the psycho logical structures that literally keep you alive. Judging and rejecting your self causes enormous pain.

Since its first publication in 1987, Self-Esteem has become the first choice of therapists and savvy readers looking for a comprehensive, self-care approach to improving self-image, increasing personal power, and defining core values. More than 600,000 copies of this book have helped literally millions of readers feel better about themselves, achieve greater success, and enjoy their lives to the fullest.

You can do it, too!

Defying the Nazis: The Sharps' War by Artemis Joukowsky

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Official companion to the Ken Burns film premiering September 20, 2016, on PBS tells the little-known story of the Sharps, an otherwise ordinary couple whose faith and commitment to social justice inspired them to undertake dangerous rescue and relief missions across war-torn Europe, saving the lives of countless refugees, political dissidents, and Jews on the eve of World War II. 

In 1939, the Reverend Waitstill Sharp, a young Unitarian minister, and his wife, Martha, a social worker, accepted a mission from the American Unitarian Association: they were to leave their home and young children in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and travel to Prague, Czechoslovakia, to help address the mounting refugee crisis. Seventeen ministers had been asked to undertake this mission and had declined; Rev. Sharp was the first to accept the call for volunteers in Europe. 

Armed with only $40,000, Waitstill and Martha quickly learned the art of spy craft and undertook dangerous rescue and relief missions across war-torn Europe, saving refugees, political dissidents, and Jews on the eve of World War II. After narrowly avoiding the Gestapo themselves, the Sharps returned to Europe in 1940 as representatives of the newly formed Unitarian Service Committee and continued their relief efforts in Vichy France. 

A fascinating portrait of resistance as told through the story of one courageous couple, Defying the Nazis offers a rare glimpse at high-stakes international relief efforts during WWII and tells the remarkable true story of a couple whose faith and commitment to social justice inspired them to risk their lives to save countless others. 

A companion documentary film was directed by Ken Burns and Artemis Joukowsky.

Forged in Fire by Lindsay McKenna

Photo Credit: Goodreads


Pediatrician Dara McKinley loves her job. So how could she say no when her sister asks her to come to Kabul for a few weeks to offer medical assistance at a local orphanage? Terrified of the dangers surrounding her, Dara finds unexpected solace in the protective arms of Sergeant Matt Culver. Transfixed by the warrior with the exotic gold eyes, can Dara overcome her fears? 

Sergeant Matt Culver has always listened to his instincts, and they have yet to steer him wrong. So when he sees the alluring blond belly dancer at Bagram’s annual holiday show, he knows without a doubt that she’s “the one.” Now he just has to convince her to take a chance on him…and love. If they survive…

Graveyard Slot by Michelle Schusterman

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Kat didn’t believe in ghosts—until now. . .

After a couple months at home dealing with her mother's upcoming wedding and trying on itchy bridesmaid dresses, Kat is more than happy to head off on another ghost-hunting adventure with her dad--especially since the cast and crew of Passport to Paranormal are headed to Brazil and Argentina, and her new friends Jamie and Haley will be joining them. But the ghosts in South America are just as spooky and unpredictable as the ghosts they encountered in Europe, and once again Kat finds herself involved in some mysteries that she might not be able to unravel.

Dead Air by Michelle Schusterman

Photo Credit: Goodreads


Kat didn’t believe in ghosts—until now. . .

When Kat Sinclair’s dad tells her his new job hosting the ghost-hunting TV show Passport to Paranormal means they’ll be living on the road and visiting the world’s most haunted places, Kat packs her bags without a second thought. But the ghostbusting life isn’t as cool as Kat expected. The cast and crew don’t always get along, the producer’s annoying nephew has unexpectedly shown up, and Kat thinks the show—and her dad—might be cursed. Kat decides to start writing a blog with “a behind the scenes look at the creepiest show on TV.” But she soon discovers that going behind the scenes may just reveal more than she really wants to know.

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.

So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.

Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

Whistlestop by John Dickerson

Photo Credit: Goodreads

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER From Face the Nation moderator and Slate columnist John Dickerson come the stories behind the stories of the most memorable moments in American presidential campaign history.

