Today Kim and I bring you a double review of The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews! You guys know we both will read practically anything she writes! We both gave The Santa Suit 5 stars and it also touched me in a personal way, which will be in my review. I listened to the audiobook while Kim read the physical book.
The Santa Suit
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Narrator: Kathleen McInerney
Published: September 28, 2021
When newly-divorced Ivy Perkins buys an old farmhouse sight unseen, she is definitely looking for a change in her life. The Four Roses, as the farmhouse is called, is a labor of love—but Ivy didn’t bargain on just how much labor. The previous family left so much furniture and so much junk, that it’s a full-time job sorting through all of it.
At the top of a closet, Ivy finds an old Santa suit—beautifully made and decades old. In the pocket of a suit she finds a note written in a childish hand: it’s from a little girl who has one Christmas wish, and that is for her father to return home from the war. This discovery sets Ivy off on a mission. Who wrote the note? Did the man ever come home? What mysteries did the Rose family hold?
Ivy’s quest brings her into the community, at a time when all she wanted to do was be left alone and nurse her wounds. But the magic of Christmas makes miracles happen, and Ivy just might find more than she ever thought possible: a welcoming town, a family reunited, a mystery solved, and a second chance at love.
Kim’s Rating: 5 Stars
What a perfect way to start out the holiday season!! This is a Hallmark Christmas movie in book form … except it’s better than the movies! The best way to describe it is “feel good”. It’s not a long book, nor is it complicated with lots of drama or conflict. It’s just a sweet story that probably won’t happen in real life, but stirs up all those warm and fuzzy feelings you want around Christmas time. I wasn’t expecting it, but I was in tears by the end. My heart felt so big and happy that I wanted to tell Ivan that we should buy a fixer upper farm house in the country and keep it decorated all year long! I might just add this book to my annual Christmas reading list!
Jessica’s Rating: 5 Stars
Dates Read: November 9-12, 2021
Format Read: Audiobook
The Santa Suit is a cute novella that will get you all ready for Christmas! As with many of her more recent novels, MKA has characters that deal with houses that are ‘fixer uppers’, this time newly divorced Ivy buys an older farm house called The Four Roses without seeing it. Unaware of how much work needs to be done on the house until she sees it firsthand, Ivy finds herself overwhelmed as the previous owners left their personal possessions. This includes a Santa suit which she just can’t throw away. Inside the suit she finds a very old letter written by a little girl wanting her daddy to come from the war. Ivy then becomes determined to find out what happened to the little girl and her family.
Ivy becomes friends with a local girl who is engaged to a man she has never actually met, and she isn’t exactly how she described herself to him. There is also a potential romance and starting over for Ivy.
This is an enjoyable Christmas tale without a complex story to it and everything wraps up nicely in a sweet and cute novella that we need after the last couple of years. If you are a fan of MKA, do yourself a favor and read The Santa Suit this Christmas season!
The Santa Suit touched me personally, from when I was in middle school on, my own dad played Santa every Christmas. It was something he loved doing. Listening to the audiobook brought back those memories.
The Santa Suit is recommended!
Here are some pictures of my dad in action as Santa:
We are in the final countdown for #Diverseathon2021: Tomorrow is December 1st and that means our final host and prompt. This year really has gone by very quickly.
For December the prompt is: A book set in India
**She will also be having a giveaway: See her You Tube and Instagram pages for information on the giveaway.
What am I reading in December for #Diverseathon2021?
Only in India: Adventures of an International Educator by Jill Dobbe
“We’re moving to India!”
Travel along with two international educators who take the leap and move to Gurgaon, India, to become principals at an Indian/International school. Excited by the opulent marble hallways and the grandness of the school, they quickly learn it lacks even the most basic supplies, like chalkboard erasers. The couple, however, make a go of it and ultimately adjust to the dizzying day-to-day life of Indian society where sacred cows stop for red lights, women wear glittery saris while planting rice, and dreadlocked sadhus go about renouncing all their worldly pleasures.
Part memoir, part travelogue and part tragic comedy, readers will marvel at all the couple has to endure only to end up leaving the school and India abruptly, without even so much as a Namaste. Despite a catastrophe or two, their go-with-the-flow attitudes and kindred senses of humor help them to endure the overwhelming bustle of India, while recognizing and appreciating its distinctive allure.
What are YOU reading for this final month of #Diverseathon2021?
Author: Darcey Rosenblatt
Published: August 22, 2017
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: November 14-23, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars
It’s 1982, and twelve-year-old Reza has no interest in joining Iran’s war effort. But in the wake of a tragedy and at his mother’s urging, he decides to enlist, assured by the authorities that he will achieve paradise should he die in service to his country.
War does not bring the glory the boys of Iran have been promised, and Reza soon finds himself held in a prisoner-of-war camp in Iraq, where the guards not only threaten violence—they act upon it.
Will Reza make it out alive? And if he does, will he even have a home to return to?
Lost Boys is based off the real-life Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. The specific year is 1982 and Reza is 12 years old and Iran sends their young boys off to war. If they die, then they will be considered a martyr and Reza’s mother is more than happy to see him off. Reza is conflicted to go but his best friend Ebi is very excited. In Iran they have no freedoms, they can’t even sing or let alone listen to music without punishment.
Reza finds out the grim reality of war and finds himself separated from Ebi and in a POW camp. The boys there are treated in a range of ways from friendly with a teacher whom Reza bonds with over their love of music to being treated terribly by some of the guards.
I liked Reza and was rooting for him the whole novel. I was hoping that he and Ebi would be reunited. Lost Boys gives you an idea of what life was like in an Iraq POW camp without being graphic. I enjoyed this quick and easy read as I saw Reza’s growth over his time at the camp, but the end of the novel left too many unanswered questions. The novel needed at least an epilogue or a follow up novel for the reader to get the whole story: When you become invested in characters, you need the whole story!
Despite the lack of conclusion, I would recommend the novel as it gives a US reader an experience of unfamiliar events at a time in the past with an unfamiliar country. And that has been the point of #Diverseathon2021: Diversifiying your reading this year by reading books with a certain type of character or places you might not normally read. And I would not have normally read Lost Boys.
**I am having a giveaway: A $20 e-gift card to the bookstore of your choice. All you have to do is read a book set in Iran and share what you thought about it on social media. **Be sure to tag me in some way so I see it!** Previous Diverseathon hosts are welcome to join in on this giveaway. This giveaway will last for the entire month of November with the winner being announced on my Instagram on December 1st: If you read fast then you still have time to get a book read and reviewed!