Catching Christmas

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Dec 2018

Member Reviews

Blackstock's novel is not a lighthearted, sweet Christmas romance. There are some heavy aspects to it. For example, there is the meaning of success and the price one is willing to pay for it. Another one is burnout in an occupation. There are several serious issues regarding family relationships too. The relationship between Sydney and Finn, the main characters, gets off to a rough start. Readers are aware of their feelings as the point of view alternates between them. Their interactions are mostly stressed and that a romantic relationship would quickly develop between seemed a little unrealistic. Both characters are plagued with guilt over neglecting loved ones and surprisingly, that obstacle was not really overcome before romance blossomed.

This Christmas novel is for readers who like one with serious issues woven into it and who are not frustrated when some of the issues have not been resolved at the end. The novel does contain a message about priorities. Having a good relationship with God is touched upon but not to the extent that a salvation message is included.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review.
Was this review helpful?
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.** 

First Thoughts: Aaaack this book could not have been any sweeter! Seriously, I made my way through the book with a huge smile on my face. It warmed my heart and sent sweet tears to my eyes. Terri Blackstock has done it again! I also have to comment this is probably the first book of hers I’ve read where there is no murder mystery. It was light humored, with important themes, and full fantastic, relatable characters that drove the story. I loved every word.

Loves:

Okay, Finn was fantastic. I absolutely loved his character. He was hilarious, but also incredibly real. I was rooting for him the entire time; every time he tried to convince himself not to be kind, I had to smile at the inevitable inability to follow through. His interactions with the other characters were so well done. 

Sydney was just as amazingly well-rounded, but significantly different. It was easy to see her point of view even when it wasn’t one we as the reader agreed with; it was easy to empathize with her situation. I especially loved getting to see both her and Finn’s perspectives on the situations, and how they intertwined and how they conflicted. 

And of course, Callie. She was the best! 

I loved the gentle themes surrounding the story without overpowering it; I loved the bittersweet ending; I loved the messages and the setting and the characters and pretty much absolutely everything!

Dislikes:

There’s honestly nothing I really disliked.

Analyzation:

The story moved at a good pace—something was always happening and character development never stopped progressing. Every new scene provided new ways to get to know and love characters while still without much fluff. It allowed time for the reader to reach conclusions on their own before a message was actually spelled out, which, in my opinion, is always more powerful.

I absolutely loved the thematics surrounding Sydney. The idea that you don’t have to stay at a job just for the money, that you shouldn’t compromise your beliefs for your job, that family is always more important—I loved it, and delivered via Sydney, the sweet, but determined, character, made it all the more powerful.

Themes: Doing the right thing; kindness; not judging a book by its cover; standing up for yourself and things you believe in; not being afraid of the world; strength and courage in the face of evil; faith and trust in God.

Overall: 

Catching Christmas held my attention from page one, presented some valuable themes through the eyes of very much imperfect but also incredibly lovable characters, and provided good laughs while gently tugging on the readers’ heartstrings. All while against a backdrop of Christmastime! I loved it so, so much.

5.0 / 5.0
Was this review helpful?
Catching Christmas
By Terri Blackstock
Finn wants to give the impression of being hard as he is called from his normal taxi route to pick up a client in a residential area. However, when no one answers the door he lets himself in and finds a sleeping old lady. As innocent as this looks, Miss Callie is not so innocent. She muddles Finn's schedule by trying to chase down men to date her granddaughter. All the while she creeps her way into his heart. In the meantime, Sydney, Callies granddaughter is barely keeping her life together. Her high-stress job is downsizing and she is hanging on by a thread as she worries about caring for her grandmother at home.  Callie is a spite fire and keeps both Finn and Sydney on their toes until they come head to head and meet. 
I enjoyed the first-person dialog of this book and felt connected to the story right away because of it. I think the story was fun and I sympathized for Sydney. She is stuck between a rock and a hard place throughout out the book. I think her stress in being caught up in what others are asking of her and feeling like she has no options is something we have all struggled with at some point. I really liked how Finn brought some perspective to Sydney and supported her with positive encouragement.
Was this review helpful?
First Book I’ve read from author Terri Black,  I absolutely loved it!  Sweet, uplifting, a quick read.. Miss Callie has so much Faith, which leads to Finn, ( I’m only the cab driver lady) and Sidney (overworked, underpaid lawyer) needing each other to find their way back to what really matters.
Was this review helpful?
An emotional, sentimental Christmas story which could have been extremely sad became story of Hope and Faith.  

Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for the opportunity to preview the book.
Was this review helpful?
Less romance and more a Christmas story. It took so long for the H & h to meet that I started second guessing my choice in picking this book. The story would have been great if it had just been about Finn and Miss Callie and him discovering something about himself during the Christmas season. The relationship with Syndey isn't very natural - as if it was thrown in just so it could be called a romance. Miss Callie is darling and so much fun to get to know. Fortunately, there's plenty of her in the book. Sydney has few redeeming qualities as she struggles to figure out her priorities. It's hard to like her and hope she gets a HEA. Finn is a great guy that she definitely doesn't deserve. The writing is good. It's just not a stellar read.
Was this review helpful?
This was a sweet story of a couple of people trapped in their worlds that are drawn together, okay, ambushed in the middle their obligations by a not-so-quiet little old lady who somehow quietly pulls their strings just so! She was a sweet, feisty but decrepit old woman who was on her way out but who wanted to keep her treasured granddaughter from being all alone, so she goes about searching out the right companion, dragging an unwilling cab driver along for the ride...you know where this is going! Sweet, but a bit predictable Christian Christmas book. 

#CatchingChristmas #NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  

From the publisher, as I do not regurgitate the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it.


This Year, Christmas Comes Just in Time

As a first-year law associate, Sydney Batson knows she will be updating her resume by New Year’s if she loses her current case. So when her grandmother gets inexplicably ill while she’s in court, Sydney arranges for a cab to get her to the clinic.

The last thing cab driver Finn Parrish wants is to be saddled with a wheelchair-bound old lady with dementia. But because Miss Callie reminds him of his own mother, whom he failed miserably in her last days, he can’t say no when she keeps calling him for rides. Once a successful gourmet chef, Finn’s biggest concern now is paying his rent, but half the time Callie doesn’t remember to pay him. And as she starts to feel better, she leads him on wild-goose chases to find a Christmas date for her granddaughter.

When Finn meets Sydney, he’s quite sure she’s never needed help finding a date. Does Miss Callie have an ulterior motive, or is this just a mission-driven by delusions? He’s willing to do whatever he can to help fulfil Callie’s Christmas wish. He just never expected to be a vital part of it.

I am going to admit it: I don't like Christmas ... but I love books set at Christmas time...weird right?  This book did not disappoint: it is a fluffy, quick read that will put a smile on your face: a great Christmas story wrapped up as a present for your ... ummmm ...brain? People like Finn, Sydney and Miss Callie make you believe in and have faith with humanity- I would love a sequel to the book as they just stick with you after the book is done. (This is one book that  made me regret being a supreme-speed-reader: it was done in no time flat!)
Was this review helpful?
Oh my! I love the way that Finn was so reluctant to help Miss Callie, and yet was compelled to do so because of the kindness in his heart. He was so much fun and I loved the gruff exterior that hid his very tender heart. As much as he felt that he needed to be finding fares who weren't ancient women so he could pay his rent, he was willing to turn off his meter and get out of his cab to take her to the doctor, to the mall, and even to bring her to lunch - which he paid for. He exemplified agape love towards her even though she was a stranger. In fact, I even love the way he called her granddaughter up and read her the riot act for not taking better care of her.

One thing I noticed that totally cracked me up was the way he kept exaggerating Callie's probable age, almost like a fisherman telling the size of the fish he caught. First she was in her eighties, then three hundred. and I think at one point her referred to her as being one thousand years old!

Sydney, said granddaughter, was in such a terrible place. She had insane pressure at her job and yet her heart was wanting to care for her grandmother. I felt so terrible for her as she was trying so hard to please everyone. And that just simply can't be done!

Catching Christmas is the story of the struggles of a has-been chef and restaurateur who now spends his time driving a cab and arguing with fares about the superiority of Uber. The story of a frail old lady who wants nothing more for Christmas than to give her granddaughter the best gift of all. The story of a new attorney given the choice of taking on the most ridiculous case or losing her job. Of caring for her grandmother or losing her job. Of losing her self-respect or losing her job.

This story had me laughing out loud (yes honey, this is the one I was reading that night in the car) and holding back tears. It was so touching and tender while not being overly heavy. The spiritual aspects of the story were perfect. I was reminded of the books I've read by Angela Ruth Strong in the way that they are over-the-top funny yet in a good way and they are also tender with a powerful spiritual message.