The stakes are high. The characters full of striving and ego. Presidential campaigns are a contest for control of power in the most powerful country on earth. The battle of ideas has a clear end, with winners and losers, and along the way there are sharp turning points-primaries, debates, conventions, and scandals that squeeze candidates into emergency action, frantic grasping, and heroic gambles. As Mike Murphy the political strategist put it, "Campaigns are like war without bullets."

WHISTLESTOP tells the human story of nervous gambits hatched in first-floor hotel rooms, failures of will before the microphone, and the cross-country crack-ups of long-planned stratagems. At the bar at the end of a campaign day, these are the stories reporters rehash for themselves and embellish for newcomers. In addition to the familiar tales, WHISTLESTOP also remembers the forgotten stories about the bruising and reckless campaigns of the nineteenth century when the combatants believed the consequences included the fate of the republic itself. Some of the most modern-feeling elements of the American presidential campaign were born before the roads were paved and electric lights lit the convention halls-or there were convention halls at all. 

WHISTLESTOP is a ride through the American campaign history with one of its most enthusiastic conductors guiding you through the landmarks along the way.

The Man I Love by Suanne Laqueur

Photo Credit: Goodreads

“Like it or not, she made you the man you are. And you never got over her. You just left.”

The man is Erik “Fish” Fiskare, a student of technical theatre at a Philadelphia university. At twenty-two, he is the lover and soul mate of Daisy Bianco, a beautiful and talented ballerina. His best friend is William Kaeger, Daisy’s charismatic, free-spirited partner.

While deeply in love with Daisy and astonished by their physical passion, Erik is fascinated by Will’s bisexuality. But when Will embarks on a disastrous affair with a dancer named James Dow, it pushes Erik’s tolerance and trust to the limit. Rejection soon pushes James over the edge of sanity, taking Will and Daisy with him and leaving Erik in the ruins.

The young stagehand soon discovers that in the face of heartache, grief and betrayal, love is not always enough to make you stay. And sometimes, it’s the only thing that can bring you back.

Spanning fifteen years and following a man's thrilling emotional journey back to the truth of himself, Laqueur's debut novel explores the complexities of sexual passion, the dark side of devotion and the futility of running from one's past. The Man I Love is an epic tale of love and forgiveness that will linger long after the last page is turned.

Dark Perception by Alexandrea Weis

Photo Credit: Goodreads


Born with a gift, Melinda Harris can see visions of the future.
Nathan Cole is the man who wants to possess her and her power.

A member of the elite Corde Noire Society, Nathan introduces Melinda to his dark world of pleasure and pain. At first, Melinda likes what Nathan teaches her, but then she discovers the terrible secret her handsome Dom is hiding.

Nathan has plans for her beyond his bedtime adventure. He wants her to make her his … completely.

Letters to the Cyborgs by Judyth Vary Baker

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Letters to the Cyborgs describes a frightening future about to land on our doorsteps, based on inventions, science and technology we have today. Each story details the political, social, and environmental destruction of our world as Artificial Intelligence takes over the planet. With intelligence, insight and humor, Baker examines what it means to be human in a world where Cyborgs and robots rule. Ranging from chilling visions of Armageddon to haunting stories of the power of human love, with some comic relief thrown in to make the truth easier to handle, this groundbreaking collection of short stories faces the questions scientists, politicians and corporations are ignoring: when Artificial Intelligence becomes “self-aware" and is a thousand times more intelligent than any human being, what happens next? Scientists tell us that this “Singularity” will occur by 2030. “What is human?” will become the most important question in history as humans become 51% or more machine.

Connections by Jacqueline Wein

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Contrary to the dazzling wealth, glitz and glamour portrayed in the media, the Upper East Side of Manhattan is not only glass penthouses hedge fund managers, and $500 dinners.

There are also ordinary side streets where hard-working singles rent, where roommates split expenses, where elderly women live orderly lives. For many of them, home means a loving animal, the steadfast presence that shares a life, hears a secret, heals a hurt, claims the heart.

