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Mark Baker - Carstairs Considers RSS Feed (Santa Clarita, CA United States)

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Crime and Poetry (A Magical Bookshop Mystery)
Crime and Poetry (A Magical Bookshop Mystery)
by Amanda Flower
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $6.47
60 used & new from $1.69

4.0 out of 5 stars New Series Off to a Poetic Start, June 27, 2016
This has turned into a month of first in series. That wasn’t my goal, and I’ve got plenty of in progress series I should be working on, but there were too many new series I was dying to try. The latest of these is Crime and Poetry, the first in the Magical Bookshop series. I was planning to pass it by, but I’d heard so many good things about it, I had to pick it up.

When Violet Waverly gets the word that her grandma Daisy is sick, she rushes to Cascade Springs, New York, to be by her side. Only when she arrives, she learns that Daisy is in perfect health. Daisy really wanted Violet to visit so she could reveal some family secrets involving the bookstore and the role Daisy needs to take on.

Violet has no desire to move back to Cascade Springs, however. She left the town twelve years ago and plans to head back to Chicago the next morning. Only when she gets up the next morning, she finds Benedict Raisin dead in her grandmother’s driveway. Benedict and Daisy had been dating, and Benedict is found strangled with one of Daisy’s scarves. Violet can’t leave with a cloud of suspicion hanging over Daisy’s head, so she starts looking into the crime, getting help from a most unexpected source. Can she interpret the clues she is getting to find the killer?

Since I usually avoid the paranormal, I was going to skip this series since it is the Magical Bookshop series. (And yes, I’ve now spoiled a couple of things I left vague in my plot teaser.) However, I actually find the idea of a bookstore where the books choose you to be quite fun. Yes, the bookstore also plays a part in solving the crime, but it fits in with the world that author Amanda Flower has created, and it’s a minor part of the mystery.

The majority of the mystery still involves Violet talking to suspects and weighing what she learns against the other clues she is getting. There is a lot going on in this small town, and that keeps us guessing who the killer is until the end. I thought I had it figured out about half way through, but it turned out I was wrong.

Because Violet grew up in Cascade Springs, she has a history with some of the people there, a history that plays out over the course of the book without slowing things down. Instead, it gives her a bit of depth that I enjoyed. There are plenty of characters that we are meeting for the first time right along with Violet, and I really liked them as well. I can see this group of characters becoming friends in a hurry.

The fictitious village of Cascade Springs is located a few miles upriver from Niagara Falls. Frankly, I found this location to add to the charm of the book. Maybe it’s because I’ve visited Niagara Falls a couple of times so I could picture the area, but I felt right at home in this touristy town.

While the book had some needed set up, especially with the bookstore, I did feel this slowed down the story at times. Likewise, there is Violet’s conflict over her plans to leave versus the desire to stay she is denying. We all know how that will end since this is the first in a series. Overall, these were minor issues to me, however.

Unlike some series I’ve started this month, this is a series I’m now up to date on since Crime and Poetry just came out in April. However, I’m looking forward to revisiting these characters as soon as the sequel finds its way into my hands.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book in hopes that I would review it.

North Pole Tree Trimmers Elf Ornament 2015 Hallmark
North Pole Tree Trimmers Elf Ornament 2015 Hallmark
Offered by First State Trade
Price: $5.18
57 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Cue the Sparkle, June 27, 2016
Sometimes, Hallmark ornaments don’t photograph well, so I learn early on not to judge an ornament until I had seen it in person. That’s the case with the third North Pole Tree Trimmers ornament. Yes, this 2015 release is fun, yet the pictures didn’t quite do it justice.

This series focuses on the elves who help Santa create decorations, and this elf has a fun job. He gets to shake the glitter on and in the ornaments. And I do mean shake. He’s actually holding a salt shaker filled with glitter and he’s shaking it until the middle of a purple ornament. He’s very particular about his job, as you can tell by the look of concentration on his face as he works.

Yes, you did read that right. He is putting the glitter into the middle of the ornament. Honestly, this is one reason why the ornament looks so odd in pictures. It doesn’t make complete sense even in person. Why would you put glitter into the middle of an ornament when you want the sparkle to shine on the outside of the ornament? Makes little sense to me.

