Monday, December 28, 2015

Mill Creek Park Fellows Riverside Gardens Festival of Lights

There is a fabulous display of decorated Christmas trees at Mill Creek Park's Fellows Riverside Gardens until Jan. 3, filling the lower level with the most beautiful trees - and a ton of them!

 Okay, I've heard of the pickle in the Christmas tree. I think that's a German tradition. And my sister always puts a red velvet cardinal in a nest in her tree. 

But I've never heard of a fish!
But here it is.

 For as many times as we've been to Fellows Riverside Gardens, I never knew there was a lower level.  It's downstairs.

Also, stop in the gift shop. There're having a big sale on all holiday items.

And don't forget to visit the Cafe for a light snack.

The outside gardens are also lit up also. It was a little drizzly when we got there, so we didn't really explore the gardens, but they looked lovely from inside.

Phone number is 330.740.7116 for information 
on displays and times. If you are in the area, stop by. Mill Creek Park never disappoints.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas from Vision and Verse

Dear Gentle Readers,

We at Vision and Verse want to wish you the merriest of Christmases and the happiest of New Years. May 2016 be the healthiest, most productive, peaceful year for you and your loved ones so far!

When Parker and I began this blog, this was our goal:

The mission of "Vision and Verse" is to familiarize our readers with our work, to share with them the inspiration we have found in interesting artists and authors along the way, to inspire our readers to explore their own avenues of creativity, and to help them unlock their ability to see the beauty that surrounds them every day.

We hope we have somehow helped you to find something inspiring or beautiful along the way to spark your own creativity.

Thank you for stopping in every day to see what's happening here. We hope you enjoyed the month of Christmas short stories. Last year we did our authors' and artists' favorite Christmas memory. That was also very well received. Suggestions for next year are Christmas crafts and drink recipes. Are Vision and Verse readers diverse or what?  Let us know YOUR suggestion for next year's December to Remember postings.


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Caribbean Christmas by Tammy Tate

As a real estate agent in the Virgin Islands, Kendra Dawson enjoys summer all year around with beautiful Caribbean waves and white sandy shoreline just outside her condo. Although living next door to the handsome and successful Richard McNeil with only an occasional nod or one-word greeting has been exasperating. Finally, three weeks before Christmas they ride the elevator to their sixth-floor and after a brief conversation a relationship starts to blossom. Now that she’s fallen in love with him, she must debunk the rumor that could prevent them from being anything but friends. 
Richard accompanies her to New Orleans after she discovers that her long lost uncle, who she hasn’t seen since she was four, has passed away. To comply with his will, she and her mother must stay the weekend at his haunted estate. 
Who knew her witty but ghostly Uncle Morgan would be lurking in the shadows?

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Jimmy's Christmas Present by J.R. Wirth

Jimmy's Christmas Present is a tale of love pursued. While completing a senior project for college, Jimmy runs into a mall elf that catches his eye and then his heart, but as luck would have it, each time he runs across the elfin girl, he can't seem to get out a coherent thought. And with Christmas at hand, she has no time to stay and chat. Jimmy is two years past his last relationship and is feeling that he might not find love again, until he meets two (non-elf) women while at the mall. During his time at the mall, Jimmy meets many interesting characters, and finds himself in a one-to-one talk with Saint Nicholas. Santa reveals that Jimmy will meet the one he is destined to meet, a Christmas present if you will. And so he does... 

Jimmy's Christmas Present is a great read for teens, young and new adults, as well as all adults and any believers in that Christmas magic; and the promises of Santa. Jimmy's Christmas Present is another winner, and classic Christmas tale from JR Wirth. 

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Last Thing She Needs is a Husband by Julie Kavanaugh

To save the family business, Katherine Collins must marry one of two men, both of whom are unsuitable and time is running out.Every girl dreams of a Christmas Eve wedding but when independent Katherine is faced with marriage to either her greedy second cousin or her sexy but bossy ex-boyfriend, she doesn’t know what to do. Katherine knows that marriage to either man would be a disaster, but her defiant heart says differently.  

Ross is still gorgeous and his smile is definitely still sexy, but their relationship went very wrong last time. Could they make it work this time or is Cousin Charles a better option for a lasting marriage? 

Can she trust her future to a man from her past? 

