Thursday, December 1, 2011

Book Review: The Christmas Village by Melissa Ann Goodwin #TCVllg

The Christmas Village by Melissa Ann Goodwin
Publisher: Createspace
Publish Date: October 6, 2011
Paperback, 198 pages 
Fiction, Young Adult, Middle Grade
 ISBN: 978-1463646257

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

My Review:
Wow, what an amazing book.  Melissa Ann Goodwin crafts a magical story from a boy dealing with a rough situation and puts him into a magical Christmas village to learn lessons that will stick with him and others for a lifetime.  It's just magical and such a wonderful story to epitomize the true spirit of Christmas.

Within ten pages I was sucked right into the story of Jamie and his Mom, Lisa and wondering what had gone so wrong in their life that it had turned around.  As they head to Jamie's grandparents for Christmas, Jamie feels like he is getting away from it all and things will be better but then a chance encounter with gossips at the grocery store in town shows him otherwise.  But then one night he hears the story of his Grandmother's Christmas village and wakes up to save a girl's life in that Christmas village.  From there it moves on through the story and you will fall in love like I did with Jamie and the people in the Christmas village.  The story is woven so well and I loved it.

It captivated me and I think it will captivate the middle grade children that it was written for as well.  I think there is a lot for them to relate to in the book, plus action and some adventure.  And then to make us parents happy, a good lesson as well.  Ms. Goodwin has a definite gift with writing a story and it shines in this book with the plot and the characters.  Even when Jamie is at his most difficult, I still liked him.  I understood his actions, he didn't seem selfish and a handful, he seemed to be acting in accordance with what was going on so it made sense in the story.  All the characters are magical except for the bad guys who are bad, but the rest are wonderful and are special.  I think a lot of them will stick with me for awhile.

Whether you are middle grade or middle age, give The Christmas Village a try, it is one of those perfect feel good Christmas stories that is just perfect for this time of year.   I am so glad I participated in this tour and read this book.  It is a definite bright star in my reading week.

My Rating: 5/0/5.0

About the Book:
It’s the holiday season and Jamie feels anything but jolly. His dad has left and everyone in town is acting funny; people whisper, his friends can’t come out to play. So Jamie and his mom decide to spend Christmas with the grandparents in Vermont.

Time and again he is drawn to Grandma's miniature Christmas Village, where he imagines that life is perfect. Late one night, the village comes to life before his eyes, and his fantasy of escaping into it becomes very real indeed. But is the little village as perfect as it seems?

The Christmas Village is a timeless adventure the whole family will love, filled with suspense, secrets and surprises to the very last page.

About the Author: 
A native New Englander, Melissa Ann Goodwin now lives in Santa Fe with her husband, artist J Richard Secor.

Melissa’s many writing credits include Fun for Kidz, Boys’ Quest and Hopscotch for Girls. She was a regular feature article contributor to the Caregiver's Home Companion for more than five years. Her work has appeared in Guideposts’ Angels on Earth, Caregivers’ Home Companion, Caring Today, The Lutheran Digest, The Peak Magazine, The Andover Townsman, and the Martha’s Vineyard Gazette. Her poetry took 10th prize in The Writer’s Digest 2010 annual competition.

In addition to writing Melissa is a certified restorative yoga teacher. The Christmas Village is her first novel.
Author Website
Book Website/Blog

Buy from B& (paperback):

Buy from B& (ebook):

Available at Amazon. Soon to be released for Kindle.

FTC Information: I received this book through WOW tours for an honest review. 