That's how it is for long-term resident Rosa Bassetti. There is no better friend than Princess, her arthritic Poodle. Rosa's neighbor, Eileen Hargan, feels the same about Fibber, McGee, her little Boston Terrier. Strangers at first, the two senior citizens become friends as they meet while walking their dogs, come sun, rain, or snow.

Their peaceful routine is shattered when Eileen receives an anonymous note demanding money, threatening to kidnap or hurt her dog if she doesn't pay. A dangerous criminal? Cruel prankster? Rosa is determined to find out.

Played out against Manhattan's aging brownstones, tree-lined streets and pre-war buildings, CONNECTIONS brings together an intriguing cast of New Yorkers--a same-sex couple, a tough social worker finding love, a troubled boy, a lonely office manager--who all come together through their love for animals, and join forces against a terrifying menace.

Author Jacqueline Wein writes with warmth, subtle wit, and intimate knowledge of the powerful bonds we share with our four-legged families. Sometimes, it is our beloved pets that help us to get through life's difficult experiences. But, as CONNECTIONS never lets us forget, the ultimate connection is with each other.

Because I'm Watching by Christina Dodd

Photo Credit: Goodreads


Veteran Jacob Denisov lives alone in his small, darkened home, sleepless, starving, blaming himself for the horrors of the past and waiting for the moment when he gathers enough courage to kill himself. When neighbor Madeline Hewitson drives her car through the front wall of his house, she breaks his house—and Jacob's life—wide open. She isn't called "Mad Maddie" for nothing. The survivor of a college dorm massacre, a woman accused of her lover's murder, she is haunted by ghosts and tormented by a killer only she can see. Dealing with construction and forced to see the world outside his home, Jacob watches Maddie, recognizes a kindred spirit and wonders—is this truly madness, or has someone caught her in a twisted labyrinth of revenge and compassion, guilt and redemption, murder and madness?

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling and Jack Thorne

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The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

A Truck Full of Money by Tracy Kidder

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Fortune, mania, genius, philanthropy - the bestselling author of Mountains Beyond Mountains gives us the inspiring story of Paul English, the founder of and Lola Travel.

Tracy Kidder, the master of the nonfiction narrative (The Baltimore Sun) and author of the bestselling classic The Soul of a New Machine, now tells the story of Paul English, a kinetic and unconventional inventor and entrepreneur, who as a boy rebelled against authority. Growing up in working-class Boston, English discovered a medium for his talents the first time he saw a computer. As a young man, despite suffering from what would eventually be diagnosed as bipolar disorder, he began his pilgrim's journey through the ups and downs in the brave new world of computers. Relating to the Internet as if it was an extension of his own mind, he discovered that he had a talent for conceiving innovative enterprises and building teams that could develop them, becoming a Pied Piper of geeks. His innovative management style, success, and innate sense of fair play inspire intense loyalty. Early on, one colleague observed: Someday this boy is going to get hit by a truck full of money, and I'm going to be standing beside him. 

Yet when English does indeed make a fortune, when the travel website Kayak is sold for almost two billion dollars the first thing he thinks about is how to give the money away: What else would you do with it? The second thing he thinks is, What s next?

With the power of a consummate storyteller, Tracy Kidder casts a fresh, critical, and often humorous eye on the way new ideas and new money are reshaping our culture and the world. A Truck Full of Money is a mesmerizing portrait of an irresistibly endearing man who is indefatigable, original, and as unpredictable as America itself. 

When in French by Lauren Collins

Photo Credit: Goodreads

A language barrier is no match for love. Lauren Collins discovered this firsthand when, in her early thirties, she moved to London and fell for a Frenchman named Olivier—a surprising turn of events for someone who didn’t have a passport until she was in college. But what does it mean to love someone in a second language? Collins wonders, as her relationship with Olivier continues to grow entirely in English. Are there things she doesn’t understand about Olivier, having never spoken to him in his native tongue? Does “I love you” even mean the same thing as “Je t’aime”? When the couple, newly married, relocates to Francophone Geneva, Collins—fearful of one day becoming "a Borat of a mother" who doesn’t understand her own kids—decides to answer her questions for herself by learning French. 

When in French is a laugh-out-loud funny and surprising memoir about the lengths we go to for love, as well as an exploration across culture and history into how we learn languages—and what they say about who we are. Collins grapples with the complexities of the French language, enduring excruciating role-playing games with her classmates at a Swiss language school and accidentally telling her mother-in-law that she’s given birth to a coffee machine. In learning French, Collins must wrestle with the very nature of French identity and society—which, it turns out, is a far cry from life back home in North Carolina. Plumbing the mysterious depths of humanity’s many forms of language, Collins describes with great style and wicked humor the frustrations, embarrassments, surprises, and, finally, joys of learning—and living in—French.

The Roadrunner Cafe by Jamie Zerndt

Photo Credit: Goodreads

One year after his father's suicide, Carson Long feels cheated. He hates his father for leaving him and his sister, Georgie, alone. He hates him for turning his mother into a young widow who hasn't left the house in months. And he hates his father for leaving behind his stupid tree. Four of them are planted outside the restaurant, one for each family member. That is until Carson's mother, no longer able to stand the sight of the tree, hires a local landscaper to remove it in the middle of the night. This seemingly unremarkable act soon sets in motion of series of events in the small Colorado ski town that leaves more than just young Carson groping in the dark for answers. 

The Roadrunner Café is a unique novel told from multiple points of view about loss and the lengths some will go to heal the human heart. Ultimately, it is a story about what it takes to go on living even when everything in the world might be telling us it isn't possible to.

Lincoln Park by James R. Westergreen

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Lincoln Park is a wartime thriller ranging from the pleasure districts of Saigon to the back-alleys of Chicago. It's the story of plans gone awry, the seductive power of greed, and the redeeming power of love, all unfolding amid the unpredictable violence of war. MP Captain Tobias Riley's duty becomes a quest for vengeance as characters are double-crossed and bodies litter the page.

A Vietnamese Colonel lies dead on the bathroom floor after a night of passion at Cholon's Hotel Fleur. Riley is on special assignment to help find the killer. His investigation uncovers an American deserter partnered with the mysterious Madam D running a heroin ring out of the Fleur.

Phoenix Program killer Jack Flash shows up and things come unglued. Air American pilots, Chinese warlords and rogue soldiers scramble to find a C-47 loaded with heroin that goes missing.

Red August by Peggy Estes

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Set in the scenic limestone bluffs across the river from St. Louis, Missouri, the atmospheric debut novel from Peggy Estes weaves together supernatural mystery and psychological intrigue, and introduces a unique and compelling heroine in this first book in a trilogy of dark suspense.

When bestselling novelist Ruby January incorporates a forgotten legend into the plot of her historical novel, she opens the door to murder, abduction, greed and revenge. Two people attached to the legend are already missing or dead, and to save an innocent young woman from the same fate, Ruby must embrace the disturbing dreams and visions she repressed in her childhood, and unlock a bittersweet secret from her troubled past. In the process, she may lose not only the most desirable man she's ever met, but possibly her very soul, as she's drawn into a quest for the forbidden against a shadowy and ruthless adversary.

Face Value by Autumn Whitefield-Madrano

Photo Credit: Goodreads

A thought-provoking examination of how we think and talk about beauty today—and the unexpected and often positive ways that beauty shapes our lives.

For decades, we’ve discussed our insecurities in the face of idealized, retouched, impossibly perfect images. We’ve worried primping and preening are a distraction and a trap. But have we focused too much on beauty’s negative influence?

In Face Value, journalist Autumn Whitefield-Madrano thoughtfully examines the relationship between appearance and science, social media, sex, friendship, language, and advertising to show how beauty actually affects us day to day. Through meticulous research and interviews with dozens of women across all walks of life, she reveals surprising findings, like that wearing makeup can actually relax you, that you can convince people you’re better looking just by tweaking your personality, and the ways beauty can be a powerful tool of connection among women.

Equal parts social commentary, cultural analysis, careful investigation, and powerful personal anecdotes, Face Value is provocative and empowering—and a great conversation starter for women everywhere.

