An Off-Piste Christmas by Julie Houston

Lets just start off with a definition of “off-piste” because I’ll admit I had no idea what the title of this book (novella really) was referring to.

Google to the rescue!


off-piste

adjective & adverb   SKIING
  1. away from prepared ski runs.
    “challenging expanses of off-piste skiing”
    • so as to deviate from what is conventional, usual, or expected.
      “on this occasion I went off-piste and booked in at The Griffin, a place none of us had ever visited before.”

I know there are people out there who always want their books to be really realistic and not all convenient with enough happily ever afters to go around.

I’m totally not that person.

I like happy endings, I like Christmas, I like this book (err- novella).

Actually, I love Christmas but it is also the part of the year that we spend lots of time with our family. Time where you look around and think that they are all crazy and you wonder how anything, much less everything is going to work out. (Sorry family.)

But then! Then, you read a book like this fine novella and think- “Well, her daughter is dating her best friend’s previous lover and father of her baby and they are all going on a fancy schmancy Christmas skiing trip in Italy together, even though she hates skiing and it all works out for them,” my totally normal family will be fine.

Would I recommend it? It’s goofy and funny and crazy and scandalous and *spoiler alert* ends happily. While I know there are scrooges out there who don’t approve of such things, I thought it was an excellent quick (Did I mention it was a novella? You can totally fit in in your reading schedule this month!) Christmas read!

Rosie's Book Review team 1

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

The Prince’s Son by Deborah Jay

The Prince’s Son is, of course, the sequel to The Prince’s Man.

I read The Prince’s Man last year and found it to be a solid book:

“This newly created world is firm, there are no gaps or jumps of reasoning. One creature, idea, magic or bit of history flows right into the next. Characters that appear substantial at the beginning of the book do nothing but grow and evolve as their backstory unfolds behind them.

This is solidly written fantasy tale.” -myself on The Prince’s Man last year

This sequel, built as it was on such a solid foundation, continued to impress me.

The first book was very much a web of spies and lies and political maneuvering that really had me hooked. In this book what struck me was the character growth.  I loved the way the characters from the previous book grew between books and how the whiny lady at the beginning (that I could barely stand reading about) turned into the character than I’m most excited to read about in the next book. While there is a precedent in fantasy for the original whinging characters to turn into fantastic heroes by the end, it’s a trend that can feel forced enough to be questionable. Not in this book. When you build your characters with a backstory and foundation as solid as Deborah Jay has, their growth and change isn’t something to wonder over but something to enjoy!

Would I recommend it? The Prince’s Son can be read as a stand alone, you don’t have to read The Prince’s Man first, but I think you should. What would happen to order in the universe if everyone just started reading books all willy nilly and out of sequence? Chaos I tell you, chaos! Either way, if you choose to be an agent for chaos or read the books in a sensible order like proper purveyor of peace, if you are a fan of fantasy I recommend this/these books!

 

I was given a copy of this book from the author in exchange for Beta reading it, which was basically the best nerdy book lover experience ever! After reading the final copy I also agreed to post my own honest review. Thank you Deborah Jay for letting me be a part of the experience! 

Black and White Sunday: New Kitty

Never have a conversation about how you aren’t going to go looking for a kitten but if a kitten showed up in need of a home, it would be a good time to add a cat to the family… unless you really mean it.

Meet our new kitten, and Jane’s early birthday present, whose name has ranged from a very confusing “Sarah” to an equally confusing “Baroness Sarah McCutiePie Von Stuffington of Sunshine Manor”.Sarah Cat

 

Be careful what you say, the universe responds to kitten requests in a very timely fashion.

Character Building

Deer hunting is a great time of year to have children experience the joy that comes with survival.

Taking a two-hour hike through the woods, falling in a freezing swamp, possibly getting lost but getting back on track.  Finally arriving at the house with boots full of swamp water, soaked and shivering to jump straight into the sauna. And then, once thawed, telling stories of deer jumping up out of the bushes closer than they’d ever seen, helping the hunters find a down deer, and the pride that came with knowing they helped the hunt.

Sure, it was cold, and hard and painful but they did it and that comes with it’s own special joyIvy and Clara

Don’t believe me?

Ask them about helping on the deer drive. They’ll start talking a mile a minute about the terrors of the hike – but they’ll be smiling.


Also we processed the six deer from yesterday’s drive today and  I didn’t include a single dead deer or meat picture in this post.

You’re welcome.