While that’s an issue, it is a minor issue to me. The elf is cute as always, and I love the idea behind the ornament overall. Maybe there’s something I’m missing, like a diorama that is going to go into the ornament by the elf in the next step of production? Yeah, we’ll go with that as what is happening here. This isn’t the final elf to work on the ornament. Or maybe, since I’m not super familiar with the old fashioned ornaments, this is just a particular kind and it’s supposed to look like this. It certainly doesn’t look bad this way, and the glitter in the opening is lots of fun.

Whatever the story is, the elf and the ornament do provide a nice, steady base, so you can set this ornament out to enjoy is a display if you so wish.

The series marker, a 3 in a Christmas tree, was in the third place I looked for it, which seems appropriate somehow. I’ll let you have fun finding it, but know it is there.

The loop for hanging the ornament is on the glitter shaker. Slip a hook through it and you’ll find that it tips slightly toward the ornament. But that’s okay because it still looks good that way.

The ornament does look very cute in person, so I was happy to add 2015’s North Pole Tree Trimmer to my collection. I’m not completely sure the idea behind the ornament translates, but I do still like it.

Murder on Astor Place: A Gaslight Mystery
Murder on Astor Place: A Gaslight Mystery
by Victoria Thompson
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
106 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Step Back in Time and See Just Why This Book is So Popular, June 24, 2016
When you buy two or three books for every book you read, you wind up with books you fully intend to read but haven’t gotten around to yet. (And now with my blog, it’s even worse.) One such book is Murder on Astor Place. I don’t know for sure when I bought it, but I figure I’ve had it sitting on my shelf for at least a decade, probably longer. After meeting the author, Victoria Thompson, at Malice Domestic this year, I finally dusted it off and dove in.

This is the first book in the Gaslight mysteries, set in New York City 1896. That’s just a few years earlier than Rhys Bowen’s Molly Murphy series started, and it was fun stepping into a city I know (fictionally) just a few years earlier.

Sarah Brandt is a midwife working in the city. One night, she is called out to deliver a baby for a family that has turned most of their home into a boarding house to pay the bills. She sees a young woman living there who reminds Sarah of a friend she hasn’t seen in years.

When Sarah goes back to check on the mother and new born, she discovers that the young tenant had been murdered. Sarah identifies the victim as Alicia VanDamn, the younger sister of her friend. Frank Malloy is the detective assigned to the case, but Sarah doesn’t trust the police to solve the case so she starts trying to find clues herself. Can the two of them solve the case?

This really is a book with two detectives. Despite the corruption of the police at the time (Teddy Roosevelt is trying to reform things as the book opens), Frank investigates as well. The book splits time between the two in third person narration, giving us great clues and twists. When Frank and Sarah come together and share information, we aren’t treated to rehash, but the two of them brainstorm what the clues mean.

Now, if this is sounding like the police are purposefully involving a civilian in a murder investigation, don’t worry. Frank is actually less than impressed with how Sarah inserts herself into the case early on. And their first scenes are almost funny with how the tension unfolds.

The plot really is strong with a steady pace of twists and surprises. I did guess a couple of the twists early on, but I didn’t have the killer worked out at all. I did find the climax a bit over the top and sad, but that is my only complaint about the book.

The characters are already strong. Sarah and Frank are from two different worlds in New York society, which gives them access to different people. It’s a great way to show just how fractured society was at the time. Both characters have their own backstories, which we get over the course of the book. The other characters are just as memorable.

Being a historical novel, there are plenty of details that transport us to not only another place but another time period. And yet, they never slow the book down. The characters and plot are first, just the way it should be.

So I now need to find the time to read the rest of the books in this long running series. It is popular for a reason. Pick up Murder on Astor Place and you’ll be swept back in time and left wanting more.

Hallmark QX9079 Chillin' Together Snowman Ice-skating Ornament
Hallmark QX9079 Chillin' Together Snowman Ice-skating Ornament
Offered by JD Ornaments, LLC
Price: $10.00
42 used & new from $5.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Warm up the Ice with Some New Memories, June 24, 2016
As cute as I think many of the Hallmark ornaments are, there is something especially heartwarming about the Making Memories series. Each year, I love seeing what this pair of snowpeople are up to. Chillin’ Together was the 2015 addition to the series, and it’s another winner.