Amazing Heart by Pamela Taeuffer

Photo Credit: Goodreads

It's Amazing, but for the first time in my life I have let go of the control. I've battled so hard to hold onto the twisted security of my family's battle with alcoholism—it's what I've known—never risking too much, holding back, so the hurt didn't cut too deep. Now?

I feel a new life
An unknown.
It's magnificent.

It's . . . intimacy, being held, letting someone see into my dark places so the light, hidden since a little girl, can finally become brilliant. It's amazing. I'm about to shout my love for a man who seems to understand me like no one ever has. After I do, will everything fall apart? In my heart of shadows, the fear of being abandoned beats inside my head with regular rhythms.

"Please take me in your arms," I say silently. "Accept my dark places. Help me understand you won't leave me." Maybe I'm dreaming when he says, "Whatever path we choose, whatever arises, we'll overcome our fears." Have a finally been set free from generational mistakes that are passed forward in our family?

Dare I ask for what I want and trust myself enough to share my thoughts, wishes, dreams . . . dare I actually hope in another person? Will he break his promises like my parents did to me? Can I really, really, be alive, be vulnerable, open and reach for deep, sensual intimacy? Can I take a risk and transition into joy?

Promesas de Dios para colorear by Andres Reina

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Deja que la Palabra de Dios transforme tu corazón mientras calmas tu espíritu, alivias el estrés cotidiano y relajas tu mente con este libro para colorear para adultos cristianos. Sumérgete en las promesas de la Biblia con versículos seleccionados y cuidadosamente ubicados para que puedas meditar en ellos a medida que coloreas. Añade tu propio toque creativo con pinturas, marcadores, lápices de colores o crayones. A medida que pasas momentos de relajación meditando en estos pasajes de las Escrituras, cada página se convertirá en un recordatorio personal de que la Palabra de Dios es para ti. Este libro también contiene las promesas de Dios en formato de tarjetas para que además de colorearlas puedas regalarlas o colocarlas donde puedas meditar en ella cada día.

Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

Photo Credit: Goodreads


Soon to be a major motion picture starring Emma Roberts and Dave Franco--a high-stakes online game of dares turns deadly in this suspenseful debut

When Vee is picked to be a player in NERVE, an anonymous game of dares broadcast live online, she discovers that the game knows her. They tempt her with prizes taken from her ThisIsMe page and team her up with the perfect boy, sizzling-hot Ian. At first it's exhilarating--Vee and Ian's fans cheer them on to riskier dares with higher stakes. But the game takes a twisted turn when they're directed to a secret location with five other players for the Grand Prize round. Suddenly they're playing all or nothing, with their lives on the line. Just how far will Vee go before she loses NERVE

And that is all of the books that I got in the mail in September. It was a better month than August, although still a little bit slow (and frankly October is not shaping up to be any better unless the post office is just hanging on to all my books out of spite. Maybe I should bake them cookies.) Of these books, I'm most excited to read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (which I ordered from Amazon because I just had to have it). Which of these books are you most interested in reading my review of? - Katie 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

*Book Movie Match-Up* Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber

It has been a while since I did a book movie match-up here (but if we're being totally honest, I haven't been doing very well with posting regularly to begin with.) But last year at around this time, I won a copy of Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber because it was premiering as a holiday movie on the Hallmark channel (I mean the giveaway was sponsored because it was being made into a movie). I may have asked my mother to record the movie for me (because she is a Hallmark movie junkie and that was the only way I could think of that I would be able to watch it. Honestly, if there was a way for me to buy a DVD copy of it, or rent it online that I could find, I would have done so, but Hallmark doesn't seem to work that way.) So without further ado, here are my reviews. 

Book Published: October 6, 2015
Pages: 258
Genre: Holiday Romance

Movie Premiered: December 13, 2015
Length: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Starring: Meghan Ory and Andrew Walker


Savor the magic of the season with Debbie Macomber’s newest Christmas novel, filled with warmth, humor, the promise of love, and a dash of unexpected adventure.

Ashley Davison, a graduate student in California, desperately wants to spend the holidays with her family in Seattle. Dashiell Sutherland, a former army intelligence officer, has a job interview in Seattle and must arrive by December 23. Though frantic to book a last-minute flight out of San Francisco, both are out of luck: Every flight is full, and there’s only one rental car available. Ashley and Dash reluctantly decide to share the car, but neither anticipates the wild ride ahead.