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Monday, December 21, 2015

One Order of Love, Pancake Club Christmas Collection by Jackie Marilla

Sami Burke loves all things Christmas—the music, the children’s gift-drive, the parade, the program at her church, and the decorations. She especially loves the thought of winning the Christmas trophy for the Best Home Christmas Display in Mercy Ridge. This could be her year to win, if only she can come up with an idea better than Caroline Sauer, the reigning queen of yard decorations for three years running. 
Wayne, Caroline’s husband, isn’t sure how to handle himself when Caroline decides to go to Spokane for several days to shop for her display materials. He can’t cook and ends up eating all his meals at Sami’s diner. When he realizes he doesn’t miss his wife as much as he probably should, he starts a journey of self-discovery and a second chance at love. 

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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sadie's Santa by Jackie Marilla

By Denise Van plew on December 4, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
I don't know what it is about this series except that it must be the magic the writers put in it. This is the second set released with Having read all of the first from last year. So far this is the second one from this set I have read but that is ok if out of order you still get transported to this place with these women and their stories. As part of a program to give them second chance to get a better path, each with their own circumstance for being in it. In this one it is Lindsey that gets one of the women as her worker, Sadie. She has a very special reason one that will pull at your heart strings for sure. She will be helping in the bakery developing her skills but also working toward winning her back placement with her infant daughter. The story itself behind it is one that she is caught up with a charmer but also dangerous one with it almost costing her everything. Until he is caught though she must stay keep to the quiet almost hiding until she is safe. But hen there is to be a story on the farm with that opening the door for her to meet Gus. At first he is not to thrilled with this assignment but love will work it's magic and with him right away seeing a beautiful woman. I had a wonderful time with their story pulling me with them the author weaving her magic with it all with the sweetest warmest ending that will leave twinkle in your eye.
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By Redrabbitt on December 4, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
This story is a continuation from the Forever Christmas series from 2014 that included four stories of a group of friends by four authors. This story will read as a standalone, it does have the four ladies from last year and adds four new ones into the mix. These stories include four women who seek a second chance in life and are working as apprentices at the Forever Christmas tree farm and shops.

Sadie has basically been in hiding from a violent man that changed after she became involved with him. She never tells him her secret, that she was pregnant. Now she is going to train in a new job and hoping that she will learn and be able to get a stable job, an apartment and get her precious baby back. But when reporter Gus comes to Forever Christmas along with a photographer for a multiple series stories, will he uncover her secret and place her and those around her in danger. This story offers mystery and suspense with a chance for romance and happiness. A great cast of characters that will entertain with heartwarming moments. Disclosure: I received and e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts, opinions, and ratings are my own.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Carol Ann Kauffman on December 4, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Set in the fictional town of Glenville in the wonderful Forever Christmas series, Sadie's Christmas is the story of a woman who is working hard to salvage her life after a horrific experience. Well-written characters draw you into a contemporary story fraught with danger and consequences with the holidays as a backdrop. I highly recommend this Christmas short story to anyone looking for a modern, suspenseful read. Hallmark Channel needs pick up this great Forever Christmas series!
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Format: Kindle Edition
Life has dealt Sadie Wilden a bad hand. Abused and left for dead by her fiancé, she is forced into hiding to keep herself and her baby safe. Sadie’s goal is to get a job and a place to call home, so Social Services will allow her baby daughter to live with her.

Gustav Sadler is instantly intrigued by the skittish Sadie. His experience as a newspaper reporter has taught him there is something deeper behind Sadie’s facade than what she portrays to the outside world.

This is a heartfelt and emotional story, and you’ll find yourself cheering for Sadie’s success, as you watch the insecure Sadie reach for her chance for love and motherhood.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Sadie has lived for too long with terror and grief, but an internship at Forever Christmas brings her a faint sense of hope. Gus, a hotshot investigative news reporter, resents what seems like a boring assignment to cover a Christmas tree farm (!?), but one look at Sadie changs everything. Can Sadie learn to love and o trust again? Can Gus prove himself worthy of her trust? Of course! It's Christmas! Jackie Marilla delivers, as always.

Story Description:
Sadie Wilden needs a fresh start, so when the women’s shelter administrator invites her to participate in a new program designed to safely house battered women and teach them a new job skill, she’s all in. If everything goes right, she’ll meet the social services requirements on time and be reunited with her baby—that is, if the police locate and arrest her ex. 

Sadie won’t put her daughter in harm’s way, no matter how much she misses her. She just has to lay low and do a good job at her new intern position. 

When Gus Sadler, an investigative reporter from Seattle, shows up at her workplace, Sadie’s leery of his intentions—after all, it was the media that leaked information that put her baby in harm’s way. 
Gus is drawn to Sadie right away, but he’ll have to work double time to earn her trust. Can he set aside his inclination to investigate her background or will he jeopardize his chances by digging into her past? 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Home for Christmas by Alison Jean Ash

Harry and Sophie, growing up, were more than just next door neighbors. Even after college and work took them in different directions, they’ve always been family,. Now they’re both home for Christmas, each at age 29 facing a major turning point in life—and suddenly everything changes between them. As they face Sophie’s mother’s illness, and struggle with their new and not so brotherly-sisterly feelings toward each other, the big warm-hearted Curry family surrounds them both with food, laughter, song, and tradition. 

