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Holiday Heartwarmers: An Anthology of Short Stories Kindle Edition
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"The Summer Children" by Dot Hutchison
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Of course what we all want for Christmas, and in every other season, is love, but we all struggle to figure out exactly what love is. It is this timeless struggle that ties all the work in this collection together.
Two stories stood out for their originality: "Homesteader's Christmas Disaster" and "Lonely Ness." The first, a tale of Alaskans in the wilderness, shows neighbors who are very free of materialism and very focused on human connection. The second, the only story in the anthology composed by male writers, depicts a visit to Santa's workshop that threatens to turn into a horror piece, but which concludes in a surprisingly positive way.
The stories all flow well and keep the reader's attention. They succeed in putting us in the right spirit for the holidays, reminding us to focus on what is important and on appreciating what is worthwhile in our lives. Some stories may be a little on the sentimental side, but hey, it's holiday time and that's part of the mood!
There is something for everyone here, and these stories will most definitely get you in the spirit for Christmas. A great collection and well worth the buy.
Also coming back and making their second circuit on the blog is Shannon Youngblood, who wrote Puppy Love. Cute and timid, its a great Christmas love story and proof that material possessions are not greater than love. Fighting for the love of an animal shelter, nothing is too precious, including your home to save it. What would you be willing to give up to save an animal?
Sam's Place reminded me of 'White Christmas' with its bringing of strangers together for the greater good and made me all warm and tingly. What would you do to bring back that spark that you lost for life? Would you listen to a stranger and let them lead you to your destiny? Or would you be so scared you ran away?
Lonely Ness had me intrigued. What do you do when your wife goes missing? Hire the only detective with no cases you can find. Ness is that man and Nick needs his help. Will Ness solve this case? Or will Nick never know what happened to his poor wife?
A White Christmas starts the anthology off with a look at reflection of self and family and what would you do if your world came tumbling down only to have everything you ever wanted land at your feet.
Homesteader's Christmas Disaster is the one that brought me home. The author and I are both from Alaska, different parts, but still the same. Reading it made me miss home in ways I hadn't in a long time and had me giggling as I remembered stories my friends told me of living in the villages and out in the Bush.
El Dorado had me questioning my sanity slightly as I was reading, but in a good way. I felt as though I had fell into a history book and back in time as I read about the times of old and how the legends of El Dorado had influenced so much of South American culture.
Times for Gifting, Time to Heal was amazing in its reflection of how something so simple as being with strangers on foreign soil for the holidays can force you to become close and go to lengths you wouldn't think to go to to make each other comfortable. And the bonds those friendships can take and last forever.
The Christmas Spirit is cute. It reminded me of watching Angel and Cordelia's ghost. How would you feel if you had a ghost in your house that found a way to talk to you? Would you talk back? What if that ghost was stuck on this plane because he literally had unfinished business and decided you were it?
Letters from Carmen is great because when you think that you know everything that is going on in your life and it turns upside down on you, there is always an upside. And this story shows you just how lucky and many upsides you can have! I have had these ups and downs and truly appreciate the way this was written. What would you do if your life was turned upside down by finding out you had an aunt you never knew about, and only because your mom was dying?
A Christmas Awakening is a questioning of faith. What would you do if you were put in such a way as to have everything you believed torn from you, changed your beliefs and then had those beliefs turned on your head? Would you still believe what you believed, or would you now believe what you used to believe? How would you handle the memories of your former self washing over you as you traveled to your former life? Could you do it? Would you do it?
Twisted Memory is interesting. We travel through the main characters life as she grows and accepts who she is becoming, while unable to tell her family who she is for fear of what happened to her brother happening to her. The best Christmas presents and plans go undone, until the end. And then it's the best surprise you could hope for!
Christmas Cinderella is probably the story I questioned the most. Full of Christmas Miracles and surprises, it also made me question realism. How could things happen with no explanation? How can you be so close, yet so far away? And how can something so crazy happen, yet everything be okay when you walk away? Do you believe in the miracles of Christmas? Then this story is definitely for you.
A Little Bit of Christmas Kindness is a great story of giving and learning to accept a gift. The main character is so used to giving she has to learn to accept things, while learning to give to herself as much as she gives to everyone else. A story of slight self-discovery and finding new love, when its been hiding from you all along.
The Journey Within takes us to the beautiful isles of Cyprus to go on a journey of self discovery and release. We've all heard of the "Pay it Forward" movement, well this story encompasses that with a game called "Pass the Parcel." From tickets, to hotel, to an expensive vacation to Cyprus, we learn something in ourselves as we read. Letting go is easy if we breath and try.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed reading Holiday Heartwarmers while I did. Some of the stories left me wanting more, and hoping they get turned into feature novels. Others left me feeling empty, like I had been handed a gift, and had it stolen from me. But, that does mean that they will for you. There is a variety of writing in here. From funny to historical. Family to romance. Even military. There is something for everyone in this book. You don't have to like it all to like the book.
That's not the point of an anthology. It's not for every story to please the reader. Its for the reader to read and find what pleases them. To find that story they can relate to. To find that story that you want to read again and again. That you want to e-mail the author and ask them "When are you going to turn this into a book?" because it's that good. This has those stories.
So, do I suggest you read this because I say so? No. I suggest you read this so you can say, "I found that story that I want more." and be able to show your friends and then ask them which one is theirs.
Most recent customer reviews
Everyone loves a fun, lighthearted holiday anthology, am I...Read more