Review: The Reluctant Elf by Michele Gorman

The Reluctant Elf Book Cover The Reluctant Elf
Michele Gorman
Chick Lit
129

Meet Britain's Worst Innkeeper

Single mother and extremely undomestic goddess, Lottie, has five days to become the ultimate B&B hostess to save her beloved Aunt Kate’s livelihood.

When Aunt Kate ends up in the hospital, Lottie and her seven-year-old daughter are called to rural Wales to stand in at the B&B. Without the faintest idea how to run a hotel (she can barely run her own life), Lottie must impress the picky hotel reviewer and his dysfunctional family who are coming to stay over Christmas. Without the rating only he can bestow, Aunt Kate will lose her livelihood.

But will Danny, the local taxi driver who she hires to help her, really be Santa’s little helper, or the Grinch who stole Christmas?

I received a copy of The Reluctant Elf by Michele Gorman in exchange for a review and my honest opinion. 

I love a little bit of Christmas reading to imbue me with the holiday spirit! In fact, I think I like the lead up to Christmas day, filled with pretty decorations, good will, and holiday traditions, better than Christmas Day itself! Gorman sent me a copy of her latest short story, and it was super quaint – a great holiday read, and in a perfect, one-sitting size!

When Lottie’s beloved Aunt ends up in a coma just before Christmas, Lottie is left to rescue her dilapidated bed and breakfast from foreclosure. With just a few days, no helpers, and no DIY expertise, Lottie is in a Christmas pickle. Luckily, she and her daughter manage to enlist the help of their taxi driver, and together they plug holes in plaster with toothpaste, improvise a Victorian era Christmas, and manage to please their important guests – thus saving Christmas! There’s an added little sprinkle of romance, for good measure.

This brief story was vert well executed. Sometimes short stories don’t have enough time to satisfy my curiosity. Gorman, however, managed to give the main character enough backstory to make her actions more understandable, and successfully began and wound up the entire story, with no loose ends. There was humour and love, the most important elements in a happy Christmas season. It definitely fulfilled my desire for a little Christmas cheer in word-form!

I’ve still got a few more Christmas reads I’d like to get to; such as It Must Have Been the Mistletoe by Judy Astley, Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake by Sue Watson, and The Great Christmas Knit-Off by Alexandra Brown. I’ll let you know if they’re good! Otherwise, if you need a recommendation RIGHT NOW to kick of your Christmas, check out my review of the Merry and Bright Christmas Anthology.

Amazon | Book Depository

Christmas Books 2015

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REVIEW: Merry & Bright Christmas Anthology

Merry & Bright Book Cover Merry & Bright
Lauren Clark, Libby Mercer, Cindy Arora, Nancy Scrofano, Laura Chapman, Isabella Louise Anderson
Chick Lit
179

Sip your eggnog, linger under the mistletoe, and make a Christmas wish. Merry & Bright brings you six tales of Christmas cheer, featuring stories of budding romances, Southern charm, lost loves, heaps of humour, and lots of pie by authors Isabella Louise Anderson, Cindy Arora, Laura Chapman, Lauren Clark, Libby Mercer, and Nancy Scrofano. From sunny Los Angeles to the Rocky Mountains to the Deep South, Merry & Bright will take you on a heartwarming adventure you’ll love to visit again and again. Wrap yourself in holiday mirth and prepare to be swept off your feet.

I received a copy of this e-book in exchange for a review and my honest opinion. 

Merry Christmas Blogosphere! I hope you’re all enjoying some freedom. family, and friends over the Christmas/New Years break! If you’re suffering from some holiday blues, however, then I suggest picking up a copy of Merry & Bright for a cheer-up. These six stories are full of Christmas cheer, romance, family drama, mistletoe and fresh-baked goodies.

Each story was based on a different female character’s experiences in the holidays. Personally, my favourite was the first story in the anthology; “A Very Dixie Christmas” by Lauren Clark. Perhaps this had something to do with it being the longest story in the anthology, or perhaps it was the skill with which Clark immediately pulled us into the warm world of the Ella Rae Bakery. Had this story been turned into a full length novel, I think I could have easily devoured it. I’ll be keeping an eye out for her future works!

In “Christmas at Mulberry Inn” Cindy Arora quickly set the scene of her Christmas tale with some interesting characters and a festive holiday setting. These characters were surprisingly well developed for such a short story, and I was again left wanting more. I did feel that the story was wrapped up a little quickly, considering the details in the first half of it, but it was fun and engaging. I’d be happy to return to the Mulberry Inn anytime!

I found “Ice Dating” by Nancy Scrofano and “Secret Santa” by Libby Mercy a little cliché… In part, I blame the length. It’s hard to describe four failed engagements in 30 pages, as Scrofano tried to do in “Ice Dating”, which meant that the story seemed a little far-fetched, and hard to relate to. Similarly, in “Secret Santa”, I picked the ‘twist’ early on and found the story quite un-engaging; perhaps there just wasn’t the time to hook me.

“Twelve Drummers Drumming” by Laura Chapman was a feel good love story, about finding a good man and trusting your instincts – jumping to conclusions can be a bad idea! The idyllic snowy setting and little Christmas miracle brought a smile to my face.

For those looking for a more racy read, “Meet Me Under the Mistletoe” (Isabella Louise Anderson) held tinges of what I imagine “50 Shades of Grey” to hold – though I refuse to read the latter for the sake of my literary integrity. While things can’t get too spicy under the mistletoe in less than 35 pages, Anderson manages to write a love-at-first-sight romance.

All in all, I think this anthology had a little something for everyone. The stories were short, and perfect to read in one sitting in between the crazy running around of Christmas, or when you’re feeling a little of the Christmas blues. I did catch a few spelling mistakes, enough to drive a grammar nut a little crazy, but not enough to turn me off the book.

Christmas may be over for 2013, but you can grab a copy on Amazon here for a few dollars and keep it on your bookshelf ready for next year! Merry Christmas!

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Merry Mail Ornament Exchange

Merry Mail Ornament Exchange Banner

This month, I participated in the Merry Mail Ornament Exchange over at Chasing Happy. What is that, you may ask? Well, I was put into a group with three other lovely ladies, and we handmade ornaments for each other! It was so much fun to bundle up packages for my new blog-friends and send them overseas. It was even more fun to receive parcels in the mail!

Now for some show and tell!

Merry Mail Ornament Exchange - Molly

The lovely Molly from Sundrops and Rainflowers saw that I love books and that Alice in Wonderland is my partner in crime. Do you know what she did? She went out, found an old copy of Wonderland, and decoupaged me this gorgeous bauble! It looks fantastic nestled in our tree, and is so much more special because I know that the book pages were chosen just for me!  I love it.

Merry Mail Ornament Exchange - Christine

Crafty Christine from Fit Hippie Chick discerned my love for Harry Potter somehow (you know I don’t even know how she did it! Maybe she has some wizarding powers of her own!), and created this gorgeous snitch bauble. I love it’s sparkly wings! I’m so excited to have such personalised ornaments on my tree.

Merry Mail Ornament Exchange - Abby

Last but not least, was Miss Abby, from Little City Adventure. She sent me this elegant, bead filled ornament. Isn’t is festive, with it’s Christmas colours and glamourous pearl beads? And doesn’t she take gorgeous photos?! I don’t even know how she does that.

This exchange was so much fun, and a great way to get into the festive spirit. Plus, emailing back and forth with these lovely ladies and getting to know more about them and their blogs was great. I’m already looking forward to next year! 

Oh – and if you want to see what I sent the girls, then head over to their websites and see the photos they’ve taken of them in their trees!

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