Each ornament in this series features an adult snowman and a child snowman. They are both generic enough that it could be any combination of adult and child, which is something I love. This year, the pair are ice skating. The child is just learning, and the adult is standing behind holding one hand and helping the child stand. Both are on ice skates, obviously, and the child has one leg in the air, either as they try to balance or as they glide over the ice. Their pet dog is with them as well, and his legs are sliding just a bit out from under him on the ice. The ornaments in this series always have a snowflake as their base, and this time, instead of being pure white, the top of the snow flake is blue, representing the ice they are on.

As always, it’s those little details that I absolutely love about the Hallmark ornaments. I never would have thought about making the snowflake into ice.

But even if they had missed that detail, I would still love this ornament. While I have done very little ice skating in my life, I have done some. The idea of the two of them doing something together, and the adult passing on the knowledge to their child is thrilling. I can’t help but smile as I look at the ornament. Another smile comes from the child, who is wearing a jacket here, something that usually doesn’t happen in the series. Really? A snowman needs to wear a jacket? It’s a bit silly, but it’s also fun. The adult is just wearing a hat, scarf, and the ice skates, which is normal for the series.

Thanks to that ice flake, there is a nice flat bottom, so you can set this ornament out anywhere you want to display it. You’ll also find the 8 in a Christmas tree series symbol on the bottom.

The loop for hanging the ornament is on the adult’s hat. Slip a hook through the hat, and you’ll find that it tips slightly to the right, but you can easily disguise that with branches on your tree.

Memories of things done together are wonderful, and this series continues to delight. Chillin’ Together will be an honored part of this series.

Fatal Brushstroke (An Aurora Anderson Mystery) (Volume 1)
Fatal Brushstroke (An Aurora Anderson Mystery) (Volume 1)
by Sybil Johnson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.95
28 used & new from $7.24

5.0 out of 5 stars Paint This Debut a Winner, June 24, 2016
This month, I seem to be finally getting to some of the books I bought at Bouchercon when it was in Long Beach. It’s only taken me, what, a year and a half to get to them? I wish I had gotten to Fatal Brushstroke sooner since it is a fantastic mystery debut.

One morning, Aurora “Rory” Anderson hears her neighbor’s dog barking in Rory’s own backyard. Going outside to find out what is disturbing the dog, she discovers a hand buried back there. She quickly calls the police, but even before they dig up the body attached to the hand, Rory has made the connection. The body is that of Hester Bouquet.

Hester is a well-respected tole painting instructor and pattern designer. Rory hadn’t seen Hester since she took an intensive weekend long class a couple of weeks before. However, with a chief of police who has a grudge against Rory, Rory knows she has to find the killer herself. However, it seems like the evidence that turns up points to her. Can Rory clear her name?

Hester’s body is discovered on the very first page. You don’t get any faster of a start than that. The book keeps a steady pace from there until the end of the book with clues and complications sprinkled throughout to keep us guessing. I thought I knew what was happening a couple of times before we reached the logical end.

We are introduced to an intriguing group of characters in this book. Rory and the other series regulars are fun characters, and I enjoyed spending time with them. The suspects were all intriguing and perfectly believable, which is important to keep us guessing.

Like with most of the hobby/cozy series out there, tole painting (aka decorative painting, which features painting on wood, fabric, or some other medium like that) is a great hook, but for those of us who don’t have this hobby, you won’t find so many details that it bogs down the story. In fact, I found just enough information to make me want to pick up the hobby, which always happens in the best of series. (Now to quickly pick up another book so the desire passes.)

The book is set in the fictional town of Vista Beach along the coast in Los Angeles County. I loved the setting. Okay, so it helps that I love the beach, but I want to move to the town and settle in myself.

The consolation for waiting so long to read Fatal Brushstroke is that the sequel is already out, so I can revisit these new friends soon. Don’t put off picking up this artistically done debut.

Smallville: Season 9
Smallville: Season 9
DVD ~ Tom Welling
42 used & new from $10.75

5.0 out of 5 stars “I Was Beginning to Think Your Family Lived on Some Distant Planet.”, June 21, 2016
This review is from: Smallville: Season 9 (DVD)
Summer has rolled around, and that means it is time for my annual season of Smallville. I started watching this show on DVD years after it started, and I’ve finally made it to season 9. While I had been a bit disappointed with last season, I found this one to be quite fun.

The season starts off three weeks after the season eight cliffhanger. Lois Lane (Erica Durance) has been missing for 3 weeks, and her cousin Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack) is doing everything she can to find her. Meanwhile, Clark Kent (Tom Welling) has decided that his attachments are holding him back from his mission to save humanity, so he has gone off on his own and increased his training. And Oliver Queen (Justin Hartley) is going into a self-destructive spiral over his guilt for the events of last season.

