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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Wishes

Christmas Wishes by Jewels of the Quill
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Inspirational, Paranormal
Length: Full, Anthology
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 Books
Review by Camellia

Rediscover the magic of Christmas!

SIX JEWELS OF THE QUILL AUTHORS offer exciting holiday stories—each featuring a wish, possibly small, but straight from the heart!

A collection of Christmas stories for readers to enjoy this holiday season...or any day of the year!

The Jewels -- Dame Moonstone, Dame Onyx, Dame Coral, Dame Amethyst, Dame Turquoise, Dame Sapphire -- give us six stories that fit many different moods of the Christmas holiday season. All of them leave us with that good feeling that things do come right even if it does take longer than we plan at times.

“All She Wore Was a Bow” by Christine DeSmet takes us back to Moonstone, Wisconsin, a quaint little village where unusual things happen. Kincaid (Kade) Hunter, a high-powered bull rider from Las Vegas, goes to Moonstone to rescue his buddy from what he thinks is a disastrous marriage.

Kade finds himself surrounded by small town Christmas activities with Gloria Gibson right in the middle of them, plus the meddling and caring aura of the community that allows no one to escape its grip.

The multitude of characters in the story may be confusing if you have not read the previous stories in this “Men of Moonstone Series”. But the humor and the love that shines through in this poignant tale far outweigh the confusion.

The lasting, real joys of life rather than the fleeting excitement of casual sex and fast money are revealed in loving and subtle ways that leave the reader with an affirmation of the good in humanity. It also reminds us we need to find a place to get away and “listen to the quiet” to find our center when things are hectic.

"Little Cat Feet" by Margaret L. Carter is a young adult paranormal story that touched my heart even though I’m long past young adult status. I grew up on fairy tales, fables, and folklore so, of course, I believe animals talk on Christmas Eve just like the tabby named Pumpkin talks to Lauren. When a confused, unhappy, scared teenager and a talking cat get together and conspire, good things come out of bad circumstances.

This is a delightful tale. Good reading!

“Christmas Faith” by Karen Woods is an inspirational story that tells us that even though we stop loving God, He does not stop loving us.

Fay Caldwell tells her new neighbor Ed Henderson, the Anglican minister, that she no longer believes in God; he asks her how can she be so angry at someone she does not believe in.

Ed’s steady faith, his love for his motherless girls, and his gentle charity for all and his special love for her, brings Fay to a crossroads in her life that we readers are privileged to experience vicariously with her.

“Christmas Faith” is a story of love on many levels – family, friends, and lovers. Some of the secondary characters are treasures, especially little Clara who brings joy to the heart.

Karen Woods uses some quotes from the Bible and the 1928 Book of Common Prayer that bring comfort in a troubled world.

This is a story to be enjoyed more than once.

“Perfect Cadence” by Karen Wiesner is from her Kaleidoscope Series, Book 1. This is a story of two people who met ten years before then went their separate ways even though they felt a true connection with each other.

With some manipulation by two people who truly love them, Keri and Josh meet again in a cabin near Portland, Oregon at Christmas time when they both have emotional issues to deal with.

These two extremely independent people have lots of stumbling starts before they find their way in this emotion called love that they are both rather leery of. Josh’s cat, Leonardo the Maine coon, tries to help in his own special way.

If you are an equestrian, you know what Josh means by “Perfect Cadence”.

“Are You Listening?” by Jane Toombs is a paranormal story that made me shiver. Twelve-year-old Rico grows up in a hurry when his three-year-old sister Holly goes missing. The things he comes to realize about his father and himself make a gripping story.

“Annie’s Outlaw” by Nancy Pirri is part of her Sapphire Palace Series, Book 2.

Annie Callahan has a gift of sight and is looked upon with uneasiness by many, but Cane Smith had no such qualms. When he arrives in Bozeman in search of his son, he meets Annie and both their lives take on new meaning.

Tom Callahan, Annie’s father asks Cane to stay at Moonstruck Ranch after he hears Cane’s circumstances. As Cane, Annie, Tom, Mark (Cane’s son), and Jed Potter (Annie’s longtime suitor), try to untangle the emotional web that has them all on edge, the reader sees distinct personalities emerge. Personalities that create tension, doubt, and love as the story unfolds.

This is a story to read on a cold, stormy night while being thankful for the warmth and comfort of home. Romantic love and family love shine like stars on a cold clear night in “Annie’s Outlaw”. What a Happy-ever-after!

Christmas Wishes is an anthology for the ‘keeper’ shelf of your library.