Note:  I make a small commission on anything bought through links to B& and The Book Depository, so if you click through those and purchase, thank you very much.  Any money made will be used toward shipping of giveaways and funding future giveaways on the blog, not for my personal gain.  Due to NC laws I do not make money off of links to

Guest Blog: Themes that Resonate by Melissa Ann Goodwin #TCVllg

Themes that Resonate
Melissa Ann Goodwin  

When I was a kid, we lived in a small house on a street of big houses – some bordering on mansions.
I fantasized about those houses all the time. I imagined huge rooms, wide staircases with mahogany
railings and balconies, marble floors and crystal chandeliers. I wished with all my heart that I could live
in a big house like the ones on my street, and it was a dream I pursued with determination when I got
older. Eventually, I got my first big house. But it came with an unhappy marriage. Later, I got another big
house, but that one came with leaky roofs, a basement that flooded and gigantic heating bills. Sigh. It
was such a glaring case of “be careful what you wish for.”

Everyone has experienced this sort of thing, that desire for something – or someone – with such intense
longing, only to find that when we get it, it’s not nearly as wonderful as we imagined it would be.

As writers, these kinds of common experiences can become themes that underlie our stories and give
them a humanity that resonates with readers. Everyone can relate to themes like “be careful what you
wish for,” “the grass isn’t always greener,” and “there’s no place like home.” And intertwining two or
more of these themes can give your story even more dramatic and emotional impact.

In my book, The Christmas Village, all three of these themes come into play. As the story begins, 12-
year-old Jamie is angry, hurt and sad because his father has left under a cloud of scandal. Jamie’s initial
longing is to escape his reality - to go someplace where no one knows him and where people won’t
gossip about his family. He and his mom travel to Jamie’s grandparent’s home in Vermont. This is the
first place where Jamie thinks that the “grass is greener.” He quickly finds though, that even in this small
Vermont town, people still gossip and they still know about his dad.

Next Jamie fixates on his grandmother’s miniature Christmas Village, which looks like such a perfect
place. He is sure that the grass will be greener in the village, and he wishes he could live there.
Magically, Jamie’s wish comes true. But over time, he comes to realize that the village is no different
from anywhere else. There are good people and there are people who do bad things. The grass isn’t
greener after all, and now it’s turned into a case of “be careful what you wish for,” because he’s gotten
his wish and it isn’t everything he hoped it would be. Now Jamie’s deepest desire is to find his way back
home in time for Christmas. The theme, “there’s no place like home,” is what fuels Jamie through the
rest of the story and drives the action toward its climax.

It’s been said that there are only seven stories in the world, and the same could probably be said for
themes. But take 100 writers and tell them to write a story using the theme, “be careful what you
wish for,” and you’ll get 100 totally different tales. It’s our unique perspectives and creative ideas that
differentiate our writing from everyone else’s, and that’s what makes writing such an awe-inspiring and
fun endeavor.

Come back later today for my review of The Christmas Village.

2012 Audio Book Challenge

Another challenge I can definitely handle is the Audio Book Challenge that Teresa at Teresa's Reading Corner hosts.  I love audio books and listen to them in my car when the kids aren't in there which is usually at least 30-40 minutes of commute time each day and sometimes more.  I also listen to them around the house from time to time and sometimes at work when I am doing monotonous work that doesn't require concentration.  I love that I can be reading while doing other things.  I also love that I can usually get into books that I might not ordinarily read if I were to read them in book form.  I didn't drive as much during the summer of 2011 due to headaches and medication, so my numbers were down this year, but I hope to get them back up in 2012!

So below are some general things taken straight from Teresa's website, but you can find out more and sign up at this post.

Once again, there are four levels to the challenge
  • Flirting-Listen to 6 Audio Books
  • Going Steady- Listen to 12 Audio Books
  • Lover- Listen to 25 Audio Books
  • Married-Listen to +++  Audio Books
*A big Thank You to fellow blogger and twitter buddy @dogearedcopy for her suggestions on the level names. 
There will be a monthly link up so that we can share what we’ve listened to and make suggestions to each other. Along with that monthly link up there will be a special monthly challenge so make sure you stop by each month!
I'm going for the Lover level, but I may move on to Married, we'll just see how the relationship goes ;)

  1. Best Friends, Occasional Enemies: The Lighter Side of Life as Mother and Daughter by Lisa Scottoline and