When Lois does show up with an assassin in tow, she has no clue where she has been or even that she was gone. Tess Mercer (Cassidy Freeman) is extremely interested in where Lois has been, leading Clark to return to his old life in order to protect Lois as her memories return.

Tess has her own agenda, however, helping the Kryptonians who have just appeared thanks to an artifact that she found. They are led by Zod (Callum Blue), and they don’t seem to have the powers that Clark does. Has Clark found some people like him? Or do they bring a new threat to the planet that Clark loves?

Even though I am not super familiar with comic books, I do know Zod, so it was easy to see the villain from the very beginning. However, I really appreciated how they developed him over the course of the season. He was more than just a power hungry guy. Of course, they had a full season to develop him instead of a couple of hours in a movie, so that certainly helped.

Really, the season was filled with great development overall. The season long story arc was well thought through and developed in a logical manner, answering some of the great questions we received early on before setting up a final showdown. Meanwhile, we also got some standalone episodes that entertained.

The core cast had some great material to work with as well. The early episodes that show Oliver/Green Arrow’s growth are fantastic. I still can’t figure out what Tess is up to. I do know which side she is on, however – hers. She makes an interesting foil for our heroes since she’s not quite hero and not quite villain. Sometimes in other shows, that waffling can be annoying (Sylar in Heroes, for example), but the writers make it work well here.

Of course, the biggest advancement of the season comes to Lois and Clark, who start dating during the season. This leads to some very funny moments and some more serious moments as Clark toys with letting Lois in on his secret.

You’ll notice I haven’t said much about Chloe. That’s because she often gets the least amount to do. She converts the tower she got at the end of season 8 into a super high-tech computer center, and then she is used to give out plot information in the form of stuff she’s taken from surveillance cameras or research she’s found on the internet. Essentially, she’s the data dump for information to advance the story, a job she’s always had, but that seems to be about all she’s good for this season. Chloe does get some fun stuff late in the season, and Allison Mack makes the most of it, but the writers left her out of the main action for the most part.

Like Allison, the rest of the cast is wonderful once again. They bring every moment to life perfectly, whether it’s comedy, drama, or some subtle shade in between. The effects are still perfectly believable, too.

As I’ve been watching the current DCverse on TV, I’ve been commenting on the perfect timing between those shows and my seasons of this show. Once again, that happened here when Smallville introduced the Justice Society of America in a two parter mid-season that introduced us to Hawkman, among others. I hadn’t even heard of this hero until this season’s Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, and I enjoyed getting a new take on him.

Late in the season, Annette O’Toole returned for an episode as Martha Kent, bringing her real life husband, Michael McKean, back to reprise his role as Perry White. It was a powerful episode that I really enjoyed.

The season is listed as having 21 episodes, but since one of them was a two hour episode, this really was a normal length season. All the episodes are here on six discs looking and sounding great in wide screen and full surround. Extras include a smattering of deleted scenes, two interesting commentaries on episodes early in the season, and two featurettes, one on Zod and one of the Justice Society two parter.

Overall, I felt that season 9 of Smallville brought the show back to its strengths, characters we love and fun superhero action. I’m looking forward to seeing how this particular take on Superman wraps up in the final season.

Voodoo River (Elvis Cole Novels)
Voodoo River (Elvis Cole Novels)
by Robert Crais
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $8.00
173 used & new from $0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Cole and Pike in the Bayou, June 21, 2016
I was on a mystery message board 15 or so years ago when some of the regulars started reading the Elvis Cole and Joe Pike mysteries by Robert Crais. I remember them raving about Voodoo River, so when I realized that was the next in the series for me to read, I was jazzed. Turns out I had a very different reaction to it.

Private Investigator Elvis Cole is hired by actress Jodie Taylor, the star of a very successful TV show, to find her birth parents. No, she has no desire to meet them and she doesn’t want anything from them. She only wants to find out about her medical history. Jodie was born in Louisiana, so Cole catches the next flight out.

Since Jodie’s adoption files are sealed and Jodie wants all of this kept quiet, Elvis has to figure out a way to find her birth parents without anyone else knowing what he is doing. He’s hardly started his investigation when someone starts following him. Why would someone else be interesting in his investigation?

