Posted in Book Reviews

Highlight: When Christmas Comes Again by Beth Seidel Levine

And the 12 Days of Christmas Books tour continues! We are halfway through this fun Literature Approved event and I’m so, so excited to share my second (and last) review for the tour. The Christmas book I chose to review this time is When Christmas Comes Again, one of my favorite books from one of my favorite middle grade series–Dear America.

I love this book for many reasons…but before I start ranting and get ahead of myself, you can find out for yourself below!

This book is part of the Dear America series, a middle grade historical fiction series near and dear to my heart. I hope to review many Dear Americas in the future, but I’m excited that my first one happens to be one of my all-time favorites!

When Christmas Comes Again by Beth Seidel Levine is one of the few (if not the only) Dear America about a seventeen-year-old girl. Most of the Dear America heroines are between twelve and fourteen years old, so you can imagine my excitement when I was finally the exact same age as the main character. Therefore, Simone’s questions about her future and her meaning in life are very relatable as I asked myself similar questions at that age. Also, Simone’s family is French and as I am French-Canadian, I loved the bits of French language and references throughout the diary.

Click here to finish reading my review! And when you’re finished, check out the other Christmas books Rayleigh has reviewed this week of various genres. These posts are a fun ride you want to be on!

Contributor Reviewer

Posted in Book Reviews

Highlight: Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

Can you guys believe it’s already December?! I’m sitting here listening to Kelly Clarkson’s Wrapped in Red Christmas album while finishing off my peppermint chocolate chip milkshake from Chick-fil-A, so glad we’re fully immersed into the Christmas season. It’s cold outside, our house is decorated in lights and every night we settle down to watch a new Hallmark Christmas movie with a warm cup of tea in hand. Doesn’t get much better than that, right?

Wrong! What’s even better is that I get to participate in Literature Approved’s 12 Days of Christmas Books this year! For the first twelve days of December, my good friend, Rayleigh, over at Literature Approved, is going to post a 4 or 5 star Christmas book review, and each post will include something special, like a giveaway, a recipe, etc.

On the 2nd Day of Christmas Books, Literature Approved posted my book review on Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber which was made into the most adorable movie back in 2010. You can start reading it below!

I’ve watched the Hallmark movie based on this book multiple times since it aired in 2010. Holly is quirky, Jake is earnest, Mrs. Miracle is both adorable and hysterical at the same time and the whole thing just makes you want to wrap up in a cozy blanket with some hot chocolate. There are several Hallmark movies based on Debbie Macomber’s novels and for good reason. She knows how to write a predictable, yet feel-good and heart-warming tale.

This fall my sister and I have been trying to listen to audiobooks on our way to and from work (we both work as preschool teacher’s assistants) to try to help us reach our reading goals for 2018. Mom got us a few from the library one day, including this one, which we decided to listen to all together on our way to and from my cousin’s house (she lives an hour away—perfect for listening to audiobooks together!). We all loved the movie, so we were excited to read the book.

You can finish reading the review here! Enjoy and keep a lookout for the other reviews up for the 12 Days of Christmas Books!

Contributor Reviewer

Posted in Book Reviews

Highlight: Heaven Shining Through by Joe Siccardi

Another review is up on Literature Approved! This was a biographical-style novella I read in one sitting a couple weeks ago. Here’s what I thought about it:

I read this novella in one sitting. It’s a short 64 pages long and easy to read.

Overall, it was a pleasant story, though it did include some mature elements. The characters were enjoyable and there was some humor. However, I didn’t really get it. The story starts with Samantha visiting her mother after her father has passed away and we get the idea that they’re in an estranged relationship and have been for a long time. As Samantha washes her mom’s dishes, she thinks back on her life. But after a brief description of her childhood, the story quickly centers around Samantha and her relationship with Chad than her relationship with her mom. The novella gives a detailed account of how Samantha and Chad start dating, get engaged, their adventurous married life, raising their children together, etc. While I enjoyed it, I forgot all about Samantha’s mom until we returned to the present toward the end of the story. Samantha realizes her mom is dying and they have a sudden reconciliation before the book’s ending.

So was Heaven Shining Through about Samantha and Chad’s sweet and romantic relationship or her tense relationship with her mom? I don’t know.

Click here to read the rest of the review!

Contributor Reviewer

Posted in Book Reviews

Highlight: Caina by Joe Albanese

This is the first book I received from the author for the purpose of reviewing on Literature Approved (rather than reviewing a book I’d read for my own pleasure). I’m excited to share with you my thoughts on Caina!

I love a good sibling rivalry story—mainly because there is usually a reconciliation at the end. But with Caina, there is no hope for reconciliation between Lee and Grant as Grant is, well, dead. All this to say, I was first captivated by this synopsis of Caina and second, upon receiving the book from the author in the mail, I was pleased to see that the author had typed me up a letter of thanks. I will admit it was because of this letter that I kept reading.

The first two pages of Caina were amazing. I was immediately swept into the plot and sympathized with Lee’s feeling of inferiority to the perfect Grant. Albanese’s descriptions of their childhood together were vivid and realistic. But as soon as the story caught up to present-day, I was bombarded with a flood of cursing and innuendos. I pushed on for a couple chapters, but as a conservative Christian, I didn’t like having all those curse words floating in my mind as I read in bed before going to sleep.

So I considered dropping it. But as I mulled it over in my head, Joe Albanese’s words to me in his thank you note kept coming back. He’d said he was just so thankful to have someone reading his book, even if I decided not to review it in the end. I was touched because that’s the way I feel when I ask someone to read my self-published novels. So even though Albanese and I are very, very different writers, we still share something in common—that desire to be read.

Click the link to continue reading my review!

Contributor Reviewer

Posted in Book Reviews

Highlight: The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins

I’m so excited to share this review with all of you! I finished reading the Gregor books last summer and it’s now one of my most favorite series! I hope you enjoy my review and give the series a try. 🙂


The Underland Chronicles is a series of five books (Gregor the Overlander, Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane, Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods, Gregor and the Marks of Secret and finally, Gregor and the Code of Claw) which tell the story of Gregor, who does not lead your typical twelve-year-old life. His dad went missing a year ago and hasn’t contacted since. It’s summer now and he hardly sees his mother as she is working to provide for their poor little family living in a cramped apartment. Meanwhile, he cares for his two younger sisters as well as his grandma who is slowly losing touch with reality. It’s a big responsibility for someone so young—but it all changes the day Gregor and his two-year-old sister fall down a grate in the laundry room and land in the Underland. In this new world, thousands of feet below New York City, people are pale and have purple eyes; cockroaches, rats and bats are ginormous; and it is always dark. All Gregor wants is to return home, but when he finds out that the Underland has a prophecy—and he’s in it—he realizes his journey home is going to be longer and more dangerous than he ever could have imagined.


When I finished reading the Hunger Games trilogy a year and a half ago, I wanted more. Whenever I read a book (or series) that I really, really like, I usually look up the author and see what else he/she has written. So, when I had finished Katniss and Peeta’s story, I looked up Suzanne Collins and found she had written the Underland Chronicles before writing the Hunger Games. I checked out the first book from the library and started reading. It was pretty good. Not extraordinary or anything, but there was a cool twist at the end and I enjoyed the concept, so I requested the second book. This book, too, yielded similar results. It was pretty good; nice twist at the end. I supposed I may as well finish the series, but so far, I liked Hunger Games a lot more. Then I read the third book and that’s when it changed.

Check out the full review here!

Contributor Reviewer