I know I've heard the author's name for years and am wondering why in the world this is the first of her books that I've read. It will not be the last!
Was this review helpful?
This is not your typical Christmas story, but so very heart-touching. Callie is a wonderful eighty year old lady who dearly loves her granddaughter, Sydney, and deeply wants her happiness. Finn is a cab driver who drives Callie to her doctor’s appointments.  As Callie makes plans for a very special Christmas Day, she draws both Finn and Sydney into the details of the day.  As they decide to give Callie a Christmas Day to remember, their  lives are changed in an unexpected way as they watch Callie live out her faith in Jesus.

I loved Callie’s story and the message she has for all of us.  Grab the box of tissues as you read this one.  A perfect story for Christmas.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
This book was a delightful surprise of a Christmas book. Not your typical Christmas book, but such a great, heartfelt read. Absolutely loved this story!
Was this review helpful?
I was sent a copy of this book via NetGalley and  the publisher and have decided to leave an honest review.
I know I was very surprised and felt a lot of emotions reading this novel and the ones I most felt was pleasure and sorrow. The three main characters of Miss Callie, a senior women who has dementia and as we learn later in the story stage 4 cancer, Finn Parrish, a taxi driver and former chef, who is suffering from major guilt has he was not there when his mother passed away, and Sydney Baston, Miss Callie's Grand Daughter who is a newly minted lawyer and has been trying to keep her job and look after her Grand Mother. Miss Callie is a very determined women, she is out to get a lot accomplished before Christmas comes and she needs to make sure her Grand Daughter is not alone at Christmas or when she passes. I was entranced by this story and the lovely Miss Callie who believes she has failed her Grand daughter and has faith that all will come good by Christmas. Finn  Parrish was a bit of a Grinch but it was guilt and the unhappiness he felt with life, but Miss Callie knows that he is 'a good boy'. Sydney Baston is a women with a full plate but releases that her Grand Mother is more important. I admit I had a box of tissues close by by the half way mark for this book and by the end I was in floods. I would love to see this as a Hallmark Movie as I am sure it would be a hit.
I highly recommend this author and this book.
Was this review helpful?
Cab driver Finn Parrish picks up his fare, elderly Miss Callie.  Miss Callie is wheelchair bound and on her way to the doctor’s office for her confusion.  Enter Finn who goes out of his normal responsibilities and spends the day helping her from home to doctor to home.  Frustrated by the lack of work for the day, due to all the time with Miss Callie, Finn groans the next day when he is again called to her home.

Sydney Batson, lawyer and granddaughter of Miss Callie, is doing her best to balance an exceedingly demanding job and a failing grandmother.  Sydney is burning herself out, trying to keep her job and her grandmother’s issues all balanced.  Unfortunately, she’s in over her head with all the responsibilities.

Miss Callie, who knows she’s not well, is determined to match make for Sydney.  The health crisis is way less important to her than her granddaughter’s future.