This seems like an interesting case, and the book starts quickly. I was intrigued and settled back for a great ride.

Unfortunately, the book is very disjointed and never really develops into a decent mystery. There are long passages that barely contribute to advancing the story. Even when we do finally get to a crime that Elvis starts to care about, things don’t pick up until we get to the climax. That leaves us with hardly any time for a well thought out climax. Instead, we rush through it, and Crais uses his favorite technique, dues ex machina, to get the characters out of the jam he’s put them in. It’s not quite as bad as in some books since he does a little set up for it, but he’s not completely successful at hiding it.

Fortunately, the characters do help to carry the novel. Elvis is a fun main character, and his wise cracks help liven up the book. His partner Joe Pike isn’t in much of the book, but I felt he was more of a character here, too. That leaves the new characters, and there are a wide variety of them, most of whom are quite entertaining, although I must admit I had to wonder for a while just which of the female characters Elvis was going to bed, and when. The constant rotation of females in his bed is certainly another thing I could do without in this series.

I listened to the audio book narrated again by Mel Foster. He does a good job bringing all the characters to life without getting in the way of the story. My problems with the pacing of the story have nothing to do with his narration.

I’m not sure what I’m missing in this book, but it certainly isn’t the best of the series. Voodoo River needed another edit to pick up the pace of the plot and smooth out the climax.

Where The Light Gets In
Where The Light Gets In
Price: $9.99
24 used & new from $8.14

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let the Light of Hope In with Jason Gray’s New Release, June 17, 2016
This review is from: Where The Light Gets In (Audio CD)
It’s been a decade since I discovered Jason Gray’s music, and I have become addicted to it. His discs are always infused with such hope and encouragement wrapped in catchy pop music. Where the Light Gets In is his newest release and it’s another wonderful addition to my music collection.

The disc starts right off with the toe tapping “Learning.” The song is built around the idea that what others might consider failure isn’t failure if we actually learn from it. It’s a reason to shake off fear and follow God’s love anywhere, learning for anything that happens along the way. And if the words of encouragement don’t make you smile, the fun up-tempo beat will definitely put a smile on your face.

The idea behind “Sparrows” is nothing new. It centers around Jesus’s comments from the Sermon on the Mount about why we shouldn’t worry. Yet Jason proves that even the familiar can have new life breathed into it with this song about how we have no need to worry because “If He can hold the world He can hold this moment.” But it’s the music that really makes this one. Again, it’s got a catchy upbeat melody that makes it a blast to sing along. And if we are reminded of a timeless truth, so much the better, right?

Starting over in the face of disappointment or sin is a huge theme of the disc. There’s the determined “I Will Rise Again” that is an anthem of determination in the face of the dark places of life. Then there’s “Resurrection” which talks about the second chances we get because of God’s grace and forgiveness in the face of our sin. This song is another toe tapping upbeat song that is just a blast to listen to. This is a theme that is driven home even more in “Where We Go From Here,” which marvels at how God continues to use broken things to make broken things beautiful things.

Much of this disc is filled with upbeat songs that really boost the themes of hope and redemption that Jason is singing about. Yet they are all different enough that they don’t blend together.

The slowest track on the disc is, appropriately, “Death Without a Funeral.” This is a song of mourning for what might have been in a failed relationship. Violin comes in and provides a nice counterbalance to Jason’s vocals and guitar. And the lyrics are haunting as they deal with the struggle of a death that isn’t physical.

The lyrics to “More Yours” struck me because of their honesty. Here’s how it starts:
How many times have I said you can have my life?
How many times have I said you have it all?
Just to take it back another time?
Yeah, that’s me. So as the song builds to the driving chorus, I have to pray along with Jason:
I’m gonna give you my life, my life
As many times as it takes, it takes

The title of the disc comes from “The Wound is Where the Light Gets in,” which talks about how God uses the hard times in life to remind us of His love and make us more like us. It’s on the slower side with a beautiful melody and some lyrics that really make you stop and think.

There are a total of 13 tracks on this disc, and every one of them is a winner. Jason’s lyrics are sharp as always, yet filled with hope and encouragement, reminding us of God’s grace and mercy plus His strength to get us through life. His guitar driven pop is just as fun to listen to as ever.

So if you need a balm for your sole, pick up Where the Light Gets In. It fill you with reminders that God is right there with you in songs that are fun to hear.