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Friday, December 18, 2015

FREE Today!!I Need Christmas by Carol Ann Kauffman

After a depressing year of sadness, loneliness, and self-doubt, successful civil engineer and former All-American basketball star Elizabeth (Betsy) Curry returns home to Oakville, Ohio, for the Christmas holidays a depressed and broken women. Reeling from her bitter divorce from the handsome, charming, but morally decrepate Tommy DeMalio, her college sweetheart and first big love, who left her after two years of what she thought was a good marriage for a stripper he met at an office bachelor party for her co-worker, Betsy feels lost and empty. Not exactly anticipating the happy holiday with her family and their multitude of joyful Christmas customs and long-time storybook-like traditions, she knows she needs them in order to heal.
Once comfortable at home and feeling somewhat better about herself, Tommy shows up and claims he wants a reconciliation, throwing her back into the self-destructive cycle of doubt, hostility, and suspision she is trying so hard to escape. 

She discovers her father has set her up with his protégé at work, the tall, handsome, athletic red-haired Patrick, who, try as hard as she can, she can’t find a single thing she doesn’t like about him. 
So, what’s the problem? Betsy feels it’s too soon for her to love again. How can she love anyone again when she doesn’t like herself or what she’s become since the break-up. Also, she fears she will hurt the sweet, gentle Patrick.
Will the love, joy, and goodwill of the holiday season coupled with the many long-time holiday customs and Curry family traditions help Betsy to find herself again? Will she be strong enough to lift herself out of her self-induced prison so that she can take another chance on love ? 

Buy Link:  http://tinyurl.comzcrtena

Thursday, December 17, 2015

I Love Christmas by Giulietta Spudich

A heartwarming tale of finding family. 
Gail is an orphan and hard-working single mom. Used to supporting her daughter Raven, she's forgotten about taking care of herself. 
When a romance appears to bloom, she pushes it away. 
Now Raven's seventeen and more independent. Who else but family can remind Gail that she's a valuable person who deserves love?

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Town Around the Christmas Tree: Jacob's Message by J.R. Wirth

The Town Around The Christmas Tree: Jacob’s Message is book five of the Twisted Family Holiday series. It brings the series full circle with the heroine, Hailey Jade, and her cousin, Isaiah, having another Christmas adventure. This story takes the two out of their grandfather’s home, on a walk, and finding mayhem that needs to be addressed, before they can enjoy their Christmas Eve celebration. 
While they wait to replicate the town beneath the Christmas tree they encounter an unnatural phenomenon, and then witness Harper having a grown-up conversation, but no one is present. They get spooked and think they’re in for another Christmas disaster. Enter Jacob who is the son of their grandfather’s girlfriend. And he has become Hailey’s BFF. Jacob arrived for the Christmas celebration, but without his mother, which seems weird but they carry on about their day while they wait for her to arrive. 
After the town is put together exactly the way the six cousins remember, from the last year, Jacob invites Hailey to go for a walk. So the older kids—Hailey, Isaiah, Bubba and Jacob, go on an adventurous-walk that, again, teaches them to remember the magic and meaning of Christmas. 

Whether it is experienced alone—or following the Town Beneath The Christmas Tree—The Town Around the Christmas Tree: Jacob’s Message is a great read for children and adults alike; and it’s destined to be a new classic Christmas tale.

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Town Around the Christmas Tree, Jacob's Message is the story about a family gathering on Christmas Eve, told in Charles Dickens fashion but with very contemporary characters. It is the continuation of the Town Under the Christmas Tree, where the same cousins had quite an adventure in a faraway, dangerous place and although reading the first one gives you familiarity and background, I think story can stand alone. The solid, believable characters pull you in and Jacob's message will touch your heart. I highly recommend this Christmas story. JR Wirth does not disappoint.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Rejoice: A Burden by Elizabeth Ingle-Richards

It’s the last game before Christmas and Arttu, forward for the Nor’easter ice hockey team, is having a hard time with his asthma. When his fiance is
kidnapped from the teams Christmas party by Nuuttipukki, a Holiday spirit trying to punish her for using magic on people without consent, will he be able to save her, or will Nuuttipukki drag her to hell?

