Miranda never intended to spend her holiday traveling across the country with her 85-year-old neighbor Joy, but that’s exactly what she finds herself doing. Joy is headed to her retirement place in Phoenix, in an RV covered with Christmas decorations, and she invites Miranda to go with her. Miranda is unemployed and facing foreclosure since her husband left her, so she accepts Joy’s offer. Miranda had helped Joy set up a blog entitled “Christmas Joy.” Joy chose six winners who weren’t feeling the holiday spirit and added them in to the travel plans. Joy is determined to spread cheer on their journey across Route 66 with the assistance of decorations and cookies. Joy neglects to mention her hidden agenda for this trip, and she fails to anticipate the unexpected event that could derail her plans altogether.
This is a fun, heartwarming read. The characters are so enjoyable, particularly Joy. You can’t help but be inspired by this tale. While the religious elements are a bit understated, it is still apparent that the characters understand that Jesus is the real reason for the season. This book may leave the reader with their eyes open a bit wider, making it easier to notice the needs of others. I really enjoyed hearing the stories behind each of the blog winners, too. While the ending felt a bit rushed, this is still a great addition to your holiday reading collection!
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book as part of the Revell Readers blogger program in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my review.
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Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women, and children. That's a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a "storyteller." Her novels range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in my Flip-Flops), but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, True Colors, etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She's won a number of awards (including Romantic Times' Career Achievement Award, the Rita, and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson visit her website at http://www.melodycarlson.com/