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Phoebe and Fred

Harmony is your typical village; secluded, close-knit, peaceful, and quiet. That was why the city-living Watsons found it to be the perfect spot to grow their little family. They added to their little family Phoebe and Fred, the brilliant Basset hounds, as well as a truckload of gossip and weary villagers. But, in a world where talking dogs are as impossible as flying pigs, will a loving family be enough to reassure the bassets that they will not again be thrown out and abandoned?

Phoebe and Fred by Nathaniel S. Johnson tells the story of two lovely not so ordinary basset hounds that found their way into a charming family. When Watson lost their dog, Billy Beau the Black Lab, Henry Watson was thrown into despair and almost swallowed by loneliness. His wife and kids thought a new addition to the family to replace their previous dog was the only way to save him, and it turned out the bassets were the best thing that happened to their whole family. Things, however, took a turn for the worse when one morning, the bassets did something that no ordinary dog could do.

Phoebe and Fred is a lighthearted story. I found the book straightforward and a solid read. There were not lengthy conversations, but they were sure long enough to warm my heart. The Bassets were particularly intriguing, and I was somewhat confused why the villagers were so weary of them. My blood boiled at some point, and I was dismayed by how petty Reverend Treadwell was and so delighted that Kyle, the sheriff, had some faith in the hounds.

Phoebe and Fred is a humorous story about two amazing Basset Hounds and the family that falls in love with them. The writing was immaculate, the characters were on point, and it was a delight to picture life in the small town in my head just from the description. Children will find this book an absolute delight, and fur parents might as well too.

Pages: 88 | ASIN : B0BMLPJSLH

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From Where I Sit

Written by Ray Lecara Jr, From Where I Sit is a collection of short stories. Easy to read and engaging, there are five stories to enjoy. Beginning with Scent of Juniper, an exciting, short-action thriller detailing a world war two agent’s mission to locate and acquire a rare Faberge egg. The story plunges straight into the middle of the action as assassins launch an attack. With a fast pace, it is instantly absorbing and finishes on a cliffhanger, leaving me keen to read on and find out what happens next.  

A Life Lost Living is the following short story in the collection. I particularly enjoyed this one. The main character was thoughtfully crafted. It details the friendship between a young bartender and an elderly veteran who drinks in his establishment. Through conversations, the elderly man reveals the story of his life, his sorrows, his bitterness, and the effects of war on his life. He is alone, estranged from his family, with his wife and parents long dead. The complexity of the father/child relationship is examined in this story, as is the ever-present question of the point of living, especially when the burdens and regrets weigh heavily in older age. The ending is original and poignant. It is an emotional piece of writing with beautiful descriptions of the New England winter and the connections to land, memory, and childhood.  

Goldie, the next story, showcases man’s love for their most loyal companion, the dog. A touching tale of loss and how people can move forward even when they think they won’t. One Night In Bangkok is a super short story featuring another canine companion protecting their chosen human in a funny set of events.  

The final story in the collection Old Lang Syne features two lovers reconnecting after years apart when they accidentally bump into each other on new years eve. Catching up on how their lives unfolded after they split, they are able to rehash the events that led to their break up. This is an interesting look at how life evolves and changes as people progress. In addition, it looks at the difficulties people face with mental health struggles and how they can overcome them. 

I really enjoyed reading the short stories. They were all well-written, and the characters were easy to engage with. I had no problem becoming invested in any of the characters or the stories. Each story examined different areas of the human condition and the emotional aspects of life. I liked the fact you can dip in and quickly read each story. The premise of each individual story was exciting and original. The characters were convincing, and the quality of the writing was good. Each story flowed nicely, and the dialogue was well-crafted and easy to read. 

Pages: 131 | ASIN : B0B8DKJV1Y

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Family History Is Important

Pat Wahler Author Interview

The Christmas Keepsake follows a young woman who must decide what’s more important, her dream job or her boyfriend, and seeks advice from her wise grandmother. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Years ago, my grandmother shared with me a few events from her youth. As a teenager, Grandma had begun to sing at a local theater in her small town. But when her mother was diagnosed with kidney failure (a death sentence in those days), my grandmother was shocked by the advice her mother gave to her—advice destined to change the course of Grandma’s life. I won’t give any spoilers, but around these tidbits I wove a story.