Desperate Housedogs: Pampered Pets Mystery Series, Book 1
Desperate Housedogs: Pampered Pets Mystery Series, Book 1
by Sparkle Abbey
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.07
45 used & new from $5.89

4.0 out of 5 stars You’ll Be Desperate to Finish This Book, June 17, 2016
Okay, I confess, I wasn’t at all interested in the Pampered Pets Mysteries based solely on the pen name used by the authors. Sparkle Abbey? But then I met the two lovely ladies behind the pen name and learned about the origin of the name – their own pets. They were so charming and lovely that I had to give their books a try, so I bought Desperate Housedogs, the first in the series. I won’t admit how long it’s been sitting in my TBR pile, but I finally dusted it off and gave it a chance.

Carolina “Caro” Lamont is a Texas transplant living in Laguna Beach, California. She runs a pet therapist business, which really means she works with pet owners to identify the reason for a pet’s bad behavior and comes up with ways for the owner to train the pet to behave better.

Caro has worked with Kevin Blackstone and his two German Shepherds in the past, but she is surprised when Kevin calls her up saying her dogs just won’t stop barking. She heads over to his house in an exclusive gated community and spends some time trying to figure out what has upset the dogs. Two hours after leaving Kevin, the police find him murdered. Suddenly, Caro is a person of interest, and she must find a way to clear herself. Does the dogs’ behavior have anything to do with Kevin’s death?

The book did start out a little slowly, establishing characters and some of their backstory before we truly got into the twists and turns of the mystery, but once the mystery got started it was a lot of fun. I wasn’t sure what was going on until we reached the very end, but once we reached the end, it all made sense given the twists and clues we’d had along the way.

The characters are strong. They are a bit over the top, but it works in this book. Their personalities are all different enough that it is easy to keep them straight. I definitely see room for the series regulars to grow as the series progresses, and I can’t wait to see what happens to them.

The characters being a bit over the top is definitely on purpose. This book is filled with humor, and these characters go a long way toward providing that. The way they react to things is much of the fun of the book, in fact. Caro’s first person narration also provides some great smiles and laughs along the way.

While this is part of the series, it’s a non-traditional series. The books alternate between Caro and her cousin Mel. Mel really only gets a cameo here along with multiple mentions from Caro. I’m looking forward to setting to know Mel in the next book in the series, which I actually bought the same time I bought this book.

So learn from my mistake. If you haven’t started this fun series yet, don’t put it off another day. You’ll be through Desperate Housedogs before you know it.

Disney Winnie the Pooh Limited Release Sketchbook Ornament - May 2016
Disney Winnie the Pooh Limited Release Sketchbook Ornament - May 2016
Offered by Fine and Fancy
Price: $49.00
4 used & new from $48.51

3.0 out of 5 stars I Like the Idea, but the Execution is Just Average, June 17, 2016
Now I freely confess I’m not the biggest Winnie the Pooh fan. It’s not that I don’t like the books or the movies or even the characters, but when it comes to Disney stuff, I usually find other things calling my name more than Pooh and his friends. Being a completest, I did buy the Winnie the Pooh ornament that was part of the Art of Disney Animation series. The idea behind the ornament was good, but the execution didn’t quite work.

The ornament features Pooh standing on the oo’s in his name. Yes, it really is that simple. The inspiration for the ornament came from the 2011 film when Pooh was using letters in the book to escape from a honey free scene in the book. It was a fun scene and it’s a cute idea for an ornament. However, ultimately it boils down to Pooh standing on 3D letters. It works in animation, but it’s not something you can capture well in a piece like this, especially when the book is nowhere to be seen.

Now, don’t misunderstand. I do think the ornament itself is cute. Pooh really is always cute, and the ornament design is good. It’s just nothing special like some of the others in the series have been. Pooh is such a popular character that for a special limited edition series like this, the ornament should be something special, not something basic like this.

The letters are standing on an oval base, which means this ornament would work well year round for a display of Pooh or Disney characters. For those who want to hang this, there is a red ribbon through the loop on the top of Pooh’s head. You’ll find that he tips a bit to the right and back. It’s not so bad you can’t hide it with branches on your Christmas tree, but it is certainly noticeable if you don’t do that.

Again, it’s not that there is anything wrong with this Winnie the Pooh ornament. But in a series that features rarer characters and moments, he feels out of place.

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