Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Reading Adventure

Several years ago I started a tradition of reading Christmas themed books from Thanksgiving to New Years. I collect them throughout the year. Not all are new... I find them at book sales, online book swaps, in local book stores.. wherever I see them throughout the year.

Here are the books I have for this year's adventure... as noted I have already read (and reviewed) 3 of them.

Love Finds You in North Pole, Alaska by Loree Lough (Read & Reviewed)

@HOME for the Holidays by Meredith Efken (Read & Reviewed)

The Perfect Gift by Lenora Worth (Read & Reviewed)

A Dropped Stitched Christmas by Janet Tronstad

Operation Married by Christmas by Debra Clopton

Holiday Illusion by Lynette Eason

A Season of Forgiveness by Brenda Coulter

The Christmas Journey by Winnie Griggs

and 4 Christmas Novella Collections:

Patchwork Holiday - Brunstettler, DeMarco, Mills & Reece

Homespun Christmas - Demarco, Etchison, Reece & Schneider

A Currier & Ives Christmas - Coleman, Grote, Mills & Raney

Simply Christmas - Dowd, Lutrell, & Lynxwiler

That should keep me busy between now and the end of the year! Be watching for reviews!

The Perfect Gift by Lenora Worth

A lovely weekend read for a semi-lazy weekend... Goldie Rios has travelled to the small town of Viola, Louisiana to care for her grandmother following surgery.  After a few weeks, she is able to leave her grandmother in order to take a small outing to meet a friend and do some shopping. She does not plan on ending up passed out on a stranger's couch only to be discovered by the man of the house and his 2 sons... a bit like Goldilocks and the three bears.

Rory Branagan is living life one day at a time since his wife's senseless death... just working to keep his family together and on track. The last thing he is looking for is a woman, but it seems that is what he has found... in his home... unexpectedly.

What is God doing here? Throwing two wayward souls together in the most unlikely way.  Add in 2 young boys, a matchmaking grandmother, a skeptical mother, and a lost pup and you have a heart-wrenching and funny adventure to usher in the holidays.

@ HOME for the Holidays by Meredith Efken

Book 2 of the SAHM series and also book 2 in my 2010 Christmas book reading adventure. I just love these books.  I reviewed the first book, SAHM I Am, earlier today.  The story line centers around members of an online e-group and consists of their emails on the list and off... nothing else. I love the characters.... I know them... I am parts of them.  As the title indicates, this is a Christmas tale, although there is a lot more going on than the holidays.  Once again, the reader is privy to the various members lives and all that they are dealing with.  Another fun read from Efken.

Love Finds You in North Pole Alaska by Loree Lough

Let the Christmas reading begin!  Each year I read Christmas fiction from Thanksgiving to New Year's.  I will post a bit more on that and include a list of the books I have for this year in a bit.

I began with one of the Love Finds You books. I have only read 2 others in this series of stand alone books, but so far I love them!  I am a sucker for romance... well written and not raunchy... and these books fill the bill!

Sam Sinclair has decided it is time to leave the nest and her older protective big brothers and head off to find her own life. After studying culinary arts, she is ready to find her niche as a chef. So she buys an RV and heads off from her Maryland home to a job in North Pole, Alaska!  After traveling across country, Sam arrives to find her job has been given to someone else.

She begins seeking employment.. anything.. only to find that her timing is perfect. Bryce has inherited his family's Christmas shop and he is not happy. His Aunt Olive, who runs the show, is retiring and Bryce has no intention of working indoors with all that Christmas nonsense! He gives Olive the task of finding a manager and in walks Sam.  Bryce is floored to find that Sam is Samantha.. not at all what he planned!  And to top it off, Olive has given her the other half of the upstairs duplex to share with him.  Could it get worse?

Well, yes, it could... because Bryce's life is about to be turned upside down and inside out in a way his hard marine heart can not imagine!

SAHM I Am by Meredith Efken

SAHM (Stay-at-Home-Mom) I am is a fictional email group much like many groups found at Yahoogroups and Google and other list servers.  When I first opened this book I had my doubts. It is made up entirely of emails from this group, as well as personal emails between group members.  I wasn't sure I would enjoy a book full of emails. But wow... once I started reading I was hooked!  I have been on email lists and still have one of my own for wives and moms, as well as belonging to a small close knit quilting group, so though the names were different, these women seemed like old friends.

Throughout the book, the reader gets a look into the lives and minds of women from various walks of life, various seasons and backgrounds. We have women with many children... women with few... women dealing with infertility and those with unexpected pregnancies... financial struggles.. parenting difficulties... emotional, physical, and spiritual difficulties and so much more.  And you can relate to them... if you are a wife and/or a mom you will definitely relate!  You have either been through some of the very things they are dealing with or know someone who has.

This is a very real look at real life via the cyber world. Truly a delight to read!

Mainely Mysteries by Susan Page Davis & Megan Elaine Davis

This is another in the America Loves Mysteries series. Mainely Mysteries is a compilation of three books -- Homicide at Blue Heron Lake, Treasure at Blue Heron Lake and Impostors at Blue Heron Lake. Each book is based in the same small town in Maine with a main set of characters running through each storyline and there is an overall storyline for the 2 central characters which runs throughout the books building in each one.

We start out with Emily, an investigative reporter,  returning to her home and reuniting with her old flame, Nate, over a dead body.  Not the most romantic way to go about it! In book 2, Emily and Nate are once again drawn into a mystery as a friend calls on them for help concerning puzzling happenings at his hunting lodge and the death of one of his guides and in book 3 two heirs with the same name show up to collect an inheritance.  Emily is determined to find the truth and the rightful heir.

These books fit my definition of a "cozy mystery" nicely.  Just enough suspense and intrigue to keep your mind guessing, but light enough to be enjoyable and not scare the wits out of you!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

1022 Evergreen Place by Debbie Macomber

I love love love Debbie Macomber's books. The first I ever read was 16 Lighthouse Road.. the first book in the Cedar Cove series.  At the time, Macomber had written books 1 - 7.  I devoured them all in a row and then had to wait!  She writes 1 book a year for this series. It is delightful and torturous!  I am soo excited when I see the next book out, but I hesitate to read it once I have it. I know that all to quickly I will be done and have to leave Cedar Cove for another year.  Like so many other fictional towns (Lumby, Mitford, Mayberry.....) I feel as if I live in Cedar Cove.  I know the residents so well and truly care about their comings and goings.

1022 Evergreen Place is a cute little house that has been converted to a duplex. Mack McAfee lives in one half, while Mary Jo Wyse and her infant daughter, Noelle, live in the other half.  There is no doubt of the attraction between the two, but each has been through so much in the past year.. together and individually.  Both are a bit hesitant to take their relationship to another level for fear they might spoil a good thing.

Enter a romance from long ago. Mary Jo has discovered some letters hidden in her side of the duplex.... love letters from World War II.  She and Mack decide to discover all they can about the writer and receiver. Through their digging they discover that life is too short and love to precious to worry about the "what ifs."