Saturday, November 19, 2011

Book Review: Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh

Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh
Publisher: Revell
Publish Date: September 1, 2011
Hardcover, 272 pages 
Fiction, Christian
 ISBN: 978-0-8007-1979-1

My Review:
Remembering Christmas is a delightful, heartwarming Christmas novel that was a perfect read for this time of year to get me in the mood for the upcoming Christmas season.  It has a great lesson to be learned and a wonderful story to tell it with.

This was a great novel to keep me turning pages.  First I loved the 80's nostalgia.  Second I loved the characters.  Of course there is Rick who came down to Florida when called by his mom to take care of their bookstore while his step dad was in the hospital recovering from a stroke.  Rick is a corporate man, he's climbing the career ladder as fast as he can and in true 80's fashion making all the money he can and working on accumulating toys and trips to go with his new-found lifestyle.  But going down to Florida brings new people and new complications into his life.  First there is the attractive woman who helps Rick's mom and step-dad with the store, Andrea, but she has a daughter, Amy and that's a little much for carefree and hip Rick.  Then there is the crazy homeless man who is outside the store each morning just wanting an Egg McMuffin that Rick's step dad Art usually brought him.  And then the numerous eccentric and interesting people that come into the Christian book store, Book Nook that he's running.  Add them all together and Dan Walsh has created a very entertaining set of characters.  And then add on top of that Rick's mom Leanne and stepdad Art, who seem amazing through the descriptions of the clientele of the store, yet that's not how Rick remembers them as a teenager when he just wanted to be with his real Dad again. And finally there is Father Charlie as well who I found endearing even though he's not in the book for long.  I could go on and on about the characters but I don't want to give anything away.

The plot is outstanding as well.  As Art remains in the hospital and Rick must remain in Seabreeze, there are twists and turns that I won't give away.  Some were obvious and some were "Wow!" moments to me.  All of them put together were enough to keep me engaged in the story through the entire book.  It never once lost my interest.  I had to know what would happen to Rick, Andrea, Leanne and Art next.  I also love the ending, but I'm not giving that away either.  Just know it's good.

With an emphasis on remembering and forgiveness, Remembering Christmas is an outstanding Christmas novel.  It has a great spirit of humanity throughout it.  It's a true feelgood novel that is perfect for this time of year.  It has a great lesson, it's not preachy at all and it's a joy to read.  I loved Remembering Christmas and I'm glad I got a chance to read this book for the Revell blog tour because once again I have been introduced to a new-to-me author that I will seek out more books from in the future.

Just a side note:  there is romance in the book, but it is not the focus by far, to me this is more of a general fiction book with light romantic elements. 

My Rating: 4.75/5.0

Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

About the Book:
Award-winning author Dan Walsh creates a nostalgic, Christmas story that takes readers back in time in
Remembering Christmas (ISBN: 978-0-8007-1979-1, 272 pages, September 2011.) A time not so long
ago in 1980 when IBM had not yet launched the personal computer; the Boombox was hot; Reality TV was unheard of; MTV was just launching; Ronald Reagan was president; the Winter Olympics witnessed the USA team defeat the favored Soviet team and win the gold; and Rick Denton was in pursuit of his career goals and climbing the corporate ladder.

During this time, the holiday season only slowed Rick from his frenetic normal pace. For Rick,
holiday downtime for everyone else meant extra time to get ahead on goals and returning calls. His
goal in life was to work hard, play hard, live life on his terms, and answer to no one.

Then the phone call came from his mother during Thanksgiving weekend stepfather’s stroke. His mom needed Rick’s help at the little run-down has never liked Art, his stepfather and resents the man's presence in his life, own father abandoned the family when Rick was just twelve. Reluctantly when he arrives at the store, he soon discovers that a few days of managing weeks.

While there Rick meets the patrons of the Book Nook – some quirky, some homeless, some chatty, some hip and cool - and one a lovely young woman who trains him on the job. He tends to judge them all-- until a moment of truth and discovery: the true meaning of Christmas.

With skillful storytelling, Dan Walsh creates a Christmas story that will have readers remembering every
good and perfect gift of Christmas.

About the Author: 
Dan Walsh is the award-winning author of The Unfinished Gift, The Homecoming, and The Deepest
. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for 25 years. He lives
with his family in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel.


FTC Information: I received this book from the Revell for an honest review.  Any Amazon links provided are for the reader, I do not make any profit from them (there is no Amazon Associates program in NC).

2012 TBR Reading Challenge

Yes it's another challenge - I'm hoping to actually follow through with these next year.  This one is hosted by Hooked on Books and all the rules and information can be found in this post.

The basics are to read books from our TBR pile, nothing from after 2011.  There are hosts for each month and there are prizes so it sounds like a lot of fun. So make sure you go and read about it in the post mentioned above.

I'm going to join at the Friendly Hug level which means I'll read 11-20 books from my TBR pile.  I'll use this post to list the books as I finish them.  I'll start a list as well as some I really want to get to that have been languishing on my pile for awhile and need to get read.  But first here is a list of the lovely hosts' blogs for the challenge, be sure and visit them:

Evie from Bookish - @SeoEvie
Nicole from All I Ever Read - @Nicoleabouttown
Bonnie from Hands and Home - @HandsHomeBlog
Donna from Book Passion For Life - @BookPforLife
Caitlin from WatchYA Reading - @caitlingss
Rie from Mission To Read - @missiontoread
Vicky from Books, Biscuits & Tea - @alouetteuette
Christa from Hooked On Books - @ChristasBooks
Jenna from Fans Of Fiction - @fansoffiction
Angel from Mermaids Vision - @mermaidvisions

So here is a list, that may be changed and I'll add the date when I finish the book.
  1. The Lost Saint by Bree Despain
  2. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (yes I preordered this for my Kindle and haven't read it yet)
  3. The Pawn by Stephen James
  4. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
  5. Evernight by Claudia Gray
  6. Everywhere That Mary Went by Lisa Scottoline
  7. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  8. Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
  9. Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
  10. The Sari Shop Widow by Shobhan Bantwal
  11. Beautiful Lies by Lisa Unger
  12. Rampant by Diana Peterfreund
  13. Barefoot by  Elin Hilderbrand
  14. The Cloud of Unknowing by Thomas H. Cook
  15. Red-Headed Step Child by Jaye Wells
  16. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
  17. Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep
  18. Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost