Because you can't judge a book by its cover


Novel Reaction is excited to take part in sharing the kindness that is one of the great things about Christmas and to celebrate the release of Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber, one of my favorite authors. In the spirit of the main character, Julia, Novel Reaction has been asked to share an act of kindness and I thought I would share a little bit about two organizations that have come to touch my heart and that I help when I can.

Currently there are over 60 million refugees in the world, the largest in the history of mankind. These are individuals and families who have left everything they know: homes, jobs, friends, and family in the hopes that they can live a safer and happier life somewhere else. It is easy to see the stories on the news of the events taking place in Europe and think, as safe Americans, that it is too far away from where I am physically located and I don’t have a lot of extra income so what I have won’t make that much of a difference. But I have found two great organizations that are making a difference in people’s lives and that I can help when I do have a little bit extra.

The first is Liftng Hands International, they are a non-profit that has recently started taking care of a refugee camp in Greece. One of the things I really like about Lifting Hands, is besides being able to donate cash (which they use to supplement the military rations provided to the residents of the camp by the Greek military by purchasing fresh fruits and veggies for them), they also have a wish list on Amazon where I can go and pick out what I want/can afford to purchase that is needed by the camp and Lifting Hands ships it to the camp. I really like knowing exactly how I am helping the residents. Recently, the residents were asking for tea pots to make their daily tea in, such a simple comfort but they were having to make the tea in old baby formula cans, so I was able to donate $10.00 to buy a family a tea pot. I know it wasn’t much but hopefully it brought a little comfort to a family that is missing it. While Lifting Hands International has a website, more current information can be found on their facebook page.

The second organization is The Welcome to America Project, when refugees are given clearance to relocate to the U.S. they are provided an apartment for a set period of time and basic necessities. And by basic necessities I mean a bed and that’s about it. The Welcome to America Project gathers gently used furniture and other basic necessities so that families who have arrived with literally what will fit in the airplane luggage can have such luxuries as kitchen tables and chairs, couches to sit on, microwaves, and cleaning supplies. The Welcome to American Project accepts donations of money, furniture, or you can donate your time to help deliver furniture to a recently arrived family.

While it can seem that big problems exist in the world and there isn’t much that an individual can do to make a difference, there are simple acts of kindness that we can do that can make all the difference in someone else’s life. I want to challenge all of you readers to look around and find a simple act of kindness that we can do for someone else.


Christmas_tree_sxc_huFriendly and bubbly, Julia Padden likes nearly everyone, but her standoffish neighbor, Cain Maddox, presents a particular challenge. No matter how hard she’s tried to be nice, Cain rudely rebuffs her at every turn, preferring to keep to himself. But when Julia catches Cain stealing her newspaper from the lobby of their apartment building, that’s the last straw. She’s going to break through Cain’s Scrooge-like exterior the only way she knows how: by killing him with kindness.

To track her progress, Julia starts a blog called The Twelve Days of Christmas. Her first attempts to humanize Cain are far from successful. Julia brings him homemade Christmas treats and the disagreeable grinch won’t even accept them. Meanwhile, Julie’s blog becomes an online sensation, as an astonishing number of people start following her adventures. Julia continues to find ways to express kindness and, little by little, chips away at Cain’s gruff façade to reveal the caring man underneath. Unbelievably, Julia feels herself falling for Cain—and she suspects that he may be falling for her as well. But as the popularity of her blog continues to grow, Julia must decide if telling Cain the truth about having chronicled their relationship to the rest of the world is worth risking their chance at love.

I have to admit I am posting this without having finished the novel, which is not like me. But this pregnant momma who spends her days chasing after a three year old in the triple digits of the Phoenix heat is struggling to stay up and finish Twelve Days of Christmas, although I really wanted to and have been enjoying the antics and interactions between Julie and Cain. The premise of the novel is cute and so great in the keeping of the true Christmas spirit and I love that Julia keeps trying despite who the first few acts of kindness don’t go over so well with Cain. If you are looking for a read to help you start to get into the Christmas spirit, Twelve Days of Christmas is for you.

You can read an excerpt here.


12-days-of-christmasRating: Star 4copy

Content: favicon5 NB

Title: Twelve Days of Christmas

Author: Debbie Macomber

Format: Hardbound, eBook

Page Nos.: 288

ISBN: 978-0553391732

Publisher: Ballantine Mass Market Original

Release Date: October 4, 2016

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

imageHudson Kinkaid is scheduled to the max: between his crazy family, running ski patrol for the family ski resort, working as a cop in town, and trying to track down his missing brother, he doesn’t have a lot of free time but he especially doesn’t have time for a relationship. In My Kind of Wonderful by Jill Shalvis, despite not having any free time, Hudson finds himself drawn to the mysterious Bailey.

Bailey Moore has spent most of her life having to let others control what she did and when, but now that she is finally in control of her own life, she plans to do things her way and mark things off her list. Hired to create a mural for the Kinkaid family ski lodge, Bailey is determined to finish the project, jump starting the completion of her list.

