Two #BookReviews: MOUNTAIN LAUREL CHRISTMAS and WHAT’S IN A NAME? @jansikes3 @scg58

Ciao, amici! I’ve got two reviews today, so I’m going to skip the intro and get right into them. The first is a new release by Jan Sikes; the second is a work by Sally Cronin. You don’t want to miss either of these gems.


A Feel-Good Tale Perfect for the Holidays

’Tis the season for feel good stories, and I can’t think of a story that will leave you feeling better than this one.

We start in a dark place. Can a man truly be happy if he attains all his professional dreams at the expense of his personal relationships? That’s the question singing sensation Cole Knight finds himself pondering after another stellar performance. Hounded by a reporter who hasn’t yet reached the pinnacle of his career, he finds the answer is a resounding no, then sets out to right all his wrongs… if he can.

The juxtaposition of a star at the top of his game and a reporter struggling for a start makes for an interesting and compelling comparison. The journey of discovery Cole embarks on is a rollercoaster of emotions—exhilarating highs and heart-wrenching lows. Despite his flawed history and the poor decisions resulting in his current state of malaise, I couldn’t help but root for him. And the strength and courage it takes him to repair the damage he’s done it worthy of a reader’s cheer.

I highly and happily recommend this work to any reader looking for a story representative of a true and pure message this holiday season… love.


Would a Rose by Any Other Name Smell as Sweet?

I’m the first to admit, names fascinate me. Historically, they were said to be powerful in the mystical sense. I have no idea whether that’s true, but I know being able to give any problem a name is the first step to solving it, and there’s great power in that.

A woman has roughly nine months to come up with a name for the child(ren) she carries, yet mine didn’t have names when they were born. Or two days later. I needed to look at them and meet them and get to know them before I could decide what name would define them forever.

That’s why I couldn’t wait to read this collection by Sally Cronin. It’s so easy to forget a name upon the occasion of an introduction, but names are so much more than a way to distinguish one person from another. The author explores the power of names in the stories she writes. We don’t get a lesson in etymology, but we do get an excellent sense of what these names once signified. 

It was a fascinating take on the topic and a fast and fun read. 


If you’ve read either of these works or anything by these authors, or even if you just want to chat, please leave a comment below. Grazie!

57 thoughts on “Two #BookReviews: MOUNTAIN LAUREL CHRISTMAS and WHAT’S IN A NAME? @jansikes3 @scg58

  1. Great reviews, Staci! And congratulations, Jan and Sally! It’s lovely to hear so many good things about your new book, Jan, and I’m looking forward to reading it very, very soon. Now I’m also really interested in checking out What’s In a Name. Another Christmas present for ME! 😄

    Happy Thanksgiving, Jan and Staci, and Happy Holidays Sally! Hope you ALL sell a ton of books in the weeks ahead! 🤗💖

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fab reviews for two amazing authors, Staci! We’d already chosen names for both our boys, but were told numerous times our first was a girl according to ultrasounds. A couple of hours before he was born, we were told he was a boy, so we had to come up with something quick, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We were told what both our kids were, but we had short lists of both genders, just in case because we’d heard about mistaken sonogram pronouncements. You’re the first person I know who actually had one, though! I’m impressed that you came up with something so quickly.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful reviews, Staci. I love the soul of Sally’s books and am reading Jan’s now.
    My name has always been the bane of my existence. Being Roman Catholic meant having a first name of Mary (my dad and brothers were all Joseph), then a family name, a middle name- Jacqueline (shortened to Jackie, but a boy in school had the same so I changed it to Jacquie, long story, lol)- then my maiden name, and finally my married name. Of course, on any legal documents my name shows up as Mary and I have to remember to respond when called! lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m also Roman Catholic, but my parents didn’t subscribe to the tradition of naming us after saints. I ended up being Staci Smith. Three S-sounding syllables in two names resulted in people hissing at me to get my attention in study hall. If that wasn’t bad enough, a local news station had a male anchor named Stacy Smith, who had a mustache. Of course I suffered through teasing on that one. My middle name was boring, so going by that was no better. I was delighted when I got to choose a Confirmation name, but no one ever called me by it, so that joy was short-lived.

      If it makes you feel any better, I think Mary Jacqueline is beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice reviews, Staci. I read and enjoyed Jan’s book. Sally’s sounds like an enticing read.

    I had no idea about your children not being named until after they were born. Funny story. My mom changed her middle name when she was grown and that was the name on her marriage license, driver’s license, social security card, etc. When it came time for her to apply for social security, she was afraid she might have trouble since her birth name was different. She obtained a copy and found she wasn’t even named when they sent it in. Simply read, “Baby Scott.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am sorely tempted by Jan’s book. There is so much I love about it–the setting, the country singer character, the humble roots. But, will my TBR pile topple over with one more book???

    Did you really not name your child for the first few days? How’d you get past the birth certificate thingy? I love that, Staci. You’re an old soul.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank you, Staci, for sharing your wonderful reviews. My congratulations to Sally and Jan. I very much enjoyed Mountain Laurel Christmas and look forward to reading What’s in a Name. Both writers are marvelous storytellers. ✨🎉✨

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Congratulations to Sally and Jan. I enjoyed Mountain Laurel Christmas. Hope truly abounds when you let yourself be open to it. Well done, Jan. Your review of What’s in a name left me curious. I see an addition to my TBR pile. Both excellent reviews, Staci.

    Liked by 3 people

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