What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating your characters?

I look back on time I spent with my grandmother, and wish I’d asked her more questions. Seniors, whether family or friends, are a wealth of fascinating stories, and the truth is, family history is important. The past is important. If we take time to pay attention, it can teach us a lot.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this short story?

Decisions often require courage. Especially when it means leaving a “safe” path to take a chance on what seems like an uncertain and scary future.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m very excited about my next novel, scheduled for release in February 2023. The Rose of Washington Square: A Novel of Rose O’Neill, Creator of the Kewpie Doll, is the story of the woman who wowed the world with her iconic creation. But Rose did much more than invent her magical elves. She was also a respected illustrator, artist, sculptor, novelist, poet, philanthropist, and passionate suffragist. I can’t wait to share her story!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

A nostalgic and heartwarming Christmas short story of faith, heart, and hope.
2005 – Just before Christmas, Janelle Young accepts her dream job which means a move from the Midwest to California. When the man she loves insists that she decline the offer or risk the end of their relationship, Janelle is stunned. Torn over what to do, she seeks advice from her octogenarian grandmother, who shares a long-ago dilemma of her own; one that took place in 1938.

1938 – During the final years of the Great Depression, Peggy Norwood is a promising soprano who yearns for a career on stage. She ignores the attentions of a handsome young stranger to stay focused on her dream. But when her mother receives a dire diagnosis, the future is no longer clear, and Peggy is forced to make an impossible choice.

Can a tale from the past, a treasured Christmas ornament, and a touch of magic, guide Janelle’s future?

This is an inspirational small-town story filled with the healing spirit of the holiday season.

The Christmas Keepsake

It’s a few days to Christmas, and Janelle Young finds herself uncharacteristically visiting her grandmother. With a job offer to move to California and an ultimatum from her boyfriend hanging over her head, Janelle seeks advice from Gram on her choices. Their conversations and reminiscing about Christmas lead to Gram narrating her story as a teenager, including how she met her husband in 1938. In 1938, toward the end of the Great Depression, Peggy Norwood is a brilliant chorister who dreams of taking center stage. When her mother’s illness worsens, Peggy has to choose between fulfilling her dreams and her dying mother’s wishes.

The Christmas Keepsake by Pat Wahler is a simple story of love, family, dreams, and choices. Although short, it is a holiday-themed story enjoyable for all ages. The author uses a simple style and symbolism in telling the tale of two generations and alternating between two timelines. The author explores the themes of faith, spirituality, and the magic of Christmas with mementos like the Christmas Ornament.  The book also features a heartwarming love story and evokes deep feelings of nostalgia, especially during the Christmas season. It is exciting how a marriage of convenience morphed into a meeting of soulmates.

In the end, it is clear that Janelle has made her choice after spending a day listening to her Gram. And although they walk different paths, Gram’s story has many lessons to be learned. The Christmas Keepsake by Pat Wahler is a reminder to follow one’s heart and be courageous in doing so. The characters also stress the importance of domestic family and the aftermaths of grief.

The Christmas Keepsake is a beautiful holiday short story. It gives readers that warm feeling of the season and emphasizes the importance of family and connections. This is the perfect book to curl up with on a cold winter day as you wait for the magic of Christmas.

Pages: 73 | ASIN : B0BFJKCPC1

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Marley: The Other Christmas Carol – Trailer

Doomed to wander for generation after generation, under the curse of heavy chains, Jacob Marley’s soul was lost and without hope with nothing of this earth that belonged to him except the cold fingers of the grave – to which he refused to retreat.Marley saves the soul of a dear friend and finds himself trapped between the realm of untapped power and endless damnation. Waiting and waiting, hoping to prove himself…WORTHY!

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