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Book Review: Santa's Countdown to Christmas, 24 Days of Stories by Kim Thompson, Illustrated by Elodie Duhameau

Santa's Countdown to Christmas by Kim Thompson, Illustrated by Elodie Duhameau was published on October 2, 2017 and is a book format of an advent calendar.  Told from the perspective of Santa Claus, the storyline chronicles what Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, the elves, and the reindeer do in preparation of Christmas on each day of December leading up to Christmas Day. I'd like to thank NetGalley and Crackboom! Books for giving me a copy of Santa's Countdown to Christmas in exchange for my honest review.  I was thrilled to be approved to read this book because I love Christmas and am a kid at heart. This picture book was well written and engaging.  The illustrations were phenomenal as well.  I even enjoyed reading it as an adult.  I wish I had kids of my own so I could buy it for them, but I guess I'll have to settle for buying it for family members and friends who have kids that believe in Santa Claus.  I'd recommend this book for babies through eight years old.  Reading

Book Review: Trail of the Spellmans (The Spellmans, #5) by Lisa Lutz

book review trail of the spellmans lisa lutz

Trail of the Spellmans (The Spellmans, #5) by Lisa Lutz is the fifth installment in the book series about Isabel "Izzy" Spellman and her family of private investigators. For the first time that she remembers, Izzy isn't the "odd man" in the family. Older brother David and younger sister Rae are in an impasse and not speaking to one another. Albert, the dad, is hiding something and has gone to great measures to hide it. And, Izzy's mom, Olivia, has herself booked solid with several new hobbies. Then, Demetrius Merriweather keeps going on first dates without any second dates. On top of this, several of the family cases have become intertwined with each other.

Grab yourself a ginger ale and settle yourself down for the ride of a lifetime. I don't know how Lisa Lutz keeps doing it, but each book in this series is better than the last. I love the fact that there are several mysteries going on throughout the book . . . my favorites being the one with the banana (don't worry, it's not lewd in any way) and Olivia's obsession with getting a multitude of new hobbies. With all the dysfunction in the Spellman family and how well it's written, it does make me wonder how much of it is autobiographical. And, I have a strong hunch that the character of Izzy is hugely drawn from Lutz's own life . . . whether or not it is, that's how it feels to me.

I also enjoy the author's sense of humor in the book. It's a bit warped, but that's what I love about it. I'll admit, it's not for everyone. And, the footnotes are awesome! They add additional quirkiness and originality to this novel. There isn't anything negative I can really say about Trail of the Spellmans as I was immediately drawn into the story, and it played like a movie in my mind. I would love to see this installment of the series, and all of the others, as a mini-series on television or a movie.

Five out five stars is how I ranked Trail of the Spellmans (The Spellmans, #5) by Lisa Lutz, and it was a blast rereading it for the second time. However, it felt like the first time since it had be almost nine years to the date of when I read it the first time.


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