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Always on Christmas by Jackie Marilla

Emma Sanchez prides herself on raising her seven-year-old daughter without a man. She has a cabin to live in, a car to get them places, and a job. Her only concern is trying to budget enough money for Christmas, but with a minimum wage job, Emma can’t afford a Christmas tree let alone a gift for Ally from Santa. 

Cattle rancher, Hank Amaral, isn’t looking for a woman, but when he meets Emma and her daughter, he starts to consider the possibilities. He likes being around them right up until Emma accuses him of expecting kisses in return for a few favors and a Christmas tree. 

When disaster strikes the island, Emma and Hank must sweep pride aside and focus on safety. 

In the aftermath, will Hank and Emma be able to give Ally what she really wants for Christmas? 

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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Christmas in Tuscany by Angela Ford

What's pleasure without a mix of business?

Chocolate & Wine won't be the only perfect match this Christmas. Erika's mind is set on business until a little pleasure is added to the mix. Massimo agreed to help a sick friend with his wine tour. He didn't expect to fall in love especially with the mess he's in. Stefano, Massimo's devious brother, has selfishly thrown his own brother into the line of fire. Their mother, Sophia, decides to step in and solve the mystery. A family affair may have interrupted Christmas plans but one mother is determined to mend broken hearts, including her own.

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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas Reflections (Forever Christmas) by Joanne Jaytanie

As a teenager Juliet Swanson couldn't wait to get out of her home town of Glenville, WA and move to the big city. She moved to California to attend college, and then went to work for a large corporation. It didn't take her long to realize that clawing her way up the ladder at others expense wasn't the life she wanted. She moved back to her home town, fell in love with the 'family feel' of living there and has a close knit group of girlfriends she shares everything with. Now if she could only find a way to make her dream career a reality she would have it all, except for Mr. Right.

Colton Weatherly is a city guy who eats and breathes his career as a project manager for a acquisitions corporation. He is assigned to acquire the Glenville Ski Resort, along with the Schwartz Christmas Tree Farm. By his estimation it will be an easy close, and he plans to wrap it up in one short weekend. What he didn't plan on was butting heads with Juliet, who is not the average 'local girl.'

Reflecting on one's life can sometimes lead to discovering a path you never knew existed.

Story 1 in the best-selling Christmas romance series, Christmas Forever.

The western Washington town of Glenville is threatened with the possible loss of their 100 year old Christmas tree farm to an outside corporation. Four friends join together to keep the tradition alive and create new opportunities with the rebirth of the Forever Christmas tree farm.

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Friday, December 11, 2015

Mistletoe in the City by Amber Daulton

Krista Hartley never expected the unrequited love of her life, the irresistible Derek Weston, to work as the groundskeeper at the apartment building she just moved into. They barely spoke in high school but now, three years after graduation, they tore at each other's clothes and jumped into bed together at every opportunity. After all, how could a hot-blooded woman say no to a sexy man with an eyebrow ring, a dragon tattoo and a deadly swagger? 

A Christmas miracle drew Krista back into Derek's life. He kissed her for the first time under mistletoe, pampered her with romantic candlelight dinners and memorized every inch of her delectable body with his tongue. He refused to let his dream girl slip through his fingers again but then another woman threatened their whirlwind romance. Hurt once before, Krista broke off their relationship and then Derek made a drunken mistake that could destroy their love forever. With just days to Christmas, he vowed to win back her heart and trust, and prove his innocence once and for all. 

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Ivy by Joanne Jaytanie

Dear Gentle Readers,

If you are not familiar with the Forever Christmas series, may I suggest you take a look at it? If you like short stories about strong women in a beautiful setting with contemporary issues and situations, this series is for you. Personally, I love it. Give it a look.


Ivy’s always been a part of Christmas; can this Ivy put down roots in Forever Christmas, where the spirit of the holidays never fades? 
Ivy Harper is a survivor. Deprived of college by a selfish mother and stuck in a dead-end job that can’t pay the bills, it’s the last straw when she finds herself a crime victim, too. Hoping for a new start, she flees to the big city, only to end up homeless. Her one chance is an intern program that offers a new life on a farm outside a small town. But can a farm job provide Ivy’s artistic soul the security and fulfillment she needs? 
Mason Weatherly is exhausted. A leading surgeon, ER doc, and specialist in internal medicine, Dr. Weatherly is in constant demand. Unfortunately his seventeen-hour days and long weeks mean he has no relationship or personal life. Frazzled and desperate for a break, Mason decides to visit his brother, Colton, before Colton settles down. Mason needs to discover for himself how a small town and a tree farm managed to tame his career-driven brother.

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