I didn’t think it would be possible to like a Jill Shalvis series more than I like her Lucky Habor series but the Kincaid family of her Cedar Ridge series is rapidly becoming my favorite. The series stared out great with Second Chance Summer and continues with the fabulous My Kind of Wonderful. Hudson is responsible, loving, and loyal to his family, which is all endearing, but it is Bailey with her spunky attitude, her willingness to push herself, and her desire to live life to the fullest, achieving every thing on her list that makes My Kind of Wonderful such a great and inspiring read. I love the family dynamics of the Kincaids and eagerly look forward to the rest of the series.

Cedar Ridge Reading Order:

Second Chance Summer

My Kind of Wonderful

Nobody But You! (March 2016)

Read an excerpt here.

imageRating: Star 5copy

Content: favicon5 NB

Title: My Kind of Wonderful

Author: Jill Shalvis

Format: Paperback, eBook

Page Nos.: 357

ISBN: 1455586781

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Release Date: December 22, 2016

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

As the youngest of the three Knowles siblings, Quinn has always loved the land her family has worked for generations. In Once Touched by Laura Moore, Quinn dreams of doing more than just working the land, she is saving for an animal sanctuary where she can help creatures large and small. Normally Quinn avoids the obvious matchmaking efforts of her family but when Ethan Saunders shows up at the family ranch, Quinn finds herself drawn to the obviously hurting Ethan.

Ethan Saunders has come to the Knowles ranch for some peace and hard work after the terrible events that happened while he was in Afghanistan as a photo journalist. Dealing with PTSD and a host of health problems, Ethan just wants to be left alone while on the family ranch but he finds himself drawn to the shy and innocent Quinn.

Once Touched  is the third book in the Silver Creek series but can be read alone (I hadn’t read any books from the series prior to reading Once Touched and had no problems) but you do see some of the main characters from the previous two books in the series. I really enjoyed Once Touched as a quick contemporary read. Quinn’s heart was in the right place when it came to saving the animals but she kept up her responsibilities to the family while working on her dream, which I really liked. Ethan just broke my heart, when he first appears in the novel I wanted to give him a sandwich and a big hug. Both main character’s foibles and struggles were believable and their journey to each other was enjoyable. And I loved the goats on the ranch, they were hilarious! Overall Once Touched was a four star rating and I have added the rest of the silver Creek series to my to-be-read pile.


A Silver Creek Novel Reading Order

Once Tempted

Once Tasted

Once Touched

Read an excerpt here.

Rating: Star 4copy

Content: favicon5 NB

Title: Once Touched

Author: Laura Moore

Format: Paperback, eBook

Page Nos.: 352

ISBN: 978-0-345-53702-7

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Release Date: December 29, 2015

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica


**I received a copy of this book from the publisher but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

Cara Michal does everything by the book in Filthy Rich by Virna DePaul. After a financial disaster left her family penniless, Cara has stepped up to take care of herself, her special needs brother, and her flighty mother, leaving little to no time for a social life or relationships of any kind.  When Cara hides away at a business party and finds herself woken by a sexy stranger she decides to take a risk and kisses him. Unfortunately the best kiss of her life was give by her new boss and everyone knows mixing business with pleasure can lead to problems.

Branden Duke is surprised to find a sleeping beauty in his private rooms at his mansion during a party to announce his buying a Wall Street company. Drawn to the mysterious beauty he kisses her before learning who she is and is unprepared for the kiss to be as explosive as it is. If Cara were just anyone else it wouldn’t be a problem to hook up with her, but with his real reason for buying the company a necessary secret and an old enemy appearing, pursuing Cara might put her in harms way but how can he stay away?!

I struggled a bit with Filthy Rich, the meeting between Cara and Branden with the explosive first kiss is not my favorite literary device. So the first meeting for me was meh, but I really liked the characters of both Cara and Branden. I loved their devotion to family (if you are a long time reader of Novel Reaction you will notice I really like the family connections) even when those connections weren’t easy for the characters. Cara is a hardworking, dedicated, intelligent woman who isn’t waiting around for Mr. Right to come save her, she is working hard to save herself and I loved that about her! Branden has worked his way up from nothing while taking care of his half-sisters and trying to do the right thing for everyone. Filthy Rich had a bit more sex than I really enjoy but the story was engaging and the characters compelling so I gave it a four star.

Read an excerpt here.

Rating: Star 4copy

Content: favicon5 NB

Title: Filthy Rich 

Author: Virna DePaul

Format: Paperback, eBook

Page Nos.: 356


Publisher: Penguin Random House

Release Date: October 27, 2015

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica


**I received a copy of this book from the publisher via publisher but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

Why Ratings?
It is true you can't judge a book by its cover, you also can't judge a book's graphic content by its cover. NovelReaction's goal is to provide readers with a graphic content so they can make an informed decision regarding the books they want to read. (Also, to have a great place for people to discuss books.) So sit back, pull up a beverage, and read on!
Graphic Ratings*

1 = kissing
2 = kissing, some fondling
3 = descriptive stripping but no sex
4 = sex scene but not descriptive in details
5 = full descriptive sex scene

*I am rating a specific book by an author, not the author's style. If I am aware an author writes a specific way, I will let you know.

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