What starts as a hard-to-believe story about an seemingly abandoned, elderly person, turns into a sweet story about new friends and new beginnings.
Was this review helpful?
This is an interesting story; told from the 2 main character’s perspectives. It was a nice change of pace to read a story with a predominantly male lead. Finn is a taxi driver summoned to a house in the suburbs. He already seems to be in a foul mood, because he wasn’t dispatched to the airport; where the fares are frequent and pay well. He needs this job to keep a roof over his head and the basic necessities. When no one responds to the honking of the horn he grudgingly decides to knock on the door.  This is how he comes to meet Callie Becher, an elderly woman in a wheel chair. Callie needs to go to the doctor’s office; but, is having trouble trying to remember where it is. Of course, this just makes Finn all the more irritable…. 
This is a story of our current time as it deals with the issues of elder care and older adults that are living alone and/or the lack of immediate family to care for them. So many people do not have the means/wherewithal, to be able to care for older family members. Those that have elders to care for also have to worry about their jobs too. I believe this is a very timely story and not the usual “Christmas fluff” stories; but, has a message to impart.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this book!  It was so unexpected and held my interest during the entire book!  I found it to be an excellent and heartwarming read!  The characters were the magic in this story.  They were genuine and were each dealing with hard things, but in dramatically different ways.  I loved Callie!  She truly had the heart of Christmas and I loved how she influenced these characters in this story.  I may have ugly cried during certain parts of this book, however I attribute that to the fact that these characters truly came to life in this story and it was so moving.  Perfect Christmas read for someone who loves emotional, funny, and heartwarming Christmas stories.
Was this review helpful?
I loved this book! 
A great Christmas story.
A man gets a  second chance to  believe in himself, in people and in God. And finds a girlfriend too.
Was this review helpful?
I'm always on the lookout for a good Christmas story that is not overly sappy. I found it here with Catching Christmas!!  This was a touching story that shares the message of Christmas with a gentle hand. Watching Finn and Miss Callie's relationship grow kept me reading and I was inspired watching the battle between Finn's heart and brain throughout the book and was so pleased to see him consistently following his heart. I highly recommend it if you are looking for something to warm your heart this holiday season. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Was this review helpful?
BOOK REVIEW: Catching Christmas
By: Terri Blackstock
What a great holiday read! 
Sydney is a first year associate lawyer who works hard for her firm. When cutbacks happen in her firm, Sydney has to step up her game or risk losing her job. Given the most ridiculous case in the history of lawsuits, Sydney knows her career is on the line, no matter that her grandmother is ill. Feeling the pressures of corporate law yet concerned for her grandmother’s well-being, Sydney hires a cab to take her grammy to her doctor’s appointments. 
Finn Parrish is a former executive chef-turned taxi driver, just trying to get by. His reputation for having a soft spot lands him the task of taking Sydney’s exceptional, and a bit eccentric, though absolutely adorable, grandmother to various appointments. 
Callie (Sydney’s grammy) fluctuates between good days and bad days, and ends up hiring Finn on more than one occasion to drive her around. Her greatest wish is to have a perfect Christmas and to see her granddaughter happy.
What ensues is a hilarious pursuit of one woman’s final wishes.
Kind of reminds me of Driving Miss Daisy… 
It’s a story of forgiveness, redemption, family, love, and finding faith. It’s a story of the true meaning of Christmas.
I enjoyed every page of this novel. I laughed, smiled, and cried. I cheered for Miss Callie’s efforts, and cried at the losses experienced. I empathized with Finn’s situation and appreciated the change of heart at the end of the story. And Sydney, she really had no choice in her situation and did the best that she could with the hand that was dealt her. 
Catching Christmas is definitely a Christmas novel to be read over and over again. 
I received an ecopy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.
Was this review helpful?
I am a huge fan of Terri Blackstock’s suspense novels. Her most recent series, If I Run, now has a permanent spot on my favorites list. But her new Christmas book is a complete departure from the suspense genre—and it’s a true success!

Catching Christmas is the story of an unlikely hero. Finn Parrish is just trying to survive the holidays—and pay his rent by driving a cab. Just before Christmas he gets a call to for a pickup. Things start to go wrong when he finds a little old lady waiting for him. Miss Callie is a bit eccentric, and maybe not in her right mind. She soon has Finn driving her all over town, to doctor’s appointments and Christmas shopping. It doesn’t take him long to figure out that she’s trying to find a Christmas date for her granddaughter. This annoys Finn, especially because he can’t understand why this mysterious granddaughter isn’t doing more to care for her ailing grandmother.

Sydney Batson is in the fight of her life. After the prestigious law firm she works for announces layoffs, she knows that if the loses the current case she’s working on, she’ll be out of a job for good. She spends every waking moment trying to salvage her career, while caring for a grandmother she’s only come to know in the last few years. It seems as though she’ll have to make the ultimate decision—family or work.

Miss Callie may not have it all together, but she has a plan to bring Finn and Callie together for one magical Christmas. But it might not happen exactly like you think. When you read a book like this, you pretty much know that the characters will get together in the end. But there were still some surprises along the way.

This book isn’t very long, and the cover is so cute! But the story inside is powerful in its own way. Sometimes we get a second chance at life. Even when we make mistakes, God has a way of working things out for our good. It’s a great lesson to remember year-round, but it’s nice when it’s wrapped up in a sweet Christmas package! This is a perfect book to read snuggled by the fireplace (or heater) or even to read on your Christmas travels. It’ll leave you with a sweet smile and a warm, happy feeling inside!
Was this review helpful?
What a delightful romantic tale that will charm your socks off! Blackstock has created lovable, quirky characters that you will fall in love with.  Cab driver, Finn meets a delightful old lady with dementia.  As he drives her all over town, helping her in and out of her wheelchair, his life becomes intertwined with Miss Callie and her granddaughter, Sydney.  Catching Christmas will leave you filled with warm fuzzies as you prepare for the joy of the Christmas season.
Was this review helpful?