Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy

by Nancy Naigle

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/5)

Synopsis
Katie visits Evergreen, Vermont to work on her next novel. On the way there she meets local Ben and the book shows their relationship development throughout her time there. Besides Ben, Katie also meets the other town folk. She is swept up in the Christmas traditions, some of them seem too good to be true. There is cookie baking, ice skating, caroling, wishing upon a magic snowglobe and the mystery of a secret advent calendar. 

Review
Overall I enjoyed this story, especially because of the town it took place in and the heartwarming relationships between the characters. It is truly a Christmas feel-good story! There are so many characters in town that you almost feel like you are in the town yourself while reading the book. The book is based on a Hallmark film, and even though I haven’t seen it, it shows through in the book. There are a lot of characters and points of view, which sometimes makes it a bit harder to follow. Also, I sometimes was doubtful about the ages of the inhabitants and there was some repetition of facts that I found unnecessary. But, the plot of the story was fun and it was an easy Christmas read! If you want to read a story full of snowy weather, Christmas traditions, roasting marshmallows by the fire and newfound love then this is definitely a book for you! 

I got a copy of this book via Netgalley and would like to thank Netgalley, the publisher and the author, Nancy Naigle, for this fun read. I read this voluntarily and all my opinions are my own. 

Winter Pasture

by Li Juan

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️(4/5)

Having been to China myself, although not to the area around Ulungur, I was curious to read about the nomadic way of life. This biographic story gives the reader a view into some of the most lonely months in the lives of some of the most lonely people.

Synopsis
Li Juan tells her story, with humor, of traveling south with the camels, sheep, cows and horses where she and the family she has joined, will live throughout the winter. The story is divided into different sections, each highlighting a different part of life in the Winter Pasture. You get to know the people she lives with, but also the visitors that come over during the winter months. You learn about their ways of herding the animals, creating the sheep pen, maintenance work on their home and the lovely food they eat, and the beautiful embroideries they make in their free time. Overall it captures life on the winter pasture really well.

Review
What I liked about the book is that it was divided in different sections, in which Li Juan highlights different experiences or bundles of information. For example, the first part focuses on the journey to the winter pasture and what life is like once they arrive there. Another part focuses solely on getting to know the characters more – which makes you love them, and find them annoying at other times. A great feature in the book were the pictures from life on the pasture. I would have loved to see even more of them!

The reason why I gave Winter Pasture 4 stars is that it does a good job of describing the life of nomads and the loneliness that comes with the lifestyle. But, throughout the story some scenes are repeated, in a slightly different way than before, but nonetheless it’s repetition. I came to find this a bit annoying at times. Also, I have noticed several spelling mistakes in the translation, such as words missing. Keeping this in mind, I decided to give 4 out of 5 stars.

If you are interested in books about China, and want to learn more about the Kazakh herders, I would definitely recommend this book. It doesn’t have a major plottwist, since it is non-fiction, but nonetheless a very interesting read!

Thank you Li Juan, the publisher and NetGalley for this read! 

The Chronicles of Narnia

by C.S. Lewis

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️(4/5)

I bought this book in a secondhand bookstore I think around a year ago.
It has taken me months and months to get through it, as I would often stop and read another book. But, yesterday I finished it and here is some information about it and what I thought of it.

Synopsis
The Chronicles of Narnia is actually a bundle of seven Narnian stories, some titles might sound really familiar if you, like me, saw the movies before you read the books. The seven stories are: The Magician’s Nephew, The lion, the witch and the wardrobe, The horse and his boy, Prince Caspian, The voyage of the Dawn Treader, The silver chair and The last battle.

Time doesn’t work the same in Narnia as it does in our world. A second in our world can be a month or even years of life in Narnia. The stories have different main characters throughout, but the characters that keep returning are the Pevensie children: Peter, Susan, Edward and Lucy. They, and the other kids that enter the world of Narnia experience all kinds of adventures from fighting a war to sailing the seas to find the end of the world. Each story is very different from the next, but in the end they all come together.

Review
The author, C.S. Lewis, has done a great job of describing the characters and the world of Narnia. I liked how almost every story seemed to discover a new part of the Narnian world, which in the end gave you a good understanding of what it looks like. What I liked about the writing style is that the books could be read as stand alones and you would still be able to follow the storyline, as the most important information was repeated in every story. I enjoyed the “The lion, the witch and the wardrobe” story the most as it extensively introduced the characters that would keep coming back throughout the stories. There were some annoying repetitions in the books, but that might have been mostly because I read them all one after the other. Overall I liked the created world and characters and rate this book 4/5, as I found some of the stories a bit slow-paced.