At first they drive in silence, but forced into close quarters Ashley and Dash can’t help but open up. Not only do they find they have a lot in common, but there’s even a spark of romance in the air. Their feelings catch them off guard—never before has either been so excited about a first meeting. But the two are in for more twists and turns along the way as they rescue a lost puppy, run into petty thieves, and even get caught up in a case of mistaken identity. Though Ashley and Dash may never reach Seattle in time for Christmas, the season is still full of surprises—and their greatest wishes may yet come true.


I won a copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads giveaway program in the hopes that I would leave an honest review.

When I saw that this book was being made into a Hallmark Christmas movie, I expected to find a heartwarming, cheesy, holiday romance. In the end, I found myself disappointed. I thought Ashley's inner dialogue was trite, and overall I just found her incredibly annoying. I didn't feel the tension between the characters that I expect from this type of story. Sure, they bickered a little bit, but everything was always immediately okay after they grabbed a bite to eat, because Dash gets "cranky" when he's hungry. On top of that, they fell in love in like two days, and if you didn't know that they were going to fall in love, then you clearly don't know how Hallmark Holiday Movies work. (Even my husband knew at the beginning of the movie that they were going to fall in love.) 

Overall it was just a really disappointing story for me. I give it 2 out of 5 stars.

I do not say this often, but this movie was better than the book. It was vastly different than the book, so much so that I had to figure out just what role one of the character's played in the movie because it was not the same as the book, but the basic plot worked better in movie form, in my opinion. 

I think one of the major selling points for the movie for me is that I was not subjected to Ashley's trite inner dialogue (her name was changed in the movie, I'm not sure why.) Another major plus for the movie is that the road trip starts with Dash bribing the car rental agent to get the very last car available, even though Ashley was at the desk talking to him about renting the car. She had every reason to be angry with Dash in the movie (whereas in the book she just seemed like a petulant child). I appreciated the twist they used for the FBI involvement in the story, although I'm not really sure it was a change that was needed (but I bet it made filming cheaper, and it really didn't detract from my enjoyment of the movie.) 

In the end, the chemistry seemed much more natural in the movie, and while there was still minimal tension between the characters, the build-up in their relationship was more satisfactory for me. 

My advice, skip the book and just catch Dashing Through the Snow on the Hallmark Channel this Wednesday at 1 pm Eastern/12 Central. 

4 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

About the Author

Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers with more than 200 million copies of her books in print worldwide. In her novels, Macomber brings to life compelling relationships that embrace family and enduring friendships, uplifting her readers with stories of connection and hope. Macomber’s novels have spent over 950 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Ten of these novels hit the number one spot.

In 2016, Macomber’s all-new hardcover publications include A Girl’s Guide to Moving On (February), Sweet Tomorrows (August), and Twelve Days of Christmas (October) and an adult coloring book, The World of Debbie Macomber: Come Home To Color (April). In addition to fiction, Macomber has also published two bestselling cookbooks, numerous inspirational and nonfiction works, and two acclaimed children’s books.

Celebrated as “the official storyteller of Christmas”, Macomber’s annual Christmas books are beloved and five have been crafted into original Hallmark Channel movies. Macomber is also the author of the bestselling Cedar Cove Series which the Hallmark Channel chose as the basis for its first dramatic scripted television series. Debuting in 2013, Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove was a ratings favorite for three seasons.

Macomber owns two businesses in Port Orchard, WA, the town which inspired the Cedar Cove Series. These include The Grey House Café, formerly the Victorian Rose Tea Room, featured in the Cedar Cove Series, and A Good Yarn Shop, introduced in her popular Blossom Street novels. They are located on the Village Square campus, which also serves as Debbie’s corporate headquarters.

She and her husband, Wayne, serve on the Guideposts National Advisory Cabinet, and she is World Vision’s international spokesperson for their Knit for Kids charity initiative. A devoted grandmother, Debbie and Wayne live in Port Orchard, Washington and winter in Florida.